Friday, December 23, 2022

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Think of it -- this year, there are communities hearing and reading and seeing the story of Jesus' birth for the first time in a language they best understand, all because of Bible translation. Your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry have been a huge part of bringing the Good News of great joy to all people. Thank you!

Dr. John Chesnut serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. John and his wife, Kelly. wish to bring you Christmas greetings!

For a personal update, please visit my Google Group page.

Friday, October 14, 2022

A Day in the Life

Your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry are a part of the larger picture, as together we ask God to bring his Word to the marginalized people of the world. Wycliffe Bible Translators partners with many other organizations, working together in Scripture translation. A representative from one of those partner organizations, the Deaf Bible Society, joined us in a prayer meeting recently. I learned much from this video in which she's the "hearing" person.

October is the start of the new fiscal year for Wycliffe, which means all the new missionaries I am working with need revisions to their ministry budgets, to align them with new costs. Since they are in the time of initially asking God to provide through the generosity of individuals and churches, it's important that they have an accurate budget in mind. It's been fun to work through a new app on our HR site to get those budgets completed. I've had opportunity to touch base with each new coworker assigned to me and see how we might help them. In the other part of my role, we continue to celebrate colleagues as they reach their anniversaries with Wycliffe. I'm encouraged as we recognize the faithful legacy of so many.

Thank you for your many notes and prayers for Mom and me as we do life together. We seem to be in a time of one step forward; two steps back. Each day is the same and yet can be very different. We're grateful God has written all our days in his book before they ever came to be. We rest in that truth.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Translating Across Continents

The Kunama Bible translation process is unique because the community is displaced from their home country of Eritrea and are dispersed around the world. The Kunama New Testament team works from North America while the Old Testament team works from Ethiopia. The translators have overcome significant obstacles and challenges, but they serve faithfully and humbly to bring Scripture to the Kunama diaspora. One translator's motivation:

When you read it, if you don't understand well, you don't go back next time. But when they have the Book that's easy to read, it's written in the dialect they use every day... they will go deep into God's Word.

(For those of you from Faith Church, Jeff Shrum makes appearances at 3:54 and 4:39.)

Thank you for your prayers for my trip to Orlando. God answered them by providing encouragement and renewal through the things we learned and from the extended face-to-face time with colleagues, some of whom I had never met in person. The Lord is using your partnership with my Wycliffe ministry to provide ongoing encouragement as we each do our part within his plan of bringing the Bible to the world.

Mom seems to be entering a more challenging stage of her journey. Thank you in advance for your continued prayers for grace as she walks through these life changes.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Oral Bible Storytelling

Pastor Laban is an oral Bible storyteller in a project in northeastern Nigeria. He visited a village where the people were devout idol worshipers and told them Bible stories in their language. They all accepted Jesus to be their Lord and Savior! Hallelujah!

They immediately requested a church to be started for them and began gathering for worship under a tree near their now-abandoned shrine. The community leader donated a piece of land for a building to be built. It has now been erected with a roof, though it's not plastered and is without windows and doors. Yet, they are faithfully gathering for worship and using the building for Sunday church services and other activities. Join me in praising God for the power of his Word in a language and form that the people understood!

Story and Photo Source: Amy Easterlin

I leave on Monday for a two-week trip to Orlando where I will attend meetings with other Wycliffe USA colleagues. We will learn more about how Wycliffe is partnering with other Bible translation organizations around the world to be more effective together. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with friends from Orlando. I'll also have the opportunity to meet some of my new co-workers face-to-face. I look forward to taking in some Florida scenery and climate, too. Thank you in advance for your faithful prayers for good learning and connection and renewal.

Today, we celebrate Mom's 89th birthday! We are grateful to God for her continued stability and obvious trust in the Lord. Praise God with us for his care for her and for us.

Friday, July 8, 2022

What do I do now?

You might have wondered what my new roles look like. This past month, the Member Finance team of Wycliffe USA has been a part of facilitating economic helps for those who depend on the gifts of churches and individuals. In this time of uncertainty, many colleagues and their financial partners have experienced financial challenges. Through the provision of gracious donors, funds were made available for those who qualified for and requested help. Our team was responsible to process those requests. It’s a privilege to be a part of the background happenings, knowing that our part of Bible translation is to help other Wycliffe personnel continue to focus on their part in Bible translation, rather than on financial concerns.

In my other role, the Stateside Care team began celebrating anniversaries -- years spent with Wycliffe. This month, we’ll send cards for a 1st anniversary, a 50th anniversary, and several in between! We hope to remind these co-workers that what they do is being used by God. Our prayer is that they will be encouraged to continue serving well.

