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Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada

Spring 2014


The Wapishana Bible

translation team of Guyana
presses on, despite the
tragic murders of two key
Wycliffe colleagues.

CanIL Sponsors Myanmar Student + Translating the Gospel + No More Grasping at Crumbs
Spring 2014 Volume 32 Number 1
Word Alive, which takes its name from Hebrews 4:12a,
is the official publication of Wycliffe Bible Translators
of Canada. Its mission is to inform, inspire and involve
the Christian public as partners in the worldwide
Bible translation movement. The Who Behind Our Whys
Editor: Dwayne Janke
Designer: Cindy Buckshon Dwayne Janke
Senior Staff Writer: Doug Lockhart
Staff Writers: Alexis Harrison, Janet Seever

Staff Photographer: Natasha Schmale
espite being tired, sleep eluded Word Alive photographer
Word Alive is published four times annually by
Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada, 4316 10 St NE, Natasha Schmale one night about a year ago. Light breezes,
Calgary AB T2E 6K3. Copyright 2014 by Wycliffe the croaks of frogs and the chirps of bats wafted in through
Bible Translators of Canada. Permission to reprint open windows in the guest room of the Wapishana Translation
articles and other magazine contents may be Centre in southwest Guyana, South America. Natasha lay there
obtained by written request to the editor. A blinking. Only the inky blackness was visible on the moonless night.
donation of $20 annually is suggested to cover
the cost of printing and mailing the magazine. It was the final evening that Natasha and writer Alexis Harrison
(Donate online or use the reply form in this issue.) were spending in the Rupununi savannah. They had been
Printed in Canada by McCallum Printing Group, travelling the week before to several Wapishana villages, meeting,
Edmonton. interviewing and taking photos of Wycliffe and Wapishana
Member: The Canadian Church Press, Evangelical translators, local pastors and literacy workers.
Press Association.
For additional copies: It was exciting to see the Wapishana people eager about Gods
To contact the editor: Word in their own language, recalls Natasha, and to hear them
For address updates: singing and worshipping in their own language.
But there was also an element of sadness: two translators had
lost their lives here.
As explained in this issue of Word Alive, Richard and Charlene
Hicks (a Canadian/American dual citizen and American,
respectively) were killed by would-be thieves near the interior town
of Lethem less than a decade ago.
They say that hindsight is 20/20, and I would agree that generally
things appear clearer looking back, says Natasha. But that night as
Wycliffe serves minority language groups worldwide
by fostering an understanding of Gods Word through
I lay in the guest room of the Wapishana Translation Centrewhich
Bible translation, while nurturing literacy, education had been the home of the Hickses before they were murdered in
and stronger communities. 2005things were still unclear for me.
Natasha found herself longing to know answers to some obvious
Canadian Head Office: 4316 10 St NE, Calgary AB T2E whys. Why did the murders happen? Why did the Hickses have to
6K3. Phone: (403) 250-5411 or toll free 1-800-463-1143,
8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. mountain time. Fax: (403) 250- Why did die that way?
2623. Email: French speakers: Call toll Throughout the week of travelling, interviews and photo-taking, she
free 1-877-747-2622 or email the murders had seen little glimpses of Gods sovereignty and goodness prevailing in
the Bible translation project. But pieces were still missing for her.
Cover: Olive Williams, a member of the Wapishana happen? Why Natasha realized that she was missing those pieces because not
translation team who worked closely with Richard
and Charlene Hicks, holds up a photo of the Hickses' did the Hickses even Gods people can truly comprehend His ways.
burnt-out dwelling, which was destroyed as part of Yet like a small child who asks for answers she is not old enough
their tragic murders. Behind her is a new building built have to die to understand, I still ask why. And like a small child, concludes
on the old foundation: the translation centre, which is
where the Wapishana New Testament was completed. this way? Natasha, I must trust that though I dont fully understand, I have a
Photo by Natasha Schmale. sovereign Father who will prevail over darkness.
As our writer/photographer teams travel to various parts of
the world to bring you the stories in this magazine, we ask lots of
questions. So it is exasperating when occasionally there simply are
no concrete and certain answers to our queries: Why did it take so
long before Bible translation started for this group? Why are there
In Others Words so many obstacles to getting the job finished? Why did the key local
translator suddenly die from disease? Why isnt the language group
Even the imagination of Western atheists,
overjoyed at receiving Gods Word at the moment?
not to mention their personal ethics and
Like Natasha in Guyana, we too can stare at our dark whys and
morality, is informed by the Bible. . . .
see nothing in response but the blackness of uncertainty.
Jeffrey Miller, adjunct professor of law and In the end, as Natasha did, it is best to peer past Why to the
literature at the University of Western Ontario,
in The Globe and Mail, May 4, 2012 ultimate Who. We must focus on our Fatherthe One who will
ultimately prevail over all things, the whys included.
2 Word Alive Spring 2014

Stories by Alexis Harrison Photographs by Natasha Schmale

6 Inducted into the Hall of Faith Murdered

while serving Guyanas Wapishana Amerindians, Wycliffes
Richard and Charlene Hicks left a lasting impression on
the language project and the people.

11 A Mom Remembers Richard Hicks mother

recollects her sons gifting, his missionary longing and
loving marriage, and her struggles after his murder.

14 A Wife of Noble Character The first local

full-time Wapishana Bible translator persevered in
pursuit of her passion.

20 Like Father, Like Son Two Bible translators

sacrifice time with family and farm to meet the spiritual
needs of their Wapishana people.

24 A Day at a Time Wycliffes Bev Dawson persevered

through isolation, slow progress and colleagues deaths to

serve with Guyanas Wapishana people.

27 Right Person, Right Time

30 Carried Like Cassava The Wapishana New
Testament was one of 25 New Testaments and Bibles
dedicated this past year.
By Janet Seever

2 Foreword The Who Behind Our Whys

By Dwayne Janke

20 4 Watchword CanIL Sponsors Myanmar Student

32 Beyond Words Translating the Gospel, Parts 7 & 8

By Hart Wiens

34 A Thousand Words A Wapishana Shower Curtain

35 Last Word No More Grasping at Crumbs


By Roy Eyre
Word Alive Spring 2014 3

CanIL Sponsors Myanmar Student SIL Releases Early Learning Resource

T he Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL), a training

partner of Wycliffe Canada, is sponsoring a 25-year-old
man from Myanmar for advanced linguistics training in
N ew multilingual education (MLE) resources for children in the worlds
indigenous minorities have been released by SIL, Wycliffes main
partner organization.
neighbouring Thailand. Available as a free download, the publication is called Heritage Language
Khan Lann (at right, in photo below) has been studying for Playschools for Indigenous Minorities. It explains the reason for play-based
an MA in linguistics at Payap University in the city of Chiang mother tongue preschools, gives detailed plans to run such programs and
Mai, so he can help meet the language and translation needs includes a set of supplementary materials.
of his Tangshang Naga-speaking people. Patricia Davis, an SIL literacy and education consultant from Canada with
One of six children of farming parents, Khan Lann grew up more than 40 years of MLE field experience, calls Heritage Language Playschools
in remote Northwestern Myanmar region. He attended Grades the most complete and most practical reference book on this topic that I
1-4 in his home village, learning in the national language, have seen to date.
Burmese. Travelling with his father to another village one day, The manual and materials
he saw a hymnbook written in his mother tongue. He asked to grew out of a pilot project in
be taught to read it, sparking a desire to see more books in his the Malaysian state of Sarawak
language, including the Bible. by SIL Malaysia, the Dayak
After pursuing further studies, Khan Lann eventually earned Bidayuh National Association
BAs in philosophy and English at two universities in Myanmar. and UNESCO. It successfully gave
Since there was suitable training available in the neighbouring young children in preschool a
country of Thailand, Khan Lann applied and was accepted into good educational foundation
the Payap MA Linguistics program. and improved their school
The CanIL scholarship covers travel, tuition and a living performance.
expense stipend. The publications author Dr.
Karla Smith, and her husband
James, are both SIL literacy and
education consultants who played
key roles in organizing the Dayak
Bidayuh pilot. Heritage Language
Playschools is written in simple
English for wider distribution and
Photo courtesy of SIL

translation into other languages

Courtesy of CanIL

around the world.

MV Kwadima II Sails Safely in PNG

Tim Scott
Word Count A 13-metre boat called the MV Kwadima II (pictured at right) is making it
possible for Bible translation teams to travel safely by water throughout the
1985 Year that Canada Institute of Linguistics Milne Bay province of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Many of these areas do not have regular maritime travel and are not easily accessible by
(CanIL), Wycliffes training partner in smaller boats. It is not unusual for Wycliffe and local personnel to have trips lasting up to
Langley, B.C., opened its doors. 24 hours or more there. Safety is a main concern, since most local travel occurs on small
2,800-plus Number of students who have boats which are often overloaded or depart without proper water safety equipment.
Operated by SIL PNG, MV Kwadima II can carry up to 35 passengers and transport
studied at CanIL. up to 15 tons of cargo, to help pay its expenses. The boat is managed by Tim McIntosh,
68 Number of different countries from which who has 20 years of maritime experience, and skippered by a PNG captain and first
mates with excellent safety records.
those CanIL students have come.
Our primary means of getting in and out of the village [we are working in] has been
370 CanIL graduates who are field assigned by taking the MV Kwadima II, says one language worker. We are thankful for the way
with a Bible translation organization. the boat is well maintained, for the trustworthy and competent crew, for the hard work
of the boat managerand on those 14-hour boat rides, extremely thankful for a boat
Source: CanIL Friends of CanIL newsletter, Spring 2013 with an operational toilet!

