Pray With Us

Mark and Laura Woodward, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Tanzania

Dear <<First Name>>,

Thank you for continuing to support Bible translation and language development throughout Tanzania and Uganda. Here is a brief update on the last few months, together with some plans as we look ahead...
Tanzania Translation Forum
At the end of September we were glad to have the opportunity to gather together all of the staff directly involved in Scripture translation - translators, advisers and consultants - from all around Tanzania for a 3-day forum in Dodoma. This was the first time in three years that we had had all the translation staff gathered in one place.

The 70 participants had over 400 years of translation experience between them, working in over 30 different languages!

As well as being able to share much of their experience, learn about technical translation issues, and encourage one another, the staff also took part in a football / soccer match with the two largest offices playing against each other!
September was a busy month for travel, with Mark heading to Mbeya to meet with the team, Arusha to observe a translation workshop run by another organisation, and then Bagamoyo for a time of planning as part of the directorate with our new branch director. We are thankful for safe travels and productive discussions during these times.

In November Mark also traveled to Mbeya a couple of times, including for the annual advisory committee of church leaders. This year the committee heard the testimony of several church leaders from northern Malawi, about their immense hunger for the Scriptures, and the impact that the translated Nyiha books have already had in their community. The Nyiha team are one of 11 groups currently translating in the Mbeya office, and hope to complete the New Testament in the next few years.

As always, it was encouraging to meet with the large team serving these commununities. It was also a time of celebrating 12 years of faithful service from the retiring team manager, Joey Mwaikokesya, and welcoming the new manager, Stephen Nguvila.
Other recent highlights include:
  • The Burunge New Testament has been printed in Asia, and 5,000 copies are currently being shipped to Tanzania. The Burunge community are planning a dedication event for these books, probably sometime in mid-2017.
  • Several teams in Mbeya are checking the final books of the New Testament. Once all checks have happened, and the books have been typeset, they will then be sent for printing.
  • New translators have recently been hired from the Bungu and Pangwa communities, with a second Pimbwe translator also planned to start work soon.
Project Funding Challenges
Over the past several months one of main things Mark has been working on has been trying to secure ongoing funding for the large projects here in Tanzania. This has been more challenging than usual for various reasons, and we are still waiting for two major funding approvals (affecting 17 languages and totaling several hundred thousand dollars) that we had hoped we would receive in September. This has led to challenges for the various offices as we have had to require them to cut back on non-essential activities like workshops, printing and travel in the meantime.

Please pray with us that these negotiations will come to a fruitful conclusion soon, so that this work can continue. Our hope is that we can come to an agreement that is consistent with the visions and goals of the communities, and is acceptable within the parameters of the new international funding framework which is being implemented this year.
Camping in the Drakensberg Mountains
In October we traveled to South Africa for a follow up eye appointment for Laura. Her doctor was pleased that her eye has completely healed from the corneal ulcer she had in February, although as we knew, the scar on her cornea will leave her with some permanent vision impairment. However, the new glasses prescription she was given in South Africa has helped to some extent, and she has enjoyed being able to read again!

While in South Africa we decided to take our tent to the Drakensberg Mountains, where we saw incredible scenery and wildlife, and generally enjoyed being away from the noise of the big city!
Looking Ahead
This afternoon we flew to Musoma in Mara Region, where we will be meeting with the team as they serve eight language communities. Mark will discuss various planning and strategy issues with the office staff as they look ahead to the coming year, planning for workshops, literacy initiatives and continuing translation into the eight languages, while Laura will be available to meet with the staff to discuss any challenges they are facing in their life and work. We would appreciate prayer this week for safe travel and a productive and enjoyable time with the team.

Over the past few weeks Laura has been having some unexplained pain in her flank, that leaves her tired and unable to work as much as she normally does. This is something that she has experienced on and off for more than ten years, but the last few weeks have been more uncomfortable than usual.

In light of this we have decided to fly to the UK to try to get a diagnosis, and to see if there is anything we can do about this. So we are planning to fly to the UK on December 14th - as a bonus we will get to spend our first Christmas in the UK since 2008.

At this stage we are not sure how long the trip will be. Depending on a couple of factors, it could either be for a couple of months as we look into the medical issue, or it could end up turning into a furlough of several months. Either way, we will continue to work in our roles remotely via email and talking with our colleagues online day by day, much the same as we do in Dar es Salaam.

Thank you!

Thank you for your ongoing support for us and for these language communities. As we hear reports from the more than 30 communities we are serving about the impact of the Scriptures, we know that this is very much the fruit of your work as you support the teams through prayer and through your financial support for us. We are very grateful for all that you do, to allow us to serve these communities and to allow the Scriptures to be translated and used in very many languages throughout Tanzania and Uganda.

As we remember the coming of God to earth in Jesus, we invite you to celebrate with us the fact that his message is still being translated into languages and lives over 2,000 years later!

Abaa njala abisʉkiisye ʉtʉnunu,
   looli abakabi abakagile maboko matʉpʉ.
Abatʉʉlile ababombeli baake abanya Isilaɨli,
   ʉkʉlʉkʉmbʉka ʉlwitɨkano lwake ʉlwa kɨbabɨɨlɨsi,
ʉlwa bwila na bwila, bo muumo aababʉʉlile baataata,
   Abulahamu nʉ lʉjungu lwake.”

He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and his children forever.”
(Luke 1:53-55, in Nyakyusa and English).

Mark and Laura

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SIL International, Box 60368, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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SIL International · Box 60368 · Dar Es Salaam · Tanzania

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