In just that same way, what you do matters -- your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry are being used by God to serve others. Thank you for your faithfulness!
Personal Update

I’ve enjoyed being in Indianapolis and the opportunities to reconnect with many of you. And, as the “Crossroads of America,” Indiana is on the way to a number of places for some Wycliffe colleagues I coached or taught virtually. It has been a joy to meet some as they come through. I look forward to meeting others face-to-face after spending so many hours online together.

I’ve also been able to enjoy immediate and extended family gatherings. God has blessed me with an amazing family. It’s a gift to be within driving distance of so many now.

For praise and prayer items, visit my Google group.

Friday, June 10, 2022

So that people can understand clearly who Jesus is

How do you go about translating the Bible for people who prefer to listen rather than read? A new translation of the Bible starting in Senegal is using ground-breaking translation methods so more people will be able to hear about Jesus. The translation will be oral in both process and outcome. This is the first time a translation will be done orally in Senegal.

One of the translation team members explains: "First we will go through the passage so the translators understand it and internalise the passage, so they can tell it in a way that is natural in Contemporary Wolof (the local language). Then we will listen to it, check it, and adjust it. We do that over and over until we have an accurate and natural draft. It goes through all the same checking processes that a written translation goes through."

Your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry impact translation so that others like the Senegalese may understand the Bible and know Jesus. It's why we are on this journey together. You are a part of what God is doing around the world!

So what am I doing now? Well, I was able to help with two online workshops last week. I've been able to pray with and for those in challenging situations. I've helped test some new financial software and helped write explanations of programs yet to come. I've been a part of processing different kinds of budget documents on behalf of other colleagues. My days are not necessarily predictable, but it is such a gift to be able to serve from Indiana. Pray for continued wisdom to learn well and be responsive to the needs of those I serve.

Mom has had three weeks of physical therapy for her gait, and she is beginning to see some progress and increased energy and stability. We are thankful! We're enjoying a little outdoor time now and bought the first flowers that she will be potting soon. May God's blessings be as obvious in your lives, too.

Friday, May 6, 2022

How Will They Know?

Praise God, there have been amazing strides forward in Bible translation in recent years. From the use of satellite internet access to Oral Bible Translation, translation into minority languages is happening with increasing speed and effectiveness. Yet there are still more than 1800 language groups today for which there is not even a translation project started. How will they know?

This man belongs to the Hani people who live in southern China near the border with Viet Nam. More than 750,000 people belong to the Hani language community, which is considered a minority in the vast nation of China. Since they speak a language totally different to Chinese, the literacy rate is low and they have no Scriptures available to them. The Chinese government has recognized that the Hani have the lowest quality of life of all the official Chinese minority groups. Please pray for the Hani people to have access to God’s message so they might understand and have their lives transformed.

Story Source: Elyse Patten,

Personal Update

I’ve found a niche as an occasional online host for services at Faith Church. I’ve enjoyed being able to contribute to and be a part of that community, many of whom are still at-risk and unable to join in the in-person gatherings. Some of you are among that group -- it’s nice to be able to give back in that way. I get to use a little bit a techy-ness to host, too, which is fun for me.

I’ve also been able to get into more predictable routines for some basic things in life, including exercise. I’ve walked the Indianapolis mini (half) marathon multiple times in the past. Perhaps that would be a good goal again for NEXT year! Who’d like to walk it with me?

I drove north to be with Mom on May 12, 2021, which led to my move in November. I cannot thank you enough for the many prayers, encouragements, Zooms, chats, notes, calls, texts, and visits that have helped me transition in this past year. I am grateful!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Nigerian Sign Language

Famine and terrorism have dominated the news out of northern Nigeria in the past few years. However, there is good news. Deaf Bible translators from DOOR have completed a 110-narrative Chronological Study Bible in Nigerian Sign Language.

Deaf people best understand the Gospel when a Deaf believer shares it with them in the local sign language. Furthermore, Deaf people prefer to learn new information in a chronological order. They like to “see the big picture” from beginning to end.

That’s why our Deaf staff chose Chronological Bible Translation (CBT) as the most culturally appropriate way to communicate God’s Word with Deaf communities. We’ve found CBT to be a very clear, accurate, and natural way to teach unreached Deaf people about God. Because Deaf people can easily understand God’s Word when it is in narrative form, they are able to go and teach it to others.

Each Chronological Bible Translation consists of 110 biblical narratives from Genesis to Revelation. Each narrative is accompanied by an introduction to give context, and a section giving more information about the passage.

Blessing, a Deaf Nigerian woman, was involved in the community testing of Acts 16:16-40, the story of the stoning of Stephen. (Community testing helps the team ensure that the translation is clear and easily understood by the community.) Blessing said, “In northern Nigeria, there is a real threat to Christianity. I was challenged that—just like Stephen—I need to be strong and share the Word of God, no matter the cost.”

