Friday, September 24, 2021

Praying for Bibleless People

When you last read your Bible, was it for daily devotion, comfort or wisdom? Can you imagine for a moment what it would be like if you didn’t have God’s Word in your own language?

No Psalms, no teaching from Paul, no Proverbs. Nothing. That’s the reality for one in five people around the world. And for some of those people, translation hasn’t even begun. This needs to change.

Here are some ways you can pray:
  • Pray that speakers of every language in the world would receive the Scriptures in whatever form they need it.
  • Pray for quality translations that speak meaningfully to people’s hearts.
  • Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil for Bible translation through worship and intercession.
  • Pray for perseverance. Pray that those involved in the Bible translation task would not grow weary or give up before the work is complete.
Virtual Equip #52 orientation begins tomorrow, with 21 adults and 13 MKs (missionary kids). Pray for technical things to run smoothly and for two good weeks online together as these new colleagues begin their Wycliffe careers. God is using your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry to impact these "newbies" who will serve around the world so that more may have their lives transformed by God's Word in a language they clearly understand. Thank you!

I'll be working from Mom's in Indiana as we facilitate this Equip. Mom continues to make progress, healing from her fall and gaining strength after her heart procedures. We are grateful for your ongoing prayers.

Please let me know how I may pray with you.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Trusting God's Plan

I had this all ready to post last Friday:

We're so grateful for your prayers for me and for Mom as she has gone through a variety of procedures this summer. We are excited that her recovery is progressing well. Yesterday, she even ventured out on a short bike ride. She wanted me to make sure you all know she is 88 now. ;-)

I can now set a timeline to return to Florida. Lord willing, I will drive south on September 18, in time to catch up on some routine medical/dental appointments and then be a part of Equip. I will also have the opportunity to settle back into the Orlando office, which is in the midst of some renovation and reorganization. Pray that Mom and I transition well -- that we are ready when the time comes. By September 18, I will have been in Indiana for 129 days.

Mom, out for a ride last Thursday

But, early that morning, Mom fell and broke bones in her right wrist and ring finger. She is past the pain of it, but she is unable to use her walker as her right hand heals. She's navigating some new challenges. I'm thankful I am still able to be here. I do not have a departure date in mind now.

God has been so very gracious these past months. Remote work continues. I am thankful that I am still able to serve with Wycliffe -- and am so thankful for your prayers and gifts that have made all that possible these past 11 years. God is continuing to use you!

Pray for our final preparations for Equip #52 -- it's coming soon! More about that next time.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Thanking God and You

I heard wonderful reports of the two weeks of Connection programs in Orlando that served our furloughing colleagues. God used your prayers. One of the "crew" members shared a story of how the Lord enabled her to have significant influence in the life of an MK (missionary kid). You prayed for her as you prayed for the Connections. That "crew' member is someone I coached as she asked the Lord to build her initial team of prayer and financial partners. As you've prayed for those I coach, you've prayed for her in the past, too! I rejoice that your prayers for my Wycliffe ministry had an impact, though I wasn't even there. Don't you love God's amazing plan?

Final preparations are in full swing for the next two-week Equip orientation, September 25 - October 7. The decision was made to hold that event virtually, rather than face-to-face. Though we will miss the interaction that would have been possible together in Orlando, we are confident that the Lord is sovereign over this. We are grateful for the six previous virtual opportunities that have positioned us well for this session. Pray that we will continue to be aware of all the details needed to train and encourage these "newbies" well.


Thank you for your faithful prayers for Mom and for me. Mom's progress continues to be slow but noticeable. We praise God that she celebrated her 88th birthday yesterday! There are more doctor and lab visits and cardiac rehab appointments in her near future. I am thankful for the ongoing opportunity to serve from Indy and assist her, too.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Beautiful

Forgive me for getting a bit emotional; I just couldn’t believe that your colleagues would spend many years working on a Nastaliq-style Arabic digital font with the hope that Scripture might be translated into this language one day...Thank you!

So said a potential new funding partner in the middle of a meeting in Asia last year. The font she was talking about is called Awami Nastaliq, and it was developed by the Writing Systems Technology team of Wycliffe’s strategic partner, SIL.

Awami Nastaliq is an Arabic-script font specifically intended for a wide variety of languages of Southwest Asia. Its sloping beauty means that it is a much more complex font to render on computers. Many Arabic characters usually need around four shapes to enable it to be typed, but a Nastaliq character typically has more than 20 shapes as it is so fluid and complex. Font designers and computer programmers from Scotland, the USA and Asia worked together to produce the correct shaping.

