Email Update, December 2016

January 29, 2017 in Wycliffe, Africa, Bible translation, Front, Tanzania

Every few weeks we send out newsletters or email updates. Our latest update from December 2016 is now available, with news of our travel to the project locations around Tanzania, and a trip to the UK. If you would like to sign up to receive these regularly, you can do so here.

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!

You can read the whole update for more information. Thank you for praying for us! Read the rest of this entry →

Our flights are booked… to Tanzania!

November 22, 2011 in Life, Wycliffe, Mark, Front

Almost five years ago to the day I left Tanzania where I had been living and working as a member of Wycliffe, to fly to the US and marry my almost-wife, Laura. We had initially hoped to spend just a year in the UK before moving back to Tanzania, but for various reasons one year turned to two, three… and now almost five. Now it seems that our hope is finally about to come true, as this week we booked our flights to Tanzania in January!

Looking back we are extremely grateful for the last five years and can see that we wouldn’t have been ready to move overseas when we originally planned. Over this time we have learned a huge amount about each other, about our cultures, about God, about mission and about Bible translation, and Laura has identified a couple of allergies that were sapping a great deal of her energy in her everyday life. Over this time we have also worked in the Wycliffe UK offices (Mark recruiting new members and Laura serving as PA to the executive director) and taken studies related to our future work (Laura in Psychology and Family studies and Mark in Bible and Mission). All in all we are still slightly daunted about moving to Tanzania, but feel much better prepared now than we were a few years ago. Read the rest of this entry →

God moves at three miles an hour

September 8, 2011 in Life, Wycliffe, Mark, Mission, Tanzania, Theology

Nine years ago I was nearing the end of my time at university and considering what I wanted to do next. After a couple of short-term trips to Kenya I was very interested in returning to East Africa longer-term, and felt that Bible translation may be a good way to indirectly use the maths skills that I had learnt as part of my degree.

As I considered joining Wycliffe, I had the option of either doing so immediately after leaving university, or working in the UK for a year or two first. As I thought and prayed about this decision I became more aware of what I considered to be the urgency of Bible translation for people who currently have no access to the Bible, so decided to join Wycliffe as soon as I could.

Nine years later I am happy that I made a good decision (for one thing I probably wouldn’t have met Laura otherwise!), but I think I would see things differently now.  Over the past few years I have become less convinced that God is in a hurry, and more convinced that he is much more concerned that we do things that are consistent with his character and his kingdom.

Last week I read through Simon Cozens’ excellent critique of the “unreached people groups” approach to mission, which is essentially a strategy for “reaching” the whole world with the good news about Jesus as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is an extremely pragmatic, business-oriented approach to mission.

Simon explains why he believes this approach to be flawed from various angles, particularly in relation to the way God works and the way he involves his church in his mission. I would encourage you to read the whole article, but one line really stuck in my mind, where he was quoting the idea of Kosuke Koyama that

God moves at three miles an hour because walking pace is the pace of love.

The more I think about this the more I think it is true of God. He is more concerned about loving and relating to people than he is about achieving goals quickly. He allowed thousands of years to pass before he sent Jesus into the world, and when he arrived Jesus wasn’t in a panicked rush to achieve everything that he came for. There were even times when people died because Jesus was “distracted” by others along the way and didn’t reach them in time. Jesus moved at walking pace because that was the pace of the people around him, and because he had complete confidence that if he was obedient to the father that God was more than able to achieve his goals, even if it meant raising people from the dead.

Eight years after I joined Wycliffe I am starting to learn that God often moves at walking pace, because that is the pace of love. As we have recently moved closer to the centre of town, Laura and I are enjoying walking around the neighbourhood more, and even walking to places where we would normally drive. I am starting to realise how much we can miss out on what God is wanting to do in us and through us when we zoom from one place to another in our (metaphorical and literal) cars, rather than taking an hour or two to walk from one place to the next, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of life, and allowing ourselves to be distracted by the people along the way.

As we have been preparing to go to Tanzania over the past few years it certainly feels like things have been moving at walking pace. We originally planned to leave in January 2008, and our hope finally seems to be coming to fruition in January 2012. As we look back we can see that God has taught us a huge amount in those four years of waiting, not least that when we finally live in Tanzania we shouldn’t be so focused on urgency and goals that we forget to walk at three miles an hour.

Men standing by car

Vision 2025: Realigning Ourselves with God

September 29, 2010 in Wycliffe, Mark, Bible translation, Language, Mission

Wycliffe has a vision that by the year 2025, Bible translation partners around the world will see translation projects started for every community that needs it. But this vision isn’t just about scaling up what is already happening, raising more money or working faster. It’s fundamentally about realigning ourselves with what God is doing.

Take a look at the video below and be inspired to join in with a God who is reaching out to people of all languages and nations…

(HT: Eddie)

Spring Forward to the Summer

March 15, 2010 in Life, Prayer

OK, well it’s not quite summer yet, but the last few days have finally felt like spring after a looong and often white winter here in southern England! We actually missed the heaviest snow when we were in the US, but for the first few weeks we were back it felt like it snowed more often than it rained… which isn’t normal for England!

But now the daffodils are just starting to come out, and we’re enjoying what will probably be our last British spring for a few years. Our plan is to move to Oregon in the US at the end of the summer, where we’ll be based for the next year or two, raising support and preparing to eventually move to Tanzania. If you’d like to know more about our plans, you can take a look at our March 2010 prayer letter (pdf, 1.1MB).

There are still various things that we have to work out over the next few weeks and months. Laura’s UK citizenship is now almost completed, and on 21st April she’ll swear an oath to the Queen and can apply for a British passport!

I’m currently in the first step of applying for a US visa, which will take a few months but we’re hoping will be finished in time to leave for the States. The process involves Laura first petitioning the US embassy in London (which we’re doing at the moment), and then me collecting various documents, including police clearance from the UK and Tanzania, to take to a visa interview in London, where I’ll also undergo a medical. After that, hopefully I’ll receive a visa which will lead to a Green Card, and permission to live and work in the US.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking into more of the practical arrangements for moving to the US, like working out how much extra financial support we’ll need to raise, as well as planning a possible short-term trip to Africa this summer.

We’re also talking with the Uganda-Tanzania branch of our partner organisation to see if there is anything that I can do remotely to support Bible translation in Tanzania while we’re living in Oregon, so… watch this space!

But for now I’m trying to concentrate on my current recruitment job – finishing off well, and also helping my new boss to transition well into his role!

And of course, enjoying our last English spring for a while…

Abingdon last Saturday when we visited my Aunt and Uncle

The aforementioned Uncle Peter and Auntie Chris

My little sister, Lizzi

A beautiful walk in Christmas Common last week

A towering Red Kite keeps an eagle (or Red Kite) eye on us