Friday, November 9, 2018

Program Season

The Connection programs are designed to provide a caring environment, to celebrate how God is using our colleagues, to help renew their passion and vision for the Bibleless, and to assist them as they connect with the people and services available through the Orlando office. In the typical year, we will host four or five programs for those who reside primarily overseas and then four programs for those who reside primarily in the United States. In 2018, 148 adults and 80 of their missionary kids (MKs) came through Orlando during the Connection programs.

We hosted two groups of colleagues for Connections last month. One of our joys is to celebrate them by acknowledging their years of service with Wycliffe. The experience of those at the Wycliffe Stateside Connection ranged from a “low” of 27 years to a “high” of 45 years of service! What an encouragement to spend a week with those who have committed their lives to Scripture translation. We always hear stories of God’s faithfulness to them, all along their journey.

Next week, the entire Development~Orientation~Training (DOT) team will be off-site for meetings. More than half of our team of 34 people are not based in Orlando, so it will be great to have some face-to-face time together. Then the next program we host in Orlando will be January 12-25, 2019, Equip new missionary orientation.

Personal Update

For a personal update, take a look at this newsletter. My annual financial update follows on page 2.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Waiting

Waiting... the Keliko of South Sudan are no longer waiting for Scripture in the language they understand best. Their New Testament was the 1,000th in which Wycliffe was privileged to have a part. Take a look at this video to see a glimpse of their celebration.


The waiting is over for our two weeks of Connection programs that begin on Monday, celebrating colleagues who have served overseas and stateside. Thanks for your prayers for our preparation. It has all gone well. Now, please pray that we will listen well to our colleagues and serve them well.

I am waiting now on surgery. The date has been adjusted to Monday, November 19 for a left total hip replacement. In the meantime, I am thankful to be reasonably mobile. I would appreciate your prayers that I sleep well. Thanks.

The good part about waiting is that there is time to reflect. When I do, I see the goodness of God and the faithfulness of his people who so graciously pray and give for my Wycliffe ministry. Thank you for your consistent encouragements.

I'd be honored to pray with you, too. Let me know how I might do so.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Surgery Date!

Thanks again for your prayers for Equip. We were able to finish well. This week's Endeavor orientation for new paid staff has also been going well. Eleven new colleagues have been learning the basics about Wycliffe, Bible translation and their role in accelerating the process!

We have a decision regarding the next step for my health. I am scheduled for a left full hip replacement on Tuesday, November 20. (Looks like I might be having hospital turkey dinner this year!) Plans are taking shape then for in-home physical therapy and healthcare during my recovery. Lord willing, I will still to come to Indiana during December, but those dates will be firmed up later. In the waiting time, I'm grateful for a combination of meds that is keeping me moving. Thanks so much for your prayers and many encouragements.

Now that a surgery date has been set, the focus has changed to final preparations for two Connection programs this month and the DOT Team meetings where our group of 35 from across the US will have time together. I'm looking forward to all of the conversations that are possible in those three weeks.

God is using your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry to sustain and empower me to serve. Thank you! As I have said so many times before, we are completely dependent on your prayers and God's strength.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Mid-Equip #40

Thanks much for your prayers for Equip. We are doing well. There are some light "cold" symptoms floating through the group though, so we would appreciate your prayers for a restful weekend so we might finish well next week. These new colleagues are headed to places all around the world - some to be translation/language workers, others to do other things like aviation management, counseling, or even small engine repair in a developing country. All of them will be working to accelerate Bible translation. Your partnership through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry means you are impacting their ministry, too. God is so amazing to use all of us together in this way!

I am grateful for your sustaining prayers and your many encouragements regarding my health. I have been through a process of non-surgical alternatives for the osteoarthritis in my back and hips, but we are reaching the end of their effectiveness. The issues are beginning to negatively impact my daily activities, so it's time for a next step. Next week, I have an appointment with a spine surgeon and with an orthopedic surgeon for initial consultations. I'll be asking the surgeons to consult with each other and with my referring doctor to recommend the best direction. I'll keep you posted as plans take shape.

Following this Equip, there is some time and space in the schedule to prepare for the last two Connection programs for this calendar year. We look forward to serving our returning co-workers and celebrating how God has been using them in Bible translation. Then it is time to rest and plan for the coming year!

