A Global Team
I had someone ask me recently, “How can you logistically run 51 Bible translation events in a two-month period of time?” This person heard the latest ministry update and knew our field translation services team was not that big. My response: “It’s because God has created a global team!”
Over the last two decades of serving as the President of Wycliffe Associates, I have seen God raise up amazing men and women in countries all around the world to champion Bible translation. The model used to be that we send hundreds of Americans to run translation workshops. Now, Indonesians run their own workshops. Filipinos run their own workshops. Nigerians run their own workshops. We—the foreigners in each of these contexts—provide translation training and technology, but in almost every country, translation workshops are run by national church leaders!
God’s global team is immeasurably above and beyond anything I could have asked for or imagined.
When COVID-19 hit, I wondered what God would do with these circumstances that, to us, seemed horrible. I wondered if the global travel restrictions would cause hundreds of Bible translation projects to become stalled . . . and eventually die. But God had a bigger plan to work all things together for the good of those who love Him.
Once westerners were unable to travel to be present at translation events, a global team of national Bible translators and local churches stepped forward to carry out the task of Bible translation. And God used Wycliffe Associates to provide them with the technology in computer tablets and our V-MAST software to keep translations moving forward.
If there is one thing I have learned over the past 20 years, when you keep moving forward by faith, you quickly find yourself in places you could never have imagined. And then, God makes a way to respond to the needs these new realities present with the resources He continues to bring into our circles. God’s ways are truly amazing!
The Overwhelming Need
I rejoice when I hear that now, we can have more than 100 translation workshops happening simultaneously because tablets provide a viable solution, even when translators can’t meet in person. What an absolute miracle!
But then I hear the chime on my email inbox, and I know it’s another request for translation tools. It is impossible to keep up—we are getting requests for tablets every month.
Right now, I have more than 1,000 requests to provide tablets for national Bible translators!
Technology for Tomorrow
When I started at Wycliffe Associates, who would have guessed that computer tablet technology would be the solution for Bible translation? In fact, I don’t even think the mainstream consumer market knew what a tablet was. Yet today, tablets have become a key to unlocking the expansion of Bible translation and putting the power and tools in the hands of local churches.
And the younger translators understood them and began using them right away!
Here’s what they can access: Loaded onto every tablet is a resource library with translation tools—gateway language translations, translation aids and software—and every tablet has the ability to connect with other translators virtually.
Tablets are the Bible translation tool for this generation! Now—with the reality of more interactions online and travel restrictions limiting group gatherings—the demand for tablets is growing by the day. Local churches are still anxious to translate God's Word, and using tablet technology is the answer.
Passing the Torch
As I think back to those translation workshops and consider the next generation of Bible translators, my eyes fill with tears. We used to worry about who would pick up the mantle of Bible translation work. Now, we can’t provide tools fast enough for the younger generation of translators.
Let this sink in . . . a new generation is literally busting down the door, begging for translation tools so their people groups can have God’s Word in their heart language. We can’t keep up! It is both an encouraging and heartbreaking problem to have.
This Hits Close to Home
My daughters, Abby and Lindsey, are passionate about Bible translation and have served in every single supportive role you can imagine. A year ago, Lindsey felt God calling her into the deeper waters of her faith, and she signed up to go on a MAST trip to India. That statement in and of itself is a miracle. She’s had to overcome many serious health challenges in her life—and this trip came at a time when she was physically at one of her lowest points. But her heart beats with a burning passion for the things of God, so nothing was going to stop her!
This was a big risk . . . and as a father, I was in emotional turmoil—both wanting to support these God-sized dreams, and, like every father, desperately wanting to protect and care for my little girl. But I can’t let my fear define her future!
Lindsey responded in faith and helped national Bible translators learn how to use the computer tablets that we provided for the translation workshop. My heart bursts thinking about how God used her in powerful ways, and because of this experience, she is ready to tackle even bigger risks for the kingdom!
Friends, this is what thousands of young national Bible translators all over the world are ready to do for God, too! They are ready to lay down everything. The comforts of home . . . they don’t cling to them. Suffering and physical pain . . . it doesn’t faze them. What concerns them is having the right tools and making themselves available so God can use their talents to advance His Kingdom.
This year has been one unexpected circumstance after another. But God had a plan for us all along . . . and every turn, every surprise, He has led us to this day of rejoicing!
We have a new generation of Bible translators passionate about sharing God’s Word, and we can provide them with tools that are easy for them to understand and use—tablets.
The only problem is we need MORE tablets so we can put them in the hands of more translators.
I need you to help us provide the tablets for national Bible translators who are ready to take up the mantle and send God’s Word into every dark corner of the world! Of the more than 1,000 tablets needed, we are trying to raise funds for the first 200 in the next two weeks.
My heart is exploding with the possibilities of God’s power. He has brought us this far. He has opened every door and placed us in some of the most hard-to-reach, spiritually dark, countries in the world. Are you like me? Are you anxiously waiting to see what God is going to do next?
Please help provide a tablet today, and help another language group experience God’s Word—and God’s power—in their heart language!
We are rejoicing! Because of the generous gifts of friends like you, we met our goal. Thank you! We continue to receive requests from churches all over the world who long to have the Bible in their heart language. If the Lord is leading you to give, please do so. You can have an impact on Bible translation!