4 Word Alive Spring 2014

Wycliffe Caribbean Marks 20 Years Doing What Sounds Impossible

W ycliffe Caribbean is marking its 20th anniversary with nine months of celebrations.
The anniversary was launched this past July with a pastors and church
leaders breakfast in Kingston, Jamaica. Those in Kingston were joined by Skype with
I t sounded like an impossible goal: a literacy
workshop lasting just three weeks to produce 12
reading primers in six of Nigerias languages.
simultaneous events in Antigua, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. It felt that way, too, when we began...
Wycliffe Caribbean was founded in Trinidad & Tobago in 1993 with the purpose of with 13 literacy workers with minimal
assisting the Caribbean Church to mobilize its people to obey the Great Commission Lisbon
computer SPAIN
skills and a lot of sounds to teach
to evangelize the world. Its focus is on providing the Word of God for thousands of
PORTUGAL to the pre-literates in their communities, Tunis
people groups in the language they know best. recalled Christy Yoder. She is a Wycliffe literacy
Gibraltar GREEC
Wycliffe Caribbean currently has partnership agreements with 360 churches worker who participated in the workshop
in the Caribbean region. run by the Nigerian Bible Translation Trust. Tripoli
However, after three ALGERIAweeks, five of the six

groups left with complete primers that they had

Bible Translation Progress Canary Islands
designed and written with original stories using
in India Amazes limited graphemes (letters or letter combinations

T wo decades ago, 250 languages that represent a single sound).

needed Bible translation to start With an hour break between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.,
in India. In 20 years, amazing progress many working into the night, they succeeded! said
has been made so that now, just over SAHARA
Yoder. This is truly a working of Gods grace, and
100 languages require a translation we pray that these primers will be used to bless
of the Scriptures. MAURITANIA thousands of people with the great gift of literacy
Nouakchott NIGER
This is Gods doing and it is marvelous in their motherMALI tongue.
in His eyes! says a leader in the South
Asian nation who has completed 20 years CHAD
serving in Bible translation ministry. Banjul
GAMBIA Bamako Ouagadougou
I can testify without hesitation that Bissau
[this] mission belongs to God. He will GUINEA BISSAU BENIN NIGERIA

make the crooked path straight so Conakry

that all people on earth will have the TOGO
opportunity to read or listen to the Word Monrovia Abidjan Accra Lome Porto Novo CAMEROON
of God in their own heart language.
Dave Crough

Yaounde Bangui


Sign Languages Bible GABON

Available On Demand

eaf Opportunity Outreach International (DOOR),
a participating organization of Wycliffe Global
Alliance, is involved with a new initiative: the first
website of on-demand sign language Bibles. Luanda
DOOR hosts videos of more than 200 Bible stories
in seven different languages, so that the Deaf from
Kerala in India, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, ANGOLA

Uganda and Tanzania can access them in their

specific sign language.
The website (, pictured at right)
makes the gospel available to more than three million
Deaf people. Stories in Nigerian, Russian and another
sign language are slated to be added this year.
It is estimated that up to 400 unique sign languages Windhoek

are used by the Deaf around the world.

Word Alive Spring 2014 5

Inducted into the

ften called the Hall of Faith, the people listed in
Hebrews 11 either escaped the edge of the sword
or had been put to death by the sword as they
followed God. In both cases, the writer of Hebrews
says, the world was not worthy of them.
Many faithful folks have been inducted into the Hall of Faith
since the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the others who are
listed. Two of them are assuredly Wycliffes Richard and Charlene
Hicks. The couple was put to death by the sword in a tragic 2005
murder while helping translate the Wapishana New Testament in
Guyana, South America. Richard was 42; Charlene 58.
But what was lost has lived on, as Wapishana Christians
and other Wycliffe missionaries carried the Hickses work to
completion. Inspired by the couples sacrifice, the team rallied
against darkness in the power of Christs glorious light.
The Hickses may be absent from this earth, but they are alive
and well in the presence of the God of the living. They must
have rejoiced with Him as 1,600 copies of Kaimanao Tominkaru
Murdered while serving Guyanas Paradan (Gods Holy Word) became available to the Wapishana
people this past fall (see related story, pg. 30).
Wapishana Amerindians, Wycliffes
Richard and Charlene Hicks A Lasting Impression
The Hickses fingerprints are all over the Wapishana New
left a lasting impression on the Testament, and their efforts contributed greatly to its completion.
language project and the people. The memory of the couples presence is also cut into the rutted
Stories by Alexis Harrison roads of the Rupununi savannah, which they traversed in their
Photographs by Natasha Schmale Toyota Land Cruiser, its beige doors labelled in black lettering:
RICHARD AND CHARLENE HICKS. On those trips, they visited
old friends in various Wapishana villagesfriends on whose
hearts the couple also left a lasting impression.
At San Jose Ranch (home-base for the Wapishana
translation project in Guyana's remote Rupununi savannah),
Long-time missionary Bev Dawson reminisces about cotton trees that Charlene planted still grow, and the
good times with Wycliffe colleagues Richard and outbuildings that Richard constructed still stand.
Charlene Hicks. On the wall beside her is a picture and In the translation centre there, a plaque commemorates the
plaque that honours the couple's contributionand Hickses contribution to the project: In memory of Richard
their sacrificeto the Wapishana New Testament.

Word Alive Spring 2014 7

An avid handicrafter, Charlene memorialized her and Richard's time together
with friends at San Jose in photo albums. Here, a meal is ready for eating; a favourite
past-time (ping-pong) is played; and giant slices of watermelon are about to be enjoyed.

Make sure your translation is clear, accurate, natural, she

It was a perfect match. They both needed each penned on one, a reference to the principles that guide all
other and made it work. It was just a really good Bible translations involving Wycliffe personnel worldwide.
Wycliffe missionary Bev Dawson (see A Day at a Time on
relationship, a good marriage and a good team. pg. 24), who has worked on the Wapishana translation for 40
years, says Charlene was a wonderful hostess and Richard a
and Charlene Hicks, who served the Lord by helping with Bible creative wordsmith.
translation into the Wapishana language from 1994 until 2005. Dawson remembers that before they arrived in Guyana, it
The translation centre was reconstructed on the foundation was Charlene who asked about practical details, like what
of the Hickses home, which was burnt down the night of tools they needed to bring with them. Richard, a true linguist
their murder. They named their humble abode Matariapa focusing on the language itself, was more single-minded. He
or Peace in the Wapishana language. The peace and joy they was just asking questions about Wapishana, says Bev.
experienced while living there is captured in photo albums It was a perfect match. They both needed each other and
that Charlene lovingly crafted to show to family and friends made it work, she adds. It was just a really good relationship,
back in Canada and the United States. (Charlene was an a good marriage and a good team.
American; Richard had dual Canadian/American citizenship.)
One of the albums is titled The Team, and displays Lives Given
pictures of Richard and Charlene with the Wapishana On March 30, 2005, the Hickses were at a Bible conference in the
translators while working, sharing meals, singing, building town of Lethem, close to San Jose. The next day was a big one;
puzzles and playing games. Added to the thousand words they were planning to visit two of the Wapishana translators,
that each photo already represents are thought bubble Jerry and Juram Browne (see Like Father, Like Son on pg. 20)
stickers, on which Charlene wrote thoughtful captions. in the village of Aishalton. The trek was to be at least a six-hour

8 Word Alive Spring 2014

journey. They decided to leave the conference early, so theyd be Sadness and Horror
prepared to start their drive by morning. One suspect is a Brazilian and the other a non-Wapishana
Without any witnesses, what happened next is not completely Amerindian from Guyana, both of whom worked on the
known. But police investigators have pieced together probable ranch off and on. Just a week prior, theyd even been helping
events from the murder scene and tips from residents in the area. replace some of the thatched roofing at San Jose on Bev and
It seems that a little while after the Hickses arrived home, Chics house.
someone called out from the gate of the fence surrounding their Rumours have since surfaced that the men were seen
property. This wasnt unusual, as their elderly neighbour, who drinking at a bar before the heinous crime that night, bragging
owned the ranch on which San Jose is situated, often had her about what they were going to do. Others say the two used to
hired men go ask the Hickses for medicine or other supplies. sit on the ranch houses porch, speculating about all the Hickses
That was likely the excuse the two men at the gate used that might own.
night. Richard and Charlene were killed in the attack that ensued. I dont think well ever know what was premeditated and what
Their house was burned down after the murderers poured just happened, says Bev. It just shocked and shook up everyone
gasoline on it and set it ablaze. in the area.
Miraculously, the fire did not reach the other buildings in In Bevs words, the reaction of the Wapishana community
which Bev and her partner at the time, Chic Ruth, lived. If it had, and other locals was one of sadness, loss, disbelief and horror.
Bev's computer could have been lost forever, and much of the The murder suspects, whose arrest warrants were issued
translation along with it. about two years ago, are still seen occasionally in Boa Vista, a
A few valuables were stolen from the property, but others Brazilian city approximately 130 kilometres from Guyanas
weren'tleaving robbery as an uncertain motive. border. The two nations do not have an extradition agreement.
It really doesnt make sense, says Bev, who explains that For years after the murder, locals told Bev that they wished
everyone in the region knows who the murder suspects are, even there was some way they could tempt the men back over the
though they havent been arrested yet. The criminals, who may border to be arrested. But neither Bev, nor any of the Hickses
have ridden bicycles, escaped across the nearby border to Brazil. other friends or family members, have pressed the issue. Bev
says as Christians, they dont necessarily feel the need for
that kind of closure. Instead, they are praying for the men.
Other pages in Charlene's albums preserve their
experiences doing some of the more "unusual"
mundane tasks of life in Guyana.

Word Alive Spring 2014 9

Across the Takutu River and the bridge of its namesake, the country of Brazil stretches as far as the eye can see. Without an
extradition agreement between Guyana and its southwesterly neighbour, the Hickses' murdererswho are rumoured to be
living across the borderonly face arrest if they attempt to return to Guyana.

