The words of God have power and use. It exceeds the work of a very sharp twosided knife which can cut deep into the body of animals and split even joints and bones. In the same way words of God enter very deep into our minds to show reveal our wants and our ways.
November – December 2013
Hebrews 4:12 in Seimat, Papua New Guinea
‘now in our own language!’ ‘Kakai Haeu i tahiawen! Se ape ti puki kakaiakako wanen!’ read a banner at the launch of the New Testament in Seimat in Papua New Guinea earlier this year: ‘God’s word has arrived! It’s now in our own language!’ ■ Fri 1 Nov Translator Theresa Wilson (UK) says: ‘Praise God for his grace and for providing everything and everyone in the team that led to the completion, publication and launch of the Seimat New Testament. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work deeply in the hearts and minds of the Seimat people, revealing to them the love of God the Father, Son and Spirit.’ ■ Sat 2 Ask God to speak to the Seimat church leaders afresh as they read his word and preach each week. Pray that God will teach them more of what it means to be shepherds of his flock. Some people are also writing new songs based on the Seimat Scriptures to use for praise in church.
Storytelling in Seimat (5 November)
■ Sun 3 Pray for the newly elected Seimat community leaders in the islands and the provincial town of Lorengau (370km east, across the sea), for wisdom to discern what is best for the people, courage to speak the truth, discipline, inspiration and diligence. ■ Mon 4 Wycliffe in the UK has moved! Please pray for us during our first day in the new offices. Ask God to bring strength and joy to the many exhausted workers, especially the IT team, who have been involved in making the move happen. Pray that the whole office will be united in praising God for new offices and new opportunities. 1
■ Tue 5 During the translation project, Theresa and her colleague Beata Wozna worked with school teachers to write the first story books and literacy materials in Seimat. Pray for all Seimat school teachers, administrators and pupils, that attendance will improve, school libraries can be developed and solar lighting will be provided to help teachers prepare better and pupils to study more. ■ Wed 6 Pray for Theresa Wilson, who is working with a team of fellow literacy consultants to complete a new teachers’ manual and resources to help school students bridge the gap between their own
language and English (one of Papua New Guinea’s official languages). ■ Thu 7 Pray for Beata as she works to complete her training to become a translation consultant for SIL Papua New Guinea (a key Wycliffe partner). This will allow her to be able to help many more teams to
translate the Bible into their own languages. ■ Fri 8 Pray for the team of Seimat people working to correct the draft of the Seimat-English dictionary to complete the work so the team can move forward towards typesetting and printing the first edition in 2015.
Read more about the launch of the Seimat New Testament in the latest Words for Life magazine (go to wycliffe.org.uk/wordsforlife or contact us for a copy).
■ Sat 9 Today is Frontline Prayer, our prayer day for Bible translation and for those still waiting for God’s word. Ask God to gather passionate pray-ers to be at the events happening across the country. God, graciously and generously hear our prayers! If you can’t join us at an event, please still take time to lift the need and challenges of Bible translation before the Lord. wycliffe.org.uk/frontlineprayer
leading development There are hundreds of organisations working to help change lives in the poorest communities around the world, but many struggle to understand how the language, culture and history of the community impacts their work. That’s where LEAD Asia (Language, Education and Development), a part of Wycliffe’s partner SIL, comes in... lead-impact.org
■ Tue 12 At the same event, they will also be talking about what role the network itself plays in their work, what they want to see come from it and how it can develop in the future. Pray for honest, positive discussions with helpful outcomes for the LEAD team.
■ Sun 10 One key thing LEAD does is to connect organisations involved in language, education and development in Asia to form a network where information and experiences can be shared and issues discussed. Pray that these connections would prove useful to these organisations in their practical service of the most marginalised people.
■ Wed 13 Another way LEAD supports the network is by helping the organisations develop clear and inspiring project proposals. Ask God to use these proposals to appropriately meet the needs of marginalised communities.
■ Mon 11 Right now, a group of organisations is meeting as part of LEAD’s series of regular events. The event is focused on how these organisations can work better together. Pray that participants and facilitators would be encouraged, and that the positive discussions would lead to effective practice on the ground.
■ Thu 14 LEAD also helps organisations with the more technical parts of their aims. They advise on adult literacy programmes, the development of school curricula, writing systems and new ways of working (to name a few). Pray for the staff as they work with a diverse group of teams. 2
■ Fri 15 LEAD is already working with a lot of other organisations – many not connected with Bible translation or mission – to facilitate education and development work across Asia. It would be great, though, if they could build on this foundation to develop more strong and mutually-beneficial partnerships. Ask God to give them favour in the sight of partners.
