Friday, December 1, 2017

Luke 2


Wycliffe translators Jeff and Peg Shrum moved to Mozambique in 1996. During their early days there, they surveyed the area to determine which language group would be best for them to join. They then moved into the Takwane area and began language study. By 1998, Jeff and Peg had formulated the Takwane alphabet for this previously unwritten language. Providentially, they had all the tools necessary to produce the first published work in Takwane, a translation of part of Luke 2, just in time for Christmas. Imagine hearing about the birth of Jesus for the first time in the language you have spoken since childhood!
Luka 2:14, TKE “Athithimihiwe Mulugu odhulu woolapesesa, murenddele elabo ya vati wa athu alene Mulugu enaadhiveliiye.”
Luke 2:14, NLT “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
I met Jeff and Peg at Faith Church while they were in the US for a time (2000). They returned to Mozambique and continued working with the Takwane churches and other partner organizations. Before they left Mozambique in 2014, audio recordings of many Bible stories, the JESUS Film (2006), the final books of the Takwane New Testament (2014), and audio recordings of the entire New Testament, Genesis and Exodus (2014) were completed. After typesetting and printing, in 2016, the Takwane Scriptures were dedicated! Jeff and Peg were able to go back for that amazing celebration. Pray that God’s Word continues to bear fruit among the Takwane people.

Story Source: Jeff & Peg Shrum; for more information, see facebook.com/groups/280827288631682/

Following up...

God has provided in overwhelming ways this past month by adding new financial partners for my Wycliffe ministry. Thank you for your prayers and for responding to His call. You have a huge part in what the Lord is doing as He transforms lives through the translated Word!

There are some little details to be worked out here and in Indiana, so my December travel dates are uncertain. I am looking forward to connecting with many of you and celebrating the Joy of Jesus’ coming!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Light in the Darkness

The nomadic Nenets have lived for centuries in one of the most challenging environments on Earth. They follow the migrations of vast herds of reindeer in the forests and tundra of Siberia, where cold can reach -60 degrees F, during months of lingering darkness. In the dark hours, the snow reflects what light there is.

The Nenets translation team is based in the northern Siberian city of Salekhard, one of only two cities in the world located on the Arctic Circle. November through January, the sun comes out for an average of 14 minutes per day. Praise God that even here, the ministry of Bible translation is taking place among the Nenets.

Olga Larovna, Nenets Bible translator, and Eunsub Song, exegetical advisor, are two of the workers on the translation team. Please pray for Olga and Eunsub and their colleagues to continue to make good progress.


The Lord has enabled me to be more aware of his faithfulness in my life recently. I am grateful for productive planning opportunities this month and time to catch up on tasks in the office and at home that will help things run more smoothly next year. Thanks for your continued prayers for wisdom and for times of good renewal.

Thanks also for your prayers for those I am coaching as they ask God to build their teams of prayer and financial partners for their Wycliffe ministry. Some of them have "deadlines" that are fast approaching. Pray that God will confirm their calling and continue to provide for them, each step of the way.

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Role Model

Zeto Wekan began working on the translation of the New Testament into his language, Fordata, when he was in high school. More than fourteen years later, he is holding that precious book in his hands. Fordata is spoken by about 50,000 people.

Zeto works with Yayasan Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Desa (YPMD), a Wycliffe Global Alliance organization in Indonesia, which is working in Bible translation in three languages. YPMD also works in literacy and Scripture use through developing spiritual songs and readings to accompany Bible translation.

“I have to be a role model for Bible translation itself,” Zeto says. “As mission workers, I think that we have to be the first person to be a role model so that we can influence the community.” He rejoices as he sees people’s lives transformed because they understand God’s Word.

As you partner with my Wycliffe ministry, you are a role model, too. And God is transforming lives through your part in this great work!

Story source: Text by Elaine Bombay, wycliffe.net/inspiringimage?id=8653

Looking Ahead

November for me is a time of planning, regrouping, and retooling. I get to help put together the puzzle of “the calendar” for our department for the next three years. Thanks in advance for your prayers that I’ll have the insight and access to all the information we need. Our goal is to serve our colleagues effectively through the programs and to keep the schedule sustainable.

I’m also coaching eight colleagues as they work and ask the Lord to build their teams of prayer and financial partners. They each need a complete team before they may begin their assignments around the world. Thanks for your prayers that I will know how to best encourage them along the way.

I’m working on plans to be in Indianapolis in December. I look forward to reconnecting with many of you during that time!

