A couple of times this year Jeff and I have been engaged in Wycliffe Associates banquets. Some of you might be wondering what does Wycliffe Associates have to do with Wycliffe Bible Translators…and that other organization you mention sometimes…Wycliffe Global Alliance. Perhaps you are thinking – there are just so many organizations – how do they all fit together!?!?
Bible translation is a cause being championed by a community – a community not only of individuals from many different countries, but also of a worldwide fellowship of organizations who are working together to see everyone have access to God’s Word in a language they understand well.
More than 100 organizations located in countries all over the world each serve the Bible translation movement in different ways. Some provide resources (like funds, people, and prayer), others serve primarily in promotion or church engagement, and others lead Bible translation programs. The Wycliffe Global Alliance is the place where these organizations come together to participate in the Bible translation movement. Read more about the Wycliffe Global Alliance.
In the USA there are several organizations, each separately incorporated and all associated with the Alliance, that are participating in advancing Bible translation. Here are some descriptions of a few of them:
Wycliffe Associates (WA) focuses on recruiting volunteers who offer practical assistance that help to free up Wycliffe missionaries to focus on their primary work. Many of these volunteers are second-career retired people who serve short-term or long-term in areas such as construction, administration, education and community development. WA mobilizes volunteers who serve locally by providing hospitality to Wycliffe missionaries who are traveling, and by advocating for Bible translation in their area as WA members. WA raises awareness for Bible translation through programs like the WA banquets, and through publications and letters. Finally, WA also raises funds to support special projects, like the B-TAK, which help translation efforts around the world. Their headquarters are in Orlando, Florida.
Wycliffe Bible Translators, USA is the organization for which we are missionaries. Wycliffe USA is engaged in all aspects of advocacy and resource development in the USA for Bible translation efforts worldwide including: awareness raising, prayer, recruiting, training, and fund-raising. Their goal is to see Americans fully engaged in the Bible translation movement. Wycliffe USA produces media and is involved in various activities that help American Christians to know about Bible translation needs. They recruit long and short-term staff to serve in Bible translation and supporting roles. They provide training and support to existing staff (including processing gifts sent to the preference of our ministry). They engage individuals and churches in praying for on-going translation work and for communities that don’t yet have God’s Word in their language. Finally, Wycliffe USA encourages individuals and churches to give towards specific Bible translation-related projects. Their headquarters are in Orlando, Florida.
The Seed Company is a subsidiary of Wycliffe USA which focuses on equipping and resourcing mother tongue translators. They also network individuals, groups and organizations as prayer and/or financial partners directly with Bible translation programs which are administered by local people. They’ve helped many mother tongue translators receive the training, coaching and other resources they need to successfully translate God’s Word into their own language. Their offices are in Arlington, Texas.
The Wycliffe Foundation is a subsidiary of Wycliffe USA which focuses on planned giving, helping people to support Bible translation, linguistics training and literacy efforts now and after their lifetimes using financial instruments such as wills, trusts and annuities. Their gift planning professionals help facilitate stewardship opportunities. Their offices are in Orlando, Florida.
JAARS focuses on serving SIL International and the Wycliffe Global Alliance by helping people get involved and give to the technology, transportation and logistics needed for the global Bible translation movement. They also help in a specialty area called vernacular media services which focuses on developing biblical media resources in vernacular (in other words, local) languages. Their offices are in Waxhaw, North Carolina. Learn more about SIL International.
All of these different organizations in the USA focus on a slightly different niche of the Bible translation movement. It is a huge undertaking, and it takes a big global team working together to see Bible translation for many languages happen.
Here’s the short version to summarize each of these organizations’ areas of focus:
- Wycliffe Associates (WA) – Volunteers and Special Projects
- Wycliffe USA – Americans Praying, Giving and Going
- The Seed Company – Mother Tongue Translators
- The Wycliffe Foundation – Planned Giving
- JAARS – Transportation, Technology, Logistics, and Vernacular Media
To put it all together, while we were on the Wycliffe Associates banquet tour, we had the opportunity, as Wycliffe USA missionaries, to share about how we saw God work through us in our roles with the Wycliffe Global Alliance. Then Wycliffe Associates used that as a spring board to encourage those attending the banquets to get involved in Bible translation themselves by helping provide funds for a Wycliffe Associates project.
We’re a community – a community that is working together to ultimately see people from every people, nation and language worshiping God.