Where are they now? Greg and Debbie Conwell
Wycliffe Today – June 2019 (PDF)
How long were you working at Kangaroo Ground in the national WBTA office /SILA?
D: I was teaching at the SILA school for nearly five years.
G: Yes the same as Debbie obviously. I worked in SIL as Business Manager for a while, then transitioned to Next Step Development and the Wycliffe Relief and Development Foundation in the Wycliffe domain.
What was your training and experience before you first went to the Solomon Islands? How did you see God calling you back there?
D: My work background is in IT, although I had an arts degree in Anthropology and French – which proves God knows beforehand and leads you in the direction he has planned – but after I felt God leading me to Wycliffe, I also did a theology and a linguistics degree.
As for the call back – the path to localisation, which is supported by SIL, is nevertheless difficult. Recently there has been a strong decision that the national organisation in the Solomons wants to continue and to succeed and at that time, they invited us to come back to support them in this new determination.
G: I worked in finance and business development with major corporates before we joined Wycliffe. Quite an unusual background I think, but I was able to find a slot mostly working with the local translation organisation in the Solomons in finance and development. Going back to the Solomons to live now was not what we expected. We hoped to be visiting regularly, but then another opportunity came along.
Where are you working now? What do your current roles involve?
D: Although I have continued to do some translation checking even while back in Australia with one language, my role will now be to work with several languages that have no current advisor to help with accuracy checking so their work can progress. Hopefully there will be some workshops in the unrolling plan as well.
G: My main role is volunteering with a social enterprise company that is supporting village livelihoods by helping them produce and sell coconut oil and cocoa. It’s quite a strange thing for a Wycliffe-background person to be involved in. But I am still helping with the Wycliffe Foundation and funding of some translation work in Asia.
What are you most looking forward to?
G: Reuniting with some great friends and some new challenges in the commercial world. And not least, hopefully also being able in some way to assist the national translators to move ahead in a significant way.
D: Some years ago, God promised me that despite some of the setbacks we have faced, there would be a time of great flourishing and fruitfulness. I am looking forward to seeing God’s promise unfold, with our colleagues here who are very dear to our hearts.
What will your involvement with the Wycliffe Relief and Development Foundation look like now?
G: I will be staying on as CEO of the Foundation for the time being, working remotely from here in the Solomons. I’m also blessed to have some great people based in Australia to help support the work of our partners on the field.
What has been a highlight from your time at the National Office?
D: For me, it has been seeing God’s hand in what was for us an unexpected situation – as he’s used us, taught us, blessed us and now taken us on to a new assignment. Following the Lord is amazing.
G: Our time in Melbourne has been a time of new opportunities, with great leadership to inspire us, and great blessing.
Plans for the future?
D: I think we have learned to hold our plans lightly. God’s ideas far exceed my expectations so my plan is to try and follow where the Lord leads. We have two year contracts here so for the moment, that’s the plan.
G: Beyond next week do you mean? Three months ago, we had no idea we would be in the Solomons now. A two year contract is about as far as our vision extends at the moment. But that is not a negative for us.
How can we pray for you?
D: I’d like to ask for prayer for unity. There is a very good spirit in the Solomons now, with a desire for cooperation and to be able to work together. But that always has challenges so I pray the Lord will straighten the path and we will continue to trust him in every aspect of our life and walk.
G: I can’t add any more to that. Without a common vision, it is very hard to make progress and not be disheartened. With a God-inspired vision and his strength, our opportunities are endless.