A Great Opportunity

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Chris has been the technical lead and primary developer for the Scripture App Publishing Service. Last fall, they started working with two partners, Faith Comes By Hearing and International Mission Board, to plan an update to the service in order to 1) support multiple organizations and 2) customize the process of publishing apps for each organization.
This would require a significant re-rewrite to a portion of the service. About that time, Chris’ organization applied to Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN) for direct funding of certain projects including the Scripture App Publishing Service. A very generous grant was given by ETEN that has allowed them to sign a contract with DeveloperTown to design and develop the software that needs replaced. They didn’t have the staff to complete this work internally and this is a great opportunity to complete the work. Praise God for the resources and talents He has made available!

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Discussions around a whiteboard during the initial design meetings at DeveloperTown in Indianapolis with people representing SIL InternationalFaith Comes By HearingScripture Earth, and Kalaam Media in early April 2018.

The Great Message

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In 1981, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cakchiquel New Testament translation, Billy Graham delivered a sermon about the importance of Bible translation in the context of the command that Jesus gave believers to come unto him and go into all the world. Be encouraged by the excerpt from his sermon.  One statement that stuck out to me:

Billy Graham on the Importance of Bible Translation

Significant Partnership

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Chris has been the technical lead and primary developer for the Scripture App Publishing Service. The initial rollout of the service utilized a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) strategy which provides just enough features to satisfy earlier customers and provides feedback for future development. The service has been running for about a year and they have gathered valuable feedback for what needs to be done in the next release.
They have also communicated with other partners who have similar needs. Two of these partners, Faith Comes By Hearing and International Mission Board(IMB), have stepped forward to help with the future development of the service. IMB has a team in Bulgaria who they employ to fulfill different IT needs. Chris has been tasked to design the expansion of the Scripture App Publishing Service and train the IMB team to do the development. He will be traveling to Bulgaria to do the training sometime this fall. Please pray for wisdom for Chris to know how to design the system so that it can be effectively implemented by the Bulgarian team and be flexible for the diverse needs of many organizations.

Faith Comes By Hearing
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Searching for Significance

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We’re excited to announce that Wycliffe’s most recent devotional, “Searching for Significance”, is now available as a 10-day reading plan on YouVersion! “Searching for Significance” focuses on the search for something more in our lives — whether you call it significance, purpose, or meaning. There’s an innate desire in each of us for our life to matter, and this devotional explores that desire from a biblical perspective as we dive into God’s view of our worth. You can explore more stories and videos about this topic at wycliffe.org/significance. We encourage you to read the plan on YouVersion and share it with your family and friends. It’s an easy way to engage them in a conversation about God’s view of our significance and worth, while also sharing opportunities for them to engage with Wycliffe. Start the 10-day plan today!

Let’s Release!

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Chris and his team have released the first version of the Scripture App Publishing Service! After many months of design, development, user testing, and refinement, the service is now available to Wycliffe members. This release is a minimum viable product and they plan to enhance the product in short iterations based on user feedback.  There are currently 175 Android Apps in the Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Google Play Store being managed by the Scripture App Publishing Service.

Let’s Celebrate!

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Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Psalm 115:1


The vision of Wycliffe is to see God’s Word made accessible to all people in the language that speaks to their heart. On September 23rd, we paused to celebrate the completion of Bibles and New Testaments for people groups who are getting God’s word for the very first time. You should have been there! Local pastors and ministry representatives paraded into the auditorium amid exciting music and applause carrying the precious Bibles. Here are some interesting statistics about this year’s celebration:

  • 25 languages communities
  • 7 complete Bibles
  • 17 New Testaments
  • 1 “Hybrid Bible” (NT + Genesis + Exodus in Takwane, Leviticus – Malachi in Portuguese — permission of Bible Society of Brazil)
  • 17 of 25 Scriptures available in a digital format
  • 7 of 25 have launched a website
  • 13 available in audio format
  • 7 available in Jesus film, Luke video or Genesis video
  • 7 available as Android or iPhone app
  • 12 are available in the YouVersion Bible App

Statistics are interesting, but read below about one of the language communities that received God’s Word.


The Lahu Si New Testament

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Upai Jasa, Wycliffe Thailand, recalls his reluctance to join the team working on this project.

“The Lahu Si New Testament translation began in the 1980s and by 2009, it was… well, it was a mess. Relationships among the team working on the project were broken, trust was nonexistent, many viewed the Lahu Si community in Thailand as being riddled with divisiveness. They saw Lahu Si churches split over the smallest disagreement, clans and communities also split.”

They had no idea how this project might move forward.  God did.  Read this whole story (and more stories) in the 2016 Scripture Celebration Information Sheets (page 9).

It goes right into my heart!


During our community testing as we were reading through the Lahu Si draft of Acts, a pux (the grandfather) said, “Even though I preach and pray in Lahu Na (a related language) in church, that doesn’t enter my heart as when I normally pray on my own in my own language. When I read the draft it goes right into my heart, as no other language can do.”

Let’s Hack!

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Our team has recently released the first version of the Scripture App Publishing Service which automates the process of publishing Scripture Apps to the Google Play Store.  We currently have 175 apps managed in the Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc account. However, our first version is only a minimum viable product and has limited workflow process management to handle the interaction between end users, the build infrastructure, and the service administrator.  Only parts of the process can be automated so people have to be involved.

To help accelerate the development of the Scripture App Publishing Service, our team is partnering with Indigitous, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. We have submitted a project to the 2016 Indigitous #Hack, a global missional hackathon focused on solving technology problems related to missions. Are you a software developer? Consider participating in the hackathon which is Nov 4 – 6. There are host cities as well as a virtual group.

