28 Jan

Off to Nigeria Part 4 – What do we need to do before we can go?

We are excited by the possibility to go and serve in Nigeria, playing our part to facilitate Bible Translation for 150 million people.    There are some hurdles to get over before we can go and do it.

  • We have already started getting injections done but have about 6 more each to do.
  • We need to raise the money we need in order to live. Wycliffe UK have a great page explaining about the finance side of things.    We still need to raise another £1400 £1200 a month. Why so much money? Right now, Ali is working as a secondary school teacher, we live mostly from her salary.  When we head to Nigeria, she will no longer have a salary and so we need to raise the money to replace her salary.
  • Ali has to take daily meds to make up for the thyroid they had to take out a few years back.  We have some leads but no final solution yet.
  • We need at least 1 laptop, both of ours belong to work and neither are the recommended brand for us to take.
  • We need to sort out people to rent our house while we are away.  ~As well as a few jobs we need to do in the house before we go!
  • probably other things I haven’t’ listed or can’t remember right now!

There are also presidential elections due on April 2nd.  Normally elections in Nigeria are prone to all the minor issues associated with African elections especially fraud.  Results are normally contested and often violence breaks out.  So as long as  it has calmed down again by the time we want to leave it is all okay.  There are other UK families who are out there, as as long as they are happy to be out there, we will travel.  A great team of people in the office thinking through all these decision, some of whom we have known for a very long time, and we trust their judgement.   It is something to be praying for though!

27 Jan

Off to Nigeria Part 3 – What will we be up to?

What will we be up to?

Tim – hoping to get involved in project funding serving Nigeria group (Wycliffe’s office) and other partner organisations – helping them apply for project funding, and develop good habits reporting to their donors.

With projects in 90 odd countries, and monies being raised for those projects in nearly 60 countries, there is a complex but global funding system in place to serve the money providers and the projects they are funding.   Often stuck in the middle are the entities that are trying to start and run projects, but are required to apply for the funding and fill out the reports often required by the governments of funding countries like the UK.  I hope to get involved in project funding not only for Nigeria group but also hope to help the other organisations in Nigeria who are all trying to apply for funding to start projects.  It will involve some project management, lots of relationship building and probably some travelling 🙂

Also serving the director by taking on some logistical projects like organising meetings, or arrangements for visitors.  So often things land on the desk of the director, often because they don’t belong anywhere else.  Special requests or unusual meetings.  I LOVE organising things and getting stuff set up and sorted I hope that taking some of these jobs on, Ian the director will then be able to do more of what he feels is he role as the director – to do the strategic thinking planning, envision and partnering.

Ali – we hope she will be able to teaching in Hillcrest school in Jos

We hope Ali will be able to put her teaching skills to use at the international mission school down the road in Jos.  This is the school we hope Dan will attend, it covers school years 0 – 13 has a mix of Nigeria and ex-pat staff and pupils.  It is a little uncertain at the moment about Ali’s job there, they are saying there isn’t a position open but that could all change at any moment!  Although teaching there is what Ali wants to do, having a break when we first arrive is no bad thing!

We do have a wee DVD clip from the school though 🙂

26 Jan

Off to Nigeria Part 2 – Why Nigeria?

Of all the countries in the world, why Nigeria?

I visited Nigeria back in Feb last year no thoughts about moving in mind.  I was there with my line manager Kent to visit a couple of projects, shoot a video and attend some meetings.  Also to explore if Wycliffe UK could have a bigger impact on the work out there.

The more time I spent there, with the projects and the staff, the more I got a sense of wanting to work with them.  There is an amazing bunch of people in Nigeria.  Just to give you an example, i think it is important to have the right people with the right skills in the right jobs.  So when i discovered Ian who is the director, an English man with a young family and he a loves cricket, I was already drawn!  To find he has an MA in charity leadership and isn’t just a linguist having his turn in charge, was also encouraging to me.

I am a geek, it is official!  I enjoy statistics and those of Nigeria had an impact on me and certainly contributed to exploring if it was a place God was leading us to go.

150 million people (1 in 5 Africans)
500 languages (out of around 7000 world-wide)
24 bibles
about 100 projects on the go and still 300 that need starting.

Now I am no linguist by any means, i have 2 languages at best, good English and bad English, but there are  so many non-linguistics based jobs that need doing in order to facilitate Bible Translation.  I enjoy numbers and accounting, I enjoy strategy development and thrashing out ideas.  Whilst I was talking to Ian I discovered in his Nigeria group strategy they plan to NOT start any more projects himself, but focus resources, time and energy into supporting the 4 other organisations that are involved in Bible Translation in Nigeria.   Now to me, that was simply brilliant thinking for the 21st century.

