[An excerpt from our president's email]

John Chesnut


Wyclifffe Bible Translators

"In March 2020, Wycliffe USA adopted a new vision for people from every language to understand the Bible and be transformed. Our commitment to Vision 2025 — that all languages that need a translation of the Bible have translation started by 2025 — remains, while our new vision further defines our goals for our current and future involvement in the global Bible translation movement. 

I love this new vision statement because it focuses on our heart’s desire for people around the world to know God intimately through his Word. Our desire is not simply to produce a translated Bible to sit on a shelf! We want to see lives and communities transformed as people encounter God through the Bible and come into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  

To reach this exciting new vision, we also adopted a new mission: to serve with the global body of Christ to advance Bible translation and work together so people can encounter God through his Word. This refocused emphasis on partnership outlines the importance of working together with others as the body of Christ. As we serve with humility and mutual respect, Christ’s love and unity within his body shines through in our collaboration. We strive to support and equip others to bring God glory throughout the nations. Working together with the local church and organizational partners in tasks such as translation, language development and Scripture engagement will equip people to encounter God in his Word and be transformed!"
Rocks in your Pockets

I like to pick up rocks when I am outside. Whether hiking or camping or just being out, I always pick up rocks. I love the unlimited diversity in textures and colors and shapes. But ultimately, they do nothing for me. They just come home and get transplanted into a flower pot. They often are dirty and make me messy. They weigh me down as I walk around. I pick them up not for any particular reason, but compulsively when I see one that catches my eye.

I do not know if God does this with you, but He likes to use things like that for me as object lessons. He reminds me that I do the same thing when I do not forgive someone. They do something that hurts or upsets me, and I decide to hold a grudge. Maybe it was a big thing, maybe a set of identical things, maybe something incredibly small. Just like the rocks, there really is not a reason to hold onto them except that I do so compulsively.

Colossians 3 is a great chapter when you have a bad attitude and need a kick in the pants. It says to focus on Christ. Do not dwell on Earthly things but remember that your Life is in Heaven with Christ.  If that is not enough, it calls out our evil nature like sexual sins, greed, idolatry, anger, rage, malice, and filthy words. We do this because He has made us NEW. He loves us and calls us to “Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (not my go-to's when I am upset). But verse 13 really hits home. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

I know that I should forgive and give up my grievances, but instead I tend to hide them in the dirty corner of my heart that I do not like to show to anyone. But all they do is make me dirty and weigh me down when I need to do God's work.  As I work to forgive those around me, I ask that you forgive me and work to see all those around you as He sees them! Each person is a beautiful creation in the least, and in the Church, a child of the KING! May we all clean out our dirty corners and shine the light of the Gospel around us.
From the experienced Wycliffe Team, 

"In 2013 I traveled with a group of Wycliffe USA and Wycliffe Canada colleagues to Abancay, Peru, in the central Andes mountains. We came to celebrate with this community as they received their newly completed Bible in the Eastern Apurímac Quechua language. And what a celebration it was! Local church leaders worked together to plan this day for several months. On that Sunday morning in April, hundreds of men, women and children arrived at an open-air auditorium dressed in bright, colorful traditional clothing. Women held their children’s hands and carried infants on their backs in large, rectangular cloths called k'eperinas. Everyone came together to praise God through singing, Scripture reading and skits. People lined up outside the auditorium to purchase one of the newly printed Bibles in their language.
Halfway through the festivities, I walked outside to get a cold drink and noticed a group of young moms forming a line next to me. Because I couldn’t speak their language, I wasn’t sure what was happening. One by one, they came up, handed me a baby and positioned their other children next to me. Then they took a picture! This impromptu photo session surprised and delighted me.
While I couldn’t understand anything these sweet moms said to me that day, I thanked God that they are my sisters in Christ. That very day they could read God’s Word in the language they think in, dream in, and sing to their babies in. And I got to celebrate this milestone with them as part of the family of God!"
This Bible translation project started when Mario Valverde moved to Abancay to pastor a small Quechua church. The congregation had a deep passion for God but only had access to the Bible and church services in Spanish. They wanted a Bible in their own language, and soon more pastors in the area with growing churches also began vocalizing their desire for Scripture in Eastern Apurímac Quechua. That passion from the local church led to a partnership with Wycliffe, and a translation led by local pastors.

