Friday, December 11, 2015

Then ...and Now

It is hard to believe that five years have passed since I left Indianapolis to begin working in the offices of Wycliffe Bible Translators. (If you’d like to be reminded of my reflections from my starting time, here’s my newsletter from January 2011 - I am grateful for the faithfulness of God and you, his people, who have regularly prayed and given and encouraged so that I might be here. I cannot begin to list the many things the Lord has done in my own life during these years. I am grateful.

I am amazed to look back at the ministry opportunities of these years. Thank you for all the ways you have stood with me as each new phase has begun:

  • November 2010 - November 2011 - helped with facilities management for the campus (Center Services Business Manager)
  • July 2011 - began coaching new missionaries as they develop their teams of prayer and financial partners (Partnership Development Coach)
  • October 2011 - began helping with the onsite training team for new missionary orientation (Equip)
  • February 2012 - began helping with the onsite team that celebrates, cares for and connects with colleagues who have been serving in the US (Wycliffe Stateside Connection)
  • March 2013 - began helping with the onsite team that celebrates, cares for and connects with colleagues who have been serving overseas (The Wycliffe Connection
  • December 2014 - began helping with the onsite training team for new paid staff orientation (Endeavor)
Through each of these events, as you prayed and gave, God has impacted the lives of other Wycliffe colleagues so that they might more effectively fulfill their roles, helping bring hope to the world through the translated Scriptures.

It is a joy to continue to coach new missionaries and to help with the onsite programs listed above. Thank you for the privilege of serving in Bible translation!

This Christmas season, may our hearts rejoice in the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Truly Understanding

Imagine reading the book of Acts for the first time. Imagine this being your first opportunity to read God's Word in a language you fully understand. One of the couples at a recent Connection program passed this quote on to me:

“I read the Bible every day in the national language, trying to understand what I’m reading. I wrestle with God about these things and ask him what does it mean, but I just can't understand it. But this book of Acts in S_____ is so clear, I can read it and understand it. We are thankful for what all you are doing to put the Bible in the S_____ language.” --a college-educated school teacher

​Paul's Conversion (Acts 9), Photo: Janeen Michie

Thank you for your prayers for long-range scheduling and program preparation. Both are going well. Thanks also for praying for those new members I am responsible to coach. Some of them have "deadlines" coming soon in the new year. They are making good progress and are trusting God to provide as they continue to do their work of sharing about the Bibleless and inviting others to partner with their Wycliffe ministries.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you... I could not be a part of Wycliffe without your faithful partnership. Your ongoing prayers and gifts are also vital to the 165 million people who are still waiting for the Bible in the language of their hearts. My prayer is for your season to be filled with renewing times with family and friends and opportunities to reflect on His goodness.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The past two weeks...

The past two weeks, your gifts and prayers have been a vital part of our opportunity to care for, celebrate, and connect with two groups who came through Orlando -- a total of 50 other Wycliffe colleagues and 25 of their MKs (missionary kids). It was a tremendous blessing to hear stories of God's faithfulness from co-workers who serve all over the world. The logistical details also went well, praise the Lord.

These weeks are designed to speed Bible translation... to provide encouragement so that each missionary might be renewed in their passion and zeal to stay at the tasks God has called and equipped them to do... so that others may have access to the Bible in the language and form they understand best. I hope you don't get tired of hearing it, but we really are completely dependent on your prayers and God's strength. Thank you for upholding us so well. The Lord is using you!

Now it's time to step back and take a good look at the future. Next week, Lord-willing, we will project program dates for 2018. Then we will also work on the little tweaks needed to get ready for January programs. I'll focus much on coaching "my" new members who are currently building their teams, too. Pray for wisdom and clarity for each task.

Florida is an amazing place to live. I am grateful for the renewal the Lord provides through the surroundings here. (Remember, you are always welcome to come visit!) But it's also time to begin to think ahead to a trip to Indy over the Christmas holiday. Already looking forward to seeing many of you then!

Friday, October 16, 2015

October Update

To learn more about how Bible translation impacts literacy, click on page 1.
For partnership opportunities, click on page 2.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Equip #28 Begins Tomorrow!

I am so grateful for your ongoing prayers on my behalf. This past week, one of the ways God answered your prayers was to provide amazingly productive days on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday... and a generally restful day on Tuesday while I recovered from a small stomach bug.

As I approached the week, I would not have thought I needed (or could afford!) a day at home with all that was to be done, but apparently I was wrong! I was again reminded that health and strength are gifts from God that can never be taken for granted. God has been faithful to provide the time and the resources to accomplish all that needed to be done this week, even with the day at home. Thank you for praying for health and strength for me.

Tomorrow, 28 new Wycliffe colleagues and their 20 MKs (12 of them preschool age!) will begin their two-week Equip orientation in Orlando. "Crew" (the folks who facilitate the program) meetings begin this afternoon. Prayer requests for us:

- Health and strength for all
- That participants would be fully equipped to effectively begin their service with Wycliffe
- Wisdom and stamina for the Crew
- We already know of some unique challenges/pressures that are likely to come up these two weeks.

We can't wait to see how God intends to work in each one. Pray that we each fully depend on the Lord. Thank you!

Friday, September 4, 2015

August in Review

It is a joy for me to look back this morning on the month of August. Because of your prayers, God granted alertness and safety as I drove and visited in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. I was able to spend time with family and with friends - with so many of you who pray and give faithfully so that I might have opportunity to minister on your behalf with Wycliffe. I felt encouraged and loved and renewed through my connections with each of you. Thank you for your commitment to me and to Bible translation --- God uses us together as His tools to take the translated Scriptures to those who are yet without them. As I approach the 5th anniversary of my time in Orlando, I am also deeply grateful for the ways God has kept us "in touch" through these years.

This week, God's faithfulness has been apparent as He granted wisdom and efficiency to the "Crew" (those who facilitate the event) as we have 25 colleagues and 8 missionary kids (MKs) in Orlando for a Connection program. We have been short-handed for a variety of reasons (illness, change of assignment, new baby!), but last night, the director commented that the logistics have never been so smoothly prepared for the final day of the program. God multiplied our hours, it seems! I can echo her sentiments - all of the details I was responsible to cover have been accomplished... and on top of that, God granted time for some of the best conversations with our visiting colleagues that I have had during any Connection program. I can only credit God's grace and your prayers for such an amazing week.

Looking ahead, I have some time away scheduled for this weekend. Then we have two weeks to make final preparations for the 28 new members (and 29 MKs!) who will arrive September 19 for their Wycliffe USA orientation (Equip). Thanks in advance for your prayers for wisdom, health, and strength so that these "newbies" are adequately equipped for the service the Lord has designed for them.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Bru New Testament

On Monday, March 10, 1975, the war in South Vietnam was raging and the Viet Cong were gaining the upper hand. Fourteen years earlier, Wycliffe missionaries John and Carolyn Miller had started learning the Bru language of Vietnam and Laos. By 1975, they and their Bru co-workers were in the final stages of checking the New Testament before typesetting and printing. But the fighting kept moving closer.

After a particularly frightening night, John and Carolyn grabbed their packed bags. With their five-year-old daughter, they sought refuge in a more secure housing compound. The first thing they put into their suitcase was their most prized possession: the corrected copy of the Bru New Testament.

Colleagues Hank and Vange Blood had been taken captive by the Viet Cong in 1968. Hank had died in captivity. Now the Millers faced captivity as well. They eventually ended up near Hanoi, where their manuscript was taken from them. Eight months after their capture, they were released… but their manuscript was never returned.

From outside Vietnam, the Millers painstakingly reconstructed the work from earlier manuscripts that had been recovered. In 1981, 500 copies of the Bru New Testament were printed and sent back to the area. For years, they didn’t know if these Scriptures ever reached their destination.

Children reading the Bru New Testament

Finally in 1990, the Millers were able to make contact with the Bru community. Their first translation co-worker met them in Thailand and brought with him a well-worn copy of the New Testament! He also shared stories of some coming to belief in Jesus, even in the midst of persecution.

Story Source:

Through your prayers and gifts, you are a part of the team God is using to help the translated Bible reach people just like the Bru -- even in the most challenging parts of the world. Thank you!

We have just finished two Connection programs and have one more in August when we will have opportunity to care for our colleagues and celebrate the faithfulness of God in their lives. Thanks in advance for your prayers for the Lord to work in and through our team as we facilitate the event.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Ebb and Flow

I thoroughly enjoy what is now routine for me: the "flow" of programs -- groups of Wycliffe colleagues who come through Orlando for either training or encouragement. In between programs -- the "ebb" where I am now, my weeks have been spent gearing up for the next groups, continuing to coach new members as they ask God to raise their teams of prayer and financial partners, and being at home. I praise God for this good time of retooling. I am feeling filled up and ready for the next round of programs which begins July 27. Thank you for your continued prayers.

"Sally" is one of the folks I had the privilege of coaching as God built her team of prayer and financial partners. She is now working with translators in eastern Europe. She has been able to make trips to a variety of locations to work with those who are doing Bible translation for their own language group.

Workshops are held in the trade language of the region. At the workshops, "Sally" helps the translators hone their skills and as they encounter struggles and celebrate victories while working to accurately translate the Scriptures. As each new passage is translated, these language groups have opportunity to access the Bible for the first time in the language that speaks to their hearts. As you prayed and gave, you helped me help "Sally" get to her assignment more quickly. Together, we are a part of the team through which God is transforming lives as people experience and understand His Word. What a blessing!

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Friday, June 5, 2015

May was wonderful!

Thanks so much for your prayers for the events that took place in May. Below is a photo of the bunch I work with in Orlando. We had a great time learning and growing together as an OATS (Orientation and Training Services) team. It was such a privilege for us to have time to get away and retool and think deeply and be refreshed ...together. I am grateful to be a part of this team. Pray that we continue to grow in our ability to serve well together.

It was such a joy to see so many of you during my Indy visit. I am only sorry our time was so short, but I am thankful for the number of very meaningful conversations that took place. You all encouraged my heart with the stories of how God has been working in and through you. Thank you for your prayers for safety as I drove. I do not take His protection for granted.

We are now gearing up for the next season of programs. Equip (new member orientation) begins on June 13 for 45 adults and 16 MKs (missionary kids). Pray for wisdom, health, and stamina for participants and "crew" alike.

When this group finishes, I will have opportunity to continuing connecting as a coach with two single gals and a family of five: providing encouragement, resources, and accountability for each of them as they ask God to build teams of prayer and financial partners for their Wycliffe ministries. Pray we get to know each other well at Equip so we might work effectively together in the months to come.

Once again, with your prayers and gifts toward my Wycliffe ministry, your partnership will now extend to impact these new colleagues and everyone they will one day serve. Thank you for your faithfulness!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Bible is my Life

Photo: Adam Jeske | Words: Marc Ewell
“The Bible is my life,” says Dereje Tilahun of Wycliffe Africa as he lifts his Bible in his language, Amharic, and presses it against his chest. “I cannot live without it.” Dereje feels strongly about bringing the Bible to all 80 plus languages of his home country of Ethiopia. He believes that his own life was “built by the word of God,” and now he wants the same for others. Read more about Dereje.

We are finishing up a second week of connecting with colleagues who have amazing stories of what God has been accomplishing around the world through the translated Word. Some of our new friends have faced very challenging situations with health or with family concerns, but all have persevered because of God's call to work just like Dereje. They desire to see the Bible translated into the heart languages of the 180 million people around the world who still do not have access. Thank you for your prayers - God was with us as we celebrated His goodness and sought His face for the difficult situations. Your partnership now extends to the ministries they have around the world!

