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Wycliffe Foundation announces restructure

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After seven years and more than $100 million in production, Wycliffe Foundation is currently undergoing some organizational realignment and restructure. To learn more, view the announcement here.

While much of the transition is still in process, there are a number of online activities that will be impacted by this restructure. First, many of our social media outlets, like Facebook, Twitter and this blog, will be discontinued within the week. While we have reach a number of new partners through these resources, the function of Wycliffe Foundation will no longer need a separate online identity apart from Wycliffe Bible Translators. Additionally, the Wycliffe Foundation Web site will eventually integrate more fully with Wycliffe.org.

As always, thank you for your prayers during this time. It is our pleasure serving with you in this ministry of Bible translation.

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March 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

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William Cameron Townsend Legacy Society honors faithful givers

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When you make a planned gift through Wycliffe Foundation, you join the William Cameron Townsend Legacy Society, a
community of people who share your vision for advancing Bible translation.

The Society is the namesake of Cameron Townsend, the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Townsend’s
commitment to reaching the lost with Scripture in their own languages inspired a vibrant global translation

Membership in the William Cameron Townsend Legacy Society offers the chance to partner in fulfilling Uncle Cam’s dream of unlocking Scripture for those still waiting.

Legacy Society members receive invitations to Biblical stewardship seminars and exclusive events, discounts on
selected Wycliffe merchandise, and regular newsletter updates, among other benefits. Members may remain anonymous.

For more information on the benefits of membership in the William Cameron Townsend Legacy Society, call toll-free 877-493-3600 or visit http://wycliffefoundation.org.

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January 21, 2010 at 11:11 am

Words fit for a prince

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By Jenny Evans, The Seed Company

Prince Bello is 78 years old, but he’s young as a Christian. Just nine years ago, he left the major religion of his Okphela forefathers to follow Christ.
The Nigerian prince held a variety of prestigious positions during his career and speaks fluent English.

Many would question whether this well-educated English speaker and his English-speaking church need a translation in their language. But Prince Bello has experienced its value for himself.

At the end of a service that included the reading of Romans 8:31–39 in his language, Prince Bello rose and declared, “Now, for the first time in my life, have I understood the meaning of these verses.”

The prince’s situation isn’t unique. Throughout Nigeria, churches among people groups that don’t have mother
tongue Scripture use English for their services. Those who don’t know English often rely on the quick translation of a
pastor from the pulpit. Today there are over 300 Nigerian language groups like the Okphela that still need God’s Word.

The Seed Company works with other Wycliffe organizations, Nigerian churches and local ministries to plan and implement creative projects throughout Nigeria like the Okphela project. To learn more, visit http://theseedcompany.org.

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January 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

Translation treasure

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By Rachel Morgan, Rangi Project Translation Advisor, Wycliffe Bible Translators

Two very rewarding aspects of working on a translation project stand out in my mind. The first is seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they hear God’s Word in their language for the first time. The second is what I call the “light bulb” moments.

These moments occur when a translator is looking at the Bible trying to find an equivalent word for a concept in his language.

This recently happened when we were translating Genesis 13:10. The Swahili word for the Garden of Eden, or Garden of the Lord, is bustani. The Tanzanian translators were used to this word, but it does not conjure up anything particularly beautiful about a garden.

Tom, a Bible translator, was describing how beautiful the Garden of Eden was, with water, animals, trees, flowers, etc. During the discussion, Kijuu and Maingu, the Rangi translators, suddenly ‘saw’ for the first time how beautiful the Garden of Eden was. They then knew that the best Rangi word for a beautiful garden or piece of land is ntindika.

Kijuu described ntindika as a place which, though people need to tend and cultivate it, never fails to produce a great variety of delicious fruit , such as papaya, mangoes or sugar cane.

He said, “You can always find food there.”

It was exciting to see the joy in their faces as they made this discovery. Translating the Word of God into a person’s mother tongue makes it come alive for them.

Wycliffe is a Wycliffe Foundation affiliate organization.

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January 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

Family ties inspire a legacy

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By Mary Tindall

Early in their marriage, Fred and Caroline Yocum made a decision that has shaped a 40-year legacy of generosity.

“We were challenged many years ago, in 1969, to tithe,”  Caroline recalled. “So we made a determined effort to tithe within that year. And then, as the Lord blessed us with any salary increases, we would increase our giving at a rate of 1 percent.”

As time passed, Fred advanced within the railroading industry, eventually becoming an executive. With each raise, the Yocums gave more to missionaries, often helping ones with young children so they could involve their own two daughters and son.

Today they support eight Wycliffe missionaries, including two nephews serving with Wycliffe. Much of their giving has supported Bible translation, a choice rooted in their belief that Scripture transforms lives.

The Yocums’ consistent giving has allowed them to see the fruit of their gifts—even through deep grief.

Caroline’s sister and brother-in-law, Cindi and Jim Farr, had served as translators with Wycliffe in Papua New Guinea for 37 years when Cindi died suddenly in January 2008 at age 61.

When the Yocums saw the video of Cindi’s funeral, they noticed how the country had changed since their visit three decades earlier.

