What’s Your Dream?

By Rachel Greco

What dreams inhabit your heart?

Since Wycliffe Benin, a JAARS partner in Africa, launched their activities in April 2003, its members have nourished a dream—a dream to have their own building for the ministry of Bible translation.

Disregard for the development and promotion of local languages permeates Benin. According to Paulin Sahgui, the IT and Multimedia Manager of Wycliffe Benin, “A large part of the population does not have access to the Word of God and can therefore never become a disciple of Christ. The ministry of Bible translation then becomes essential.”

Wycliffe Benin’s members longed to construct a building that could provide more space to develop major initiatives for the emergence of the Bible translation movement in this region of Africa.

Their dream began to materialize when, in 2010, property was donated to the organization.

Then, on September 8, 2019—six years after beginning the work—Wycliffe Benin dedicated their headquarters, the Maison des Langues Maternelles (the House of Mother Tongue Languages).

Wycliffe Benin’s new building, a hub for Bible translation

An important part of their plan for the new building centered on ensuring members could access the internet and use up-to-date translation software programs for their work. The facilities in their previous rented building had been inadequate. There, the IT department had no office and, with only one connection point, everyone had to crowd into one room to utilize the network. More room and easier access to the network was essential.

But near the end of the construction project, the team ran into an obstacle. How were they going to fund the acquisition and installation of the network equipment translators and other staff needed to do their work efficiently?

Through Bill Mayes, the Africa IT Coordinator, Paulin and his team asked JAARS for help, and they received a positive response. Partners like you helped provide the Bible translation center with the financial support they needed to build the network infrastructure.

Part of this support included a visit from Jacques Akplogan—an IT consultant who works with Bill. Jacques traveled to Benin to help them with network design and placement of equipment.  

The routers for the machine room

In this new building, the IT department has an office and a server room, where the entire computer network is centralized. “We have built this IT infrastructure to facilitate communication between administrative staff, translation projects, and our various partners,” Paulin says.

He and his IT team also utilized training they had received at past IT Connect Conferences—funded by faithful JAARS partners like you—when they set up programs to protect and manage the network. In Benin—where they pay for the internet by the megabyte—data can disappear before they blink. That’s why it’s so crucial to set up passwords and keep tabs on who’s utilizing the internet.

Outfitted with the new network, “We have the facility to bring together translators from new translation projects for training in IT and language technology,” Paulin explains. These trainings would not be possible without the network. As an IT specialist using the network, Paulin now has the ability to send and receive—via the translation software Paratext—several translations from various projects and offer aid when needed.

A recording studio in the new building

The staff is happy to finally have a real space to do their job well, but this building will bless others as well. As soon as the staff moved in, they began meeting with local pastors to work together on creating a movement for Bible translation in Benin. The building also blesses the neighborhood because Wycliffe Benin cares about how God wants to use them and his Word to transform their community.

“I thank the Lord for his rich blessings and his faithfulness that allowed us to build this building,” Paulin says. “Many thanks to JAARS for its technical and financial support.” Support that couldn’t have happened without you!

The staff of Wycliffe Benin’s dream has been fulfilled. But in another sense, it’s just beginning. To keep working despite power cuts, they require a generator or solar energy.

Your gift to Technology Solutions can help fulfill the dreams of Paulin and others to reach their community with the love of Christ.