The important thing was for us to be able to continue the of the tomb lists their dates of birth and death. A flower at
work and finish it, says Bev, so I didnt want to cause problems the tombs foot looks as though someone traced it with their
or waves. finger in the still-wet cement before walking away, full of grief.
The tragedy caused a definite change in the attitudes of The Hickses had celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary
local non-Christians, who had previously steered clear of the shortly before they died. Their friends, who always emphasize
missionaries working on the Wapishana language project. Richard and Charlenes togetherness, say it was a blessing that
I think it made them realize that we werent just people they died together.
coming out to do something fun, says Bev, but were really Jackie DAguiar, a friend from Lethem who spoke at the
serious about this, and were willing to give our lives because we Hickses funeral, says, They always stuck together. They uplifted
feel that this is important. your spirits for the day, just seeing them, because they were such
lovely people.
Hope of Eternal Life Elaine Foo, another friend from Lethem, has little memoirs
In April 2005, memorial services in both North and South from Charlene that she treasures, including a knitted cushion
America were held for the Hickses, in locations as diverse as cover, a plastic bag holder and other handcrafted gifts.
Nova Scotia, Minnesota and the Rupununi. She remembers Richard as a handyman.
On a January morning this past year, some of the Hickses Rich was that kind of fellow where you'd say, I have these
friends who helped plan their funeral in Guyana eight years ago curtains to hang up, and hed say, Get the hammer, get the nail,
stood in a semicircle around their gravesite, holding hands. and he'd jump up there and get it done.
The couples bright yellow tomb is like a ray of sunshine on The Hickses also had a profound influence on Elaines son,
a grey day. Large, all-cap letters have been carefully stenciled Jason, who was 21 at the time of their death.
on its surface: FAITHFULLY SERVED GOD AMONG THE They were a warm, lovely couple, he says, a couple that I
WAPISHANA. A Bible-shaped block of cement at the head believe should be one of the models of the Rupununi.

10 Word Alive Spring 2014

A Mom Remembers
Richard Hicks mother recollects her sons gifting, his missionary
longing and loving marriage, and her struggles after his murder.

A s a missionary kid growing up in South Africa, Richard Hicks

had no trouble keeping a constant supply of candy in his
pocket. Just memorize the Scripture verse from Bible club,
and the prize was a chocolate barit was that simple.
Candy may have been Richard's reward for memorizing God's
Modern-day, But Old-fashioned
Charlene was working in SIL headquarters library at the time,
recovering from brain surgery. Her battle against a benign tumour
is testimony to the courage and vivaciousness with which she faced
lifeof which she considered variety the spice.
Word, but it wasn't his motivation. Even at a young age, the Bible was Born in Illinois, she grew up in several states while her parents
important to him. The youngest of three children, he loved learning pastored at small churches. She went on to join Wycliffe in
bits and pieces out of his dad's Zulu Bible. 1972, following in the footsteps of her older brother who was a
Richard was fascinated with foreign languages. Wycliffe missionary for 30 years. She served as a teacher, translator,
I remember when he used the words I do not know and translated it administrative assistant and library consultant in countries as diverse
into 25 languages, says his 85-year-old mother, Evelyn Hicks. as Mexico, New Zealand and Germany.
But his Canadian mom and American dad weren't translators, and As much as she was a modern-day womaneven having earned
if any kind of Bible translation was going on in South Africa at the her private pilot's licenceshe was still the good old-fashioned girl
time, they didn't know about it. They served with Africa Evangelistic Richard always wanted.
Fellowship. Evelyn's husband, Jim, taught at two Bible colleges After hiking to the top of a Colorado mountain peak one day,
while she taught classes for women and children. Two and two Richard hadnt yet revealed to Charlene the contents of a mystery
Richard's passion about the Bible and love for languageshad yet to backpack he'd been wearing. Disappearing into the trees for a few
be put together. moments, he returned, dressed in a tuxedo. Rose in hand, he got
down on one knee and proposed.
From Backwoods to College They were married for only two years before moving to Guyana in
When he turned 18, it wasn't surprising that Richard aced his Bible 1994. There, evenings would find Richard reading to Charlene as she
knowledge exam for entrance into The King's College in New York. worked on her latest craft.
Soon he was an active member of the school's missions club. It was People always said they were so cute together, says Evelyn.
a semi-familiar setting to a missionary-kid-come-man suffering The couples daily lives in Guyana were an open book to Evelyn.
from culture shock. Richard wrote home about once every week.
He had come straight from the backwoods of Africa to college, Richies letters were delightful, says Evelyn, full of tidbits a mother
says Evelyn. Despite that, Evelyn watched her son get recognized for would want to know."
his leadership capabilities and strong Christian values. Richard would often include a bit of thought-provoking
Via Richard's letters, she also recognized a growing desire in her philosophy in his letters. Fervency derives from the combination of
son's heart. love and a sense of urgency, and we all want fervency in our prayer,
Richie always thought he was too much of an introvert to be a is an example.
missionary, says Evelyn. All the missionaries he knew were extroverts, In honour of the Hickses, members of the next generation are being
but he still felt a longing to be [one]. given the opportunity to grow more "fervent" in their walk with the Lord
Having majored in mathematics, Richard was at a crossroads after through the Hicks Memorial Spiritual Leadership Award. (See back cover
college. Not knowing which direction to take next, he opted to move for details.)
back home with mom and dadonly home was now Lunenburg,
Nova Scotia, where his parents had since relocated from Africa as Grief and Thankfulness
church planters with Bible Ministries Worldwide. When the news reached Evelyn that her son and daughter-in-law
Over a three-year period, Richard worked at a sauerkraut plant and had been killed, she says, My mouth went dry, my throat closed. I
served in several capacities at his parents fledgling church. During went weak all over. I lay on the couch, hardly able to comprehend it.
that time, Evelyn says, He gradually felt the Lord leading him into Nearly every day, the same question was on her lips to God in
full-time service. prayer: Why?
In order to do so, Richard attended Briercrest Bible College in I knew I would never understand, she says. Just seven months
Saskatchewan, where he heard a missionary from Wycliffe Bible earlier, shed also lost her husband of 48 years.
Translators speak about the need for translators all over the globe. I guess I would say that I live with my grief every day, but I have
It was a light going on for Richie, says Evelyn, especially when he learned to be thankful for the years the Lord gave me with my
heard that Bible translators couldn't ask for a better background wonderful son, and then thankful that the Lord gave him Char.
than mathematics. This mother who has lost her son and daughter-in-law has a clear
God was calling him to combine his two loves: the Bible and language. vision for interceding from afar for the Wapishana Scriptures.
After a summer of stimulating CanIL training in Langley, B.C., My prayer along with everyone is that the Bible in Wapishana
Richard moved to Dallas, Tex., to study linguistics. In another one of will lead to many committing their lives to the Lord, and those who
his letters, Evelyn soon found out linguistics wasn't the only subject are Christians will grow in their faith as they read the Bible in their
her son was learning about. He was also getting to know a terrific heart language.
girl named Charlene Persons.

Word Alive Spring 2014 11

The one thing that I comfort myself
Jason always sensed that
he and his young family were and console myself [with] is . . . they are
close to the Hickses hearts.
He remembers them driving
home with the Lord now, and they are in
all the way to Boa Vista in His presence, and they are comforted."
Brazil to buy Jason a quality
carpenters hammer for his wedding. And when Jasons first child was borna
daughter whos now eight years oldCharlene had prepared knitted gifts for
the occasion.
Jason was distraught at the news of their deaths. The heartache of those dark
days is still written on his face.
The one thing that I comfort myself and console myself [with] is that they
served the Lordthey knew the Lord, says Jason. They are home with the Lord
now, and they are in His presence, and they are comforted.
One of the things that we as Christians have, and that is very special to us, is
the hope of eternal life.

Swallowed Up in Victory
The Bible, about which the Hickses were passionate, is filled with messages of
hope. The missionary couple helped translate many of those hope-filled passages
into the heart language of 6,000 Wapishana people in Guyana and 1,500 in Brazil.
The Wapishana can now take as much comfort in the Word of God as the
Hickses no doubt did throughout their lives
More on the Web: verses such as, Death has been swallowed
Visit to learn up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54b).
how Wapishana church leaders fed
their people with mother-tongue
Scriptures, as they awaited the
printed New Testament.

Guyana: At a Glance Population: 740,000 Languages with Scriptures:

2 have Bibles; 5 have New Testaments;
Capital: Georgetown (pop. 235,000)
Name: Cooperative Republic 3 have Scripture portions; 2 still need
of Guyana People: East Indian 43% (descendants work to start.
of indentured Indian labourers; black
Area: 215,000 sq. km (less than half Literacy: 92% (definition: age 15
(African) 30% (descendants of African
the size of Yukon) and over, having attended school),
slaves); mixed 17%; Amerindian 9%
Location: Northern South America, (mostly living in the sparsely inhabited but a much lower percentage that
bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, interior); Other <1%. are functionally literate.
between Suriname and Venezuela. Sources: World Factbook; Operation World, 7th
Economy: Based largely on Edition; Ethnologue, SIL
Geography: Third-smallest country agriculture and extractive industries,
in South America. Mostly dense and heavily dependent on export of Nicaragua

rainforests, with fertile marshy plain sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber
Trinidad & Tobago

along the Atlantic coast and desert and rice. One third of Guyanese
Panama Ve n e z u e l a


savannah in the southwest. live below the poverty line; Colombia

Suriname French

Background: Originally a Dutch indigenous Amerindian people are

colony in the 17th century. Became a disproportionately affected. Ecuador

British possession in 1815. Abolition Religion: 56% Christian; 28% Hindu;

of slavery led to black settlement SOUTH AMERICA
7% Muslim; 4% other; 4% none.
of urban areas and importation of Peru

Languages: 11 English;
B r a z i l

indentured servants from India to

9 Amerindian languages; Guyanese
work on sugar plantations. Achieved
Creole (used by 90 per cent of Bolivia

independence from Britain in 1966.

the population).