At Just the Right Time!

The vision of Wycliffe is to see God’s Word made accessible to all people in the language that speaks to their heart. Usually this might mean distributing a printed book. If there is a low literacy rate, then access to an audio version is important.

Audio versions of the Bible are recorded (often by Faith Comes By Hearing) and can be distributed on dedicated audio players like the Proclaimer. With the availability of smart phones, now a Scripture app created with Scripture App Builder can be distributed with the text and audio of the Bible bundled together.

What about early readers in the people group? Wouldn’t it be great if the text of the passage could be highlighted while the audio is being played?

In order to accomplish this, special timing files have to be created to let the software know which portions of the text and audio go together. Early attempts at this would take 45-60 minutes per chapter! For the Bible en Songoy de Gao App, this took weeks for a team of volunteers (listening to a language they didn’t know) to create these timing files.

Colleagues at Wycliffe searched for another way. Could software automate this process? Praise God, a solution was found! The Aeneas Library allows for the automated creation of the timing files. What used to take almost an hour can now be done in 3-5 seconds! How is this accomplished?

How does this thing work?

One word: Math

One Sentence (Layman Edition): A good deal of math and computer science, a handful of software engineering and some optimization tricks.

One Sentence (Pro Edition): Using the Sakoe-Chiba Band Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) algorithm to align the Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) representation of the given (real) audio wave and the audio wave obtained by synthesizing the text fragments with a TTS engine, eventually mapping the computed alignment back onto the (real) time domain. 

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Phew! The result is that, now, a whole New Testament can be processed in less than an hour instead of weeks. Wycliffe is preparing to publish hundreds of Scripture apps. Many of them already have audio. This new software process came at just the right time!

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Above: Bible Dedication of the Soŋay Language of Gao, Mali included the Bible en Songoy de Gao App

Right: John 3:16 in Soŋay Language of Gao with text highlighting synchronized with audio

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One Thing

Chris recently attended the Mobile Ministry Forum 2015 Consultation. This photo and the story show below made quite an impact on him and those attending the meeting. In the face of some extremely challenging circumstances, God is using technology to spread the good news. The Gospel is being heard, seen, and read on mobile devices…and shared rapidly via Bluetooth and microSD cards.

Displaced Iraqi Christians Identify Their Most Treasured Material Possession

ERBIL, IRAQ – DECEMBER 13: (Editor’s note: Image has been processed using a digital filter) A Iraqi Christian, who asked not to be named, poses for a photograph in her tented home erected in the grounds of Mazar Mar Eillia (Mar Elia) Catholic Church, that has now become home to hundreds of fellow Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes – many with less than an hour to do so – as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year, on December 13, 2014 in Erbil, Iraq. Asked, after her family what was the one thing she could not leave behind as ISIL advanced on her home, the student from Qaraqosh said her mobile phone. Although the autonomous Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq was already a refuge for an estimated 250,000 Syrian refugees, since the Islamic State began its onslaught on Iraq in June, Kurdistan has also taken in a more than one and a half million displaced people. Many have been placed in purpose-built refugee camps but the huge numbers mean thousands of others are forced to live in un-finished buildings or inadequate, makeshift shelters and as winter in the region closes in, there are growing concerns for the welfare of the refugees who, while their homes are still in ISIL controlled territory, have no realistic prospect of returning to them. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A Glimpse of Worship

Won’t you journey with me to Panama City, Panama
to catch a glimpse of a Kuna worship service?panama

Watch your step as we’ll be traveling down a steep hill,
RH Hill 1
KH Hill 1

past closely lined homes with bright eyed youngsters peering out the windows,
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through the voices of children,
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beyond the gates,
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amidst welcoming youth,
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and into the church, ready to lift our voices alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ.
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With one heart and voice, a unity in Christ Jesus, we worship the One True God together…KF Kuna-Church

and hear His Word,
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spoken in their heart language ~ Kuna.
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In the middle of preaching on the importance of God’s Word, the electricity flickers out… but darkness does not deter this local pastor.

Light starts to shine forth…RH Preaching by Cell Phone Light

Accompanied only by the lights from cell phones,
he continues to preach (adjusting the symbolism to fit the situation at hand)– Psalm 119 105 ‘Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.’
(Scripture from Psalm 119:105, part of the Old Testament that has just recently been
translated, published, and dedicated for their people.)

Upon the end of the sermon, we are welcomed warmly by the body with hand shakes and hugs.
And the sweet, sweet Kuna greeting of “Bab be bendake”  – ‘God bless you.’
(You pronounce it somewhat like: bob bay ben dock ay.)

Then (while still surrounded by a physical darkness)
boxes that are filled with the completed Kuna BiblesIMG_4521

…are opened for the people.RH Bibles by Cell Phone Light

May God’s Holy Word shine brightly in the hearts and minds of the Kuna.
May His Word truly be a lamp to their feet and a light for their path!
Praise God that the Kuna now have the entirety of God’s Word in their own heart language!

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Did you know that Kuna is only the 531st language group (of close to 7,000)  with the blessing and privilege of having access to both the Old and New Testaments?   This particular Kuna congregation is just one of many in the Panama City area.  There are approximately an additional thirty Kuna churches on the nearby San Blas islands.  Kuna pastors, leaders, and families now have access to ALL of God’s Word in their heart language!   We look forward to hearing how God’s Holy Spirit will continue to work through His Word in the lives of the Kuna people.

Why is it so important to translate Scripture into all of these languages?
https://www.wycliffe.org/about/why