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I saw a vast crowd...from every nation, tribe, people, and language...Revelation 7:9
God's work, Not ours

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8 - 9 NIV
 
            In several recent conversations, I've focused on how we are saved - the fact that it is God's work and God's righteousness that save us, not our own! As with salvation, Bible Translation is ultimately God's work. It is His ministry, not ours. I am not
trying to separate God’s work from ours, but to point to Him as the originatororchestrator, and guarantor of Bible Translation!
            I've been telling people, "This wasn't our idea, this was God's idea." Consider the very next verse: "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph.2:10). The good work of translation was God’s idea. He has prepared me for Bible Translation and prepared specific opportunities for me. He has prepared all of our good works for us to do, and He has made us to do them!

What is He calling you to?
 
Don't brush it off. Weigh the cost and consider that pleasing God is worth more! Yesterday I told a few coworkers "If all I ever get out of life is a 'Kudos' from God, I'll be happy!"
 
So how is God the guarantor of Bible Translation? He desires that every
people know Him and reveals that every people will be praising Him in heaven. (Psalms 64:9, 1 Timothy 2:4; Revelation 7:9)
 
How will they know Him? Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:14-17)
 
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to every people, and then the end will come." Matthew 24:14 NIV
 
Many believe Christ will not return until the Bible is available in every viable language. How else could "every nation" (which really means every people group) understand the gospel? Most people will never understand it until they hear it or read it in their heart language, the language they spoke at home growing up.
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See how translating for understanding is important.
 
Faith Shatters Walls
 
When the Israelites entered the promised land, there was a walled city standing in their way, the city of Jericho.[i] The Israelites were not equipped to besiege a city. But surely God had a plan; He had brought them here! He told Joshua to march the entire army around Jericho daily for seven days. On the seventh day, they were to march around seven times and then blow their trumpets and yell. The walls would fall down, and the Israelites could storm in.
Joshua 2-6 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+2-6&version=NIV
Joshua apparently believed that the Lord would make the walls of Jericho fall. Walking around them each day didn’t make any sense. No one makes a city collapse by walking around it. To the human eye, God had given them an impossible task and an unreasonable method to achieve it. But Joshua believed.
Joshua couldn’t take Jericho by himself. God’s instructions were clear: the whole army must march together. It’s doubtful many of them believed the walls would fall this way, but they obeyed! Am I willing to “go out on a limb” to obey God? Would I have walked around Jericho? The Israelites’ faith in the Lord God Almighty had to be great, just like Wycliffe’s founder Uncle Cam’s faith was.
 
In 1945, Wycliffe first entered Peru to begin Bible Translation. Wycliffe’s founder, Cam Townsend, explained their plan to government official José Jiménez Borja.[ii]
Borja asked if Cam had the translators to do the work. “No, but God will provide them,” was Cam’s reply. Borja asked if Cam had the pilots or the airplanes to get translators into remote places. “No, but God will provide them.” Borja asked if Cam had the funding. “No, but God will provide it.”
Borja acquiesced to Cam’s impossible plan: “If you come back with all of these things, you have my blessing.” As Cam left, Borja told his secretary: “There goes the craziest gringo[iii] I’ve ever seen!” Only a few months later, Cam was back with translators, pilots, and funding, ready to start!
 
God has already shown us in Scripture that every nation, tribe, people, and language will be represented in heaven.[iv] But walls stand in the way: language barriers. God has also provided a plan to tear down these walls so that people from every language may be added to His kingdom. Wycliffe plans to have a Bible translation project started for every language that still needs one by 2025.[v]
Translators cannot do this alone. God’s instructions are clear: the whole Church must march together. God has called Vicki and me to Bible Translation, and we are asking you to march with us. He has given us an unreasonable goal of having a full partnership team in place by January – unreasonable to the human eye. It is actually more unreasonable to think that God would lead us here and not make the walls fall! It is unreasonable not to believe that God will do the impossible. He already split the Red Sea and the Jordan River for the Israelites, and then He shattered the walls of Jericho. God has already worked miracles in our family, and if we are faithful, He will continue. His plans are always bigger and better.
Will you march with us? www.wycliffe.org/partner/noahvickismith
 

[i] Jericho was perhaps the oldest city in Canaan and the first walled city.
[ii] the Minister of Education’s assistant.
[iii] foreigner
[iv] Revelation 7:9
[v] https://www.wycliffe.org/about Wycliffe is against compromising the integrity of the Scriptures in order to accomplish this goal. See also a similar inspiring goal at https://eten.bible/
Merry Christmas from Wycliffe!
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   Christmas is a time of Hope because Jesus is the one and only true Hope for all people in all places at all times. Christian hope is full of confidence – not only did Christ come to the world once as a baby, but He is coming back again! All of this has been well-documented in the Bible. The hope found in God’s Word is what Bible Translation gives to the world!

   Most of us are more excited for Christmas than usual this year! Christmas is a time of joy, festivities, and hope! That very first Christmas, when God the Son came down to earth as a baby, He brought joy, peace, and hope! Angels announce His birth to shepherds, who hurried to go see the baby Jesus then proclaimed His birth throughout Bethlehem. Wise men traveled from afar to present gifts to the young Messiah. He brought great joy to all who believed who He was, and especially to his mother, no doubt. He came to bring “peace to those on whom His favor rests.” And He brought HOPE, for He came to SAVE us!

   When a people group receives the Bible in their own language for the first time, it is like that first Christmas. Christ has come to them! This new hope is announced joyfully, and people come from far and wide to celebrate. There will be music and dancing, speeches, tears of joy, and all kinds of festivities! As Christ loved the world enough to come down, be born as a baby, and be laid in a manger, so He also loves each people group enough to give them a Bible. He has commissioned His Body, the Church, to translate His Holy Word into every language, so that ALL may understand who He is and how much He loves them!

 
“If you speak to a man in a foreign language, it goes into his head,
but if you speak to him in his own language, it goes into his heart.”
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We praise God that the Christmas story is being translated into more languages than ever before!

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Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:2-6
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