Financial Update

For my annual financial update, take a look at page two of this newsletter.

Friday, October 20, 2017

God's Glory and Faithfulness

So much has happened since the last update. First, I saw the glory of God displayed in the lives of believers in the Navajo Nation and in the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon. Thank you for your prayers. We were safe and healthy and had the privilege of being invited into the homes of those we served -- something that is not a "norm" in Navajo culture. We were able to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to fellowship and pray with a number of families. We also were able to share God's love with some in the community on behalf of the local church there.
Then, I saw God's faithfulness in the lives of colleagues who were in Orlando this week for Wycliffe Stateside Connection. Each one of this particular group has served in Bible translation for at least 20 years... and they are still committed to seeing God's Word in the heart language of everyone around the world. They live in the U.S., but they are impacting lives across the globe. And once again, your partnership through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry now extends through their work in Bible translation.


Next week, we will host another group of colleagues from around the world -- The Wycliffe Connection -- connecting with, caring for, and celebrating them. Thank you in advance for your prayers that we will love them well.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Equip #36

These past two weeks have been remarkable. I told the Equippers you were praying for them as they completed their Wycliffe orientation. They were grateful and asked me to thank you.

God did honor your prayers about basic things like power staying on and all of us being healthy. No one - participant or child or "crew" - missed a single session due to illness. But God also answered your prayers in abundance as we watched this group thrive. Every Equip is unique. There are always evidences that the Lord brought specific people together to engage and to grow with each other, but this group seemed to connect with each other and with us in distinctive ways. It was truly an enriching and affirming time. Thank you again for your prayers and gifts that permit me to be a part of this team.
Next week, we will finish planning for the last two programs of the calendar year. Then October 7-14, I have the privilege of being a part of a team of eight from Solid Word Bible Church as we serve at a Navajo reservation in northeastern Arizona. I am looking forward to this opportunity. Please pray for us to minister well as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Truly thankful for God's grace. That's how we feel after Hurricane Irma. At home, power was out for only 11 hours and there are just a few shingles that need to be replaced. I am so grateful for the many prayers and texts and Facebook messages and your many encouragements.

There are still areas where power has not been restored. The Wycliffe Bible Translators campus has had interruptions in power even through the day yesterday, which has complicated preparations for the upcoming Equip. Yet we have been able to still make good progress, for which we are thankful.

As we were preparing yesterday, one of my tasks was to reconnect the audio equipment in our classroom. As it came time to test the computer connections, the video one of the "crew" members (that's us - the team that facilitates the programs) chose was this one. It summarizes our motivation to do what we do.


Tomorrow, we will greet 24 new Wycliffe missionaries and 12 of their children and begin their two-week Equip onsite orientation. Since they will live on-campus with us, we'd appreciate prayers that the power does stay on. Please also pray for our health and strength and that the "crew" would serve these new colleagues well. Your partnership through your gifts and prayers will now extend to all those who will someday have access to the Bible through their ministry. Thank you!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Family Time

Once again, I have returned to Florida to prepare for our next session of The Wycliffe Connection. Our team will host 30 colleagues from overseas and their 11 missionary kids (MKs) this coming week. We appreciate your prayers for their renewal and encouragement.

I was grateful to be in Indiana for some special family events and some "down time" in August. It was also good to see the last phases of Mom's recovery, rehab, and "release" from all follow-ups after her July 8 fall and fractured pelvis. She is doing remarkably well. We also celebrated her 84th birthday.

The Orlando programs in September and October are the last for the year. After that, we begin our long-range planning through 2020. I'll continue coaching four families who are building teams of prayer and financial partners. They plan to serve in Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. As you partner with my Wycliffe ministry, the Lord is using your prayers and gifts to impact Bible translation in those places, too. You make such a difference - thank you!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Airports

She had to be younger than two. But she knew what she wanted... to pull her own carry-on. And she wasn't going to let her big sister do it.

And there was the older couple... she was sobbing over what they were reading on her phone. No clue, so I just prayed that the Lord would reveal Himself in their sorrow.

Then I thought back to the little gal - how unaware she was of her true situation, trying to take on a world she is so not ready to tackle on her own. And I wondered how many times I look exactly like that to God.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Psalm 42

Thanks for your prayers these past two weeks. Mom is doing well enough on her own that I was able to return to Florida for The Wycliffe Connection. Our team served 32 Wycliffe colleagues and their 25 missionary kids (MKs). God blessed with some great conversations and good health and strength for us all. Next week, we'll host another group of 16 co-workers and six of their MKs who have been living in the US. Most of them work from their homes and only have opportunity to connect with their teams "virtually" through technology. Pray for their renewal and encouragement.

