The Ripple Effect of a Global Bible Translation Conference

November 2017

Last month was a very intense but exciting time in Dallas. The biennial world Bible Translation Conference took place from October 13-17. Whenever airfare is paid to get missionaries to the US for an event, we stack other meetings around it. I (Doug) scheduled my department meetings beforehand and then we planned a big training event for our Bible translation software immediately afterwards.

Ho-hum, so we had a bunch of meetings. Wouldn’t it be better if we had some exciting adventures from Africa to share? Trust me, when meetings don’t result in action, I quickly lose interest. My department’s objective during the conference was to give Bible translation projects around the world a boost. We saw this in action when a speaker from Mongolia demonstrated how they are distributing draft copies of their translated Scripture to the community via mobile phone. As they receive feedback, they incorporate some of the suggestions back into the translation to make it sound more natural. How did he get the idea to do this? He said that he attended a presentation about building mobile Scripture apps at the last biennial conference. I realized then that it was my presentation he was referring to (and at least one person was listening). More importantly, you sent us to that conference, just as you did to this one—through your financial and prayer support. The result is that God’s Word is being distributed in Mongolia on mobile phones, and this translator is inspiring others to do the same.

This fall we have been working domestically, at SIL in Dallas, at JAARS in Charlotte, and in Grand Rapids where we are based. In fact, we have boldly scheduled a workshop in Grand Rapids for the first week of December.  As it turns out, our new hometown is a hotspot for organizations who are involved in Bible translation.  In September, I taught a Paratext training course at Bibles International, just a mile from our home. Given the huge turnout in Dallas last month, we are hoping for a decent showing in December. Please pray that the people who need the training will hear about the workshop in time to participate.

Since P.J. first started her responsibility of transforming books into e-books she has had little specialized training and has been feeling her way forward through trial and error. Last week she got a chance to learn from an expert tutor for a whole day and learned several tricks that will simplify the way she puts them together. She is finishing a textbook for the Graduate School of Applied Linguistics. The school has a different name, but it’s the same place where we prepared to do Bible translation 27 years ago!

We are praising God for exciting news from the field. All the audio Bibles we brought over have been distributed and the Fulani Christians are eager for more. We have around two hundred new units to send, thanks to a fundraising campaign by a vacation Bible school program in New Jersey this past summer. The new units will correct a defect in the previous ones that allow for much better sound quality. Please pray that we can get them into the hands of Samba soon, the man who is leading the distribution. Pray too that hearts will be transformed through the hearing of the Word.

On that note, we’d like to leave you with this video that shows how this recording came to be.

Partners in the Gospel, (Phil 1:5)

Doug & Priscilla Higby

Prayer & Praise

  • Praise God for the five consultant training workshops planned for next year, more than any year in the past.
  • Praise God that the first batch of Fulfulde audio Bibles have all been distributed, and they are waiting for the next shipment.
  • Pray for good attendance at the Bible translation software training in Michigan (Dec 4-8).
  • Praise God for the training Priscilla was able to receive, and that she'll be able to effectively apply what she has learned.
Your gifts enable the Higbys' continued ministry with Wycliffe.
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Doug & Priscilla Higby are missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Doug is the International Coordinator for Language Technology Use, and Priscilla is serving as E-Pub Manager with SIL International.

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