This isn’t going to be a “Look how great we’re doing” issue of Word Alive. Yes, Wycliffe is indeed doing great overall and God’s Word is reaching multitudes, with countless transformed lives to show for it.
Mission work is also hard. It’s a spiritual battle on multiple fronts, every hour of every day. From ground level, it doesn’t always feel like we’re winning. Sometimes progress is difficult to see. Like everyone else, missionaries can get discouraged, or tired, or sick, or lonely, or depressed — even as they do beautiful kingdom work.
It’s always been important for us as a Bible translation organization to let you in on those realities, even amid the many stories of success. That’s not an easy thing in the missions world. Never has been. Maybe ministries and missionaries secretly feared losing confidence or—gulp—funding from their audiences. Maybe we’ve thought of ourselves as spiritually weak for even struggling with those realities, and we didn’t want others to know.
But then that’s not true ministry partnership, and it isn’t truly trusting God. When Christians are transparent with one another, something beautiful happens at a deep, urgent, heartfelt level:
Only through prayer will God’s Word soon reach every nation, tribe, people and language. Only through prayer do the people who do the hard work of Bible translation persevere—often in ways and places they never expected.
Which brings us to this issue’s focus: Bible translation in the Solomon Islands of the South Pacific. Work progresses there and lives are being transformed, even as missionaries and local translators struggle sometimes to maintain traction.
Our Wycliffe media team visited two Canadian missionary families on the island of Guadalcanal. Neither are doing exactly what they thought they’d be doing right now. But they are serving God with everything they have.
Even the media team bumped into obstacles—wanting to travel somewhere to do a God-directed task, but having to wait for rains to cease and floodwaters to recede and circumstances to change. In one village, a relative of a translator died, meaning the people we had planned to see there were understandably unavailable for interviews.
That’s life in missions; you take things as they come. You learn that your own agenda and timing may not be God’s. And you roll with it, prayerfully.
We hope this issue transports you to the Solomons and inside the lives of people there. More than that, we hope the stories cause you to engage and pray—certainly for the people and the ministry work happening there, but also for the work of God within your own sphere and reach.
As we reflect on the difficulty of that work, we will do well to remember the words of the Scottish evangelist Oswald Chambers: “Prayer does not equip us for greater works — prayer is the greater work.”
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