Bible translation is a worldwide work of the church that has been gathering pace over the last 60 years. It is a fire that has started to burn but still needs an accelerant to fan the flame further.
In the countries where Wycliffe first sent translators and literacy workers, our people have not only helped translate the Bible but have also developed local colleagues and shared the vision for Bible translation. We are now entering a time when the capacity of local churches and national organisations to lead the Bible translation movement in their own country has steadily grown. The flames are burning, but more can be done.
So what should Wycliffe Australia’s response be? What is the unique role that Australia can play in fuelling this fire?
We need to make genuine friends with the country leaders of the Bible translation movement. Without strong personal relationships, funding training projects often results in a limited agenda, a simple transaction about money and return. This is an inadequate model for cross-cultural mission and Bible translation. Building strong relationships in Christ means we share encouragement, vision and often suffering. Wycliffe Australia has these precious friendships with national colleagues and together we want to build on them.
We need to significantly increase our efforts in developing local translators, literacy workers, project managers and administrators so they can do the job God has prepared for them. Australians understand the value of training perhaps more than most. I am confident the Australian church will endorse this emphasis of developing the people and organisations we work alongside.
Praying has been part of the Wycliffe story from the start. It’s essential to what we do and how we operate. We must now unite in focussed intercessory prayer for the leaders and the God-given aspirations of the national organisations to which Wycliffe Australia is connected. If the very best thing we can do is pray, then we must pray.
By funding training, investing in capacity building, and prayer, we all stand together fanning the flames for generations to come.
As part of this prayer initiative, I have committed the best hour of each working day to the Prayer Chapel at Kangaroo Ground to pray for our national colleagues and organisations. (See Next Step Development appeal)
These are the priorities that will drive Wycliffe Australia over the coming years: friendship, training and prayer.
By Barry Borneman, Wycliffe Australia CEOBack to Wycliffe Today Spring edition