Story Source: Elaine Bombay, Wycliffe Global Alliance;

Personal Update

It’s been nice to see Spring in Indiana again — the beginnings of color! My favorites are the redbud trees.

Mom’s health has been stable, praise God. I am thankful my sister was able to come spend time with Mom while I stepped away for a weekend recently. That’s a practice I’ll plan to build in about once a quarter. I’m finding that after having lived by myself for decades, I do miss having some solitude.

It has been a joy to more regularly reconnect with folks from the Indianapolis area. What a blessing to have a number of solid friendships here already. I am also grateful for your continued, faithful prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry. Thank you! It’s an honor to extend your impact to those still in need of God’s Word.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Six Weeks In!

Wow -- it has been six weeks since I began in the new roles. I'm learning a lot and connecting with a number of folks in the organization who are new to me. I am not only getting to know the teams I have joined, but my work now interfaces with entirely different teams than I did previously. It's been great to begin to get to know a whole new group of colleagues. With the Member Finance team, I am learning there are intricate processes in place to keep things running smoothly. With the Stateside Care team, I am beginning to connect with many who have been with Wycliffe for decades... and we get to help care for them and encourage them to continue serving well.

In the previous paradigm, I had longer contact to help a smaller group of Wycliffe people. In the past six weeks, I've touched base with 14 households about budgets and introduced the services of the Stateside Care team to 73 households. Each of these co-workers impact Bible translation and your partnership through your gifts and prayers for my Wycliffe ministry impacts them. Thank you! I am amazed at and grateful for God's ways of using each of us where he has placed us to accomplish his purposes. This video expresses the gratitude of Wycliffe for your part!

Friday, February 4, 2022

New Roles

Thank you for your prayers for Equip #53. The two weeks went very smoothly. It was an honor to be a part of the "Crew" to serve our new colleagues. The Lord is already using them to share about Bible translation. Our prayer is that God will provide teams of prayer and financial partners for their Wycliffe ministries so they may go on soon to their service assignments.

This past Monday, I began training as a "member financial liaison." I'll be in that role half of the time, guiding new members through financial policies and requirements, helping them to understand and initiate their financial relationship with Wycliffe USA in a manner that is competent and timely. There have been open positions on this team for months. It is a highly detailed role, so it will be a good brain stretch. Last week I was a "teacher" -- now I am a student who has much to learn! I'm encouraged that most of my first clients came through virtual Equips, so we have worked together already.

The other half of my time will be as a "stateside care facilitator," helping care for and celebrate U.S.-based staff and assisting in connecting them with the Wycliffe people and services available. The goal is that U.S.-based staff feel valued and encouraged to continue serving well. I've had the opportunity to meet and serve a number of these colleagues already as they came through Wycliffe Stateside Connection programs in Orlando.
This year, Wycliffe Bible Translators celebrates 80 years of serving minority communities around the world through Bible translation. As of February 9, I will have been with Wycliffe for 12 years. All those years, your prayers and gifts have been used by God as he has been transforming lives through the translated Word.

Thank you for your faithful partnership and encouragement. Please let me know how I may pray with you.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Bible Translation and Mission

Eddie Arthur of Wycliffe UK writes...

...translation is a normal feature of life in a multicultural, multilingual family. More importantly, our involvement in Bible translation imitates the way that God has worked through Scripture and history. The Bible paints a picture of a God who reaches out to people to meet them where they are. He does not expect people to climb up to him, but he comes down to us and communicates with us in a way that we can understand. The climax of God’s self-revelation comes through the incarnation of Jesus Christ; God in human flesh, speaking a human language and living a human life. God translated into human!

(There is much more to this article! If that paragraph intrigues you at all, I'd encourage you to consider reading: Bible Translation and Mission: The Big Picture.)

What a thrill to be a part of Bible translation! Thank you for your part, as together we seek to be used by God as he continues to reach out to people through the translated Scriptures.

Tomorrow, we begin another virtual Equip. It is most likely the last Equip for me -- my 42nd, if my count is correct. This will be the 8th virtual session. What a joy it has been to be part of the team helping facilitate these orientation sessions! And, through your prayers and gifts for my Wycliffe ministry, you've been a part of "equipping" hundreds of new Wycliffe colleagues.

Would you pray with me for Equip #53 - January 15-27?
  • Health and clear minds for participants and "crew."
  • Good internet and technology for all.
  • For the crew to serve these new colleagues well as they begin their Wycliffe journeys.
Then, February 1, I'll begin my new roles. (Yes, two of them!) More about that next time!!

Thank you for your faithful prayers and encouragements. Please let me know how I may pray with you.