12 Word Alive Spring 2014

(Above) His grieving heart still
healing, Jason Foo (second from
left) leads friends of the Hickses
in singing "God Never Fails"
and "Great is Thy Faithfulness,"
beside the couples tomb. (Right)
Following the Hickses' deaths,
Bev Dawson gifted several of
Charlene's photo albums to close
friends, for them to remember
the couple. Here, Wapishana
translator Jerry Browne and his
wife Delita show theirs to their
granddaughter and youngest son.
A Wife
of Noble
The first local, full-time Wapishana
Bible translator persevered in
pursuit of her passion. That was the

omen in Christian circles might sigh at the turning point in
perfect wife described in Proverbs 31. She sets
the standard high, after all: selecting wool and
flax, working with eager hands, serving the needy my life. When they
and speaking with wisdom.
But its not an exaggeration to say that Olive Williams, a had an invitation
Wapishana woman of God, personifies the wife of noble character
in many ways. On the inside, Olive is all of those qualities. She is
capable, compassionate and conversational about her faith. On the [to dedicate lives to
outside, she is all Wapishana. A thick, poker-straight braid hangs
down the middle of her back, true to a song she likes to sing: The Christ], I was ready.
native girls, they have no curls, deep in the Rupununi.
An old-fashioned pair of spectacles sits on the 60-year-
olds nose, giving sight to gentle eyes that have examined the I got up and I went,
Scriptures for nearly 30 years.
The more I read, the more I understand about God, she and I gave my life.
states simply.

Turning Point
In 1984, Olive became the first, full-time local translator to Not only does she know how to pick the best
join the Wapishana Bible translation project in Guyana, South bananas, Wapishana translator Olive Williams also
America. Since then, shes been faithful to its finish in 2012, knows how to pick good company: she and the
Hickses were close friends and co-workers.

14 Word Alive Spring 2014

translating upwards of 15 of the New Testament books, including Luke,
Acts and Philippians.
First, when I started, I didn't know how to write [Wapishana], she says. I
just wrote it my own way. But then as I continued with the translation, then I
developed the skill in reading and writing and spelling.
She didnt only grow intellectually, she grew spiritually too. A position on the
translation team was an answer to prayer for Olive, who was a new believer at the
time. Previously, shed suffered for months from a severe allergy that affected both
her hands.
I couldn't wash my clothes. I couldnt cook. My hands had sores all over them,
she says. Then she heard a preacher share the story about the woman who had
been subject to bleeding for 12 years, but no one
To see all could heal her (Luke 8:43, NIV).
Whatever kind of sickness that no doctor can
heal, that no witchcraft can heal, he said, that
the Wapishana same Jesus can heal, recalls Olive.
That struck her, because shed sought help
know Christ from all but Jesus, to no avail. Finally, after sitting
in church for years, the message fell on ears that
could hear and a heart that could understand.
better is Olives That was the turning point in my life,
says Olive.
passion in life. When they had an invitation [to dedicate lives
to Christ], I was ready. I got up and I went and I
gave my life.
Still concerned about her hands, and needing to find work that wouldn't keep
them in dishwater all day, Olive began to pray.
When I became a believer, I learned that Jesus can answer prayers and He can
do anything. I prayed and asked for a joba dry jobnot working in a kitchen
and handling wet things.
A letter from Wycliffe missionary Bev Dawson (see A Day at a Time, on pg. 24)
soon followed, asking Olive if she was interested in a Wapishana Bible translation
job that would include head work and a lot of handwriting.
I knew right away that that was an answer to my prayers, says Olive. Today,
her faith that God answers prayer is as strong as ever. And with hindsight being
20/20, its evident that God used her allergy to direct her attention away from
housework and onto translation.

Gods Word on the Mind

More on the Web:
To see all the Wapishana know Christ Visit to learn how
better is Olives passion in life. She can Wapishana church leaders fed their people
share story after story of how shes seen with mother tongue Scriptures, as they
that happening through the translation awaited the printed New Testament.
project and her own evangelistic efforts.
Her role on the translation team included testing newly translated passages with
Wapishana individuals. Shed read each passage aloud, then ask questions to see if
they understood it. Her audience was accustomed to following the crowds to the
village churches on Sunday morning, listening to Gods Word in broken English,

(Top) Olive is quick to recall and eager to share stories about her son, John's, antics
through the years. She and husband Danny adopted him from a family member
when he was six months old. (Right) Olive and Danny sitting side-by-side and
worshiping together in a church service is proof that with God, all things are
possible. Many years ago, after much prayer and counsel, Olive allowed Danny
back into her life even though he had left her for nearly two decades. Now, the
quiet man boldly gives his testimony to congregations throughout the Rupununi.

16 Word Alive Spring 2014

We will not
and returning home without having grasped stop there
the gospel. For the Wapishana, hearing the
Scriptures read to them in their heart language,
during one-on-one testing, was like Zacchaeus
we will
dining with Jesus after being picked out of the
crowd in Jericho. Olive remembers how one continue
man in particular reacted to a passage about
committing adultery.
When I came back the next day, he invited
translating until
his friends . . . the room was full, says Olive. He
told them that this thing that I was doing was we finish what
very good.
The man said he was a churchgoer who had
heard the story before, in English.
is started.
[He said] its very interesting, but it didn't
really go deep into his heart. But now, hearing Eight years
it in his own language, and answering the
questions, it makes him think about it.
He told me, I was one of those men. He
after the
was talking about one who commits adultery.
He said that, The questions that you asked Hickses
really hit me because it really made me think
when I lay in my hammock, I was still thinking
about it.
died, Olives
Olive says it is difficult for Wapishanas,
especially the older people, to understand the prophetic
big words of the Bible in English. Words such
as justification, fornication and circumcision
are some of the stumbling blocks that prevent
words are true.
them from comprehending the Bible deeply.
(Below) Olive shares words with
And even some of the pastors, they read Nigel, a Wapishana literacy teacher
in English [but] the big words, they wouldn't who, like Olive, is passionate about
understand what they really mean. serving his Wapishana brothers
After speaking about the translation in church and sisters. "I love teaching my
one day, Olive heard one man observe how the people," he says.
I keep trusting
Bible first came to them in English, More Work, More Stories
then God sent missionaries to God more and You wont find it in Proverbs 31, but the popular proverb a
live among them. Now that the woman's work is never done rings true for Olive, even though
Bible is in our own language,
Olive remembers him saying, no
more because the New Testament is completed. She is involved in some follow-
up projects to the translation, such as translating a book called
Wapishana can get away from the
Word of God. He has proven How the Jews Lived. She also plans to help record the Wapishana
Scriptures for a Faith Comes By Hearing initiative.
With a woman like Olive, there are always more stories to
This Will Not Stop Us
When Christ established the
Himself in so tellabout how Olive's adopted son John used to call the
Hickses Uncle Richie and Aunty Char. About her travels to
Church, He said the gates of
Hades will not overcome it many ways. different villages, preaching the gospel to women and teaching
them how to crochet. About her husband Danny, a dedicated
(Matthew 16:18b, NIV). In the friend of the Hickses, who miraculously became a Christian after
case of the Wapishana people, Satan has indeed tried to topple 18 years apart from his wife of noble character and away from
the translation work in Guyanahis most obvious attack being God.
the senseless murders of Wycliffe missionaries Richard and Of that wife of noble character, Proverbs 31 continues,
Charlene Hicks in 2005 (see Inducted into the Hall of Faith Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who
on pg. 6). fears the Lord is to be praised.
Olive and Charlene were kindred spirits in a sense. They I keep trusting God more and more because He has proven
shared the gift of hospitality, an interest in crafts and cooking, Himself in so many ways, says Olive. When I need help, I come
and a love for learning new things, then teaching them to others. to Him. And that makes me grow stronger.
Its like she was a type of Wapishana, says Olive, recalling
how Charlene planted cotton trees around her home like any
Wapishana woman would have done.
Since their arrival in 1994, Charlene had been spinning cotton
Olive picks cotton outside the translation centre at San Jose.
with the intention of making a large, Wapishana-style hammock.
Charlene had been spinning cotton throughout her 11 years in
Olive would have helped her do it. And whenever the time came Guyana and had plans to make a world-renowned Wapishana
for the Hickses to leave Guyana, Charlene had promised to give hammock with Olive's help.
Olive their bed and the beautiful bedspread she had crocheted.
Though these dreams will never be realized in this lifetime, sweet
memories of their time together endure.
I remember at Christmastime, or a birthday . . . they would
quietly put a gift right there by my door, says Olive, who lived
off and on at San Jose, the rural ranch property where the
Hickses lived and the translation work was based.
They would plan things, she continued. Like [at] Miss Bevs
birthday, one time we made up a song. Richard, he made up
songs in Wapishana. So we would go when she was still in her
room . . . we would all get together there and sing to her from
outside through the window in Wapishana.
The Hickses were musical people, and it was fitting that
Wapishana songs were also sung at their memorial service. Olive
spoke as part of the program too. With strength and dignity,
she said, The translation is very important. This will not be the
end, this will not stop uswe translators, our hearts desire is to
continue. We will not stop herewe will continue translating
until we finish what is started.
Nine years after the Hickses died, Olives prophetic words
are true; what was started is finished. The Wapishana New
Testament, for which the Hickses sacrificed their lives, is done
and is in the hands of the Wapishana people.
(Top left) Olive and Danny prepare a traditional Guyanese meal:
delicious fried bread called roti, accompanied by a curried dish that
wouldn't be complete without chicken feet. (Left) Olive shares a
laugh with fellow translators Jerry Browne and Bev Dawson outside
Jerry's thatched-roof kitchen.