Friday, September 7, 2018

August's Encouragements

It was such a joy to see so many of you during my two weeks in Indiana. It was a privilege to share my Faith Story on Sunday, August 19, as a part of the summer Connection Class series at Faith Church. There was an audio recording done of the first session, so feel free to take a listen if you weren’t able to be there. It was my opportunity to share a lot of the “back story”—how God so obviously moved in my life to bring me to where He has me now. It was really very interesting to look back and see how many times the Lord used people to move me toward His next step. Many of you may hear your names mentioned. I share for about 30 minutes, followed by some Q&A time. That means the whole recording is almost 45 minutes long, just as a warning. The link also has access to other stories shared this summer—so many evidences of God’s handiwork in people’s lives! May you be encouraged as you listen.

Faith Stories—faithchurchindy.com/resources/faith-stories/

What’s Next?

Our next on-campus program will be Equip new missionary orientation, September 15-28. We anticipate 24 new colleagues and 15 of their MKs (missionary kids). As you pray for us and for them, your ministry extends to all those whom they will one day serve. Thank you in advance!

This will be the final Equip for one of our “core” crew members who will be retiring, so there will be some bittersweet moments for the team with which I serve. I have learned so much from Diana these past eight years, not only about partnership development—the main content we teach, but also about a deep, ever-growing faith and trust in Jesus. Diana has a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature and the joy of the Lord and gives strong testimony to both. We look forward to the next chapter the Lord has for her but will miss her in our world!

Personal Update

Thanks again for your prayers about the cortisone injections. The issue with my back and leg are essentially relieved, but good ol’ osteoarthritis in both hips is making a big move now… or should I say, NON-move, as it is complicating even simple things like sleeping and walking, two activities in which I engage regularly! More imaging is scheduled so the docs know exactly what is going on and can plan a course of future treatment. I continue to be grateful for knowledgeable and capable medical professionals and for your prayers and encouragements!


Friday, August 3, 2018

July's Joys

July was such a diverse and wonderful month. The first week, I helped facilitate meals for a group of 19 teachers, many of whom are leaving within the next few weeks to take their places in MK schools around the world, serving the families of Bible translation workers. Then there were two groups of returning colleagues with us—the first group of 18 stateside adults and 18 MKs; then a second group of 26 furloughing adults and 31 MKs.

I had the joy of seeing some colleagues I had coached during their initial time of building teams of prayer and financial partners. It was a blessing to hear of how God has been using them. One colleague works on a team that has been designing and building micro-computers that fit on a USB drive. The drives can do all kinds of diagnostics in hard-to-reach locations where the internet is limited. Another couple has been working with signed languages in Asia and has great vision for the Deaf who have not yet been reached with God’s Good News. Spending time again with these co-workers after four or five years was a great honor. It was a thrill to see them thriving in their roles. As you have prayed and given for my Wycliffe ministry, your ministry still extends through them—all of us working together to accelerate Bible translation. Thank you for your partnership!

Personal update

Thanks for your prayers about the cortisone injections. God has been answering. I was able to get the first round on July 13, as new appointment times opened up. Then I had a second round on July 31. Both brought about significant relief and improvement. I will have an additional treatment near the end of August. I am grateful for knowledgeable and capable medical professionals and for your prayers and encouragements!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Equip #39

Thirty-six new co-workers and 22 MKs (missionary kids) came for the June orientation to Wycliffe Bible Translators. Thanks for your prayers on their and our behalf. We are grateful for a healthy and productive time together. We spent two weeks sharing information and providing opportunities for the “newbies” to practice using tools designed to help as they ask God to develop their teams of prayer and financial partners. Wycliffe requires complete teams before they may continue to their assignments around the world. As I hear the stories of how God brought these new missionaries to Wycliffe and see their passion that Scripture is accessible to all people in the language they best understand, I am reminded of my own journey to Wycliffe. I’m so thankful, too, for the role each of you has on this journey.

Learning lessons

Thank you for those who regularly pray for my spiritual growth and renewal. I’ve heard stories of those who begin to reach more “mature” ages and then seem surprised to realize that there are still many areas where God is working to refine them. (Yes, I turned 60 this year.) You’d think I would have it figured out by now, right? The Lord has been gentle and yet firm to remind me even this week that there is still much room for growth in my heart and that my strength is not sufficient… but His grace is enough and His strength is sufficient. Praise God!

What’s next?

This month, we have two groups coming to be celebrated, cared for, and reconnected with Wycliffe—colleagues who have been serving stateside and overseas. Pray that the Lord will use us to minister to them.

For more of what's coming up, visit my google group!

Friday, June 8, 2018

HPAC

Thanks much for your prayers for this week’s meeting of the Health Plan Advisory Committee. God’s direction was obvious with us through the day as we listened and discussed and made decisions. Now I can turn my full attention to finishing preparations for next week’s Equip orientation for 38 new colleagues and their 22 MKs!