■ Sat 16 In the latest Words for Life, Matt Wisbey spoke more about LEAD and the importance of focusing on the wider challenges facing minority people groups. Pray for Matt and his wife Liz, for abundant health, financial provision and for clear guidance. Praise God for filling them with a spirit of compassion and excitement for this work.
what’s happening with the Weera In the latest Words for Life magazine, Weera translation leader Michael talked through a tricky translation decision the team made recently. Please pray for the Weera translation team, who face a difficult working environment as well as the spiritual warfare that’s part of translation work. ■ Sun 17 Pray for Michael and his co-translator Mahdi. At the moment they are doing a ‘technical check’ of Luke; this involves a thorough search of all the details of the translation, checking every spelling, every case ending, every piece of punctuation and making sure it still remains clear and natural-sounding. Pray that Luke would soon be finished. ■ Mon 18 Alongside the translation Michael is also a busy administrator, so Mahdi has been getting on with starting the translation of Mark by himself. Ask God for encouragement in both these roles, administration and translation. ■ Tue 19 Michael’s wife, Alice, has been preparing booklets in the Weera language to be printed soon. Some include Bible stories – ‘In the
beginning’ and ‘Hannah: the woman who prayed’ were finished this summer – and others include local stories, proverbs and riddles. These are some of the first books ever written in the Weera language: pray they will get people excited about reading their language. ■ Wed 20 Pray for the literacy classes that are already running. The team would love to start more classes in local schools and in other villages. Ask God to provide opportunities and volunteers for more classes. ■ Thu 21 Mahdi’s uncle, who is sick, recently asked Mahdi to travel a long way to take him to three shamans for healing. It left Mahdi in an awkward position, but he chose to honour God’s commands over those of the society and family. Pray that team members will know how best to respond 3
to family members and others in the community when challenged about their faith. ■ Fri 22 Thank God for the rain this year – it makes a huge difference to the many farmers among the Weera community. However, increased farming doesn’t help the translation work, as far fewer people are available for literacy classes or discussing the translation. ■ Sat 23 Some people who speak the Weera language don’t want to be involved in the translation or language work because of their fear of the dominant religion. When the check of Luke is finished, Michael and Mahdi need to review it with people in the community, which will make the translation work more public, possibly putting the team in a more dangerous position. Weera and Mahdi are pseudonyms used for security reasons.
Nigeria: on the frontline One of the focuses of Frontline Prayer (see 9 November) was the Bible translation work in Nigeria – the greatest remaining need for Bible translation in Africa. ■ Sun 24 Nearly a quarter of people in Nigeria are unable to read. Many will never learn either because of age, cultural preference for the spoken word or because they are unable to afford lessons. How will they ever have the Bible? A team of six Nigerians is getting translated Bible portions shared in audio and video formats. Pray for funding for this team and for a wholehearted reception of their work.
Workers from a cluster translation team (26 Nov)
■ Mon 25 The number of mobile phones in Nigeria has soared in recent years. There are enough mobiles in the country for half of the population to have one. Praise God for the creative ways that the Bible can be shared with the large number of mobile phone users in audio, video and text. ■ Tue 26 Some translation projects in Nigeria are being run in clusters of languages that are similar or spoken close to each other. There are many more areas where cluster projects haven’t started yet but which could benefit from the sharing of resources and quicker progress that cluster projects lead to. Pray for wisdom as leaders think about the best way forward.
■ Wed 27 Please pray for several Nigerian workers who are becoming church-supported. While ‘faith mission’ is a common concept in the UK and the West, it is very counter-cultural for many Nigerian workers and churches. Pray for partnerships with enthusiastic churches. Pray for the workers, that they would be able to balance their regular jobs with this new challenge. ■ Thu 28 The Bible Translation department at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria is currently training more than 30 people to be involved in Bible translation. There are significant staff shortages: pray that God would provide teachers generously from the church worldwide. ■ Fri 29 The security situation in Nigeria is not good, and doesn’t look to be improving. Many Christians live at enormous risk from terrorist groups like Boko Haram, especially in the north. Plead with God that he will act miraculously for his people there. Ask him to use the government to discern justice and act strongly where necessary. ■ Sat 30 The security situation leaves many of the expatriate staff in Nigeria struggling with decisions about staying or going. Pray that God would make his will clear to all the staff, including the Nigerian workers who face increased risks because of their work. Pray for a feeling of peace for the team.
Training (28 November)
december since you prayed… ■ Sun 1 Dec You prayed: Translation work was ongoing in several languages in the Yaru project in South East Asia. A terrific answer to prayer: work on translation in the trade language is underway. The translation advisor started working on Luke with a mothertongue speaker in July. The team desperately needs prayer support to keep this work going.
but there are attempts by some in the community to discourage the team members from doing their work. The local review of the New Testament is slower than anticipated. Please pray for God’s guidance on how the team can complete the review by July next year.
