The Greatest Missionary

There have been many great missionaries in the world.  We learned about some of them during a missions class this past fall called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (which I highly recommend).  As part of this class, we learned about four men and three world-changing eras in the last 200 years.

One of the two men who set in motion the third era was Cameron Townsend, co-founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators.  “Townsend saw that there were still unreached frontiers, and for almost a half century he waved the flag for the overlooked tribal people of the world.”  If you were to ask Cameron Townsend who is the greatest missionary, I am confident of his answer.

‎”The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner.”
— Cameron Townsend

A smiling woman holds a New Testament

What is Partnership Development?

As part of our training for Wycliffe Bible Translators, we have to learn about Partnership Development (PD in the Wycliffe vernacular).  Here is a description of what PD is from The IT World of Wycliffe website.

Partnership Development (PD) is a ministry. It is a ministry of education and involvement to those people whom God has called to be missionary senders. This ministry begins when God calls a new single person or family into missionary service, and it continues until they withdraw from the work (change of ministry, illness, death, retirement, etc.). Throughout this ministry, God uses personal involvement with the missionary to bring Christians not already active in the Great Commission into His global purpose. Those involved gain the increasing satisfaction of seeing their contributions making an eternal impact.

This really changes the perspective of talking with people about Wycliffe.  It is amazing to think that we are already starting our ministry.  PD isn’t something just for this initial ramp-up time.  It is an on-going process of communicating what God is doing through our involvement with Wycliffe.  How can PD be furthering God’s kingdom?

In our PD efforts we remind the Church that the Bibleless people are still waiting. We model the fact that God uses ordinary people with ordinary skills. Our initial God-given assignment is to be a missionary TO the CHURCHES and BELIEVERS on behalf of the Bibleless. In God’s time, we will have our teams complete and will then become missionaries TO the BIBLELESS on behalf of the churches and believers!

Thank you LORD for Partnership Development.  LORD, continue to shape in me the proper perspective of PD.

Partnership: Faith Comes By Hearing

I recently started receiving the Wycliffe Daily Prayer newsletter.  They have a special 40 Days of Prayer which is September 19 – November 11.  Today’s prayer reminded me about a question we had recently about how many translations are available in audio format.

One of the great things about Vision 2025 is the increased cooperation with other ministries.  Here is a quote from Today’s prayer:

The work of Bible translation leads to more than just access to God’s Word in people’s heart languages. It’s the foundational building block for many ministries that follow. God’s Word in local languages is the cornerstone for church-planting efforts, and strengthens existing churches. Once the Book of Luke is translated into a language, the JESUS film can be dubbed into it. Faith Comes by Hearing can record newly translated Scriptures for the audio versions they provide to people groups everywhere. And of course, the language development involved in a Bible translation project leads to an improved quality of life for minority communities—the translation of health materials, teaching literacy, and much more.

Faith Comes by Hearing recently announced The Word of God in 590 Languages … And Counting.  They are committed to reaching the nations with the Word of God in audio, offering the Bible in a format that will connect with the world’s 50% illiterate population.

REACH|11 Meals With Missionaries

What do Skittles and God’s Word have in common? 
Sign up for Meals with Missionaries to find out!

Skittles 1Skittles 2 

We’d love to meet with you on one of the following dates….
Saturday, October 8th @ 5:30 pm
Thursday, October 13th @ 6:30 pm
Saturday, October 15th @ 5:00 pm

And, don’t forget to check out all the other activities for REACH|11!

Isaiah 41:10

Seeds Family Worship has a song called ‘Do Not Fear’ based on Isaiah 41:10 from their Seeds of Courage CD.  I have been singing it for several weeks – and I think I will continue to sing it in order to ingrain this promise from God’s Word!

So do not fear, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

In my previous posts Come Follow Me, Part 1 and Come Follow Me, Part 2, I shared how God has shown Himself faithful in the past and what we believe is His call to us for the future.  If you have read these, then you are aware that our family embarked on the application process to be missionaries.    Well, months later, after much prayer, reflection, interviews, and some shaky knees, we have received word that we have been accepted as members to Wycliffe Bible Translators!

