When was your last sleepless night? I just recently returned from a five-week Wycliffe Associates tour and, let me tell you, I have a few new stories to tell. Sleeping in a different bed each night has some drawbacks—the pillow might be too soft, the bed too hard…. But no story that I could tell you would beat that one in Bethlehem, two thousand years ago. A virgin mother giving birth to a baby, without a bed or pillow, not even in a hotel, far from home and friends, well that sounds worse. It can also sound far-fetched.
But I believe in that little Jewish baby who grew up and changed the world—my world, your world, the entire course of history. I happily endured sleeping in a different bed each night just for the privilege of sharing with folks in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois the story of how the baby born that night became the Lord of all, and his words and teachings are spreading around the world through Bible translation.
The best thing I can say as I look back on the five weeks on tour is that His grace and strength was sufficient. There were 25 banquets total and we raised thousands of dollars for Bible Translation Acceleration Kits. A BTAK is equipped with four components: a solar panel, battery, laptop computer and satellite modem. It’s amazing how this advanced technology can cut the time needed for a translation project. We didn’t have such a thing back when I was helping translate with the Huixteco or Nabak.
In one of these banquets, when the need for BTAKs was presented, one man stood up and said, “I’ll give the $4,000. 00 for a BTAK if the rest of you will match it.” People started calling out different amounts. It turned into an auction-like scene. Even though this was one of the smallest of all of the 25 banquets it turned out to be one of the most exciting. God did something special in providing 2 BTAKs that night, and I was privileged to witness it.
In fact, over the whole tour, money was raised for 15 BTAKs and if everyone follows through with their faith promise, there will be an additional 35. One couple went back home and challenged their church to take this on as their Christmas project. So the good work continues.
Another highlight for me was the opportunity to speak at Moody Bible Institute. Three students came up at the end of my presentation and told me that they had met me in Pennsylvania when I taught at TOTAL-it- up. They had decided that week that this was God’s call to them and so they were at Moody taking linguistic course and learning Principles of Bible Translation. I told them “Yay for you! I’m so glad you’re following through.”