Look out for the next post all about what we’ll be gettign up to.

A huge need, a great team, an opportunity for us to have an impact in part of the world that needs it.

Obviously we are all going, so I thought I’d take a moment and ask Dan a few questions about what he thinks.

25 Jan

Off to Nigeria Part 1 – Why Wycliffe?

Why Wycliffe?

We are heading to Nigeria with Wycliffe, but why Wycliffe and not one of the other organisations?

In short – The bible.   We know in our lives just how just important the Bible is.  At different times it is a source of invaluable wisdom, comfort and inspiration.  It is also the best way we know to get to know God better.  I find that the inspiration often comes when we least expect it, but also when we most need it!  The Bible is a lifeline.

In a world of nearly 7 billion people and around 7000 languages we find it a travesty that not everyone has access to scripture.  How are they supposed to find that wisdom, comfort and inspiration.   How are they supposed to get to know God better and live a life that is honouring to him?

We have literally a hundred versions of the Bible in English but there are only 430 completed in other languages.  There are still 2500 translation projects that need starting all over the world.  The work Wycliffe is currently involved in, will impact around 2.5 Billion people.

Wycliffe’s Vision is to see a world where every single person has access to a Bible in the language that best speaks to their heart, sometimes that is called ‘mother tongue’  the most natural language that we understand best.  Why?  well because untill people have it in that language, they simply will not get the full meaning of God’s message of love for them.

Did you know that you probably only know about 80%  all the words in english?  Some people ask why we just don’t teach everyone English, after all everyone use it on the internet these days.  Well, there are 2 problems with that.

1 – it is not the most used language on the web, chinese is.
2 – if we taught them, they would only get to about 40 – 50% of all the english, so much would be missed!

Maybe you haven’t considered the impact of not understanding every word of your Bible.   Take John 3:16 for example:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him, shall never die but have eternal life”

27 words in that version.   So on the basis that you only understood 80% the words there,  you wouldn’t have understanding of the 5 most difficult words in that verse.  What are the 5 hardest words to understand? (you can comment below if you don’t agree with those ones)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him, shall never die but have eternal life”

If you remove them from the verse, what would you end up with?

“For God so the, that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever in him, shall never die but have life”

You might be able to get the gist, but you would certainly miss the full true meaning behind the verse.  You really need to read it in the language you understand best.

Despite Wycliffe Bible Translators being established in 1942, in the past 10 years there has been a big shift in approach to the global task.  This was prompted by a challenge presented to our organisation at our tri-annual international conference.   It was called “vision 2025”, – to see a Bible translation program begun in every language that needs one by the year 2025.  Here is a short video about that.

Wanting to respond to that challenge, we’re heading to Nigeria!

23 Jan

John Bendor-Samuel Thanksgiving Service

Wow.

Wow.

WOW!!

What a privilege –  a ridiculously large number of man hours from SO many servant hearted people.

With over 500 people in attendance, and well over 700 people watching online around the world in 12 countries and still hearing news of more people.  A truly unique opportunity to be involved in something very very special.

The family was simply AMAZING, the tributes and address – simply AMAZING, the singing with gusto, the laughter amongst the tears.  I realised that I really didn’t only know 1 tiny weeny smallest part of an incredible man.

One thing hit me between the eyes.  John 2nd son “I have no recollection of ever hearing my Dad criticise anybody”   Now that is something I better start doing if I want to be anything like the man John was.

19 Jan

t-minus 2 days

John Bendor-SamuelI have had the immense pleasure of getting involved in helping to provide an appropriate facility for a thanksgiving service for JBS this coming Friday.  There is no easy way to pull it together; there is often not a lot of forethought to base decisions on.  As a family owned event that we are hosting on site all sorts of decisions need discussion with various people, and some of those decisions need treating with sensitivity given the circumstances.

JBS was a truly remarkable man, and my concern, is that event is help to honour his life, and I really want it to be a event that is ‘done well’, an event that people will look back on fondly, an event that people will talk about for a while to come.   Yes I am only getting in a  marquee, setting up some lights and some speakers, 3 projectors and screens, helping sort a video and audio stream to the world, and then packing it all up again.  10 days of planning, for a 2 hour event may seem disproportionate to some, but in order for those 2 hours to go off without a hitch, given the complexity of what we are trying to do – planning is key!    Some decisions I am making sat in my office, or stood in a marquee could impact how people talk about this event – the difference between,

“what those people said was so wonderful”

And,

“I wish I could have heard them better”

is huge. I have learnt a whole lot about induction loops for the hard of hearing today and thankfully can install one!

