Tag Archives: 2023 Newsletters

Postings: Treasuring God’s Word 💎

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
~ Matthew 24:35 ~

I read an amazing testimony recently. A house in the Gadsup language group in Papua New Guinea (PNG) was burned down during a fight. They lost EVERYTHING!

House Burnt Down
Burnt remains of the house

Everything, that is, except their Bible. They found the Bible in a bilum (string bag) full of clothes. The bilum AND the clothes were burnt, but the Bible was safe under the thick ashes!

Even though the front cover had melted:

Bible Cover Melted
Melted Bible cover

The inner pages were saved!

Bible Saved Cropped
God’s Word remained!

What a miracle! Our God is amazing! He promises that His words will NEVER pass away, and this story gives us a powerful picture of this reality. He can preserve His Living Word, even through a devastating fire.

Job 23:12b says, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” God is giving us just a taste of just how important His Word is! It’s more important than food, it’s more important than clothing, it’s more important that our material possessions.

A girl prays holding her new Bible.
Girl praying while holding her new Bible – photo courtesy M. Ewell

How much do you and I treasure God’s Word and spending time WITH Him in it? Do we treat His Word like the daily spiritual food that God intends for it to be? Do we thirst for His presence like we yearn for water, or our favorite drink? Does our spirit feel dry when we haven’t spent time with the Lord, soaking up the truths found in His Word, and being transformed by His Spirit?

Oh Lord, may we earnestly seek you, may our souls thirst for you, may our whole bodies long for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water! (Psalm 63:1)

What if you didn’t HAVE a Bible??

While it is common in our nation for families to have multiple physical copies of the Bible, and countless digital Bibles available at the tap of a finger or the click of a button, many families in thousands of languages throughout the world don’t even have a single Bible. 😥 And millions of people still don’t have a single word of Scripture in a language they can clearly understand.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” – Romans 10:14-15

This video gives us a glimpse of the importance of having God’s Word in a language and format we can understand.

God desperately wants to be in connection, in relationship, with all of the people He created. It’s through the truth of His Word, the power of His Holy Spirit, and the witness of His people that He does this. Please pray that His Word would go forth to all the nations, that it would cross cultural boundaries, and that lives would be transformed as a result.

Scripture Dedications in 2023 🎉

Please join us in praising God for these Scripture dedications that took place so far this year!

  • New Testaments: Aja, Bramar*, Bena, Budu-Koya, Budu-Nita, Godie, Ikoma, Kabwa, Komo, North Gumuz, Northern Nuni, Nyiha, Ñandeva, Omi
  • Full Bibles: Branchu*, Ibaloy, Ticuna

*Name changed.

These language groups represent over 4.4 MILLION people throughout the world that now have access to the living and active Word of God in their own language! The smiles of people receiving God’s Word are priceless!

Keliko Man NT Marc Ewell
Keliko man holding a New Testament – photo courtesy M. Ewell
Naro NT Zeke du Plessis
Naro woman holding a New Testament – photo courtesy Z. du Plessis
A young girl reads the Quechua Bible she has just received in a literacy class.
Girl reading her Quechua Bible – photo courtesy M. Ewell

Please pray that these Scriptures will be used and result in transformed lives.

🙏 Prayer and Praise 🙌

  • Prayer: That we would all treasure and engage with God through His Word.
  • Praise: Our shipment arrived from PNG!
  • Prayer: For us to sell our house in PNG.
  • Prayer: Improved health for James and Christina
  • Praise: Gramma Rachie and Grandpa Doug, and Uncle Evan got to visit!

Thank you for helping make it possible for God’s Word to go to the nations!

In Him,

James and Christina

Family Photo Highlights

Click the collage images to see recent family photo highlights.

2023 07 Family Photo Highlights 2
2023 07 Family Photo Highlights 2

Postings: The Transformative Power of Discipleship

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
~ 2 Corinthians 1:4 ~

Transformation Leads to Discipleship

When you think of Jesus commanding us to make disciples, you probably think of verses like the Great Commission from Matthew 28, “go and make disciples…”. But how are we to actually make disciples?! The answer? By living it out ourselves.

Jesus with Disciples Cropped
Live out the Gospel! Photo by The Chosen

The Lord has been teaching us this crucial lesson, and showing us that discipleship is about so much more than teaching somebody to study the Bible and to pray. These are important and vital aspects to the Christian life, but ultimately, discipleship is about transformation! Which is where the verse about “comforting others” comes into the picture.

You see, we cannot comfort others unless we ourselves have received comfort from the Lord. In the same way, we cannot effectively disciple others in areas in which we ourselves have not been discipled and transformed! Another word to describe discipleship would be “apprenticeship”.

Apprenticeship – Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

If I want to be apprenticed, I would find somebody who was a master of their trade: a living, breathing, and experienced example of what it means to be a blacksmith, surgeon, or other profession.

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

In the same way, Jesus calls us to disciple others! First, He invites us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, healing of our hearts, and living out the things He is teaching us: experiencing the life-changing work of the Holy Spirit! Then, He calls us to emulate this for others, and invite them along for the journey: to be transparent and humble about our misgivings and struggles, showing others that it’s ok to struggle and even fail sometimes; to share passionately what the Lord has done in our lives, bearing witness to the testimonies that we have seen, heard, and experienced; to be a living, breathing example of the love of Christ and the heart of the Father to those around us.

Sharing in the discipleship and transformation journey – Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Discipleship in Bible Translation

Discipleship is also crucial in the work of Bible translation! How can you effectively translate God’s Word without knowing Jesus for yourself?

Nafian is a translator in the Gwahatike language group of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Nafian Saremo
Nafian Saremo

He attended a number of training courses that I taught while we were in PNG, and also works as a translation advisor and consultant.

Paratext Course 2012
Paratext Course

In this video, he shares about the critical impact that discipleship made on their translation work.

“Establish spiritual relationship first… build people up spiritually… and people will be transformed” – Nafian Saremo (Bible translator).

What a beautiful example of how Jesus transforms lives for the sake of His Kingdom, and to reach many with His life-giving words!

Financial Update

God has provided powerfully for our Wycliffe ministry since our last update! Many of you gave one-time gifts in December and January, which helped offset our shortfall from last year. THANK YOU!! We also have had some new financial partners join our team, reducing our monthly need! We still have a ways to go before reaching 100% of the ministry budget Wycliffe has set for us, but we are grateful for the ways God has continued to provide.

Interested in Financial Partnership?

Prayer & Praise ????????

  • Prayer: That God would continue to transform us, and teach us to disciple others.
  • Prayer: Listing and selling our house in PNG.
  • Prayer: Purchasing a house closer to our church.
  • Prayer/Praise: For continued and increased financial provision for our Wycliffe ministry.

Your prayers and financial partnership are enabling discipleship throughout the world. Thank you!

In Him,

James and Christina

Family Photo Highlights

Click the collage images to see recent family photo highlights.

2023 03 Collage 1
2023 03 Collage 2