Cindi’s funeral itself illustrated changes in the Korafe tribe, whose funerals were traditionally somber and full of wailing. As the Korafe read God’s Word in their own language, made available to them through the Farrs’ ministry, they re-examined their attitudes about death. Because they believed Cindi was in Heaven, the tribe buried her to the beat of drums and dancing.

“There’s no question that the reason they did it is their understanding that she was with Christ,” Fred said. “It indicated that God’s Word had made a real difference.”

The Yocums received an inheritance several months ago, just as their nephew, Dan Moury, began raising support to serve with Wycliffe as a videographer. They immediately knew how they wanted to use it.

“There’s always been a very good relationship between Dan and our family,” Fred explained. “We felt that since the Lord called him to do this, then we should try to help.”

As the Yocums explored the best way to support Dan and his family, they considered making a large one-time gift.

Then, Dan heard about the possibility that the Yocums could support them using a planned gift.

After meeting with Director of Gift Planning Steve Davis, the Yocums established a donoradvised

fund through Wycliffe Foundation.

The DAF allows them to direct funds during their lifetime toward Wycliffe Bible Translators for the benefit of the Mourys. They can adjust the funds distributed each year based on the Mourys’ needs. Upon the Yocums’ death, their DAF will be administered by a successor of their choice.

The donor-advised fund allows the Yocums to give at a measured pace despite the fact that retirement has changed their cash flow and serves as one more tool that helps them continue their legacy of supporting Bible translation.

“This is a way that we can give ongoing, year by year, and do it at the time that we had the opportunity to make the gift.” Fred explained.

You can continue your support of a Wycliffe member through a Wycliffe Foundation donor-advised fund. For more information, call toll-free (877) 493-3600 or visit http://wycliffefoundation.org/daf.

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January 21, 2010 at 9:14 am

A note from the Wycliffe Foundation president

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By Don Erickson, President and CEO, Wycliffe Foundation

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints — and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you — so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

(2 Corinthians 8:1-15, NRSV)

Greetings, fellow Macedonians!

Nothing speaks to our current times as well as Scripture.

Like the Macedonians, we are living in a difficult financial time, yet we continue to witness the generosity of donors. The Macedonians begged for the privilege of sharing; our partners seek to maximize their giving to Bible translation. The Macedonians gave first of themselves to the Lord.

I am continually humbled by the stories of faith and commitment to Kingdom work that come from our Legacy Society members. Paul’s task was to complete the work of gathering resources for the church. Ours is to complete the task of gathering resources needed to start translation for the last remaining language groups without God’s Word.

Nothing provides hope to the world better than Scripture does. Thanks for excelling in providing resources so that all might hear. We look forward to serving you in 2010.

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January 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Crafting Bible stories in an oral culture

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By Elizabeth Wilson, Storying Consultant, Wycliffe Bible Translators

“These stories have allowed me to share the gospel in ways I’ve never been able to share before,” Peter* answered, when I asked him how the oral chronological Bible storying project had affected his life and ministry. Peter is just one of 23 young men who made up a cluster of eight Bible storying projects in northern India.

Elizabeth worked on the OneStory project in 2009.

Over the past year, I had the distinct privilege of coordinating and consulting with six of these teams while I lived in Pan Town,* India. I lived in a girls’ orphanage with a lot of bugs, little electricity, the heartache of missing home and the daily frustration of communicating in a language not my own. My role was to meet daily with the story teams and advise them as they crafted stories in their own languages.

Two-thirds of the world functions as oral cultures; sharing the gospel through oral stories immediately connects with these cultures’ style of communication. In addition, oral stories can often pave the way for the written Word.

After hearing the story of Elijah praying for rain (taken from 1 Kings), a group of literacy teachers asked for a copy of the entire Bible in the national language, because it hasn’t been translated yet in their own mother tongue.

In short, the storying process looked like this: The team members, or “story-crafters,” crafted a story, then tested it with unbelieving neighbors in their villages. This testing involved asking the listener to retell the story after hearing it a few times, and also answering several “why”-type questions. The story-crafter then brought this testing data to me. After reviewing the information with other consultants, the story-crafter and I discussed ways to adjust the story so that the listener had a more accurate understanding of the story and would also be able to retell it more easily.

In the end, these eight languages reaching more than 65 million people now have access to God’s word in the form of 20 to 30 oral Bible stories. But more than that, national believers have a unique tool to share the gospel with the unbelievers around them.

One story-crafter reported, “I told the story of Jonah, and the unbeliever who listened heard that God forgives those who do wrong—something missing in their cultural worldview. After the story, the listener asked, ‘Will God also forgive me?’ Before, I couldn’t find a way to explain these things in a conversation, but the stories make it very easy for me to share.”

Another team member reported, “My wife is illiterate, but through this story training, she has learned about 18 stories, and now whenever she sits and talks with someone, she can explain (the gospel) through the stories. There is a great change in her life.”

Telling Bible stories is certainly not a new idea. However, storying through the Bible chronologically through Biblically accurate, culturally relevant stories, is an approach that Wycliffe is beginning to use more effectively to reach more people in this generation with the truth of the gospel.

*Due to the sensitive nature of the work, actual names have not been used.

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January 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm