27 Apr

Scripture Listening and Reading Groups

This is a collection of stories that was shared with our group back in November. I re-read and got re-excited about the things that are gong on!

In Nigeria, our vision is “Seeing Nigerian communities have access to Scriptures in their own languages and be using them to transform their communities.” Through Scripture Listening and Reading Groups (SLRGs), this is exactly what we are seeing God do in the various language communities of Nigeria. The structure of the SLRG is simply listening to Scripture in the Mother Tongue, followed by discussion, and marked by prayer at the beginning and end. We teach people how to facilitate their groups through five discussion questions:

1. Can someone retell in their own words what they understood from the Scriptures we have just listened to?
2. What struck you particularly from what you heard? (e.g. something you liked, or were surprised by.)
3. What did you learn about God or Jesus from what we heard?
4. What is God saying to the people in what we heard?
5. What do you think God is saying to us today in what we heard? What should we do in response?

Training has taken place in five language communities with about 170 people trained to lead discussion groups. Six people have been trained as trainers. Here are some of the impacts we have seen from this initiative:

SLRG11. Literacy: In Mwaghavul, the participants follow along in their Mwaghavul Bibles as they listen to the recording. One man was literate only in Hausa and English, but he learned to read in Mwaghavul through the SLRG training. Now when he attends any gathering in church, he is the one people call on to read the Scriptures in Mwaghavul because not many have that skill yet.

2. Answered Prayers & Increased Faith: One elder, Isaac, meets regularly with the youth in a Mwaghavul community, facilitating a Scripture Listening and Reading Group. The youth were so excited about what they were learning that one of them prayed, “God, may you protect this man, make him to live long so he can continue to teach us your Word in our language.” A short time later, the man was in a collision with a truck carrying firewood. Surprisingly, it was the truck that got damaged instead of the small car Isaac was driving. The elder testifies to God’s protection in answer to prayer and is passionate about continuing his ministry with the youth.

3. Real Understanding of Scripture: One woman in a listening group realized what the word of God really says. She explains, “I am seeing for the first time that before, we were not actually following God, we were only following men of God to understand. Because of our mother tongue audio scripture, now I’m hearing from God myself.”

4. Evangelism: In one of the SLRGs, a woman in the group believed the facilitator when he affirmed, “If you have problems in your homes, God will use you to solve these problems.” She started praying that God would bring back her husband, who had left her many years before. Two months later, he came back. As he knelt and asked her to forgive him, she forgave him and led him to Christ.

SLRG25. Increased Interest in Mother-Tongue Scripture Products: During the SLRG training in Kuteb land the participants got very excited. Seeing the power of using Scripture recordings in this way they asked, “When are we going to get these on SD cards, CDs, and mobile phones? We want to invite our people from all over to a launching of our Audio Scriptures so that everyone can have this!”

6. Increased Demand for Translation: A man from the Obanliku language group attended a Church Leaders Scripture Summit. There is currently no published Scripture in his language. After listening to a presentation by the Scripture Engagement team on SLRGs, he asked with excitement, “How can we get the Scriptures in our own language?” SLRGs are sparking excitement among language groups where work is still needed!

27 May

Aramaic? Hebrew? What language DID Jesus speak?

I read an interesting article on the BBC today about which language Jesus spoke.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27587230

Follow me for a minute (remembering I am neither a Biblical scholar nor a linguist!)…..

The evidence suggests he spoke Aramaic or Hebrew and probably understood some Greek.  I live and work in a place where people regularly use 2, 3 or even 4 different languages.  It seems perfectly normal here to do so, yet each person seems to have 1 language that they understand best.  We refer to this language as their mother tongue or heart language.  

The New Testament was written in Ancient Greek so no matter what conclusion is drawn on the language Jesus spoke, it seems that Jesus words were translated when the Bible was first written down.  God seems very pro translation to me!   

I think God's desire to reach out to humanity is demonstrated in Revelation 7:9 "After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands"

Every language represented – it doesn't matter how big or how small that language group is and we have both here in Nigeria, they will be represented!  Brilliant.  

 

19 Feb

Life in Nigeria

crossLife in Nigeria is complex.  We struggle to decide how much trouble is enough trouble that we should leave vs the need for the Gospel to prevail and vitality of ministry out here.  How ever sometimes things happen that get attention and so our office have released this statement that we feel might be helpful to you.

Many of you will be aware of the kidnapping that took place over this past weekend (16-17 February 2013) in northern Bauchi State, Nigeria.  Seven foreign construction workers were taken from their company’s camp and a security guard was killed.  The nationalities of those taken are still to be confirmed, but apparently includes at least one Italian, one Greek, two Lebanese, and possibly some British.

