Strengthening Our Core To Meet New Challenges

By Woody McLendon

Unprecedented. Pandemic. Crisis. Disruption.

From corporate boardrooms to family video conferences, we are all struggling to describe what is happening in the world as the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold.

As we’re watching and learning more about this virus, one point is crystallizing for me: those already on the margin before COVID-19 are facing even more precarious situations today.

Daily we hear about significant crises in our country: continuing COVID deaths, businesses struggling, schools closed, more and more people out of work, and list goes on. These are real and very painful situations that touch us all. At a time when our partners around the world already face so many challenges in ministry, COVID-19 is making their lives even more difficult.

Now more than ever people everywhere need hope in things eternal—nurtured in the truth from God’s Word and in the fellowship of Christ-focused communities.

Our mission at JAARS is to make Bible translation and language development possible, especially in the most remote and difficult places on earth. We’ve seen God work, through the generous prayers and partnership of many people, on behalf of those seeking hope. We’ve never seen God’s purposes deterred by earthly crises, even if we don’t understand all that is happening.

One of the unprecedented realities from COVID-19 is that the entire world is now a remote or difficult place. With significant disruptions to travel, training, and other activities traditionally core to the Bible translation process—globally as well as here in the U.S.—what are we called to do at JAARS?

One choice is to hunker down and wait out this “storm,” hoping that we can soon get back to normal.

But that’s not who we are.

Instead, JAARS is exploring and embracing new uses of technology, new ways of collaboration, new methods for training, and new solutions in transportation. We’re taking this time that many perceive as idle time and using it both to strengthen our core and to develop new ways to serve.

Each year the Campaign for Possible provides important support to JAARS, but this year is critical. We are stepping up our engagement with our partners in Bible translation globally, and this year’s campaign will provide capacity to strengthen the core of JAARS in these unprecedented times.

In the face of these unprecedented challenges and opportunities, we are asking God for help. Might you be part of his answer? We know that times are tough right now and we’re all facing uncertainty, so we simply ask you to prayerfully consider how God might lead you to respond.

Just recently I reread the book, Yours to Finish the Task, by Hugh Steven. It is the last in a series of four books chronicling the life and ministry of Cameron Townsend, the founder of JAARS, SIL, and Wycliffe Bible Translators. One of my favorite quotes in the book is from Dr. Ken Pike, a world-renowned linguist and translator, who joined Townsend in the mid-1930s. Pike said,

“If we don’t start in the face of impossibilities, when do we start?”

Will you join us?

Let’s make Bible translation possible in the most remote, difficult places on earth. Because we all need the hope of God’s Word—now more than ever.

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