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Child with Bible translation

Bringing written language to life for future generations

ByPhil Broad |NewsFundraisingMarketing |29 April 2019

Earlier this month I was privileged to join members of the Wycliffe Bible Translators team during a planned visit to Kenya.

A key part of the Yeomans vision is to help charities make even more of a difference in their work, so it was wonderful to be able to directly experience the life-changing impact of ministries like Wycliffe.

Globally, there are still a surprisingly large number of areas where local languages have yet to have any written form, leaving communities to rely on the spoken word to ensure that teaching and stories are passed on through generations.  This can have a huge and lasting impact, limiting opportunities for people to access education and employment.

Many of Wycliffe’s Bible translation projects take around 10 years to complete, but the project we were celebrating during our visit was started 30 years ago!  In 2004 the translation and dedication of the New Testament for the Giryama people was completed, but there was a strong desire for a complete translation of the Bible to be available.  During this month’s visit we encountered scenes of pure joy and celebration as the Giryama people (a group of about 800,000) delighted, for the first time, in being able to read a full translation of the Bible, written entirely in their heart language.

Leader with new Bible translation

I was inspired to learn about the work of Wycliffe’s translators and their partners as they immerse themselves in communities, spending time listening to and engaging in conversation and gradually, phonetically articulating the spoken word into written text.  What struck me even more was how accessible it was once written down, even to me!  Being written phonetically the words simply flowed and I was able to join members of the community as they sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving!

New translation written on board

There’s no doubt that translation projects like this have huge life-changing impact.  Not only will members of this Kenyan community now be able to read the Bible and learn directly from the teaching of Jesus, but there is also a huge opportunity for education in general to be made increasingly accessible through the development of new books and teaching materials. 

Translation projects in Kenya have now received government support and pledges that within the next 10 years, the remaining 10 Kenyan languages yet to be written down, will receive their own translations!  It’s fantastic to hear that so many lives will be enriched both now and in the future through the work of one of our valued clients.

Of course, all of our clients are extremely important, so when I think of multiplying the impact of stories like this across our client list of more than 130 charities, the potential result of the number of lives we can change together is astounding!

What is the impact you long to see and how can we help you to achieve it and to go even further?

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