A Look Back. And just like that, 2023 is here! Happy New Year from TWFTW! After a year of explosive growth in heart-language Bible translation, we praise God for His faithfulness and hand upon TWFTW. Join us as we look at 2022 in review. It is exhilarating to see our Father’s impact on people globally through the increasing reach of heart-language Bible translation. As we review 2022, we look at it through the lens of the vision of TWFTW. We have the vision of doing everything for the glory of God through transformed lives by the power of His Word in everyone’s heart language. To this end, we seek to empower indigenous persons and organisations for Bible translation. Keep reading to see how God enabled the wider TWFTW family to fulfil this vision in a big way last year by His Spirit. It is not by our might or power but by His Spirit, which is why the glory is His alone. So, through that lens, let’s review 2022…
The work is growing. So far, TWFTW has helped 24 million people gain access to the New Testament by translating it into 66 languages. At present, 658 indigenous Bible translators are working on translating the complete Bible into their 206 respective languages, with an estimated 54 million people in Africa, Asia, and Europe. In August, a DBT graduate from the Gamo people of Ethiopia shared how impossible he believed it was for him to become a mother-tongue Bible translator. Before starting TWFTW training, he told Dr Veroni Kruger that he couldn’t see how it could happen because of his low education and economic levels. As he told the storey in his graduation gown and hat, having passed the DBT certification, his joy was palpable! He said that Dr Kruger was right – with God’s grace and some hard work, it had been possible! Clearly, the training had impacted him and his fellow students for life.
Also in August, we celebrated an inspiring graduation in Ethiopia, seeing 75 students from 39 languages and ongoing Bible translation projects in Ethiopia graduate with a Diploma in Bible Translation. We are most thankful that the Gamo people were able to celebrate the dedication of their fully-translated Bible. In November, we had eight training events connected to our Diploma in Bible translation in different parts of the world and online. We increased our training events from 25 in 2021 to 45 in 2022!
Our partnerships are growing. Turning our attention to the internal workings of our organisation and its strategic growth, seeing God’s hand at work humbles us. We continue to experience the goodness of the Lord through closer collaboration with Seed Company. Several TWFTW and Seed Company leaders met in Hermanus, South Africa, in June to discuss broadening the partnership between the two organisations. Significant time was spent with Seed Company’s Growth Partners consultants, who support TWFTW’s organisational transformation and the capacity required to facilitate the transformation. Partners like Seed Company, Wycliffe-USA, Faith Comes by Hearing, and others have come alongside us to build capacity where needed most. We have also initiated our first-ever Oral Bible Translation projects in partnership with Faith Comes by Hearing (more about this soon). We believe that this exciting development will shift emphasis from written to oral Bible translation in languages with low literacy rates and in languages spoken in the Middle and Far East, which some view as the last frontier for Christian missions.
The organisation is growing. TWFTW International appointed a Chief Development Officer (CDO) for Africa, tasked with developing personnel in Africa, setting up a Support Base in Africa to raise funds in Africa, and pioneering new regions in Africa for TWFTW. Enslin Lottering, CEO of the South African support base, and his wife, Annetjie Lottering, retired. Jonathan van Aswegen was appointed as the new CEO of South Africa’s support base. We are grateful for the strong and consistent leadership from Enslin and Annetjie, and we thank God for blessing us with their dedication to heart-language Bible translation work. Peter Bradley, who served as the CEO of the USA support base from 2012 to 2022, retired, and Paul Nelson was appointed interim CEO. Heartfelt thanks to Peter for ten years of dedicated service to our organisation.
In a TWFTW first, a new Prayer Department was established, born out of an increasing need for the leadership to have a formation of purposed and responsive prayer. Hendrik van Aswegen was appointed as the Prayer Coordinator and is making great strides in establishing a much-needed aspect of the work. Hendrik says he can see the prayers’ impact and results in multiple ways. TWFTW’s prayer network is growing, which has increased the prayer support needed throughout the organisation. Gareth and Tracy Pearson have joined TWFTW’s family. Gareth will be the Interim Vice President for Strategic Finances, and Tracy will be the Director for Strategic Relationships. They will help the entire organisation to think and plan strategically regarding finances, assist in standardising budgets and reports, and ensure the companies’ fiduciary responsibilities are of the highest standard.
As we say goodbye to 2022, we look forward to 2023 with faith that God will continue in His faithfulness to His people. We continue to hold onto our vision, and looking forward, our faith goal is to be involved in producing 1000 first-time translations of the complete Bible by 2050. We continue to pray the Lord would empower translation work that accurately reflects the original manuscripts’ meaning and is natural and understandable in all languages. We pray God’s blessings on those who continue to be excited by Christ’s Gospel work and trust that God will continue to use you for His kingdom purposes. We are thankful as we head into 2023 for the whole body of Christ – each one using their gifts for the Gospel.