The Writing Systems Technology team gives away the fonts they develop in order to provide a service to the wider community. One of the designers noted, “People download an unbelievable number of our fonts – hundreds of thousands of times. So as well as Bible translation, our fonts are being used for tens of millions of webpages around the world to enable communication that otherwise couldn’t happen in that language.”

Read more of Alfred Thompson’s story at wycliffe.org.uk/stories/what-your-team-has-done-for-our-father-and-his-kingdom/

Over the years, I have regularly asked for prayer for those who come through Equip orientation. One past “Equipper” is Becca (wycliffe.org/partner/spalinger), who has been a font/type designer now for ten years. Your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry have been a part of her journey as she continues to help create fonts and impact language groups just like these. Thank you!

Personal Update


We are thankful for all your prayers and for all the medical care Mom has received, between her primary care, her heart valve replacement, her pacemaker, and even the balancing of the meds that are so important to her daily life. We are confident that “...all the days of my life were written in your book before any of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16, NLV) ...and know that God is present with us through each day, now and in the future.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and encouragements!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Connections Coming!

We thank God for you and your prayers for Mom. Yesterday was her one-month post-surgery follow up and everything looked great. We praise the Lord for her cardiology team. They have now recommended a pacemaker. That procedure should be scheduled soon. (The Lord's hand has been clearly visible as all the arrangements are coming into place!) As Mom is still recovering, my supervisor is working to shift my responsibilities so I may continue to serve Wycliffe remotely for this season.

Please pray for the team in Orlando. For the first time since February 2020, they will host two Connection programs (July 19-23 and July 26-30) for colleagues who have served overseas. There is a team member who became seriously ill this past week, so pray for the "crew" that remains to be very resourceful and healthy and covered by God's grace. Pray that those who come will feel cared for, celebrated well and encouraged as they fulfill their roles around the world in Bible translation.


Your partnership through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry is a gracious gift of God. Thank you so much. Please let me know how I might pray with you. Together, we will see the Lord at work.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Equip #51

Thank you for your prayers for Mom. She had the procedure on June 15 and it was successful! She had a couple of "bonus" days in the hospital this past week, but now that her meds are balanced differently, she's beginning to see some good recovery.

The Equip #51 crew and participants are also grateful for your prayers. We had generally stable internet and some amazing relational connections that only the Lord could have arranged in a virtual setting. A number of these new colleagues are headed to challenging parts of the world to be involved in linguistics and translation. God has used your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry to help them get a good start on their journey. Thank you!

Equip #51 Participants - Map by Marty Pelton​

Plans are in full swing for the first Orlando programs for our team since February 2020. Please pray for wisdom to know how to adjust as needed. We so look forward to being face-to-face with these colleagues who usually live overseas! Pray that they would feel cared for and celebrated in their time with us.

God is faithful to answer our prayers. I am eager to know how to pray on your behalf!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Equip is coming!

Thank you for your prayers and encouragements for Mom. Once again, as people prayed, she did better in the past week. The appointment with the cardiologist gave us good information. We are now waiting for June 14, when she will have a half day of testing to confirm that she is eligible for the TAVR heart procedure. Some days for her are better than others, but the Lord has obviously been with us, each step of the way.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work remotely in this season. Preparations continue for virtual Equip orientation (June 12-24). As you pray for these 30 new Wycliffe missionaries and 17 new MKs (missionary kids), would you ask God to give them strong bonds with each other, though we won't be face-to-face? I'm still in contact with some of the people who went through Equip when I did, 11 years ago. There is something about starting the journey together that the Lord uses to provide special motivation and encouragement.

Please let me know how I might be praying with you so that together, we might see God answer prayer.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Update from Indy 🏁

(Yes, had to include a flag. If you are from Indy, you know!)

Thank you for your prayers for safe travels. I had intended to drive on May 14-15, but Mom was admitted for a two-night hospital stay on May 11. I drove north on May 12. She's at home now and we are waiting for a June 1 consult about a possible heart procedure. Would you pray that she and the doctors have great clarity as they explore possibilities? We are so grateful for how the Lord and the prayers of his people have sustained her over these years.

Thankfully, I have all the materials/equipment I need to continue to work from here for a period of time. We're making final preparations now for the next virtual Equip orientation (June 12-24), where we'll have 30 new colleagues and 17 new MKs (missionary kids)! Thanks for your prayers as we and they prepare for our time together.

It's been a joy to connect with some of you face-to-face at Faith and Solid Word. Please let me know how I might be praying with you. God answers prayer!