Word Alive Spring 2014 19


Like Father,
Like Son
Two Bible translators sacrifice time with family and farm
to meet the spiritual needs of their Wapishana people.
20 Word Alive Spring 2014
Like Father, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son, Like Father
Like Father, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son, Like Father
I just gave
A my time into
bout three times every year, a Wapishana father and son
used to be seen setting out from their home in rural
Guyana, bicycles laden with books, hammocks, clothing
and food. Two days later, after fording rivers, camping in
the wilderness, and pushing their bikes through miles of mud, they
would finally arrive at their destination: San Jose Ranch, home-base
God's hands.
One of Jurams greatest sacrifices was leaving his young
for the Wapishana New Testament translation project.
family behind in order to work on the translation. But he'd often
There to welcome the sore and exhausted Jerry and Juram
come home and hear stories of how neighbours had helped care
Browne were several friendly, familiar facestheir co-workers
for his family while he was away by giving them fish, bananas and
in God's service, as Apostle Paul would describe them in 1
other essentials.
Corinthiansincluding Wycliffe missionaries Bev Dawson, Chic
In this sense, God was with me, with my family in this
Ruth and Richard and Charlene Hicks.
translation, says Juram, who daydreamed about his wife and
In the comfort of the Hickses home, the next four or five
children while in San Jose. I just gave my time into God's hands.
weeks would be spent not only recuperating from their journey,
Now that the translation is complete, God has him home
but also poring over open Bibles, discussing difficult passages,
again as a full-time dad, husband, hunter and farmer. He's also a
and translating Scripture into Wapishana words.
youth and worship leader at church, but he dreams of one day
Jerry brought real spiritual depth and wisdom, says Dawson.
hitting the trails as a travelling pastor of sortsmuch like his dad
He worked on things a long time, and studied and fixed them
used to do.
up before I even saw them.
After travelling together, working together, learning together
As for Juram, who was only in his 20s at the time, he would
and experiencing hardships together, Juram says he and Jerry
listen and analyze.
When we had discussions, he wouldnt speak up often, but know each other in a unique and profound way. And not only as
when he did, we all listened, continues Dawson. father and son, but also as true companions.

True Companions
Travelling together wasn't new for the father and son pair. As
a teen, Juram and other youths would tag along with Jerry to
various villages for the purpose of encouraging and strengthening
believers in each community.
I like to shareI like exchanging ideas about faith and the
truth, says Jerry, who is now a leader at his church in the village
of Aishalton, deep in southwest Guyana's Rupununi savannah.
Youth still flock to his home once a week or so for games, Bible
teaching, food and fellowship.
Even though I am old, when I see children around me, I feel
like I am still a young man, laughs the 56-year-old. His whole
face lights up when he smilesthe reflection of a youthful heart
within, despite years of back-breaking labour as a subsistence
Jerry doesnt have to go far to be surrounded by kids. His
youngest boy is six, and his two granddaughters live only a
stone's throw away. At this moment, though, the girls are in their
daddy Juram's lap. One is wearing her pink and white gingham
school uniform, the other clinging to her little blond baby-doll.
With true childlike transparency, the eldest confesses to Juram, I
ate all the cassava bread.

(Opposite) Jerry Browne takes his youngest for a ride on a bicycle

while his eldest son, Juram, follows behind. The two men used to ride
their bicycles hundreds of kilometres to reach San Jose Ranch, where
they'd stay with Richard and Charlene Hicks and work on translating
the Wapishana New Testament. (Right) Juram's two daughters stay
close to their mother Deborahwho might not have noticed Juram
as a possible future husband if it weren't for Richard and Charlene's

r, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son, Like

Juram feels
like he can
hear God's voice
clearly, just
as if He was a
Wapishana man.
Translators at Work and Play
In 2001, as Wycliffe missionary Bev Dawson was preparing for
one of her regular visits to encourage mother tongue literacy
in several Wapishana villages, Richard Hicks had asked her to
look for another person to help him shoulder his load of the
translation work. concern into care by purchasing practical tools, like a chainsaw,
A few days later, Dawson was meeting with Jerry face to face, to help Jerry and Juram when they were at home and able to
explaining how God had brought him to mind in prayer. work in their fields.
Jerry, the Hickses need a helper in this translation, she said Richard and Charlene also played matchmaker between Juram
to him. We were thinking about you. and his future wife Deborah, who helped Charlene in the kitchen
Jerry, who couldn't read or write Wapishana at the time, at San Jose for several months.
thought it was impossible. Seeing their interest in us really kind of encouraged us, Juram
That's not a problem, Dawson assured him. We will teach remembers. They were kind of dad and mom to us.
you how to do it. When the Hickses passed away in 2005, Juram wept with
Arrangements were made that hed meet Richard at a town heartbreak. He and Deborah were married two years later. The
called Lethem, near San Jose, during an annual Easter Bible only thing missing on their wedding day was the dad and mom
conference. In the future, Richard would teach Jerry how to ride who had helped bring them together.
a bicycle, but right then, he had no choice except to walk and The Hickses had been murdered the last night of the annual
hitchhike the 160 grueling kilometres to Lethem. He fought the Bible conference at Lethem, the same conference at which Jerry
temptation to turn back many timesand won. had met Richard for the first time four years before. Jerry heard
My mind was that I wanted to meet RichRichard Hicks, says the tragic news the next daythe day the Hickses were expected
Jerry. Especially I wanted to hear about this translationwhat to arrive at his home for a visit.
will become of it, and where I could be involved in this work. Some of his first grief-filled thoughts were about the
A couple years later, Juram also came onboard the translation translation and all that Richard and Charlene had invested in it:
project. They worked closely with Richard, who provided them What will become of it?
with the groundwork for each chapter, guided them through the All five Wapishana translators on the team, including Jerry
translation process and reviewed their final drafts. and Juram, voted that the translation needed to go on. But the
Hickses were sorely missed. Jurams draft of nearly half the book
Matchmaking of Hebrews was lost in the fire that burned down the Hickses
Jerry, Charlene Hicks would tell him, I dont want you to feel like home, along with Jerrys first five chapters of Romans.
you are away from home. I want you to feel like youre at home. The work paused . . . but then it continued, says Juram.
And so it was; the two were well cared for while hosted by Despite the tragic setback, they became more determined than
the Hickses. When they weren't translating, they'd spend time ever to finish what they'd started.
singing, working outdoors or playing ping-pong. Charlene kept Rich asked me when I started to work with him, How long do
Jerry supplied with reading books, and Richard taught Juram how you intend to work? says Jerry. I said, Up to the completion of
to play the guitar and keyboard. the New Testament.
The couple was keenly aware that when Jerry and Juram were Jerry was true to his word. The Wapishana New Testament
translating at San Jose, it was time spent away from their farms, is finally finished, although it took longer than expected because
providing food for their families. The Hickses translated their of the loss of the Hickses.

Like Father, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son, Like Father,
(Above, left) Juram and Jerry help their local pastor plant cassava, a (Above) Juram, his wife and daughters live just a stone's throw away
root vegetable that is a staple in the Wapishana diet. As subsistence from his parents. Here, they enjoy the fruits of their hard labour
farmers, the Wapishana are having to cultivate fields further and togethernot uncommon in this family-oriented Wapishana society.
further into the jungle in search of fertile soil.

A New Beginning Will It Ever Come?

Jerry and Juram's work on the Wapishana New Testament Jerry feels the same way about the translation. [In English] we
hasn't ended; it has simply arrived at a new beginning. As don't know the deep meanings, or the beautiful meanings which
Christian leaders, they strive to set an example for the rest of the we could apply to our lives, he says. We miss the main point.
Wapishana by opening up the Word in public and letting it work When I was young, I always liked church, but I never got to
in their lives. know the truth, he added.
Juram uses it as the Bible of That situation is one that many Wapishanas, both young and
More on the Web: choice in his youth ministry. old, find themselves in today. When Jerry was offered a position
Visit to learn My heart is just there, waiting working as a translator, he saw it not only as an opportunity
how Wapishana church leaders fed for it, wanting to use it, he says. to expand his own understanding of the Bible, but also to help
their people with mother tongue In a sense, Juram represented others do the same.
Scriptures, as they awaited the
the next generation while It will be simpler for the people to understand the truth if it is
printed New Testament.
translating the Wapishana in our own language, he explains.
Scriptures. He was the As the Wapishana New Testament translation progressed, every
youngest member of the team, and recalls suggesting certain once in awhile, someone would pop in at Jerrys home, or stop
words get swapped out for others because theyd be better him along the road, and ask questions about the Wapishana New
understood by people his age or younger. Testament: When are we going to see it? Will it ever come true?
Thats one reason hes a fitting role model for youth. Another Now that the Scriptures are available, Jerry's hope is that more
is that the 31-year-old committed his life to Christ when he was and more Wapishanas will become interested in the New Testament,
about their age. just like more are becoming interested in literacy.
I made up my mind 16 years ago that I wanted to serve the As reading and writing in
Lord, he says. More on the Web: Wapishana is progressing, and
Receiving the New Testament in his mother tongue has been a Visit to read more and more people are
about how visionary former school
mountain-top experience on a journey that began with baptism teacher Adrian Gomes is leading the
making use of it, this is also
when he was 15. Now he feels like he can hear God's voice clearly, Wapishana Literacy Association to drawing them to the Word of
just as if He was a Wapishana man. spread literacy among his people. God," he says.
It encourages me to have a closer walk with the Lord, says
Juram. "You don't have to think about what the English is
sayingit's telling you what to do for God.

, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son, Like Father, Like Son Word Alive Spring 2014 23
a day at a time a
day at a time a day
at a time aF day at a orty years of prayer support has bolstered Bev Dawsons
morale, preserved her health, and fuelled her Bible

time a day at a time

translation stamina.
The Wycliffe missionary arrived in southwest Guyanas
rugged and remote Rupununi savannah when she was only 26.
Shes now 66, and has spent many more years living amongst the
Wapishana people she serves than in Ohio, where she was born

a day at a time a
and raised.
Though she grew up in a church environment, it wasn't until
high school that Bev realized that knowing Christ personally
could change a life forever. That summer, she stepped forward at
a Billy Graham crusade and put her faith in Jesus.

day at a time a day

Promptly joining the Navigators, a Christian club, that fall
during her freshman year at Illinois State University, Bev heard
about mission work.
I thought, Who wouldnt [do that]? To me, it was strange

at a time a day at a
that anyone wouldnt tell God theyd do anything He wanted.
I was more worried there wouldnt be any work left by the
time I finished college, she explains, "because everybody would
be obeying Christ, going wherever He wanted.
As eager as she was to head out on the mission field, Bev was

time a day at a time

able to buckle down and complete her four-year education
degree. During that time, she learned to take her own advice
about telling God she'd do anything He wanted.
I had to get to a point in my life where I told Christ . . . if His
will was for me to stay home, live in the suburbs and work there,

a day at a time a
I was willing.