Physical therapy and exercises continue to help my hip/leg for my day-to-day activities. A recent MRI showed some issues involving my spine. I’d be grateful for your prayers for wisdom about next steps.

On another note, Mom has had a rough week. Thanks for your prayers for her medications to be appropriate and effective and for grace for each day.

So grateful for your faithful partnership, especially in prayer. Let me know how I might be praying for you, too.



Friday, May 18, 2018

Pure Joy


Pure joy lines these men's faces as they hold the Quechua Cusco Bibles given as gifts upon their graduation from literacy classes in their mother language. They learned to read and write in Quechua, as well as studying some basic Christian doctrine.

Portions of translated Scripture exist in 62 of the 84 languages spoken in Peru. Because of literacy and Bible translation, Quechua speakers throughout the Andes mountains can now understand God’s Word as easily as they can understand their neighbors!

Story Source: Elaine Bombay, wycliffe.net/inspiringimage?id=8973

Thank you for your prayers this month. My time with family was very rewarding. Back in the office, we were able to prepare for the Connection colleagues who will arrive on Monday. Your gifts and prayers make such a difference not only in my life, but in the lives of all those we serve.

Thanks for helping spread the joy to others!

PS: Check out the calendar listed to the right to see what is ahead!

Friday, May 4, 2018

May

Today, we will complete Endeavor orientation for 15 new paid and volunteer staff who serve at the Wycliffe Mobilization Center. It has been a joy to begin to get to know these colleagues and to share more of the vision of Bible translation with them. It's a pleasure to remind them that they each play a significant role in accelerating access to Scripture for people groups around the world. You, too, play a significant role. God continues to use your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry and multiplies your impact through each of these who receive training from the Orlando programs. Thank you for your faithful partnership!

Saturday, I will fly to Indianapolis for some special family events. Then Mom will fly back with me for a brief Florida visit. We are grateful for continued good health for her and for the opportunity I have to spend these times with family. After that, we'll begin final preparations for the summer programs, each of which will bring in large numbers of colleagues. Thanks in advance for your prayers!

Friday, April 20, 2018

God is Talking to Me

These days, Wycliffe Bible Translators and our partners are involved using technology to produce Scripture in many different formats. For example, many cultures around the world are better suited to use audio Bibles. Once the Bible is recorded in a local language, the gospel spreads and its impact is multiplied through solar-powered digital players. Smartphones are becoming remarkably widespread in most developing countries, so Scripture can be easily shared from phone to phone in a village setting without the use of internet.


The Naro language is a "click" language spoken in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa by 12,000 people. The Naro Bible was first produced in printed form, but very few Naro speakers could read it. On listening to an audio Bible like the one in the picture, one Naro speaker said, "For the first time the Bible makes sense, and it feels as if God is talking to me."

To read more of the story: wycliffe.org.uk/blog/new-formats-for-age-old-cultures/

Thanks so much for your prayers for Equip. We had a great time with these new colleagues and are excited that they are ready now to go and do the work as they ask the Lord to build their teams of prayer and financial partners. I'm thankful also for good health and energy these two weeks. Next week, we'll continue preparations for a coming Connection program.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Meet Elsi

Elsi, from Kalimantan, Indonesia, speaks six languages. Last year Elsi came to Wycliffe Australia’s National Centre to improve her English.

For Elsi, knowing what language to use in which context is the key to good communication. She adapts her speech to different settings. She uses her Dayak language with her family, Indonesian with colleagues, and other relevant local Dayak languages in central Kalimantan. And of course she uses English with foreign visitors or in Australia.

The right language in the right context brings acceptance and understanding. Consider this translation of Matthew 28:5-6 from Da Jesus Book for the Hawaiian Pidgin language:

Da angel guy tell da wahines, “Eh, no scared! I know you guys looking fo Jesus, da guy dey wen kill on top da cross. Eh, he no stay ova hea, cuz God wen make um come back alive, jalike Jesus wen say befo time. Come! Try look da place wea he wen lay.”

Though it is highly meaningful for speakers of Hawaiian Pidgin, for English speakers, this translation may produce only confusion. Your ongoing partnership through your prayers and gifts helps accelerate translation for people groups around the world who are still waiting to clearly understand God’s Word.

Story Source: wycliffe.org.au/meet-elsi/

Spring Opportunities

April 7-20, we will host another group of new colleagues for their onsite Equip orientation. It is a privilege to extend your ministry to the peoples they will one day serve. I’ll get to teach some new things this session; I’d be grateful for your prayers for effective daily preparation.

