Transformed by the Word: Under Construction

By Lyn Wake |  Wycliffe Today Winter 2024 Edition 

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

In a few months, I’ll be headed to Vanuatu to support those involved in new translation projects. The long, challenging, and often costly work of Bible translation reminds me of the ongoing journey of grief I began after my daughter Bethany lost her battle with brain cancer 13 years ago. As I grieve, I’ve developed a new contemplative habit of taking notice of epitaphs engraved on headstones. Some epitaphs are sad and futile. But I love discovering words that leave me with a desire to know more of the story beyond the grave.

Several years ago, I visited the gravesides of evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Bell Graham. I’ve always thought of Billy as my ‘spiritual grandfather’ but it was Ruth’s epitaph that captured my attention that day. The words simply read: ‘End of Construction. Thank you for your patience.’

Before her passing in 2007, Ruth recounted navigating a highway through the middle of a construction site and eventually seeing a sign with those same words. ‘When I die, I want that engraved on my stone’, was her request to her family.*

Ruth lived the truth that every believer in Christ is ‘under construction’ as we are transformed into his likeness. One glorious day, that construction will be complete. But until then, our lives are made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing – all requiring a great deal of patience through the process.

Friends, as we continue to trust the Master Builder, we can be assured that all his work will indeed be completed in his perfect way, in his perfect time – for our good, and his glory.

For further reflection: What memorial words would you like engraved on your gravestone?

Be transformed by the Word as you engage with: Psalm 138:8 and Philippians 1:1-6.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your patience with me as I live into the truth that your master plan will be completed on time – and be exceedingly more wonderful than I can imagine! Amen.

Read more of Lyn’s story and be encouraged by others who have learned to give their pain to God in her new book Waiting Well With Jesus. Refer to the Response Form for details. 

The legacy of a 60-year friendship and Scripture engagement

Dr Joseph Havel is a retired forestry officer now living in Western Australia. He has been a faithful supporter of Bible translation through the years, giving in various ways to Vision 2025 projects, Next Step Development projects and Wycliffe members, including friends, Richard and Aretta Loving (d). Dr Havel shares the story behind the deep friendships he formed in Papua New Guinea that gave him a heart for Bible translation:

By Dr Joseph Havel, Western Australia

My contact with Richard and Aretta Loving started rather informally but it lasted for 60 years. Back in 1957, I was working as a forestry officer for the Australian administration of what was then the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I was working at Bulolo, a gold mining and timber town. 

The project employed several hundred local workers, mainly hired in the highlands for a period of 18 months at a time. Some of the people we employed were from the Awa language group. On Sundays, I used to drive up to their camp in the rainforest above us, to run an adult Sunday school class. This was only possible because of an Awa translator and foreman, Yeda.

I used a New Testament in Neo-Melanesian (now called Tok Pisin)—a trade language used for contact between locals, administrators, traders and missionaries. I would read the lesson and make comments on it in Tok Pisin and Yeda would translate it into Awa. 

A few months into our lessons, I had a visit from a rather tall American, not unlike Abraham Lincoln in looks, who introduced himself as Dick Loving. He explained that he was involved in translating the New Testament into the Awa language and he wanted to know who was running the Awa Sunday school class. When he found out that I was theologically sound, Dick gave me a partial copy of the Awa NT translation, and showed me how to read it phonetically. 

After the translation for the Awa New Testament was completed, the Lovings moved around PNG before eventually heading to East Africa. By 1997, they were back in Papua New Guinea at the Ukarumpa centre, working on a revision of the New Testament translation. We continued correspondence and I supported them through Wycliffe.

I kept my contact with the Lovings afterwards until replies stopped in 2018. It was only recently that I learned that they passed away to be with the Lord ahead of me. I am grateful for the contact I had with them. Our friendship opened doors for me to experience firsthand the power of people receiving God’s Word in their own language. My connection to Wycliffe over the years has influenced my understanding and appreciation for mission and how we can all play a part in God’s work.

If you are thinking of leaving a legacy to Wycliffe, go to for details. If you would prefer to talk directly with someone about this, please contact

Thanks for your patience...

Waiting is hard, isn't it. But imagine waiting 2000 years for Scripture in your language! Thanks for your patience. And thanks for your generous support which will help bring the long wait to an end...