Welcome to Your Lifes Work

As it turned out, God wasnt willing that Bev settle in suburbia.

day at a time a day

But neither was it His plan that she drop out of college and head
to the field immediately; rather, God used Bevs years as a young
adult to introduce her to her lifes work.
The introduction wasnt without humour. Who but God
could have guessed that failing a Spanish class would ultimately

at a time
lead Bev into a lifetime of service translating the Bible into
another language? Needing to make up for her lost Spanish
credits in order to graduate from university on time, Bev
decided to take a summer course offered by SIL, Wycliffes
main partner organization.
I got to learn the vision of Wycliffe, and this idea that so many
people didnt have the Bible, she says. As a young Christian, the
Bible meant so much. It just all fit.
She returned to university and graduated a year later, then
Wycliffes Bev Dawson persevered entered the workforce as a teacher to gain maturity and
experience in her own culture.
through isolation, slow progress and Another two years passed, but by then Bev was engaged and
colleagues deaths to serve with figured the Lord was changing the direction of her service for
Him. When the engagement fell through, she had no doubt that
Guyanas Wapishana people. God was pointing her back towards the vision of Wycliffe and
Bible translation.

24 Word Alive Spring 2014


Wearing a purple shirt that Charlene Hicks sewed for her many years ago, Bev Dawson, 66, isn't fazed by
the discomforts of life in rural Guyanaincluding long trips between Wapishana villages in the back of
the Hickses' old Toyota (in order to make room for the Word Alive team to sit up front!).
It was Hello Guyana
The next steps were soon made clear to Bev: first, a year
It was such a special and gracious way for me to find
where God wanted me to go, without having to weigh
such a of Bible school, then more SIL training, and finally, field all the pros and cons, says Bev.
special orientation. What she didnt know was that God had a After completing field orientation and raising her
and divine appointment scheduled for her as well.
It happened near the beginning of her SIL training.
financial support, Bev finally made it to Guyana.

gracious For one of their assignments, students were required to The Early Years
way for pick a language, research it and create a reading primer. Fran had already done the initial linguistic study of
me to find A CrossWorld (formerly UFM) missionary by the name
of Fran Tracy was also in the class, having returned from
the unwritten Wapishana language, and had gotten a
good start on literacy and a translation of portions of
where God Guyana for another short stint of SIL training. She stood the Old and the New Testaments. Yet their work was
wanted up and announced that shed been working amongst painstakingly slow, mostly because of their location.
me to go, Guyanas Wapishana people. She was wondering if she
could recruit one or two students to focus alongside her
Minus any gazelles or kangaroos, the Rupununi is like
an African savannah and the Australian outback rolled
without on the Wapishana language for their project. into one. Communication and transportation havent
having to Never a fan of making decisions, Bev hadnt felt changed much there over the past 40 years.
weigh all enthused about going to the library and picking one
language out of thousands. She volunteered to work
Bev and Fran had no choice but to mail their
translation work back and forth to a translation
the pros with Fran. As their work progressed, Fran shared that she consultant in Surinam in order to have it checked.
and cons. was in need of a co-worker in Guyana to help her with And because of their remoteness, not only were
literacy and Bible translation. Bevs interest was piqued. they missionaries, but they also had to be their own
Despite an age gap spanning 23 years, the two soon mechanics, PR people and printers. Their work was
agreed that Guyana was the place for Bev, and that Bev a juggling act between promoting literacy amongst
was the right co-worker for Fran. the Wapishana, translating the Bible, printing and
distributing books, and fixing things.
Bev sits outside the Wapishana Translation Centre at San Jose Ranch and holds her satellite phone skyward in an effort
to check email over the Internet. Communication in the Rupununi savannah is still mainly reliant on hand-carried letters
and radio messages.

26 Word Alive Spring 2014

Right Person, Right Time

T wo years after Richard and Charlene Hicks died, Bev

Dawson was once again in need of the right person
at the right time to join her serving amongst the
Wapishana in Guyana.
That person was Kaye Froehlich (pictured below, right)
mentored typists from the Wapishana Literacy Association,
handled the archiving of Wapishana books, and compiled
illustrations for the New Testament. Currently, she is putting
together Wapishana Bible studies for women.
Tasks like these may define Kayes role in the traditional sense
a Jill-of-all-trades missionary, whose resum is chock-full of the word, but in many ways she plays other, less official parts
of various support roles within Wycliffe, including finance, on the team: encourager and confidant.
publishing and project management. Despite contributing to various translation projects, she had
Kaye was just what the project needed right then because of never experienced the satisfaction of completing oneuntil the
her background and her experience, says Bev. Wapishana New Testament, that is.
Shed helped so many projects in Colombia and Mexico and I like to be the cheerleader, saying, Yes! We can do it! Let's go!
various places, Bev continued. For her, it was finally a chance to I like to be at the finish line, says Kaye.
be involved in one project and see it through to the end. Bev says its only expressive Kaye who can get a table-full
Kaye heard about the opportunity to go to Guyana at the of reserved Wapishanas laughing over lunch, a much-needed
SIL centre in Dallas, Tex., where she was working. Bev was there, comic relief.
following the Hickses deaths. She was bravely determined to But on a more serious note, both women are well aware of the
continue the Wapishana New Testament translation, and Kaye spiritual warfare going on around them.
caught her drift. We are both quick to just stop and say, Okay, lets pray, says
I thought, We have to finish it, says Kaye. We have to finish Kaye. And so at the drop of a hat, well do it as many times as it
what they started. will take during the day.
Always one to go where there was a need, Kayes decision
about serving in Guyana was fairly easy to make. The fleeces
she left out for the Lord were either wet or dry come morning
whichever one answered in the affirmative.
In April 2007, she arrived in the Rupununi from the United
States on a tentative two-year assignment. Six years later, shes
still going strong.
It was like a baptism, Kaye says about her transition. The other
world faded and I was in this new world, in the Rupununi now.
In Guyana, Kaye soon found her place amongst all the giants
as she calls themtranslators like Bev and the Hickses, who have
left linguistic legacies.
Translation work is a high calling, says Kaye.
Its one she feels
privileged to support any More on the Web:
way she can. In the case of Visit to read about
the Wapishana translation how visionary former school teacher
project, Kaye has designed Adrian Gomes is leading the Wapishana
Scripture calendars, Literacy Association to spread literacy
among his people.
composed prayer letters,

If we needed to wire our house, we had to do it, recalls Bev. If The first full-time Wapishana translator, Olive Williams (see A
our generator broke, we had to fix it. We even fixed computers. Wife of Noble Character on pg. 14), joined Bev and Fran in 1984.
We just had to take each day at a time and trust the Lord, But when Fran needed to retire 10 years later, the future of the
she recalls. And we had a lot of prayer supportlots. projectmidway through the translationhung in the balance.
Through the years, that prayer support combined with Bev didnt know what God had planned.
Bevs own prayers have helped her navigate dusty roads and I knew I couldnt leave unless God showed me it was really
swollen rivers between Wapishana villages. They have protected finished, or if He called me somewhere else, or if He didn't send
her from malaria and other serious illnesses. And theyve someone to join us, says Bev. And Rich and Char came.
ultimately sustained the Bible translation work, which has Wycliffe missionaries Richard and Charlene Hicks arrived in
slowed, but never stopped. 1994, and soon won the hearts of both Bev and the Wapishana
(see Inducted into the Hall of Faith," on pg. 6). The couple
Fast Forward settled into their work, Richard as a linguist focusing on the
Slowly but surely, the work amongst the Wapishana continued, translation alone, and Charlene in a supporting role.
fuelled in part by prayers that the right people would get An enormous personnel growth spurt later, Bev not only
involved at the right time. had another expatriate partnerCharlotta or Chic Ruth