Wycliffe’s vision is to see God’s Word accessible to all people in the language that they understand best so that everyone has an opportunity to have an intimate and life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our future assignment: No, we are not gifted as translators!  However, my husband will have the opportunity to use his skills in software development to assist in the process of translating the gospel into the many heart languages of unreached people groups.  He will be working with a team to develop specialist computer software for use by Bible translators and language workers worldwide. This will allow for faster, more accurate, and more meaningful Bible translations.

Our next steps:  Training!  In addition to our current family responsibilities and jobs, we will be taking missions training for the next year – a Perspectives course and online Wycliffe training as a couple, onsite training at Wycliffe headquarters as a family, and SIL training for my husband in the upcoming summer.   Partnership Development!  We will also be seeking much needed prayer and financial support.

Our needs:
– For God to raise up a team of ministry partners –both prayer and financial supporters
– That in the midst of missions training and our ongoing family roles, we would have spiritual protection, strength, endurance, and wisdom
– For trust in Christ alone, a continued sense of calling, and an abiding peace as we face uncertainties and meet transitions
– For growth in prayer as a couple and family
– For diligence (especially when tired) in training, disciplining, and discipling the children

Honestly, I keep having to fight my knee jerk reaction to pull back, scream no, and hold on tight to where we are and to what we have in an effort to protect myself and our children – for my desire for stability, comfort in the known, and for being the overseer of MY time, MY resources, MY energy, etc.   In reality though, that is faulty thinking – to think that I am in control.  Everything we currently have has come from HIM.  Everything we need in the future comes from HIM.  If this is truly what God desires for our family, who am I to say no and to question if HE will provide yet again?   I know that HE will provide all things in all situations – within the known and in the unforeseen – time, energy, resources, wisdom for decisions, and prayer support.

For my Lord will uphold me with His righteous right hand.  It is there, in Christ alone, that I find strength, rest, peace, and security.

Wycliffe Members

Today we found out that we are officially members of Wycliffe Bible Translators!  Some of you may know that we have been in the application process to become IT missionaries with Wycliffe.  Some of you might wonder what that means.  Many may wonder how this all started.

Missions for our family has been a gradual, persistent urging by God to see people brought to faith in Jesus Christ.  Our home church has been College Park Church for about 15 years.  Our church has always had a strong emphasis on missions, more so than any other church that we have been involved in.  There is a special emphasis once a year during our missions conference.  Each year I would feel the tug towards missions.

However, the picture I had towards missions was someone paddling a canoe in the jungle and evangelizing the native people of the country.  I could never picture our family in that setting.  There would always be excuses.  There was never a strong connection with a people group like I have heard from many other missionaries.  In my view, participation in missions was never optional.  You either go or you send!

So we followed God’s calling to missions by sending missionaries.  Each year as my salary increased, we would either increase our contributions to a missionary or add new missionaries that we would support.  It was one of the most gratifying seasons of the year!  I was so grateful that I could use the skills that God had given me to gain income and support the work of the Gospel!  Maybe some day some of our children would receive the call to missions and we could support them too, but I didn’t imagine us being called.

Then one afternoon, I was meeting with Joshua Harber who is a field representative for Wycliffe Bible Translators.  Both Michelle and I have always loved the work that Wycliffe does and looked to provide advertising for Wycliffe on Michelle’s website.  While we were talking at Taco Bell, I can vividly remember Joshua leaning over and saying, “You know, Wycliffe really needs IT people!”  It took me by surprise.  Could God really use my skills as a software engineer?  I took a look at the opportunities to serve and most of what I saw in IT was helpdesk, backend business systems, etc.  This was not the type of computer work that I was interested in.  I decided to stick to sending.

This past fall things really changed.  I attended a Last Languages Campaign dinner organized by Joshua.  He conveniently sat me next to a recruiter with Wycliffe.  During this dinner, they presented Wycliffe’s Vision 2025:

To see a Bible translation program in progress in every language still needing one by the year 2025. The ultimate goal—God’s Word accessible to all people, so that everyone has an opportunity to have an intimate and life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

I also learned how software plays a vital role in seeing this vision reached.  I learned that Wycliffe actually needs software engineers.  The call was compelling.  We could have a direct impact in seeing unreached people groups receive the word of God in their own heart language and be set free from the bondage of sin and follow Jesus!