This next week, the Orientation and Training Services (OATS) team will be doing our own "Connection" - remote staff will fly in to join the Orlando folks for a biannual gathering for team & relationship building, vision casting, and long-range planning. Please pray for safety as we travel to a center about 90 minutes north of the campus and for our team to maximize our time together. When we finish on May 22, I will begin the drive north with a goal of arriving in Indiana early afternoon on Saturday, May 23. Thanks in advance for your prayers for that trip, too. I look forward to seeing many of you at Faith Church on May 24 or May 31.

Friday, May 1, 2015

This breaks my heart...

During her final presentation at Equip, N* allowed the pages of the tumbler to fall to the floor as she read to us some of the names of the nearly 1900 people groups that are still without a single verse of Scripture in the language they best understand. “This breaks my heart,” she said. She was unable to continue for a moment as the reality of her words struck her deeply.

I was once again reminded why I am here - why God has called me to be a part of Wycliffe Bible Translators. There are people dying every day without access to God’s Word in the language they first learned to speak as a child… the one in which they think and dream and pray. You are an essential part of God’s solution to the injustice of Bible poverty. Your prayers and your gifts toward my Wycliffe ministry make it possible for me to also be a part of the solution. Thank you!

*Story used with permission; withholding her name

Here’s look at my calendar for the next few weeks:

May 4-8 -- The Wycliffe Connection (for those who have served overseas)
May 11-15 -- Wycliffe Stateside Connection (for those who serve stateside)
May 19-22 -- Orientation and Training Services (OATS) Connection (team meeting for one of the departments in which I serve)
May 22-23 -- Drive to Indiana
May 23 -- Meharry/Deplanty family gathering
May 29 -- My niece graduates from high school
June 1-2 -- Drive to Florida

Friday, April 24, 2015

Equip and Endeavor

I can't wait to share about what God has done these past two weeks - more about that in the next update - but I wanted to make sure to thank you now for your prayers for health and grace. I am well now and was able to fully participate during Equip. I am very grateful. It was such an encouraging time, working with new colleagues who have followed God's call into the Bible translation team.

I do have one time-sensitive request - this coming Monday and Tuesday, I will be working with a team to provide orientation for some of the paid staff members at the Wycliffe USA Mobilization Center where I serve. This is the third such orientation called "Endeavor"... and I became ill both of the previous times and was not able to fulfill my responsibilities. The team rallied to cover for me each time and things went well overall, but I would love to be able to fully contribute this time. Would you pray for these two days? Thank you! You are a crucial part of this team that God is using to take His Word to those who still need it in the language of their heart.

Friday, April 10, 2015

It's Friday!

I am humbled by the outpouring of prayers on my behalf. Thank you to the scores of you who replied - many with just the word "praying!" My prayer is that each of you have that same kind of encouragement as you encounter the challenges of life. The fellowship of praying together and seeing God work -- either by resolving things or by giving grace in the midst of the struggles -- is such a blessing.

God is answering. I am thankful to be making good progress. I appreciate your continued prayers for health and grace for me and the entire Equip team as we begin tomorrow. Looking ahead, here's a list of programs coming up. We are completely dependent on your prayers and God's strength.

Looking back, Mom and I had a great visit in March. We were able to see and do some fun things around the state and just enjoyed spending time together. Remember, you're always welcome here, too. :-)

Today, one of the gals in my department will be very busy. She is heading up a logistical support group following along in a van as her husband and another cyclist take off at 10:15am EDT for a 24-hour, 363-mile ride to raise awareness for Bible translation. Would you pray for Doug & Dan and their crew? Follow their ride and get more information at Spoke 'n Word.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Yesterday, my throat began to get sore, so I headed home early to try to rest and get ahead of it. This morning, I still feel pretty lousy. Other folks in the office have had similar recently, and they have usually struggled with it for about a week... and it has tended to be easily passed around. Equip begins this Saturday.

May I ask you to pray that I will be able to get better faster and also not pass this on to anyone else on the Equip team? I truly appreciate your prayers on our behalf.