Word Alive Spring 2014 27

(Above) At the Catholic church in the village of Karaudarnau,
Bev shares words with Jacintha Joseph and husband Everesto,
who have actively supported and promoted the Wapishana
translation and literacy classes in their community. (Left)
Students of all ages participate in Wapishana literacy classes
throughout the Rupununi savannah.
Even though but also four more Wapishanas adventure, she got oneone with loss and gain, exhaustion and
we didnt whom theyd recruited. exhilaration, tears and laughter.
know why The Lord brought Wapishana I've been praying, especially these last years, that the Lord
the Lord people who were willing to commit
and actually make the sacrifice,
would keep me alive and healthy until it is finished, says Bev.
Its not that Im indispensable, its just the logistics of it, she
would says Bev. explains. If somebody else had to come in to finish, it would be
allow this None of them knew that the extra harder, and now I dont have that kind of pressure. Im liable to
. . . if Satans help would one day compensate for
losing two of their dearest members.
live another 20 years, but if I dont, I dont.
For now, Bevs work visa is good until spring 2015. Shes not
working None of them knew that the Hickses sure which direction God will point her next, whether it will be
that hard to would be the ones to make the even longer in Guyana or back home to the United States.
stop it, that ultimate sacrifice.
Dont Doubt
means its Onward Christian Either way, she knows the time for her final departure will be right.
needed. Soldiers If the translation was finished five years ago or 10 years ago,
When the Hickses were murdered in she says, there wouldn't have been readers in every village. There
2005, Bev and Chic Ruth were visiting friends in South Africa. wouldnt have been people anticipating it. There wouldnt have
I wanted to jump on the first plane and come back to be with been [churches] ready to use it.
all the people who were grieving, Bev remembers. As it is now, hundreds of copies of more than 30 Wapishana
Because the criminals werent caught and their motives were books, both Old Testament and New Testament Scripture
unknown, she wasnt allowed to return until two months later. portions and locally written stories are in circulation and in
Looking back, Bev considers it Gods sovereignty and grace that continual need of reprinting. The Wapishanas arent only reading
spared her the trauma of being in Guyana during those dark days. their language, theyre also
More on the Web: writing dozens of new stories
Upon her return, all that was left of the Hickses burnt home Visit to learn
were four walls and a foundation. An unbeliever might have how Wapishana church leaders fed
which tell of their history and
considered it a scene of total devastation. But through the eyes their people with mother tongue culture.
of faith and with the hope of Christ, what was left was something Scriptures, as they awaited the printed And to top it all off, Bev
to build upon. New Testament. says there is a deep, deep
The team reeled but hung on for dear life. hunger for the Word of God.
Even though we didnt know why the Lord would allow this, There always has been, for church leaders who are frustrated
we knew that what He wanted was for us to go on, says Bev. because they are reading [the Bible in English] and supposed to be
It makes you realize this is really important to finish, because if teaching, but they dont understand it,
Satans working that hard to stop it, that means its needed. explains Bev. And there are also a lot of My responsibility
The Wapishana translators deepened their commitment to people who know how they should live
[biblically] and aren't able to do it. They
is to obey God
the translation, so much so that there was a marked difference
before and after the Hickses death. can only do it with the power of Christ. and do what He
We became a different kind of a team," says Bev. It seems like Were trusting, with Gods has me here for.
when they died, the [Wapishana translators] all stepped forward promises,
in their own
that when they can read it
language, that some of
The results are in
and said, We'll see that this gets finished, which they never had
to think about before. those people will then really give their His hands.
It really brought home to them how the Hickses were lives to Christ, and be able to change.
committed to the Wapishanas having the New Testament. Its a long time ago that Bev first felt her heart sing at the
The team thought of the Hickses every step of the thought of becoming a missionary. Now, having been one for 40
way forward, whenever some part of the translation was years, Bev says she has been personally sustained by this principle:
accomplished. do not doubt in the dark what God shows you in the light.
I tried to make sure we kept alive, for all of us, memories of My responsibility is to obey God and do what He has me here
them, says Bev. for. The results are in His hands.

God is Sovereign
In the seven years that followed, the Hickses home was rebuilt
by a church team from the United States as a translation centre.
It was enlivened once again with conversation over open Bibles
as Bev and the Wapishana translators pushed forward.
Finally, nearly 40 years after Bev arrived in Guyana, the
translation was completed in 2012. If she had wanted an

Word Alive Spring 2014 29

Carried Like Cassava
The Wapishana New Testament was one of 25 New
Testaments and Bibles dedicated this past year.
By Janet Seever

G ods Word was presented to the Wapishana people like

it was their most important food during a Scripture
dedication this past November in Guyana, South America.
Boxes of the New Testament were carried onto the stage in
traditional woven back-baskets (see photo below) before 600-plus
One church leader said the Wapishana now have no excuse for
failing to follow Christ. We know how God wants us to live.
Long-time Wycliffe translator Bev Dawson reflected on the event,
saying that during her first 20 years in the project, she wondered if
the entire Wapishana New Testament would be completed.
assembled Wapishana speakers. These woven containers are normally Rich and Char Hicks arrival in 1994 sped up the project
used to carry cassava, the Wapishanas staple food, in from their and gave hope that completion was an option. I still can hardly
fields. The starchy tuberous root is a major source of carbohydrates. believe all that God allowed us to accomplish.
During the processional, one of six new songs written for the Dawson said having Rich and Chars families attend the
ceremony proclaimed: Gods Word in the Wapishana language dedication felt like Rich and Char were celebrating with us.
has arrived today. It took its theme from Matt. 4:4, where Jesus
said that man should not live by bread alone. Became Flesh in a New Way
Wapishana speakers, coming from at least 12 villages, joined The Wapishana New Testament was one of 25 New Testaments
in the joyful celebration held in Karaudarnau village in the and Bibles dedicated this past year for nearly 7.4 million people
far south of the language groups area of Guyana. Twenty-one through Wycliffe involvement this past year (see chart).
North American guests also attended the celebration, including Elsewhere, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, more than
relatives of Richard and Charlene Hicks, who were murdered 200,000 Eastern Apurmac Quechua people live in isolation from
while serving in the project (see the feature stories in this issue). their countrymen. Long, winding roads with hundreds of sharp
We can now hear God speak to us in our own language, said turns and switchbacks connect the capital city of Abancay to
one of the Wapishana village chiefs at the dedication. He exhorted many remote rural areas dotted with Quechua villages.
his people to read your Bible and let God speak to your hearts. However, the Quechua people are no longer isolated from
During the program, church leaders from all of the villages Gods Word. On April 20 and 21, they received their New
were invited on stage to open the boxes of New Testaments, Testament in a joyous celebration. People packed the largest
then took turns coming to the microphone to pray Gods auditorium to overflowing and many stood outside.
blessing on His Word and on those who read it. As each one Pastor Luis Cervantes, the leader of AIDIA* and the translation
came forward to pray, the rest of the leaders held their copies of team, said, The Word became flesh in a new way for the Eastern
the Wapishana New Testament in the air, praising God. Apurmac Quechuas! Having the New Testament in their own
After this, selected Scripture portions were read. Translation language brings this truth into a whole new light for them.
team members were thrilled to see church leaders on the We could see on peoples faces the happiness they felt for two
stage find the passage in their own copy and read along! After reasonsfirst for the arrival of Scriptures in their own language,
the program, people rushed to the stage to buy a copy of the and second, because after 18 years, the Christian denominations
Wapishana New Testament. More than 120 copies were sold.
*AIDIA(pronounced like the English word idea), a Peruvian-run Christian
Holding her New Testament to her heart, one older lady said, I organization that seeks to transform the Quechua of the Apurmac region,
never believed I would live to have God's Word in my own language! through their mother tongue Scriptures.
Larry Dawson
To God be were reunited in a joint worship The End of the Beginning
the glory! service. I believe that, as someone
said, it was a historic milestone.
The Buaba of Burkina Faso, numbering 186,000, celebrated their
Buamu New Testament on April 20, 2013. A second celebration at
Many Quechua bought New Testaments, joyfully reading them the end of September was well attended by the local community.
with the literacy skills they had learned through AIDIAs church- Now that Gods Word is available in Buamu, we pray that it
based literacy classes during the past few years. will have an impact on the lives of the Buaba, says Canadian
Two Canadian Wycliffe couplesJustin and Tammy Hettinga, Sharyn Thomson, who has worked among the Buaba people
and Larry and Carol Sagert (Tammys parents)worked with since 1991.
the Quechuas for 10 and five years, respectively. The Hettingas First serving as a linguist/translator and project leader
were thrilled to take a group of 23 people from across Canada, among the Buaba people from 1991 to 2009, Sharyn became
including Wycliffe Canada President Roy Eyre, to Abancay to a consultant to the program in 2009. At that point one of the
celebrate the arrival of the New Testament. Eyre said it was an national translators, Pastor Emmanuel Bonzi, took over as project
incredible experience to join a standing-room-only crowd of leader. This project has also been supported by Canadians; first
Quechua men and women for the five-hour Sunday celebration. through Partners with Nationals, and later through OneBook,
Though we didn't understand what they were saying, he says, both Wycliffe Canada partner organizations.
the joy was contagious, and we couldn't help but lean forward Sharyn is encouraged that most of the people who were invited
with our brothers and sisters, attempting to catch every word. Our came to the ceremony, including government officials, pastors,
own hearts overflowed with both gratitude that we have access to catechists and denominational leaders. All of the churches in the
Gods Word and conviction that we often take it for granted. area were represented, both Catholic and Protestant.
Canadians are helping to sponsor AIDIA financially through While the ceremony officially brought this part of the work
Wycliffe Canada, though more financial support is still needed. to a close, says Sharyn, I have also been reminded that this is
The translation team is now translating the Old Testament. not the end, but rather the end of the beginning.
Serving with Wycliffe U.S., David Coombs and his wife Heidi are The president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church
consultants for the translation team. in Burkina Faso challenged those present to make 2013 the Year
After the Abancay event, 11 more dedication events were held of the Bible in Buamu.
in more remote areas. The Scriptures are going quickly. Project Now that Gods Word is available in Buamu, we pray that it will
leaders hope to sell out the 8,000 New Testaments to the more have an impact on the lives of the Buababoth for those who
than 200,000 Quechua speakers living in 3,200 communities, with read it and those who hear itand that lives and communities will
about 150 evangelical churches. be transformed as a result. To God be the glory!

New Testaments*
Location Number of Groups Combined Total Populations
Africa 7 2,547,100
Asia 5 885,500
World Pacific 1 135,290
Translation Americas 9 3,759,600
Summary Total 22 7,327,490
Scriptures translated with
Wycliffe involvement were Location Number of Groups Combined Total Populations
dedicated for 25 languages, Pacific 1 4,350
spoken by 7.4 million people,
Whole Bibles
since we prepared our last
Translation Update in the Location Number of Groups Combined Total Populations
Spring 2013 issue of Word Americas 2 51,000
Alive. The table at right gives a
regional global breakdown of Combined Totals 25 7,382,840
the affected language groups *In a few instances, Psalms and a few other Old Testament books have been published along with the
with their populations. New Testaments.
**The Mini-Bible contains 37 chapters of Genesis, along with eight New Testament books.