 This situation is the latest in a series of incidents that have been taking place in northern Nigeria.  Kidnappings of expatriates are on the rise in the north of the country as a strategy of terrorists and militant groups.  The most serious events have been in the far north of the country—quite a long way from Jos, where most of our staff live.  In light of our assessment of the situation, the Nigeria Group Director Team has put in place a travel restriction to places north of Jos for our expatriate staff.  We continue to monitor trends and events across the country and will make adjustments as the situation changes.

 We appreciate your prayers for us all as we seek to honor God and advance Bible translation in Nigeria.  Please do contact us if you have questions or concerns.

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!

14 Sep

Wycliffe is maybe not 50 after all!

So whilst i have been under the knife, or at least napping as a result of surgery, some more info has come to light about our wee history. 

Since publishing the press release on 1 September, further information has come to light that indicates that 1 September 1960 may not in fact be our official UK birthday! 

Wycliffe International logoWycliffe Bible Translators UK is just one of a family of organisations working worldwide in Bible translation.  Wycliffe first started in the USA, and since then the vision, scope and involvement in the Bible Translation task has spread now to more than 45 Member Organisations and more than 60 Partner Organisations throughout the world.  This family is called Wycliffe International, serving alongside many other like-minded organisations, institutions and individuals, and is currently involved in active programs for 1,363 languages/936 million people*. 

Read the ACTUAL info at the Wycliffe UK blog

10 Aug

WYnet Camp 09

I have spent this week at WYnet’s annual summer camp, it is actually thier 14th Annual summer camp.  It could also be my last, having been to 13 out of those 14, I have been to more WYnet UK events than any other person in the world.  Which is kind of cool an odd at the same time.  This week i have been catering for the campers, but also

I am currently sat at the WYnet laptop in the main meeting hall, the same hall we have met for the last 6 years and I am in awe of all the things God has done in here with our group over those years.   As I have sat at the back during the week I have had a HUGE grin on my face for so much of the time.

Had to write the rest of this form home …

I have been constantly amazed and priveledged this week, to have been involved in such an amazing ministry for so long.  Seeing Andy King sing his heart out like never before, it was awesome to see him sing wtih freedom, and passion and hti soem great notes and twiddles, it ROCKED!   It was aweseom seeing Ian Gray 10 minutes itno his talk, make everyone stand and pray for each other for what ever needed healing.   It was UNBELEIVEABLE to see Ruth Buie deliver her first WYnet talk, something I admit I never thought I would see.  She was awesome, an even later on, when she off her own back, without the need for promting went off to pray with on of the girls.  BRILLIANT.

It has also been very emotional, as the group prayered for me on Wednesday after handing over teo steve, catching glipses of people sharing thiers desires for Me before God.  Humbling, and teenagers pray that you will “have no hesitation in doing what God wants you to, with all the passion he has given to you”, now that was a prayer!

I have laughed a LOT.  as people have shared stories about past events, and things that i have done to people, or even times when i have got stroppy about something unbeleivebly insignificant.

I have also cried a lot.  During rehursals when andy king did THAT SONG and let rip for the first time, it totally reduced me to tears.  I sy God at work in Andy, I saw that God had used me and my ministry to help people take the next step.  I felt pride for the team of peopel that I have passed on to Steve.  Hearing that one of the now leaders first felt that she heard the voice of God at a WYnet meeting whilst singing a song I had written.  That was 6 years ago, and i never knew that.  Humbling.   I guess i have been humbled quite a few times during this week!

I have been very blessed to have been involved in such an amazing ministry.

Andy was kind enough to let me play drums for the worship set on the last evening, to be honest, quite an emotional evening for me.  We had done the offical hand on wednesday night, we had done an un-offical had over back in march when i moved out the office!  But Friday just as we were stodd praying about to begin the session, I was totally overwhelmed about this being the last night of what could possibliy be my last camp.  We got cracking had an AWESOME evening, good music, great worship, great spontanious monemts, great moments of pouring out out hearts to God, and even great jumping for dancing generation our last song.   There has always been something special about worship during WYnet events, and that night was no exception.   When we were wdone, I gave Andy a big hung, and started to sink into my “this is the end” lull.  I coiled cables moved speakers, eventually i headed over to the dining hall and got a cup of and just pondered for a while how awesome God is and simply how much I am going to miss all those amazing times with the WYnet peeps.

I am goingg to totally miss those amazing amazing leaders that have grown soo much, and changed soo much, and honestly and openly shared thier lives with people, and stepped up to the plate every time they have needed to.  They are unique people and will always be very special to me.

As for the rest of the WYnetters, I will always be eager to hear about how God has used the to impact the lives of others.  I am excited to see what God will do in thier lives.  And just to clarify to the campers, I will NOT, EVER EVER ride the pony 😉

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