Friday, May 7, 2021

Equip #50 is in the books!

Praise God for all that has taken place in the past three weeks. Fifteen new Wycliffe colleagues completed their Equip orientation on April 29. Once again, it was a virtual session and the Lord graciously gave us two wonderful weeks together. You can see below that we were spread all across the U.S. They are linguists and theologians and mechanics and administrators and sign language interpreters and IT specialists and will serve all over the world as soon as their initial teams of prayer and financial partners are complete. Your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry have impacted these new co-workers. Thank you!

(Equip 50 - map by Marty Pelton)

Then on April 30, we hosted a virtual Connection gathering of 13 "established" colleagues who reside in the U.S. and work around the world. One couple is short-term in Ecuador and connected with us that day! Our prayer is that our time together provided encouragement and renewal to help them continue to serve well.

Today, we finish a two-day Endeavor orientation with eight new paid staff. It's been a full and good three weeks!

Thank you in advance for your prayers for this next week. May 12-14, we'll host another virtual Connection gathering of those who have served overseas. Some had intended to be stateside now, but others have been displaced in the past year. Pray that we are able to connect in a way that provides encouragement for them. I plan to leave for Indy after we finish and should arrive the evening of May 15, Lord willing. I am so looking forward to seeing a number of you during this visit!

Please let me know how I might be praying with you. It is a joy to join you and know that God answers prayer!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Celebrate!

There is cause for celebration! Near the end of 2020, the number of languages available on the YouVersion app increased to over 1,500! Wycliffe Bible Translators contributes to the Digital Bible Library which serves as the source for YouVersion texts. YouVersion estimates more than 450 million installations of the app from all over the world. The cumulative impact of Bible translation continues to grow so that more and more people are able to be transformed as they encounter God through the Scriptures. Thank you, dear partners. Through your gifts and prayers for my Wycliffe ministry, together we are a part of a great work of the Lord!

(Image Source: instagram/wycliffeuk)

Thanks for already praying about these things. Preparations have gone very well and we are ready to go!
  • April 17-29, our next virtual Equip orientation, with 15 new co-workers and 11 new Missionary Kids (MKs).
  • April 30, our first session of a virtual Connection program, celebrating and caring for colleagues who've been serving around the world but lived stateside for at least the past four years.
  • May 12-14, our second virtual Connection, celebrating and caring for colleagues who've lived overseas, many of whom relocated suddenly and unexpectedly in the past year.
  • Thankfully, I experienced only minimal side effects from my second vaccine. I'm working on plans for a trip to Indy when we finish these events!
Please let me know how I might be praying with you. It is a privilege to join you in prayer.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Reasons for Praise


There have been times in the past year when I have delayed sending updates. Sometimes I've not known what to say. We've been busy, but it's been lots of behind-the-scenes tasks with more limited "people time"... as I imagine nearly all of your worlds might have been, too. And there's not as much to say about tasks! But as we've journeyed together these past 11 years, God has used you and your prayers during every season. Here are some reasons for praise:

- We've held four virtual Equip orientations with a total of 71 new colleagues in the last year.
- I've been working in the office more than half of the time since July.
- Though my travels have been limited in the past year, I've been able to stay connected to some extent:
   - I've had opportunity to pray with Solid Word Bible Church on many Thursday mornings.
   - I was able to attend some Global Impact Conference meetings and stream services from Faith Church.
- I was able to make three uneventful drives to Indy and back since October.
- Mom is doing well.
- I'm doing well.
   - I've had a minor ankle injury that is healing well.
   - I've had my first dose of the vaccine without incident.

God is faithful. And he has heard the faithful prayers you've been praying. Thank you!
Would you pray with me about these things?

- April 17-29, our next virtual Equip orientation, with 15 new co-workers.
- April 30, our first session of a virtual Connection program, celebrating and caring for colleagues who've been serving around the world but living stateside for at least the past four years.
- May 12-14, our second virtual Connection, celebrating and caring for colleagues who've lived overseas, many who relocated suddenly and unexpectedly in the past year.

I'm planning to celebrate that Lord willing, I'll be "fully vaccinated" by April 27. I'm looking forward to some gatherings then!

Please let me know how I might be praying with you. It is such a pleasure to join you in prayer.

Friday, March 12, 2021

It All Started With a Phone Call

On an ordinary day in December 2017, Wendy Scott-Penson was busy ministering to Wycliffe partners and empowering them to connect their resources to Bible translation projects in communities around the world. She answered an incoming call and quickly realized that it was an unusual one.