■ Mon 2 (cont) Work on getting the Scriptures used is going well too. The team have been revising Bible games – about summaries of Bible books and the Bible story timeline – and producing devotional material relevant to spiritual struggles the people there face.
■ Wed 4 You prayed: This summer, the Church Engagement team travelled to France with a group of people interested in finding out more about Wycliffe work for the debut Two Week Stint event. Stewart Johnson, who led the trip, said: ‘We were pleased with how the event unfolded and those who came learnt a lot about God and mission. Many have expressed an interest in getting more involved with Wycliffe. Please pray for those who attended.’
■ Tue 3 You prayed: In Kenya, the Maor project was in the middle of violent ethnic struggles. The ethnic clashes have ceased and the team has returned home,
■ Thu 5 You prayed: The Bandial translation team in Senegal was rejoicing in the progress of translation. Praise God: the Scripture
Publishing department has, after an initial negative answer in May, found the finances for the New Testament typesetting and printing planned for 2014! ■ Fri 6 (cont) The work still needs a bit of a push: the back translation of the remaining books is taking more time than planned. But in spite of the scarcity of available consultants, they hope to check 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John and, the most difficult, 1 and 2 Corinthians in early 2014, so that typesetting can happen by May. ■ Sat 7 You prayed: Several teams in Zambia were working towards translating Luke into their languages. Encouraging responses from the communities: Shanjo people are recognising that their language has dignity; the Fwe community keep telling the translators not to give up; one Mashi woman said, ‘It will be wonderful to have the Bible.’ The translator who was walking for 9 hours to reach workshops now has a bike, reducing his ‘commuting’ time considerably. Yaru and Maor are pseudonyms used for security reasons.
At the Two Week Stint (4 December)
enemies on all sides ■ Sun 8 On Palm Sunday, a coup d’état took place in the Central African Republic (CAR). Wycliffe staff who are not citizens have had to leave the country, local staff have been put under great pressure and the population is suffering. The new government is Muslim. Already many Christians are facing persecution. ■ Mon 9 Aid agencies like UNICEF, World Food Programme and Médecins Sans Frontières are working in the country but the day-to-day situation has gone from bad to worse: • More than 200,000 people are displaced • Over 60,000 have fled the country • Health care is in tatters with children especially vulnerable to malnutrition and malaria
■ Wed 11 The Ngbugu translation team has suffered huge health problems over the years: two team members have died, another is paralysed, and now the team leader, Simon Bangonale, has been ill for months with no health care available. ■ Thu 12 A new version of the complete Bible was launched in June in the Sango language, the official language of the CAR. But shortly before the launch the storehouses were looted and many Bibles lost. Later a number of stolen copies turned up for sale at the market. Pray for Bible Societies as they raise money to replace equipment lost in the looting and do another print run of the Bibles.
Aid is hampered by lawlessness. Food supplies are precarious. Many people cannot access their fields due to the risk of violence. Pray for the work of aid organisations in CAR. ■ Tue 10 Elvis Guenekean from the Wycliffe organisation in CAR, ACATBA, says, ‘The big need is for translation consultants to deal with the backlog of translated drafts, linguistics consultants to help translation teams with technical linguistics issues, and finance for three translations which were scheduled to be completed in 2015 and for eight others where work is under way.’
■ Fri 13 In the last few years Luke has been translated and used to dub The JESUS Film in eight CAR languages. Many people came to faith in Jesus at the showings in the Gbaya area. Specialist Neil Zubot has been able to load the film and the audio New Testament onto people’s phone memory cards. Neil was one of those who had to leave CAR but God’s word remains and can be heard thanks to modern technology.
■ Sat 14 Aaron and Joanna Choate and their children returned to the Solomon Islands after more than a year in the US, as Aaron finished his MA. Pray for the family and their adjustments to working with the Lavukaleve translation team again. The team is forging ahead, after several years when translation lay dormant before the Choates first arrived.
work on the islands
■ Sun 15 Joanna, as well as having a full-time job homeschooling their children, also helps women in some of the local villages to record and produce Bible stories in their language. Pray for the impact of these stories, that there will be gathering enthusiasm among the translators, the translation committee and the community to hear God’s word soon. ■ Mon 16 Another couple recently back are Paul and Cathy Unger, who have been working with the Lengo people since 2001. Pray for continued vigour for the translation team as they work on parts of the Old and New Testaments, and for all the adjustments Paul, Cathy and their
children are going through as they adjust back. ■ Tue 17 Praise the Lord: the literacy classes in the Santa Ana language have been started independently of the Wycliffe workers this year, as the community took up the project. Continue to pray for Karen and Caroline, who have been coordinating this literacy work, especially as they continue to travel back to assess the classes and train teachers. ■ Wed 18 Literacy teachers from more than one language group have been learning a Bible-based literacy programme and some teachers have started using the ‘Know your Bible’ studies with more advanced
reading students. But all these classes have faced intense spiritual opposition. Pray for a breakthrough, and that further classes would be able to go ahead. ■ Thu 19 Both the Malango and the Dughore translation awareness courses* started disappointingly, with few students. But God answered prayers and on subsequent days more participants arrived and there was a lot of interest about forming translation committees. Both projects have now formed committees and taken the first steps in their translation. *A translation awareness course is the first step among people in the community towards building a translation team and committee.