I have colleagues who are in the midst of some very challenging circumstances. My Bible reading schedule has taken me into the Psalms recently. As I reflected on what I was reading, God prompted me to pray on their behalf. Then it struck me... I couldn't imagine not having the comfort of the Psalms.


If that had not been translated into English, how would I comprehend that truth? We have such incredible access to the encouragements and promises of God! Your partnership through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry makes that same kind of understanding possible for others. Thank you!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Expected and the Unexpected

Thanks for your continued prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry. God is using them mightily. The past two weeks went smoothly, facilitating logistics and making preparations for coming programs. Next, we will host two groups of colleagues for Connections, July 24-28 and July 31-August 4. We are grateful for your prayers that we would serve these co-workers well and that they would feel that they have been celebrated, cared for, and connected well with the resources available to them through the Wycliffe USA headquarters.

On a personal note, today's update is from Brownsburg, Indiana. Mom took a tumble last Saturday evening and fractured her pelvis in two places and broke a finger. She spent Sunday through Wednesday in the hospital for observation. I flew in Tuesday evening. I am thankful for technology that permits me to work remotely and also help out as she continues her recovery. I'll head back to Florida next Friday, July 21. My family is overwhelmingly grateful to the Lord for His protection and for the assistance and care of so many local medical professionals and church family who have come alongside. We'd be grateful for your prayers during the six to eight-week time projected for her healing. It's been encouraging to see her progress even in the two days I have been here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Equip #35 Wrap-up

Today, Equip #35 participants begin to leave campus. They have completed their Wycliffe orientation and go now to build their teams of prayer and financial partners. We had a great time together and were all healthy and able to finish well. It was a privilege to get to know this group of new colleagues who desire to see everyone around the world access God's Word in their heart language.

One family who was with us was "recruited" by J&P, the first couple I coached in 2011. So think about that... You prayed for me and for J&P. God helped them build a team of prayer and financial partners so that they might serve with Wycliffe. They shared about Bible translation and the Lord used them to help D&C (the Equip #35 family) understand they could have a place helping the Bibleless gain access to the Scriptures. D&C are now headed to Papua New Guinea where he will serve as a translator and she will serve as a teacher... It makes me smile to think that in some ways, many of you have prayed for this Equip since 2011. No wonder God's hand was so obvious during our time together!

I love this photo Wycliffe recently received from the Roviana Bible dedication in the Solomon Islands. This translation involved many partners working together: Wycliffe, Faith Comes By Hearing, Seed Company, SIL International, YWAM, the Solomon Islands Christian Association, and of course the Roviana church and community. Praise God that the approximately 25,000 Roviana speakers now have the Bible in their language!


That is what it is all about. Your partnership through your prayers and gifts to my Wycliffe ministry helps people just like the Roviana receive access to the truths of the Bible in the language and form they best understand. Thank you for your faithfulness.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Ikom Cluster Project

In January, 2015, I shared a story about Rosemary and her prayers for the Nkukoli people of Nigeria and their need for the Bible. This past week, translation began on the book of Luke, praise God!

Two weeks ago, a translation workshop for six related languages began in Ikom, Nigeria. One of those languages is Nkukoli! That means there are Nkukoli speakers (who also speak the trade language of Nigerian English) who are working with other Nigerians and missionaries to learn the principles of translation and apply them directly as they begin translating passages of Scripture into their own heart language. I cannot imagine what that must feel like! To have at least a draft of the first verses of the Word of God in your heart language for the very first time!

We will have opportunity to get regular updates now on how this project is progressing. Would you join me in praying for the six translations just beginning in Nigeria?

(You can ignore the facebook login prompt and still see the video.)

Equip #35 new missionaries arrive tomorrow for their onsite orientation - 15 adults and 8 children. As always, we are grateful for your prayers for health, strength, and much wisdom during this two-week time. Your partnership through your prayers and gifts will now extend to also serve each of the peoples of the world who will someday be reached by these new colleagues. Thank you for your faithfulness!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Grace

Looking back...

Nard Pugyao traces the hand of God on his life through the work of Bible translation. In 1956, Wycliffe Bible translator Dick Roe arrived in Nard’s mountain village of Dibagat in the Philippines. Nard watched Dick learn his Isnag language and begin to translate the Gospel of Mark.