Friday, March 20, 2015

God Changes Us

It really is all about transformed lives. As we allow the Bible to impact our lives, God changes us. That is exactly how Naomi* and Felicia* felt as they listened to the AudiBible in their heart language of Kandawo in Papua New Guinea.

​Speaking recently to the Kandawo translation team, Naomi said, “I saved up the money I earned selling vegetables and bought an AudiBible. (No bigger than a mobile phone, AudiBibles are solar-powered devices with the recently translated New Testament on them.) Now I go to sleep every night with it playing on my chest,” She smiled as she continued, “We listen to it as a family. It has changed us so that we no longer gossip, speak evil of others, or steal.”

Naomi’s daughter, Felicia, has also seen her life change after listening to the New Testament in her heart language. After her husband left her, Felicia took responsibility for feeding, clothing and educating their two children. When she met the translation team, she broke down in tears and was desperate to make them understand just how much God’s word had transformed her life.

"I face worries, heavy problems and insults," said Felicia, "but the AudiBible told me that if I humble myself under God’s mighty hand, he will lift me up. So I came to the Lord and he lightened my load."

*Names have been changed to protect their identities. Read more of their story at

Thank you for your partnership with your prayers and gifts so that others may soon have this same access to God's Word in a language and form that is best for them.

This week, I have been particularly reminded of how inter-dependent we are... how much God uses the prayers of others on our behalf... how God prompts us to pray for each other at just the right time... and then uses those prayers in ways that only He knows and understands. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be covered by your prayers, day after day.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Clap your hands!

Clap your hands, all you nations. (Psalm 47:1 )

When a Tanzanian claps, the sound seems loud enough to reach heaven. Steve & Mary Pence were clapping and singing with their Tanzanian brothers and sisters on the way to the celebration of the Gospel of Mark in Safwa. One of their brothers held high a small blue booklet: some of the first of God’s words ever published in this language.

A choir ran to greet them and broke spontaneously into a traditional Safwa dance—arms outstretched and knees bent. Soon a Safwa marching band took the field. Painted turquoise flowers shone fluorescent from their faces.

Safwa hymns were celebrated. The audio version of Safwa Mark is now available on smart phones. School children who peeked into Scripture booklets expecting Swahili found Safwa instead. They discovered they could easily read their own language.

For the Safwa people, there is much to celebrate. God’s Word has arrived. But it has only begun to arrive. There has been work on the books of Matthew and Acts. Completion of the New Testament is years away. Literacy rates must rise. Safwa churches and believers need to learn to use God’s Word in their meetings and their lives. Pray that the Safwa translation project will continue!

Story Source:
For more about the Safwa translation project, search for “Safwa” at :

March is a month of recovery, renewal, and reengagement as we do long-range planning in the office. Mom will be coming for a visit, so there likely will be some roaming and revelry, too. J I am thankful for the health and strength God has given to both of us… and I don’t take that lightly.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership with your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry. God is using you to help provide the Scriptures for many just like the Safwa. Rejoice!

Friday, February 20, 2015

What's been going on in February?

Thank you for your prayers for all that has taken place in February.  The first Connection program went smoothly and the weekend with the Brothers and Sisters at Solid Word Bible Church was a blessing and encouragement to me.  Solid Word, you worship well and have such a heart for the world and a commitment to action - to be the hands and feet ready to be used of God!  It is a joy to partner with you.  You challenge me to pursue holiness.
This week, I received valentines from Faith Church folks and Village Life Church folks.  You all come alongside so effectively - I never feel alone as I am away from you.  Thank you for allowing me to be here - to extend your ministry to impact those who are yet without Scripture in the language that speaks to their heart. 
This coming week, we will host 19 colleagues and their 12 children for another Connection program.  Pray that we serve them well and that God will renew and re-energize them as they prepare to return to the task.  God will multiply your prayers and gifts - your partnership - to transform lives through the translated Word as these co-workers go out.  Thank you! 
I am praying for you, too.  Please let me know if there are specifics I may remember on your behalf.
For partnership opportunities:

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Life-Transforming Word!

