Thursday, August 12, 2010

50 years

The old couple entered the room and took a seat in the second row. They stood out to me because the rest of the crowd consisted of ambitious twenty somethings. As I spent the morning at Wycliffe Bible Translators, I found that just about everybody was younger than me. Except for this couple.

As the chapel service began, this elderly man and his wife were asked to come to the front of the room. They slowly rose from their seats and half-walked, half-teetered to the podium. The president of the school introduced them and then presented them with a plaque. The plaque was to recognize 50 years of mission work translating and teaching the Bible in the small places of the world. Despite their hunched backs and slow pace, their countenances were bright and filled with the kind of indescribable contentment reserved for battled tested saints.

As they received the award and the applause that erupted, the president asked this question: "There are many young people here training to go and translate the Scriptures. What advice do you have for them?"

"Don't give up", said the gentleman with a grin.

The president waited for more, but the longer the silence continued, it became apparent the answer was complete.

"Uh, could you expand on that a little?"

The missionary gave this reply, "Never give up. God brought us together at the University of Michigan and we fell in love with Wycliffe. The idea of working with languages and translating was appealing to both of us. So we went into the field. In the early years it was often just the two of us in a village with very little field support. And the translation work was slow. And we got sick. We have raised children and both of us have beaten cancer. It was often very difficult and the devil said to us, 'You don't need this. Go home and enjoy the rest of your life.' But we stayed. And looking back at all that God has done with us and through us, life contains no regrets. Never give up because you don't know what God is doing."


I later found out that that couple was a key component in four complete Bible translation projects where there was previously no written language. They also taught basic Bible study methods to new believers in over 50 countries.

Never give up.


Anya said...

As someone increasingly interested in Bible translation (and... well... majoring in Bib Languages, to boot), I really enjoyed this post. And was encouraged. Thanks.

Anonymous said...


Please can you tell me where you got this picture from? I would like permission to use this for a university project.

thank you, amy