The man on the phone, Stefano, was a Kunama speaker who was determined to bring the Bible to his people group who were now living in communities dispersed around the world; Stefano had been displaced to the United States. He was adamant and passionate about God’s Word and he was turning to Wycliffe for help. Stefano’s call led to a long string of phone calls and emails, fact-checking conversations, and contact between Wycliffe Ethiopia, Eritrean Bible Society, Wycliffe USA and the Jesus Film Project. The organizations networked and finally connected with teams and resources.

Ultimately two teams were formed — one in Ethiopia that is working on revising the Old Testament and one in Canada with nine men translating the New Testament. The diaspora team and the team in the refugee camps work together, sharing the goal of completing the Kunama Bible in three years.

And to think that it all started with one phone call!

Read more of the story at wycliffe.org/blog/posts/it-all-started-with-a-phone-call.

The “rest of the story” is that you’ve had a part in the Kunama Bible! Your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry were a part of Wendy’s story as I coached her, 2016-2017. God is using you to impact many in ways we may not know this side of heaven!

Coming Virtual Programs

We are excited to be moving forward with some pilot programs for celebrating and caring for those Wycliffe colleagues who have been serving for a number of years. The challenge is that many are already weary of virtual meetings, so we’re working to design events that are brief and yet meaningful to encourage those who choose to participate. Pray for wisdom for us and for effective technology when the time comes.

Thank you for your faithful encouragements. I am honored to be on this journey with you!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Every Sign Points to God

The Lord is continuing to transform lives through the Scriptures. Sora shares her story about how ViBi is working to bring God's Word to the estimated 300,000 Japanese Deaf. Japanese Sign Language is one of nearly 400 sign languages in our world today. Through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry, you are a part of seeing God reach the Deaf through Bible translation. Thank you!


God answered your prayers for my drive south. He provided safety and good energy for the trip. Mom is also doing well and is grateful for your prayers. I'm back in the office now and am reconnecting with the team here. We're continuing to process and implement virtual methods of serving both new colleagues and those who have been with Wycliffe for years. Pray that we are able to use the tools the Lord has provided to care for and encourage them well.

Please let me know how I might be praying with you. It is a privilege to join you in prayer.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Equip #49

Equip 49 orientation is in the books! Such wonderful new colleagues: it was a privilege to work with them these past two weeks. They expressed their gratitude as I told them you were praying for them. They are a committed group and are eager for God to build their teams of prayer and financial partners so they might go on to their next role in Bible translation. Thank you again for your prayers on their behalf, as through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry, you have a part in all of their future service!

The surprise in this Equip was that I missed all of this past Monday's sessions as I drove north. (Special thanks to the wonderful team with which I serve, as they took on extra load!) Mom needed a little help with some things, so my family and I did some tag-team this week. The amazing part of technology was that I was able to jump back into Equip on Tuesday from Indiana and complete the week. So grateful for that flexibility! I am also grateful for your prayers over the years for my family. The Lord's hand has been obvious many times and in many ways. Things are going well here and I anticipate driving south sometime next week.


We continue to look for best ways to minister to our Wycliffe colleagues with the current challenges in travel and group gatherings. Thanks for your prayers for wisdom for those making decisions about such matters, that they may clearly know God's direction.

Please let me know how I might be praying with you. The gift of partnering with you in prayer is a joy.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Year in Review

Blessings to you in this new year! January started a little differently than I'd expected, but it's been good. I've been able to work from Brownsburg this week and be available for some things to help Mom. All has gone very well. Lord willing, I will drive south tomorrow. I'm grateful for your prayers for the trip up -- it was the smoothest drive I've had -- and will appreciate them on my return.

Many people observe the practice of reviewing the past year as the new one begins. Through the challenges of 2020, God has still been at work in bringing His Word to the world. Watch as Dr. John Chesnut, Wycliffe President/CEO, reviews some of the year's brightest moments for Bible translation. Through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry, you are a part of the team God is using to accomplish all these things!


We will host another two-week virtual Equip session, beginning January 16. We eagerly look forward to the time when we may be face-to-face with new co-workers, but are very thankful for technology that helps us deliver their orientation virtually now. On January 29, we will host two virtual meetings to help care for and celebrate those who have served overseas. Thanks for your prayers on our behalf as we continue to explore the most effective ways to serve our colleagues in the current paradigm.

Please let me know how I might be praying with you. It's a true privilege to join you as together, we seek God's glory in 2021.