Throughout Scripture, remembrance stones are used as visual representations for the generations to come that God had done something amazing and miraculous for his people. Although we may not use physical stones to remind ourselves and future generations of God’s faithfulness, we do look back over the last 80 years of work in Bible translation and see God’s fingerprints everywhere.
God hasn’t just shown up in the past though; he’s showing up today in very real and tangible ways. I believe that we’re in a season of laying new remembrance stones. We can only stand back in awe and gratitude of what he’s done, proclaiming his goodness today and for the generations to come!
God is doing amazing things around the world through Bible translation, and you are a part of this work. As you give, pray and partner with us in seeing God’s name made known among the nations, you too are laying down remembrance stones — both for yourself and for your family, friends and communities around the world too.
In Psalm 105:1-3 we read, “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord” (NLT).
The following stories and updates do just that — they sing God’s praises, proclaiming his greatness and his wonderful deeds. I hope that as you look back over this last year, you will join us in celebrating all that God has done and expectantly anticipating all that he will do in the future.
Until all the nations worship,
Dr. John Chesnut
Wycliffe Bible Translators, USA
Brian and Diana Roberts and their three boys are passionate about the Word of God and fulfilling the Great Commission — both within their own home and around the world.
Brian grew up in a Christian home, but it wasn’t until Christmas break of his freshman year of college that God drew Brian to himself and the Word came alive. Brian started studying the gospel and experienced a complete transformation in his life. He shared: “I think there are actually multiple books in my Bible that are highlighted entirely, because I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t you highlight the whole thing? It’s all so good!’”
Brian played professional baseball for 11 years and was looking for what the Lord had next. At the time, Bible translation wasn’t on Brian and Diana’s radar. As they met with their financial advisor and were considering how they’d make their lives have eternal significance, they started a donor-advised fund. Their advisor shared that their passions would change over the years, and encouraged them to find the one or two things that they’d be passionate about forever. When Brian asked the advisor what that was for him, he simply said: “Bible translation.”
Brian and Diana had never really thought about the fact that people were still waiting for the Bible in their own language. They began exploring and praying about what this could look like for them, and began to sponsor a project in a sensitive part of the world.
This past year, Brian and Diana have been part of the Bread of Life Church Challenge. They are committed to matching the donations of churches that give to Bible translation for the first time. To date, 65 churches have decided to support a Bible translation project; 24 churches have given, and their gifts have been matched, providing a total of $1.3 million toward the global task.
Engaging the local church to support the task of Bible translation is an amazing way to exponentially accelerate the work. And it is a joy for Brian and Diana to be a part of God’s global Church in this capacity!
“Why wouldn’t you highlight the whole thing? It’s all so good!”
— Brian Roberts
Bible translation advocate
In December 2021, former Wycliffe board member Bishop Claude Alexander and current board vice chair Dr. Julian Dangerfield invited 10 key African American leaders representing various denominations, churches, ministries and other like-minded missional organizations to have discussions with Wycliffe leadership about how God was moving in their communities, where they were engaging and how to find areas of overlapping interest in the work of Bible translation.
These leaders reconvened in September 2022 to sign a Covenant of Partnership in which they committed to participate in prayer, mobilize people and support the Chuka people of Kenya to complete their New Testament. As Dr. Dangerfield remarked, “This is a Genesis, not the Revelation of a relationship we look forward to seeing blossom.”
What a privilege it is to covenant together in the like-minded goal of seeing God’s name declared among the nations!
“This is a Genesis, not the Revelation of a relationship we look forward to seeing blossom.”
— Dr. Julian Dangerfield
Wycliffe Board Vice Chair
God is on the move!
All around the world, Bible translation is growing exponentially because the local church is asking for — and sometimes even starting — Scripture translations in their own languages and communities. As local churches identify which Scripture portions they need and why, they are inviting Wycliffe and our partner organizations to join them in the work. It is Wycliffe’s desire to be able to enthusiastically say “yes” to collaborating with local churches and partner organizations on reaching communities with the gospel. And so far, that’s exactly what’s happening!
