By: Matthew Woods
“This morning many people came to purchase the Audibible’s with our translated scripture portions. But I had sold them all last night. I had to turn many away, and tell them to come another day when I have more.”
My name is Matthew Woods, and my wife Rachel and I have been serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea since 2012. The above quote is a text message I received from one of our Papua New Guinean co-translators after I had returned from a trip to his language community.
Their language is one of ten that we work with in the Aitape West Translation Project (AWTP). Each of these language communities has a similar desire to hear and read the Scriptures in their language.
Prior to joining Wycliffe Bible Translators and AWTP, I attended SEBTS from Fall 2006 until graduating in Spring 2009. While there, I learned I had a gifting in the biblical languages and linguistics. And through the preaching of Dr. Danny Akin and courses I took, I felt led to use those giftings on the mission field to help others experience God in a language that speaks clearly and penetrates their heart.
Though I serve in many capacities with AWTP, my primary role is that of a translation advisor. I work closely with four other languages that are related. As their translation advisor, I assist them to produce Bible translations that communicate clearly, sound natural in their language and are accurate translations of the Bible.
Also I encourage and disciple each translator as they grow in their faith. Having the Bible in one’s language is vital and so we are working hard to fulfill that need. But God also seeks to make men the living example and message of the gospel. And so as these men are reading and translating the Bible, the Holy Spirit is transforming them into that message, which they are reading and translating.
Currently we are in the United States for furlough. While home, I will be finishing my M.A. in linguistics. But of greater importance, we will be meeting with churches and people in order to add to our financial partnership team. Wycliffe requires us to meet our ministry needs before returning to our Bible translation work.
Prayer partnerships are also vital. Below are a few prayer requests:
· PRAY for our translators as they are translating the Bible while we are on furlough. PRAISE Jesus that they are continuing to work on their translations.
· PRAY for financial partnerships to come quickly. PRAISE God for how he always provides for the work to which he calls his people.
· PRAY for my studies. I will be working to finish them for the coming fall and spring semesters. PRAISE the LORD for how he has provided scholarships to help with part of its cost.