Trust God - see the impossible!

“I’ve been amazed how God has brought together so many useful skills within the team”

"It’s always exciting to be in on something from the start”, writes Gareth, leading a team who started work on two related languages.


Five people from different parts of the UK who were strangers to each other a few months ago, thrown together in an unfamiliar environment far from family and friends and living at close quarters in basic conditions – how is that working out?


Gareth is impressed. “I’ve been amazed how God has brought together so many useful skills within the team (electronics, first aid, IT, people skills, DIY, etc) as well as a challenging mix of personalities. We seem to have got on pretty well, considering! As one of the others put it, ‘Living as a family has its moments, but by God’s grace we are learning to celebrate our differences’.”


Language surveys had already indicated that the Pongu and the Hungworo people in Niger State speak languages that are sufficiently different to require separate translations of the Bible, but similar enough to be tackled by the same multi-language team.


After a few months’ training at the Wycliffe Centre near High Wycombe, the team arrived in Nigeria and moved into rented accommodation in the town nearest to the Pongu and Hungworo areas.


They visited the various local authorities, village chiefs and many local people to explain why they had come. “As the only ‘batures’ (white people) for miles around, we were instant celebs!”says Gareth. They soon discovered that very few of the people in rural areas are Christians or speak much English.


They hunted for supplies and equipment to set up house in an African village. Then they started learning greetings and collecting words in both languages, with notebooks and recently acquired phonetic transcription skills to the fore!


April and May, before the rains, are the hottest part of the year. When the transformer for the town electricity supply crashed and burned out on Good Friday, it meant no ceiling fans, no light in the evening, and no running water at all. Fortunately, they had already learned not to rely on such luxuries! 


"We are only here for 18 months. Will we be able to analyse the sound systems and produce alphabets for the two languages? Will we leave behind local believers with vision? Will they get further training and continue the work? Will another team like us be needed to follow on?

"Bible translation is about trusting God for the impossible. And we’re having some fun learning how to trust God and see the impossible happen.”


Find out more about opportunities to go

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."
Mark 16:15

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