I remember where I was when I first heard the news. As a young graphic designer and relatively new member of Wycliffe, I was full of optimism but had been around long enough to be jaded by talk of new vision and radical change. We were the kind of organization that did great work, but we were meticulous and careful. We were founded on pioneering and loved change and innovation, but on a small scale. Yet here I was, sitting in a staff meeting and hearing how the organization’s leaders had just overwhelmingly voted to change everything. Everything.
It was the summer of 1999, and our leaders had just voted for Vision 2025, committing to do everything we could to put Bible translation in motion in every language in this generation (literally, by the year 2025).
That was the year I fell in love with Wycliffe all over again. I wasn’t in the room at our international conference to cast my vote. I represent the next generation of leaders, the ones who would carry out that vision and be in positions of leadership at the year 2025.
But in 1999 I signed up for life. I wanted to be around when Bible translation in the final language was started. It meant everything to me, and I hear the same thing from our applicants today.
At the halfway mark of Vision 2025, we’ve seen unfathomable changes. During the past 13 years, projects have been started in more than 1,000 languages. The pace of Bible translation has tripled. Bible translation has become a movement rather than an organization. Perhaps “wildfire” is a better way to describe the 56 organizations in South and Central America that are now stirring up prayer, people and funds for Bible translation. Almost all of the growth in sending missionaries is coming from organizations outside North America, and without “Wycliffe” in their names (though, like Wycliffe Canada, they are part of the Wycliffe Global Alliance).
Recently, Wycliffe tabulated that the number of languages with translations in progress has exceeded the number of languages in which translation still needs to begin.
Think about that for a minute. We have reached an absolutely incredible milestone. We knew that day would come. In a sense, it’s the peak before the rush down the second half of Vision 2025.
Here’s where we catch our second wind. While the pace has tripled, we need to double it again. All of our best efforts have gone into the progress we’ve seen, but it’s not enough. Our own effort won’t see this vision happen. So, while we’re catching our breath for the final sprint, we need to get on our knees and pray. Much of the Bible translation still needing to begin is for languages in many of the most closed and difficult spots. There will be pain and loss ahead. Satan is serious about protecting his territory, and the battle will be fierce. Are we willing to face that?
While the growth may have moved to other parts of the world, Bible translation still needs the Canadian Church. If the rest of the world is going to take its rightful place as leaders in the Bible translation movement, let’s not let it happen because we stopped.
As the leader of Wycliffe Canada, I intend to do everything I can to help the Canadian Church build kingdom friendships with the minority language communities we serve. I intend to stir this generation and the next to not only start work in every language, but finish that work. And I intend to mobilize the prayers and funds of Canadians to fuel the Bible translation movement.
Won’t you join me?
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