This is an article from the July-August 1995 issue: GCOWE 1995

News and Opportunities from Wycliffe Bible Translators

Wyclifffe Bible Translators Completes 400th Language New Testament

News and Opportunities from Wycliffe Bible Translators

(Huntington Beach CA May 13, 1995) On July 8, 1995, the Barai of Papua New Guinea will receive their completed New Testament in a special dedication service. This New Testament is the 400th language translation for Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The language spoken by the Barai is one of 850 languages in Papua New Guinea. The Barai number only about 3000. They live in a mountainous area, in the shadows of some of New Guinea's highest mountains, the Owen Stanley Range.

Australian Wycliffe members Peter and Bev Evans went to Papua New Guinea as school teachers. In 1977, at their invitation, the Evans began to assist the Barais in a literacy program.

Peter asked the Barai why they should live among them. They replied, "Because we're anxious to read God's Word in our own language." That continued to be the motivation factor for both the Barai and the Evans.

While Peter and Bev supervised the literacy and translation work, the New Testament was done in partnership with trained Barai co- translators who were members of the Bible Translation Association (BTA) of Papua New Guinea. These translators relied on the field training that Wycliffe translators had provided the BTA. With the Evans facilitating, four national translators finished the New Testament translation.

Peter acknowledges his indebtedness to the initial linguistic research done by Americans Mike and Donna Olson: "We couldn't have done the translation without a team effort," says Peter. In addition

to the help in linguistic analysis was the contribution received from Wycliffe's aviation program which reduced a tedious three-day trip to the Barai village to just two hours. According to Peter, Wycliffe computer assistance also played a major role in the translation, cutting five years from the project.

Wycliffe was founded in 1934 by Cameron Townsend. It currently has 5,200 active missionaries who come from over 40 countries. Wycliffe's 100th New Testament translation was published in 1979. With completion of the 400th New Testament this year, Wycliffe is encouraged by the acceleration of the translation work and is planning new strategies to reach the remaining 3,000 languages still without the Bible.

The Bible League which published the Barai New Testament has also published 247 of the other New Testaments completed by Wycliffe.

Wycliffe Has a New Opportunity for All Undergraduates

Wycliffe Bible Translators has announced a wonderful new opportunity for all those who want to be involved in missions, but never thought they could because they lack a college degree. Wycliffe is looking for surveyors, and will take people with less than four years of college, to do this needed survey work for new translation projects.

In cooperation with the U.S. Center for World Mission and its World Christian Foundations program, Wycliffe is offering a degree- completion program for surveyors with two or more years of college. Such people can completed their degree on the field at low cost while doing valuable research work for Wycliffe.

This is what Ted Bergman, Wycliffe's Language Survey Coordinator, said recently about this new program.

"The World Christian Foundations program provides Wycliffe's language survey section in Africa with a promising new avenue for mobilizing new missionaries. This is especially critical to our plans for putting 50 new people on the field to help reach Wycliffe's goal of starting 400 new translations this decade. We often find excellent candidates who want to go to the mission field but cannot go "back to college." Consequently, WCF's focus on being mission-field- based along with providing the kind of education missionaries need provides a bridge for taking people to the field."

If you have less than four years of college, would like to make a vital contribution to mission work and wish to complete your college degree, then write

SIL Socio-Linguistics Dept. 7500 West Camp Wisdom Road Dallas TX 75236 or call 214-709-2459


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