Because of collaboration and local ownership, three West African countries — Togo, Benin and Gabon — will have active projects in every language still needing Scripture by 2025! This is only done by partnering together to see God’s global mission accomplished.
The unprecedented growth and accelerated impact in recent months is a direct result of visionary philanthropy, specifically to Wycliffe’s Worldwide Projects Fund. Wycliffe and partner organizations have been able to come alongside hundreds of language communities that were craving access to God’s Word — and wanted it sooner rather than later. One group of church leaders in Madagascar said that they want the Bible translated not in 25 years, but now!
In response to the global Church’s desire for Scripture, Wycliffe set a faith goal of engaging with 200 languages in 2022. After engaging 150 languages in 2021, this goal felt stretching yet achievable. But God had other plans, and nearly 500 languages were engaged this year!
Over the next two years, Wycliffe has set a goal of engaging with 655 new languages. This would result in more than 1,700 total languages engaged by Wycliffe and our partner organizations! We are in awe of what God has done over recent months and expectantly anticipate that he will continue “to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20b, NLT).
You are a part of this work. You play a role in declaring God’s name among the nations. You can rejoice and celebrate that God is doing amazing things around the world through his global Church as he calls people by name and invites them into a relationship with him. And you can mark these amazing, only-by-God milestones with a remembrance stone, reminding you of the great things God is doing around the world today.
What a joy and a privilege it is to be part of God’s global mission!
You are a part of this work. You play a role in declaring God’s name among the nations.
IMPACT: The launch of oral Bible translation projects in 40 languages used by 160,000 people that still need Scripture. This cultivates ownership by the church and community by engaging church leaders, congregations and community leaders.
The outcome of this project is a solid foundation and planning for oral Bible translation that is defined by the local church.
IMPACT: Complete oral New Testaments in 27 minority languages, serving more than 3 million speakers and providing first Scripture in 24 languages.
Kabalikat is a Tagalog word — Balikat means “shoulder,” so kabalikat is a partner, someone who shoulders a load with you. The project is called “Kabalikat” because local churches are shouldering a significant financial contribution to the work — more than 55% of it!
IMPACT: The Viti Cluster project will see a translation started for the remaining spoken languages in Fiji by 2025.
This project will focus on a Fijian Study Bible, a Fijian Bible dictionary, and the translation of both Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew to reach one-third of the Fijian population who speak the Fijian Muslim dialect.
IMPACT: The single largest Bible translation initiative ever undertaken among the Deaf! Veditz seeks to engage and mobilize Deaf churches and communities who sign 49 different languages used by more than 886,000 Deaf people in 46 different countries.
This bold strategy is possible because all 49 of these languages are influenced by American Sign Language! It will address almost 20% of the remaining sign language translation needs.
The Kunama are an ethnic group from Eritrea. The majority of people practice a traditional belief system but live in a place without any freedom of religion — whether traditional or Christianity. Many Kunama people are also displaced due to civil unrest within their country. But despite being displaced to Ethiopia, the U.S. and Canada, the Kunama translation team is passionate about translating the entire Kunama Bible.
When the team first started, none of them knew how to do Bible translation. They simply desired Scripture in Kunama and decided to do it for themselves! Seven volunteers — two in Arizona, one in Utah, two in South Dakota, one in Ohio and one in Canada — came together and started sharing their translation work on a Google Doc.
The diaspora team is still working, meeting daily on Zoom for team checking and collaboration. They’re working on the New Testament, while a team of four people are working in an Ethiopian refugee camp on the Old Testament. Once completed, the Kunama Bible will be printed and audio recorded for use in church services, Sunday school, Bible studies, discipleship and evangelization. Bible stories and Bible study materials will also be produced for use in churches, and the team desires to partner with Faith Comes By Hearing to produce the Gospel Film and record the whole Bible. They also want to partner with The Jesus Film Project to record and distribute the “Magdalena” and “Walking With Jesus” videos.