“Many families had been waiting for this Bible in our language as though it were a delicious bread,” said Pastor Mario. “Now that we have God’s very words available to us in our Quechua dialect, we want our people to desire to seek God more and to understand how to live a better life on this earth that’s worthy of him.”
Although completing a Bible translation is an important task and is foundational for God’s church to flourish in a community, it’s just the starting place. It’s not about the Bible as a product; it’s about the life transformation that happens when people encounter God through his Word."

by Vicky Mixson who serves in Orlando, Florida as Wycliffe USA’s executive vice president and chief communications officer.
For Such a Time as This
(A Great Leap of Faith)

            God led us to a Wycliffe training in Spring of 2017. We learned how great the need was for Bible Translation, how many languages and people don’t have a Bible they can understand. It was also obvious that we fit in. God spoke to us and said, “I made you for this; will you do it?” We knew it would be a leap of faith. We would have to disown the American dream to move overseas. We talked and prayed. We said yes!
            We don’t do things halfway. We were asked to start school in January, before which we must complete partnership development. When the opportunity came up to live with Vicki Lynn’s parents and focus full-time on Wycliffe, we jumped. We quit our regular jobs, sold our house, moved, and dove in! The Lord has blessed this journey of faith every step of the way!

Ephesians 2:10 NIV
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

            Esther was called by God to a daring task: asking the king to change his mind. Even the act of going before the king uninvited was dangerous. But Mordecai persuaded her. God could save the Jews another way, but He had chosen Esther for such a time as this. Would she do it? It was a leap of faith. She would be throwing comfort and security to the wind. She said yes!
            What is God calling you to? What good works has He prepared in advance for you to do? I guarantee you God has chosen you for such a time as this! Maybe it’s sharing the gospel with someone – how much He loves them. Maybe it’s partnering with our Wycliffe ministry – investing in Bible Translation. Maybe it’s forgiving someone who’s hurt you – remember how much God has forgiven us!
            There may be risks involved in following God’s calling, but the rewards will always outweigh them. The greatest reward is simply being close to the Lord. Let us seek Him above all else! If you have questions about Wycliffe, Bible translation, or our ministry, I would love to answer them. Please reach out to me at noah_smith@wycliffe.org or 706-297-9674.
2021 Growth

     How are your goals coming for 2021?
     Perhaps I should back up and ask, ‘Do you have any goals for 2021?’
     Yes, I have yearly goals too. This year I have goals for exercise, time in my Bible, quality time with wife and son, education, and home projects. So, how are they coming? Overall, they are going well, but an important element is that all my goals are measurable, otherwise I would not know how they are coming! But this question still misses the mark of what really matters.
     How are you coming? I prefer to call my goals disciplines. The important thing about goals is not really the accomplishment. The important thing is that they change you in some way. They discipline you. Personal discipline is not punishment (at least that’s not the point). It is growth.
     If you are a Christian, you need to ask yourself: ‘Am I growing more like Christ, or am I stagnant?’ As one of my professors liked to say: ‘There’s no discipleship without discipline.’ I am not saying ‘no pain, no gain.’ Pain is a separate topic. We are looking for commitment!
     I strive to be more committed to growth, integrity, and God’s mission (which are inseparable) than to my own desires and comforts. Examples of that can vary. Some are to “run a mile a day” or to spend all day Sunday serving my family and helping them rest. A new one this year is to do a Sudoku puzzle every day (teaching my brain to see more patterns).  All these directly relate to my spiritual life, as all things are spiritual!
     Let us set attainable and measurable goals that will make us more like Christ together!
     Remember Matthew 11:28-30 NIV: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
     Even when we are struggling in life, or working on disciplining ourselves for growth, God gives us rest and encouragement to continue. The ultimate rest is knowing that you are pleasing the Lord.
Servant Leadership
Jenifer Stasak wrote an excellent blog for Wycliffe in 2019 entitled 6 Qualities of a Servant Leader, which I encourage you to read.

It stuck out to me, because the Lord has impressed on me recently that He wants me to be a leader. Specifically, He has called me to lead my family spiritually: to intentionally direct myself, my wife, and my son to love Him and worship Him more and more. He has also called me to be a Bible Translator, where I will lead local partners in translation efforts. These locals most likely have a different sense of what constitutes a good leader than Americans typically have. In fact, leadership varies dramatically between cultures.

But there must be some objective standard to leadership; it can't be 100% culturally relative. I absolutely love this quote from the blog:
"Leadership isn’t about making our names known. It’s about making God’s name known."
This focus is refreshing for me, just like realizing that when I am serving the Lord, it's His work, not mine. So, I just give my best and leave the results to Him.

Jesus said of leadership: "But among you (Christians) it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:26-28)
So Christian leadership is fundamentally different from non-Christian leadership in two ways: the goal is the glory of God, and the means is service instead of power.

Ask yourself how these principles apply to you. You may not think of yourself as a leader, but I challenge you to! Everyone influences those around them and thus leads those around them in some way. Remember that we do not need to seek glory, because all the glory is God's, and we share in His glory. Remember that we do not need to seek power, because all the power is God's, and we share in His power!