Word Alive Spring 2014 31

Beyond Words

Translating the Gospel

By Hart Wiens

Part 7
Metaphorical Language
By Hart Wiens

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who
believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Editors Note: This ow we come to the words his only Son. Websters primary definition
is part of a series of of son is a male offspring especially of human beings. In John 3:16,
articles reflecting on the pronoun his links this phrase back to God, making it clear that
the verse John 3:16 the reference is not to a human being but to God. The notion of
word by word. God having offspring is extremely difficult to grasp. To the Islamic mind it is
The series illustrates sacrilegious since it appears to bring God down to the level of humans. Christians
some of the interpret this as an anthropomorphism (using human images to explain
challenges Bible something about God). Obviously the word son is being used to communicate
translators face as something different than is conveyed by its primary sense in our language.
they seek to present There is a rich tradition in Hebrew and Greek literature, both inside and
Gods Good News outside the Bible, with respect to the usage of this word. This background helped
in every language the original readers understand the reference to Jesus as the Son of God in a
spoken on earth. metaphorical rather than a literal sense. It signals a relationship of intimacy and
respect similar to the ideal relationship between a human father and son. It also
reinforces the traditional Christian understanding about the special circumstances
surrounding the conception and birth of Jesus. There is no implication of a sexual
union between God and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Obviously, incorporating all
this background in a translation is impossible!
John helps a little by adding only. The English
Rich tradition in language is inadequate to capture the full range of
Hebrew and Greek meaning communicated by the word
literature helped in Greek. For centuries this word was incorrectly
the original readers translated in English versions as only begotten.
Scholars today are virtually unanimous that this is
understand the an unfortunate adherence to the Latin Vulgate by
reference to Jesus as translators of the KJV and other early English versions,
the Son of God in a rather than an accurate representation of the meaning
of the Greek. All now agree that it means only in the
metaphorical rather sense of unique. John reinforces his special use of the
than a literal sense. noun son, clarifying that the relationship between
Jesus the Son and God the Father was unique.
He also wants us to see that there is a special, unique
aspect to the relationship between Jesus and God. So he adds the modifier
unique and in the written text we use a capital S on son.
Translating the Scriptures into the thousands of languages spoken in our world
today is complex. Translators in every age and in every language do their best
to communicate concepts that are sometimes too difficult for words. In such
circumstances translators are thankful we are not alone, but that we work in
partnership with the Holy Spirit and with the Church.

32 Word Alive Spring 2014

Part 8
Logical Connections
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who
believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

he little Greek conjunction hina () is represented by the two
English words so that. In translation we refer to tiny words like this
as discourse particles. Few Bible commentaries discuss them. They
are generally relegated to the Grammars and Lexicons where only the
most serious Bible students are made aware of how complex and full of meaning
they are. However, as translators we are very much aware of the large freight of
meaning that these particles carry. They are the glue that holds a discourse
together, connecting separate units into a meaningful whole. To translate them
properly we must have a clear understanding of how they are used in Greek. Then
we research grammatical possibilities in the language into which the translation is
being done, which will make comparable connections.
Since these particles function to link parts of a discourse, their precise meanings
can only be discovered by examining them in context. The Greek Lexicon produced
by Arndt and Gingrich, one of the best available resources, identifies at least four
major areas of meaning for this particle, each with its own complex variations.
In the present context, it is used to introduce the purpose for which God sent
His only Son. The Judeo-Christian view of God assumes that His actions have
meaning and purpose. Other cultures may not share this view. For example,
in many animistic cultures the activity in the spiritual realm may be viewed as
arbitrary and capricious.
The challenge in translation is to find the word or
combination of words that will most clearly establish
The challenge in the logical connection of purpose. Traditional English
versions attempted to capture this with one word, that.
translation is to find the Unfortunately this is somewhat ambiguous and not as
word or combination natural as it could be. Most newer versions use the phrase
of words that will most so that. This is an improvement both in clarity and in
naturalness. Eugene Petersons paraphrase captures the
clearly establish the clearest rendering of all. This is how much God loved the
logical connection world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is
of purpose. why: so that. . . .
The English-speaking world is fortunate to have a
large variety of versions which all contribute to the clear
communication of Gods Word. As Bible translators we
invite those who have such ready access to the Bible to participate in the ministry
of making it available to people in languages that still do not have even one word
of Scripture.

Reprinted with permission from the Canadian Bible Societys Translating the Gospel article series, written
by Hart Wiens, CBS director of Scripture translation. Hart and his wife Ginny served with Wycliffe Canada
in a Bible translation project among the Kalinga people in the Philippines for 19 years. More recently, Hart
has been a Wycliffe Canada board member.

Word Alive Spring 2014 33

A Thousand Words

A Wapishana Shower Curtain

Jerry Browne and wife Delita reach

up to kindly weave together a
new "shower curtain" for their
bathhouse in time for some
Canadian guests to arrive
namely, the Word Alive team
who are grateful for the added
privacy, but will still need to duck
down a bit for their morning wash.
See related stories, pages 6-29.

Natasha Schmale

34 Word Alive Spring 2014

Last Word

No More Grasping at Crumbs

By Roy Eyre

've been meditating on Mark 7 recently as I participate that mean? Anything less than the complete Bible means
as a guest author for Scripture Union's new online they know a little bit of Jesus' life but not the whole
devotional ( There's a thing. They see glimpses of God's master plan but not
fascinating story of a time when Jesus escapes to take the whole thing. They have scraps! They're grasping at
a break from his ministry to the Jews and tries to get to crumbs! Were sitting at a bounteous feast, and the rest
a house in a Gentile district. He's weary from a period of the world is grasping at crumbs.
of intense ministry, and He's feeling the need to take his But there's hope. When books are written in a
disciples away by themselves to process the death of John language like Buamu, spoken in Burkina Faso in Africa,
the Baptist. But everywhere He goes, the crowds beat its as if God begins to speak Buamu, and the people
Him there. Even in Tyre and Sidon He's recognized and a realize they are no less than equals with the dominant
Syrophoenician woman begs for her daughters healing. language communities around them. Bible translation
And He said to her, Let the children be fed first, for it has impact: languages are preserved, populations that
is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to have been in decline begin increasing again, students
the dogs. But she answered him, Yes, Lord; yet even the who begin their education in their mother tongue
dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs (ESV). become more successful not only in their studies but
Jesus is clear about His mission: He was sent to Gods also every part of life.
children in the house of Israel, not to Syrophoenicians.
But He adds the word, first. Jesus knows even in the
early days of His ministry that the gospel will go to every
people, every nation, every language. But the mission of
God necessitates someone being reached first. At that
point in time, there seemed to be a hierarchy.
Today, at this point in time, there still seems to be a
hierarchy, but not one that God is satisfied with. One
language group has more than 70 per cent of all Bible
resources at its fingertips. If
you think about what we enjoy Wycliffe envisions a world where translated Scriptures
On that day, the in English, you can picture a
bounteous feast. We have one
lead to transformed lives among people of all languages.
The book is not the end; we want to see transformed
Buamu person translation after another to lives. And lives will always be transformed when they
choose from. We choose based on
is an equal with what speaks to us the most from
truly encounter the Word of Godwhether that's in
English or any other heart language.
us [English among dozens of English versions. Luke 13 says that people will come from east and
We have abundant commentaries west and north and south to take their places in the
speakers]. God and notes, and they're available in Kingdom of God as worshippers of the Living God. They
speaks their print and online. wont be crashing the party. Theres a seat waiting for
I researched the top English those from every last language community, and God is
language, too. Bible translations in 2012 and waiting until they're all gathered in.
found that no major translation What do the words, take their places mean to you? I
team had fewer than 60 scholars. picture someone walking up to a chair with a little table
Seven out of every 10 Bible resources are in English. placard that says, Buamu.
And, according to Bradford B. Taliaferros Encyclopedia Next to that one, someone from the Nivhaar language
of English Language Versions, there are more than 400 in Vanuatu. The Wapishana from Guyana (featured in this
different versions of the complete Bible translated into issue). The Syrophoenicians. And next to them English
English. How many resources and versions do you have speakers.
available on your smart phone right now? On that day, the Buamu speaker is an equal with us. No
But according to the newest statistics there are about more grasping at crumbs. God speaks their language, too.
6,900 languages, and only about 500 have the complete
Bible. Another 2,800 languages have portions. What does Roy Eyre is the president of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada.

Word Alive Spring 2014 35

4316 10 ST NE
Deliver to:

PM 40062756

Help a young person engage Share your heart for

in Bible translation, through missions . . . at Caf Wycliffe.
the Hicks Memorial Spiritual
Leadership Award. W
ant to meet people who have a passion for missions like
you do? Caf Wycliffe is the perfect place.
At our regular meetings in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg
and Toronto, youll meet young adults who are serving Christ around

I n honour of Richard and Charlene Hicks (whose lives the world and hear from veteran missionaries and church leaders.
and tragic deaths are featured in this issue), members of
the next generation have the opportunity to grow more Stories, testimonies, music, conversationand Chai teaare all part
"fervent" in their walk with the Lord. of the Caf Wycliffe experience. Oh, and dont forget food, which
Several times each year, the $2,000 Hicks Memorial Spiritual may range from potluck meals to tasty international dishes youve
Leadership Award is given to a young adult who is passionate never tried before!
about the unreached peoples of the world, and who
Explore for more information about Caf Wycliffe,
demonstrates a heart for missions, prayer and servanthood.
locations, upcoming events and contacts.
The award can be used to take part in an internship or go
on a short-term mission trip with Wycliffeall activities that,
if the Hickses were still alive, they no doubt would encourage.
Six young people have won the award so far, including
Andrew Langaert from Ontario, who served with the Naskapi
language project in Quebec (see Word Alive, Spring 2013).
We invite you to contribute to this memorial award, to
honour the Hickses sacrifice and to encourage those who
can follow in their footsteps of service. To donate online, visit and click Donate Now Online. In the
Details/comments field, indicate that your gift is for the
Hicks Memorial Award.

To donate by mail, use the reply form in this magazine (see

the line Included is my gift to the Hicks Memorial Award.)

For more information, contact us today by:

Phone: Toll free 1-800-463-1143 (8:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m.
mountain time).