Kami Humed, a translator on the diaspora team, shared, “We truly believe that what God starts, he’s going to finish. We can’t wait to see the end result of this project.”
“Báttí Anna akéske, “awebbu ka gatiña kínaki kimende kínnema kale, Báháarala kokósíima ise, kuyáala kokósíima ééte, ádda sosone, s̃igide, lagala kokosime kaasáabu kokkorku gamme búubiye báddala mannosu.”
— Genesis 1:26 in Kunama
Gummala*, a Japu teenager in South Asia, loved to learn. But when both of his parents died, he was unable to complete his schooling because he had to take up agricultural work to earn a living.
As he got older, Gummala wanted to further his education through reading, but most of the materials available to him were in a regional language that he had never fully grasped. “If I could get books in my mother tongue, I could continue to learn,” he thought.
Then one day, Gummala met a man who offered him what he had been longing for — books in Japu! Gummala eagerly accepted the materials, ready to continue his education. He soon realized that the man had given him translated portions of the Bible as well. Gummala was so hungry for books in his language that despite his upbringing in the traditional religion of his region, he happily read them too.
Over time, the truths he was reading pierced his heart and Gummala ultimately found hope in the pages of God’s Word. Around that time, he attended a Christian conference for Japu speakers and heard a clear presentation of the gospel message. He surrendered his life to Christ and was baptized.
“God chose me for preaching the gospel of the Lord to my community,” Gummala said. “Now I can easily read and explain it in our language!”
“God chose me for preaching the gospel of the Lord to my community, Now I can easily read and explain it in our language!”
Karim* needed patience. Attending a Deaf Bible study where the leaders taught from a text version of Scripture in the region’s wider language felt incredibly time-consuming. Surely there was an easier way for them to study Scripture!
One day the leaders tried something new: They began a study of the Gospel of Mark using videos produced by Spring Team Sign Language Bible translators. At last, Karim and the other attendees were able to see God’s Word come to life in their own sign language!
This method of studying Scripture was unlike anything Karim had encountered before. The other members of the study agreed and enthusiastically requested to use similar video materials in future studies.
Karim and her fellow Bible study members aren’t the only ones to experience the joys of the Gospel of Mark in their own sign language. Recently Sasha, a Spring Team Deaf woman, shared her story with the Bible translation team.
In the past, Sasha struggled to understand certain Bible verses. But this all changed when she began watching the sign language videos of the Gospel of Mark. Now she’s experiencing a new level of Scripture comprehension and eagerly awaits more of the Bible in her sign language.
As more of God’s Word becomes available in Spring Team Sign Language, churches throughout the region are embracing the use of sign language Scripture for their Deaf congregants. Christians are developing a richer understanding of their faith, and others in the Deaf community are understanding the gospel message clearly for the first time. Praise God for the power of Scripture in both a language and format people clearly understand!
Wycliffe USA recognizes that the need for Bible translation is so great we can’t do it alone. One of our core values is collaborating with humility and interdependence, and we seek to partner in this spirit of mutuality so that every person can have access to God’s Word in a language and format they clearly understand.
Collaborating with the global Church also accelerates the Bible translation process with excellence. One of our key partnerships is the illumiNations impact alliance — a collective of Bible translation agencies who are working together to provide God’s Word in every language. We also engage with many other organizations through Global Partnerships, a multi-organizational collaboration working together to accelerate the work of Bible translation around the world through engaging the local church. While our full partner list — currently more than 1,000 — is too long to include every name, we are incredibly grateful for everyone working in unity to spread God’s Word.
Thank you for being a part of the work of Bible translation. Because of partnership, more people are encountering Jesus through Scripture in their language. All glory to God!
*A sampling of our more than 1,000 worldwide partners joining together to see all people encounter God through Scripture in a language and format they clearly understand.
I want to help people meet Christ through translated Scripture.