07 Jan

Hero of Faith – Dr John Bendor-Samuel: With the Lord

JBS as he was known by most of us was an incredible man.  In some was that is enough said, what can you say? at the same time, there is SOO much to say.

Not only did he have influence of my family, but my wife’s too.  It was not only my experience, that he know EXACTLY who you were, and what you were up to.  Enough to freak you out,  YET his genteel nature and genuine interest in you quickly put those feelings to rest!

John was struck by a car on his way home from the office yesterday evening and died shortly after arrival at Wycombe General Hospital.   He was crossing that same bit of road as he did everyday getting home for supper and the news at 1900.  There is a brief report in the local newspaper.   Maybe the local council will FINALLY turn the street lights back on again 🙁

John basically founded Wycliffe UK, pioneered our work in Africa, specficially Ghana and Nigeria – places close to our hearts.  My conversation with him, he was heading up the corridor to get a cup of tea, and he stuck his head into my office to ask how our plans and preparations were going for heading out to Nigeria.  He said he was praying for us and hoped it would be hassle free preparations.    As if he didn’t have enough other things to do with his time!

A lovely bio of him can be found here on the Wycliffe UK blog

and also an extensive history here on a church website – http://stjohnandstephen.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/John-Bendor-Samuel-27-June-2010.pdf

He is a tragic loss to his family, Wycliffe and the wider mission world.  He did not have to take a big step when he passed to glory.  I can’t remember the exact wording from our meeting together this morning but it went something like this, you’ll get the idea!

apparently one colleague talked to Eddie (our Executive Director) this morning, saying “isn’t it great that John is now revelling in glory”
Eddie responded “as long as i have ever known John, he has been revelling in Glory – the step to heaven was a not big one for him!”

05 Jan

Kidnapping update

Following my post yesterday, I have had this update from our director in Nigeria:

Mr Stephen the kidnapped translator of the Tarok project and this situation do not have any direct link to Nigeria Group and our work. The project is an NBTT* affiliated project. It is very unlikely that the kidnapping has any intentional link with Bible translation as the translator was primarily working as a civil servant with the government and had links to the banking sector. Any specific details in the blog article are vague and unconfirmed as far as we are concerned. As someone involved in the Bible Translation movement, however, we would of course encourage folks to pray for his safe release.

Please do continue to pray for his release!

*NBTT is the Nigerian Bible Translation Trust, one of the other organisations doing Bible translation in Nigeria that we partner with.

04 Jan

Translator Kidnapped in Nigeria

Translator Kidnapped in Nigeria

January 3, 2011 by wycliffeprayer

“For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him” (Psalm 34:7, NLT).

The translator/coordinator of the Tarok translation project in Nigeria was kidnapped in Jos on December 16. Please pray for the safe release of Stephen. Pray too, for his family, and for the Tarok translation team. As a result of this incident, the team was forced to cancel a translation checking session scheduled for this month. The Tarok translation is a project of The Seed Company.

  • Pray for Stephen, and ask God to minister to him during his captivity. Pray for his immediate release.
  • Continue to pray for peace to be fully restored in Jos after the recent unrest over Christmas.

Tarok is 190km southeast of jos.

01 Jan

Happy New Year!

Well it seems right in the blogosphere to write something satirical about 2010 and about my hopes for 2011.  If you want to know about 2010, you can read the archives on the blog!

New Years resolutions seem to be dominating twitter and other social media, I am sure most pubs have a bunch of people talking about what they are going to do in 2011.  So many good ideas and worthy causes, but frankly how long will any of them last?  Eat better?  Do more exercise?  Read more books?  Spend more time with the family?  HOW LONG WILL THEY LAST?  I think my only resolution in 2011, is to try and be more like Jesus.   How I achieve that, probably need to read my Bible more and pray more (I should also eat 5 fruit or veg, but not sure the impact that will have on my faith!)

2011 is going to be a big year for us we hope.  🙂  with plans to head out to Nigeria later in the year, there are plenty of challenges ahead for us, but we rejoice in the God that we serve and his all sufficiency and perfect timing.

What are your hopes for 2011?

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