Should churches release their pastors for global missions? For some churches who are tremendously blessed by the ministry of their pastors, this is a tough question to answer. A missionary couple from Hong Kong who left the pastorate 25 years ago to serve as Bible translation workers discovered only recently that some people were hurt when they left their church. There are many pastors who, together with their families, have left the comforts of their churches to respond to the call of global missions. Whether big or small, well-established or newly established, pray that churches around the world will grow in their faith and understanding of God’s mission plan as they release even their best and beloved workers for the work of the Lord.
According to the Lausanne Global Diaspora Forum, there are around 50 million refugees whose lives have been disrupted by conflict and persecution. Based on the said statistics, 40% are children and 50% of all the refugees are women. Only God can provide genuine hope, peace and comfort to displaced peoples. Claim that His wonderful plan for them will prevail. Ask God to send believers who will share His Word and extend His love to them in meaningful ways. Pray for governments that host refugees to provide them with adequate care and protection. Ask God to use His Word to guide and encourage the refugees as they settle in new environments.
Bible storytelling are impacting oral cultures in significant ways. In Bible storytelling, storytellers choose a Bible story, study it well and retell it using voices and gestures while still keeping its original message. Pray for the many Wycliffe personnel who are engaging communities through Bible storytelling. Lift to the Lord the 22 Pacific Islanders who recently attended an Oral Bible Storytelling workshop. Pray that as they become good storytellers, they will also be faithful in telling the stories to others that have never heard them. Pray also for the communities they represent, that God would prepare their hearts to hear His story of love and grace.
There are translation projects in Papua New Guinea that were started more than thirty years ago that have been facing many challenges, including spiritual warfare. Claim God's complete victory over the work among the Nai Tanggu, Miani (Madang), Maring (Jiwaka), Teopu, Sibe and Uisai (Autonomous Region of Bougainville) language communities. Ask the Lord to renew the minds and strengthen the hearts of the workers. Pray that language teams experience courage, joy and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. Pray that God will direct the translators and the communities they serve to clearly identify and address every challenge in His power and provide them with more resources to complete these projects.
Working collaboratively over the internet is another way in which God's people participate in His mission as a community. A few months ago, student volunteers went to a Southeast Asian country and worked on a software project that can be used for Scripture typesetting through the web. Pray that this software will be used properly to speed up the typesetting process. Ask the Lord to provide more software engineers who could develop and/or improve existing software programs so that language projects are done more efficiently. Pray also as another computer technology team is being formed to serve projects in Southeast Asia.
One of the largest least evangelized countries of the world is Japan. Since the concept of a Creator God is difficult for the Japanese people to accept, the teachings of the Bible are also hard for them to believe and obey. Pray that God opens the eyes of the Japanese people to the truths of His Word. Pray that the Japanese believers will clearly testify to God’s love and favor in their lives. Pray also for Wycliffe Japan as it seeks to to see more Japanese believers and churches become involved in the work of missions and Bible translation. Pray also for wisdom as Wycliffe Japan develops materials on missions for Japanese preschool and elementary school children.
In 2008, the Indonesia Protestant Church of Donggala in Central Sulawesi began partnering with Wycliffe Global Alliance in translating the Bible into the local languages. Work began in the region which included the Tajio language community. The team worked very hard as the Lord led them to translate the 18 miracles in the Gospel of Mark. These miracles were recently compiled and printed into a book which was the first book ever to be printed in the Tajio language. Scripture access is an important aspect of God’s mission. Praise God for the various efforts of Indonesia Protestant Church of Donggala to provide local workers and funding for Bible translation work in Central Sulawesi.