Curious about a God who had power over the spirit world, Nard began to study the booklet Dick produced. He was shocked to read about an all-powerful God who allowed his son to be killed. Nard shook his fist at God and demanded to know why he hadn’t protected his son. God answered him, “Nard, I did that for you.”

Reading the rest of the book of Mark, Nard encountered a risen Christ who had victory over sin and death, and he gave his heart to Jesus. Before long, Nard felt God’s call to Bible translation and aviation. In a dramatic story of God’s grace and provision, Nard came to the United States, where he studied Bible and aviation.

After years of service with Wycliffe and aviation training to become a pilot/mechanic, Nard’s dream was fulfilled on June 24, 1982, when he landed in Dibagat with the first 500 copies of the complete Isnag New Testament and placed them in the hands of his own people.

Thank you for your part in this ongoing story. As you pray and give to my Wycliffe ministry, you are on the team helping train and coach people just like Dick and Nard, so that others just like the Isnag can know the risen Christ in the language and form they understand best.

Looking ahead...

We anticipate some new margin in the schedule of summer programs this year. I am also very thankful for time in the next two weeks to continue preparations for coming events. Once we begin Equip on June 17, the pace is a quick one until the beginning of August. (But trust me, we love it!) We appreciate your faithful prayers on our behalf as we continue to serve those who come through Orlando for training and encouragement.

Friday, May 19, 2017

TWC #42

What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus...


This week, we have had the privilege of connecting with 31 colleagues (who also brought along 24 of their kids!) who have served overseas. Most of these new friends of mine live in parts of the world where English is not the majority language and most do not have the opportunity for corporate worship in their own heart language for months at a time. When you get a group of them together, they sing with great energy! My heart has been encouraged by the enthusiasm of their worship. And the stories we have heard this week... stories of God's faithfulness in places and among people groups in challenging parts of the world.

Our prayer is always that these servants will leave encouraged and refreshed, ready to continue using the gifts and experiences they have, so that someday no one will be without access to the Bible and to worship in the language and form they best understand.


In this whole process, you make a difference. I know I say it often, but it is true -- your partnership with my Wycliffe ministry through your prayers and gifts now extends around the world through these dear co-workers, too!

Thank you for your prayers for them and for me. Please let me know how I may pray on your behalf. I am continuing to pray about those things you have shared.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wrapping up in Indy

My two weeks in Indianapolis have been very enjoyable. It has all gone very quickly, as you might imagine. I'll be driving south May 8 and 9 and would appreciate your prayers. Thanks!

Looking ahead, we will have a Connection group (colleagues who have been overseas) with us, May 15-19. Pray that we celebrate and encourage them well. Then there are lots of details to pull together before we begin our summer stretch of programs. (Details are available in the calendar link listed on the right.)

It's such a privilege to be able to serve colleagues who are beginning their journeys and celebrate those who have been "out in the trenches." You are a blessing, faithful partners with my Wycliffe ministry. Without you, I could not be doing what I am doing. God is using your prayers and gifts and extending your influence for His Kingdom.

Friday, April 14, 2017

God's Grace and Strength

We finished Equip last night. We had two very good weeks, but they were also unusual weeks. We had more illness and logistical complications than any program that I recall. When all was said and done, it was a time when we learned much about depending on the Lord, and He did provide grace and strength in ways many of us could not imagine along the way. We are confident that God's hand was so obvious because of your prayers on our behalf. Thank you!

We had an amazing time interacting with this group of new colleagues. Our prayers go with them as they move on into their journeys of building their teams of prayer and financial partners. We look forward to seeing them return in years to come for the Connection programs!

May the blessings of the Resurrection be very real to you this Easter. Looking forward to seeing many of you at Faith Church next Sunday, April 23. I'll be driving April 21-22 and would appreciate your prayers. Thanks! Continuing to pray about those things you have shared with me.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Equip 34 comes tomorrow!

Tomorrow, we will welcome 26 new colleagues and their 21 children to begin Wycliffe's new missionary onsite orientation (Equip) in Orlando. They have already completed six weeks of online training and are ready for the "last leg" before being launched out to build their teams of prayer and financial partners so they might take their places around the world, helping to accelerate Bible translation. As you pray for me and for them in these next two weeks, God will be extending YOUR ministry to the Bibleless through them. I love that part!

