Event Strengthened Partnerships Across Asia-Pacific

A new, multi-agency funding event in Asia achieved much more than just raising money for language projects.

“God’s Word for All – Together for Transformation” was held on 6 March. The online event was the first of its kind for the Bible translation movement in Asia. It grew from the Joint Funding Initiative, a collaboration of SIL Asia and Wycliffe Global Alliance Asia-Pacific Area, plus six Alliance organisations in Asia: Kartidaya, Wycliffe Malaysia, Wycliffe Singapore, Wycliffe Philippines, the Translator Association of the Philippines (TAP) and Wycliffe Thai Foundation.

In Singapore, invited guests gather at a home to watch the programme together through Zoom. Photo: Tony Chan

The event included over 300 guests from five countries. Almost two-thirds were new contacts. Not only did guests receive a broad view of the Bible translation movement in Asia, and the chance to help fund individual projects, but they also saw Global Alliance priorities in action.

“The way we co-hosted has created a message and brought awareness that Wycliffe works in collaboration and partnership,” said Lay Leng Tan, Executive Director of Wycliffe Malaysia.


Strengthening Local Partnerships

The Joint Funding Initiative was formed in January in Kuala Lumpur, under the affirmation that “funding is a spiritual activity in God’s kingdom which God uses to bring together different parts of his Body to provide resources for the ministry”.

The agencies involved agreed to co-host the funding event. While the two Area teams would provide a platform for meeting and would support logistic and technical matters, individual organisations would initiate, develop and nurture relationships with their respective partners.

Simon Wan, the Alliance’s Area Director for Asia-Pacific, said a primary goal of the initiative is to strengthen local partnerships in each country.

“[We hope to] support every Alliance organisation in the area to develop real and lasting partnerships with local partners so that they [local partners] will understand the mission of God and participate in it,” he said.

Rev Francis Chan, the guest speaker for the event, shared his message through a pre-recorded video. Photo: Tony Chan

Unity in Diversity and Adversity

Another initiative goal is: “Being a testimony through unity and collaboration among ourselves”. Not all Christians know about Bible translation and Wycliffe. Many guests were amazed to see so many new faces from so many countries. Now they know their local organisations are partnering with many other organisations and individuals in a much bigger picture. The Bible translation movement works on a much larger scale than they realized.

For those who work in the ministry, the joint effort was a great experience, too.

“It’s good to have bonding with other Bible translation organisations in Asia-Pacific, and share experiences to enrich each other,” said Budi Santoso, Executive Director of Kartidaya.

Though coming from different countries and organisations, there was patience and acceptance on how others are running it in their own ways. Due to different countries’ COVID-19 restrictions, some Alliance organisations ran it fully on Zoom, while others did it in a hybrid form of both physical meeting and virtual meeting. All did their best to fit the needs in their local settings and learned from others to improve it.


Let’s Keep Doing This

Next come follow-up efforts, such as strengthening relationships with the guests and handling pledges and donations. Wycliffe Malaysia and TAP have already done a second run of the programme for those who missed it.

As the participating Alliance organisations evaluated the whole event, all affirmed it was an innovative and great way of doing fundraising together. Many more people are now aware of the need for Bible translation and want to be involved more.

The two Area teams plan to hold a similar event in May 2022, and will invite every Alliance organisation in the Asia-Pacific area to join.


Story: Ling Lam, Wycliffe Global Alliance

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