13 July 2008

A Heart for the Nations

Navigators Visit Wycliffe Bible Translators

(Statistics) The worldwide status of Bible translation (2007):


...the number of languages spoken in the world today


...the number of languages without any of the Bible, but with a possible need of a Bible translation to begin


...the number of people who speak the 2,251 languages where translation projects have not yet begun


...the number of translation programs currently in progress for languages without adequate Scripture

nearly 80%

...amount of the world’s remaining Bible translation needs that are located in the three areas of greatest need


...the number of language communities which have access to the New Testament in their heart language


...the number of language communities which have access to the entire Bible in the language they understand best


...the population of the world

The Great Commission
Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Habakkuk 2:14
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Saturday morning we headed out early for a trip to Orlando, FL. Our first stop: Wycliffe Bible Translators. I had no idea what to expect, but it was so cool. One statistics they gave us that isn't in the above chart is hard to grasp: 6% of the world speaks English. (Really? Wow, my American mind would have guessed much higher.) That 8% owns 85% of Bibles ever printed (because they are in English). Why is Wycliffe putting so much effort into translating the Bible? Why not Plato's writings or the Book of Mormon? 1,200 years after Plato's writings were first produced, there are 7 copies remaining. Within 25 years of the New Testament being written, 24,000 copies were made. They were diligently copied out on scrolls with such accuracy that when you rolled them up, you could stick a pin through the entire document and the monk who copied it could tell you every word that pin pierced through. That's legit. (Also, unity of Scripture, fulfilled prophecies, archaeological support of Scripture, and changed lives.)

I'd encourage you to go check out the Wycliffe website (see above link). There's so many sweet things and facts on there.

Desperation of the Bibleless & illiterate people:
Poverty - they struggle to provide for their families because many economic opportunities are not open to them.
Injustice - they may not know their political rights because they cannot read the constitution or laws of their country.
Spiritual Hunger - prayer and worship services are often conducted in a language they have trouble understanding. Worst of all, they have no Scriptures that speak to them in the language of their heart.
Inability - they often cannot receive instruction in the language they understand best, so learning is difficult. Some students think they cannot learn; some have no access to education at all.
Sickness - they cannot read life-giving health care information, so they may not know how to protect their families from preventable illnesses and epidemics.
*Teaching 1% of the women how to read would provide a 3x better chance that children would not die from preventable illness than if you were simply to increase the number of doctors in the area by 1%.

Wycliffe and their partners around the world bring hope to marginalized people.
- Literacy programs open doors of education and economic empowerment in countries such as Kenya, Peru, and Papua New Guinea. Wycliffe also develops literacy materials including primers and dictionaries.
- Wycliffe has helped many language groups develop their first alphabet and system of writing. This is a cultural milestone that affirms the value of the language and preserves the culture's heritage.
- When the Bible is translated, people experience God's message of hope and love personally. As of 2006, Wycliffe has assisted in more than 700 Scripture translations, representing the heart languages of 78 million people.

As our time wrapped up, the man presenting spread out a long document, pages upon pages of names of people groups who are currently Bibleless. We were challenged to pick a group to pray continually for until God leads someone to go to them and begin the work of translating a Bible in their language. Every day I am praying for the Korubo people of Brazil. The Korubo people are a group of indigenous people living in the Javari Valley in the Western Amazon Basin. It is estimated that there are about 150-200 people in the group. They are living completely isolated from the rest of the world and have never had a Bible in their language. There is currently no one working to translate a Bible for these people.

Watch the Jesus film being shown for the first time in the language of the Gamo People in Southern Ethiopia: Click here. Wow.

Can we trust God for the impossible? God is big. I think we often forget that. Pray big. Do big.

Isaiah 6:8 -
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."


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