Paulo is a Bible translator in Tanzania who is working on a translation of the Bible in his own language, Rangi. Recently he attended a chronological Bible storying conference. These conferences teach people how to tell stories from the Bible in a chronological way, so they can share the Gospel in oral cultures where storytelling comes more naturally than reading and writing.

During this workshop, the Holy Spirit opened Paulo’s eyes to see that he was depending on his works for salvation. He discovered that salvation only comes through the grace of God by the sacrifice Christ made on the cross.

Today, Paulo can’t stop talking about God’s grace and sharing it with everyone. A Wycliffe colleague who works with Paulo recently shared, “I have often glanced over at him (Paulo) while we are working and his eyes are filled with tears. He just shakes his head and says, ‘Grace, God’s grace.’ It overwhelms him.”

Story Source:

February Agenda

In the two sessions of week-long Connection programs this month, we will host about 40 colleagues and their families from all around the U.S.A and the world. Your partnership with my Wycliffe ministry allows me to serve these co-workers on your behalf. Thank you for that privilege. It is always a blessing to hear stories about the faithfulness of God and about lives that are being transformed as people have access to the Bible in the language of their hearts – the language in which they think and dream and pray.

I also look forward to a very quick visit to Indianapolis, worshiping with the Solid Word Bible Church Brothers and Sisters on Sunday, February 15, as a part of their Missions Month.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Equip Update

God has answered your prayers by providing a good first week at Equip, Wycliffe's new-member orientation. Everyone has been healthy enough to be at all the sessions and we are nearing the weekend when we may rest and catch up some. Please continue to pray for stamina and wisdom for us all. Thank you.

It is always exciting to hear the stories of how God has led folks into their new roles as colleagues in Bible translation. Your partnership with my Wycliffe ministry through your prayers and finances is helping send these new workers out. They have daunting tasks ahead of them as they ask God to provide for their needs through the gracious gifts of His people to Wycliffe. A portion of our job as trainers is to present tools that will be helpful to "the newbies" in sharing their story and inviting others to be a part of taking the Scriptures to those who do not yet have them in their heart language.

The joy is that we can share with them that God is faithful! In October, I asked you to pray about the monthly minimum budget increase for the coming year. In answer to your prayers, God is providing through new monthly financial partners, through others who have increased their contributions, and through some generous year-end gifts. I am grateful.

My prayer for you is that God would continue to grow your love for Him and for His Word. If there are other more specific things I can pray on your behalf, please let me know. It is an honor to partner with you as you have so faithfully partnered with my Wycliffe ministry.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Rosemary has been a part of the Bible translation team much longer than I have. As I began with Wycliffe, she told me she had been praying for the Nkukoli people in Nigeria… for eighteen years.

I saw Rosemary during my recent time in Indy. She is still praying for the Nkukoli to have access to the Word of God in the language that best speaks to their hearts.

This month, Amy (one of the recent Equippers) begins her role as a field coordinator, managing translation projects in Nigeria. What a joy it will be to report someday that Rosemary’s prayers have been answered – that Amy or one of her colleagues has had opportunity to help facilitate a translation project for the Nkukoli people!

Since November 2009, I have been praying for the Jakati people of Ukraine. Learning of their need was a part of God’s call to Wycliffe for me. The Nkukoli and Jakati are only two of the more than 1,800 people groups who are still without a single verse of Scripture in their heart language: the language spoken amongst family members… the language in which we pray and dream. Please consider signing up to pray for one of the Bibleless Peoples of the world by going to:

January is an Equip month, when new colleagues come to Orlando for their two-week onsite orientation to Wycliffe USA. Our goal is to fully equip these “newbies” so they may begin their field assignments as quickly as possible, so Bible translation may be accelerated. As always, the staff and participants depend on your prayers for wisdom, strength, health, and much productivity during our time together. Your influence on God’s Kingdom will now extend to this new group of folks and to all of those whom they will one day impact. Praise God!