growing light for Burkinabé paths ■ Fri 20 Since the early 1990s, churches in Burkina Faso have been rapidly expanding – amazing in this Muslim stronghold. Unfortunately, churches have struggled to keep up with the growth, and often churches have problems serving the congregations, because training and resources aren’t available to leaders. In some cases, it’s led people to turn back to their previous beliefs. Pray for provision for the Burkinabé church.
A Bissa Barka woman
■ Sun 22 The team working on the Bissa Barka New Testament in Burkina Faso is still in the early stages of getting the Bible translated. They’ve been developing a writing system for the language for the first time – it’s difficult deciding how to spell words that have never been spelt before – and the translators have been receiving training. They’ve just started Mark, their first book, and have drafted up to chapter 16. Pray for their progress.
■ Sat 21 Burkina Faso is very poor. 47% of people there live below the poverty line. Pray for believers in poverty, that they will face their situations with biblical hope. Pray that the churches would be able to serve those most in need. 7
■ Mon 23 One church leader the Barka team visited said, ‘This translation will allow the Bissa brothers to have a biblical knowledge and a deep knowledge of the personality of God. All my encouragement!’ Pray for other leaders the team meets and that God would bring this to fruit in this New Testament translation.
also give them more equal access to education, medical help and jobs. Pray for the appointment of the literacy worker. ■ Wed 25 Christmas Day Many people will be celebrating Christmas with the Christmas story in their language for the first time today! A Nyiha speaker (Tanzania) explained what a difference it makes: ‘I realised that the Bible is about things that happened here on earth. When I read about Bethlehem in Swahili it sounds like it’s in heaven. When I read in Nyiha, it’s not just stories.’
■ Tue 24 Next year the team wants to start literacy work among the community. It will help Bissa Barka speakers to read the translated bits of the Bible as they become available, but will
a year in the life A lot can change in a year. Celebrate these new things from 2013.
second language. Pray that this translation would reach people in Chad who have never heard before. Forty thousand New Testaments have been printed, in both Roman and Arabic script.
than two-thirds of the world’s population. Pray that their work would continue to share the word. faithcomesbyhearing.com
■ Mon 30 In June, two New Testaments were launched ■ Thu 26 Ian and Sarah ■ Sat 28 Wycliffe has been simultaneously in Mexico. The Hodgson are among the newest working on ideas to get more San Jeronimo Mazatec and Wycliffe workers. Praise God people in the UK praying. One the Eloxochitlan Mazatec for the passion he has planted new step is the weekly Standing communities had celebrations in their in their hearts for the Bibleless in the Gap prayer blog, which villages, at the same time as a larger, people around the world. They allows us to share urgent and up- secular festival for Mazatec languages. are currently doing courses at to-the-minute prayer requests Pray for the communities and the Wycliffe’s training programme online and by email. Pray for Jo churches, that the passion for the at Redcliffe College. Please Johnson, who coordinates it, New Testament will stay alive. pray for provision for them and and ask God to raise up more ■ Tue 31 As a New Year starts, their children as they study and pray-ers through this resource. more people have access to the explore where they can serve in wycliffe.org.uk/standinginthegap Bible than ever before. There are the future. ■ Sun 29 Wycliffe partner Faith more people reading God’s word, ■ Fri 27 The Prime Minister of Comes By Hearing reached a more people listening, more people Chad was one of the celebrators milestone: in March, they passed watching Scripture films in their own at the launch of the Chadian the 700th New Testament language than ever in the history of Arabic New Testament this year. produced in audio format. They the world. And yet more than 200 Many people in Chad speak now have New Testaments million people will remain without any Chadian Arabic as their first or available in the languages of more verse of God’s life-changing word. You can also sign up to receive Call to Prayer as a daily email: wycliffe.org.uk/subscriptions Wycliffe Bible Translators, The Clare Charity Centre, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, High Wycombe, Bucks HP14 4BF 0300 303 1111 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.wycliffe.org.uk A company limited by guarantee, No 819788. VAT number 195 7023 46. Charity registered in England and Wales No 251233. Charity registered in Scotland No SC 039140.