Also, tomorrow, I begin the "last leg" of a full stretch of schedule that began mid-February. God has been gracious in providing amazing health and strength the entire way... and even this week, He has provided extra help in little ways. Please continue to pray for health and an ever-growing dependence on the Lord so that I serve in His strength, rather than my own.

So thankful for you. Let me know how I may be praying with you, too.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Power of the Bible

Dr. Camille is a new colleague who understood her need for a relationship with Jesus after reading the Bible. It was a joy to be on the training team as she went through Equip orientation last year. May her testimony encourage you and be a reminder of the power of the Word of God.


Your partnership through your prayers and gifts is so important. You are on the team that God is using to transform lives as others access the Scriptures in the language that speaks most clearly to their hearts.

Mom and I are having a good visit. Thanks for your prayers for our time and for the Health Plan Advisory Committee meetings, which went well this week. Later this month, we will host a group of 30 colleagues for a Connection program and then I will attend team meetings about an hour north of Orlando. I'd appreciate your prayers for the ability to be "in the moment" in each event.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Beautiful Language

“Lord, we ask you now for wisdom to render your Word clearly into the beautiful language of Kinga.”

Bible Translation Consultant Samuel Mubbala opened the day’s work with that prayer in his soft, mellow voice. At the table also were Kinga pastors and translators from Tanzania, Saul Lwilla and Zakayo Swallo. A draft of Hebrews 10 in Kinga shone brightly, projected on the wall. Their laptop computers were open, ready to edit the text.
Today’s work began by simply reading. Samuel read aloud slowly, in English. Saul followed him, reading the Kinga draft. Both spoke with feeling, clearly savoring the great truths of covenant and sacrifice. After each section was read, they discussed notes from Samuel’s study of the draft. Should the Kinga word for oxen be used for bull? Should we say the first covenant or the old covenant? In some African languages, God’s glory can be confused with shining. Does Kinga have this problem?

But the problems and notes were few. Yes, the work was very good. Good enough to impact these three men, even in the midst of their checking. While reviewing covenant theology, Samuel's comments suddenly became very personal.

“When we come to Christ, something is…” Samuel hesitated, obviously searching his own heart. “Something is ‘installed’ in us,” he continued. “We receive a new person and a new life. That is why [God] said, ‘I’ll make a new covenant. I’ll write the laws in your heart.’ And we call that Born Again.”

It will soon be planting season here on the Kinga mountainsides. Good seed will receive summer rain and grow. The same will soon be true of God’s seed, his Word “in the beautiful language of Kinga.”


Thank you for your faithful prayers and generous gifts toward my Wycliffe ministry. God is providing through you. You also have a part in meeting the needs of those who are waiting, just like the Kinga.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Equip #33 Update

Just a quick update from Equip here. We are all doing well, but some are a little weary. Pray for a restful weekend for participants and crew and for good strength to finish well next week. This is an amazing group of new colleagues and they have been working hard and learning much. As they move forward, developing their teams of prayer and financial partners, pray that God will speed their way, so that they may take their places around the world... as teachers, translators, animators, helicopter pilots, medical doctors, land transportation specialists... and in many other roles. Your partnership with my Wycliffe ministry now extends to all those who will be impacted by the Scriptures produced as a result of their service. Thank you!

Friday, January 6, 2017

"This is where my life is."

Anna is a single mother from northern Botswana. She sat quietly, eagerly listening to the conversation and pouring over the words of her Setswana translated Bible.

Never before had Anna received the opportunity to learn the Scriptures for herself instead of having someone tell her. The churches she used to attend taught false doctrines, she says, and convinced members that the only way to know God was directly through the pastors in charge, rather than through the Bible. Anna was never satisfied with only hearing what these people of power claimed as truth.

When Anna began attending Sunday morning Bible study, she was suddenly handed the power and confidence to listen, ask questions and learn more and more about God’s Word for herself.

“I used to only know God by mouth, but now, by learning the Bible, I know this is where my life is. If I hold onto the Bible, I will have a good life."

Thank you for your prayers for a good visit to Indiana. I was very encouraged by my time to connect with family and friends and to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Looking ahead, please pray for the 23 new missionaries and their 8 MKs (missionary kids) who will be coming to Orlando, January 14-27, for Equip orientation. It is a privilege to train these new colleagues on your behalf as they begin their Wycliffe journey. They will soon serve around the world, working to accelerate Bible translation so that many more like Anna may have access to the Scriptures.