by Mark

Walking to the market with God

February 24, 2015 in Mark, Bible, Church, Front, Tanzania, Theology by Mark

Having moved around quite a bit over the past few years, we have had the privilege of hearing many different church leaders in three countries and two (three if you count American) languages, reading parts of the Bible and teaching what it may mean. While we have certainly heard some excellent teachers making fine points about various parts of the Bible, when I think back over all the sermons I have heard (and taught) in the past few years, I struggle to think of any “fact” or “teaching” that has really impacted my life. And I really have to try hard to remember any “application” from any of those sermons. OK, maybe I have a bad memory, and I’m sure I have dozed off in church too many times, as all male Woodwards are prone to do from time to time.

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by Mark

Safwa Scripture Celebrations

October 11, 2014 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible, Bible translation, Church, Front, Language, Mission, Tanzania by Mark

At the end of August, I flew to Mbeya in southwest Tanzania, to be attend the dedication of several books of the Bible in the Safwa language. The books of Ruth, Jonah, Mark, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, are the first to be published in Safwa, and were greeted with much singing, dancing and joy by the crowd assembled in the town of Mbalizi, about 30 minutes drive from Mbeya.

Various honoured guests were present, including a Member of Parliament, local businessmen and traditional Safwa community leaders. The celebrations included performances by choirs and bands, and speeches by various guests, the highlight of which was our German colleague, Andrea, giving her speech entirely in Safwa, to the amazement of all! Read the rest of this entry →

by Mark

Adventures in California

November 20, 2013 in Life, Wycliffe, Mark, Church, Culture, Front by Mark

Although we are currently living in Oregon in the US, Laura is originally from California and still considers that to be her home in many ways. Recently we were excited to be able to spend a couple of weeks in California visiting friends, supporters and our supporting church in Petaluma.

We had an amazing time, and loved being able to catch up with friends who we hadn’t seen for a couple of years. Our time in Petaluma was also really encouraging, particularly as we spent an evening with the church home group that has committed to supporting us in prayer and practically in whatever ways they can. We were really glad to have the opportunity to spend time getting to know the group better, and felt humbled by their enthusiasm to support us and our work in whatever ways they can. Read the rest of this entry →

by Mark

A missional reading of 1 Peter 2:4-12

October 9, 2013 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible, Bible translation, Church, Language, Mission, Tanzania, Theology by Mark

Last week Laura and I had the opportunity to speak at Calvary Chapel, Salem here in Oregon. As well as giving an update on Bible translation projects that we’re involved in in Tanzania, I took a look at 1 Peter 2:4-12, exploring what it means to read this section of the letter from a missional perspective.

Looking back, I think I sub-consciously applied the various missional hermeneutics we covered in the “Reading the Bible Missionally” module of Redcliffe’s MA in Bible and Mission, specifically looking at:

  • The place of the text in the missional meta-narrative of the Bible
  • The significance of the text in forming and equipping a missional community among its initial hearers
  • The text as part of a movement from the particular to the universal
  • The text speaking to the missional situation of the present-day hearers

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by Mark

Nyiha Scriptures: “Now I know how my ancestors talked about God”

August 15, 2013 in Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Bible translation, Church, Front, Language, Mission, Swahili, Tanzania by Mark

Back in May I was privileged to spend a few days with the Nyiha language community in Mbozi District of Tanzania’s Mbeya Region. The Nyiha were the first community that I was involved in surveying in August and September 2004, and since then they have worked with experts from around the world to translate the books of Ruth, Jonah, Mark, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Revelation into their language.

The purpose of my recent visit was to see what impact these translated Scriptures are having among the community, and to see what lessons could be learned from the Nyiha that could be applied to translation projects in other communities throughout Tanzania. Read the rest of this entry →