Another part of my ongoing role is coaching co-workers who are building teams of prayer and financial partners. Pray that I will have much wisdom to encourage and advise them as they ask the Lord to complete their teams.

I am thankful for the ebb and flow of the Orlando program schedule which helps me be ready for each new session. It also permits some travel through the year. It was a joy to see many of you during my brief visit to Indianapolis in March.

Friday, February 16, 2018

MKs

Thanks so much for your prayers for our Connection program this week. Things have gone smoothly. We pray that the impact will continue as the participants leave today. Our prayer is that the Lord will encourage them as they prepare to return to their areas of service all over the world.

My time is essentially always spent with the adults during these programs, but I've had more time this week with some of the 15 MKs (missionary kids), ages 2-18, who are here. I've been impressed by the way siblings care for each other, the way they have made quick friends across family lines, their resourcefulness. They could probably all navigate an international airport or a public transportation system anywhere in the world better than I could. :-)

One of my Orlando colleagues recently shared a video that gives a little more insight into the life of an MK:


Video Source: youtu.be/cga6fBJwzWE

Next week, we will have another Connection program -- this time, with colleagues who live in the US, but who work all over the world, thanks to technology. We are grateful in advance for your prayers that the Lord may renew them.

After that, March is a retooling period, preparing for the next groups to come, while I continue to coach some who are building their teams of prayer and financial partners. I'll also be heading to Indiana for a brief visit. Details soon!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Preaching the Wrong Thing!

Guillermo, a pastor for the Katio people in Colombia, was helping to check the translation of the book of Mark. When the checking team began work on the account of Jesus’ healing both Jairus’ daughter and the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, Guillermo seemed troubled.

“I’ve been preaching the wrong thing!” he told translator Mareike Schoettelndreyer. “When I read this passage from my Spanish Bible, I didn’t understand the story correctly.”

From his understanding of the Spanish, Pastor Guillermo had previously taught that the daughter and the woman were the same person. But when he read the same verses in his heart language, Guillermo clearly understood. He could now preach confidently what he knew to be true.

Story Source: wycliffe.org/blog/posts/ive-been-preaching-the-wrong-thing
Pastor Adir from Brazil says, “A verse that we like very much today is John 3:16. This is a verse that makes me very happy - and all of the Kaingang churches. Because when we hear this verse we want to be firm in the Lord and fully believe in this Word from God.”

The impact of having the Bible in the heart language is tremendous! These pastors are now more fully equipped to shepherd the flocks God has entrusted to them.

More Good Things


It’s a joy and privilege in 2018 to continue the same pattern of working with both new and “established” Wycliffe staff through the Orlando programs and through coaching opportunities. Your prayers and gifts toward my Wycliffe ministry are being used by God to prepare and encourage many colleagues who serve around the world. Together, the Lord is using us to bring His translated Word to people like Pastors Guillermo and Adir. Then they might truly understand, believe, and lead others to do the same. Thank you for your part!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Literacy

What does literacy mean to you? Learning to read isn’t just about being able to read the Bible and other books. What if you couldn’t read vital information on a medicine bottle? What if you couldn’t even tell the time? These are everyday tasks most people in the Western world do without thinking – but these tasks require a certain level of literacy.

Exclusively oral communities may also face major barriers to higher education, earning money, and community development. Wycliffe Bible Translators wants to unlock new opportunities for people groups who have been limited by a lack of literacy.

We work with communities to develop intuitive writing systems (or orthographies, to use the technical term) that language communities recognize as their own and that help adults and children learn to read within as short a time as possible. How long it takes to learn to read varies from language to language and person to person, but an adult who is new to reading may learn to read confidently within six months to a year. Pray that literacy would open doors around the world not only for people to engage with the Bible, but also for large-scale community change.


Story and Photo Source: wycliffe.org.uk/blog/why-is-literacy-important/

Looking back, it was a joy to be in Indiana over the holidays to spend time with family and connect with many of you. I've begun to "thaw" from the sub-zero days in Brownsburg. [We did have frost in Orlando the past two nights. :-)] Thanks so much for your prayers for my travel. All 3,000 plus miles since December 14 was uneventful. I don't take that for granted.

Looking ahead, our next group of new colleagues will begin their Equip onsite orientation on Saturday, January 13. It's always exciting to meet each group and hear of how God has brought them to Wycliffe. Pray that God will give strength and wisdom as we work together to get them off to a good start. Thank you for your part in their ministry!