International (MNN) — Despite the flashy and colorful electronic toys and video games developed every year, the bicycle remains a classic and treasured Christmas gift. And now, there’s an opportunity to give a bike to someone who truly needs one. The best part? It makes an eternal impact.
Pixie Christensen of Wycliffe USA shares how the ministry is celebrating Christmas and encouraging the mission-minded to get involved.
Between hanging stockings, trimming the tree, and eating lots of sugared goodies, there are many treasured traditions families celebrate all around the world. Christensen says these traditions bring families together. But, she says, maybe it’s time to start a new tradition.
This year, Wycliffe USA has a Gift Catalog offering 16 different projects to advance Bible translation and the spread of the Gospel.
Bicycles and Psalms
Christensen says she has a couple favorites from the list. The first is the gift of a bike for pastors and Christian leaders in South Sudan. Why a bike?
Despite the current difficulties in South Sudan, there are those willing to risk their lives and sacrifice their time to share the Good news of Jesus in villages around them. These leaders have been trained through the Faith Comes by Hearing program, and they distribute audio Bibles called Proclaimers.
Bicycles help reduce the time it takes for pastors and Christian leaders to get to villages, and increase the distances they can travel.
Another favorite of Christensen’s is the project to get Psalms translated for a language group in Ghana. Psalms is her favorite book of the Bible, and she recognizes the great joy it would bring other Christian brothers and sisters as well.
Buoying the War-Weary
Christmastime is a season of hope and joy because it is the celebration of our hope born — Jesus Christ. This season is so powerful, it can even bring true hope to people who live every day surrounded by violence. One of the projects you can support in this catalog is called “Provide hope for the war-weary Nuni”.
From the catalog: The Nuni of Burkina Faso have deeply felt the effects of war in their land — from the devastation of terrorist attacks to the poverty resulting from war.
Wycliffe is working on finishing the New Testament so they can give the Nuni the complete Bible. It’s God’s Word that reminds them of His love and faithfulness.
“To be able to provide God’s Word, to bring hope to people in the midst of all their pain and suffering, it’s just a gift to be able to do that,” Christensen says.
When asked how these gifts bring joy, Christensen immediately brought up The JESUS Film. She says it’s amazing to see the smiles on people’s faces as they learn about Jesus in their own language — you can see the joy they are feeling.
“When children are able to hear Bible stories in their language and know how much God loves them and cares for them, it just brings joy. And I think that’s what, to me, the Christmas message is: Good News, great joy for the people.”
A New Tradition for Bible Translation
Many families look for a way to give back and make a difference during the holidays. Wycliffe’s catalog is a great way to get your family looking forward to giving the gift of God’s Word each year. Children learn a legacy of giving.
“We know a family who sit down together — grandparents with their grandchildren — and they go through the catalog together and read through the projects and pick one together that they can give to. So, it’s a wonderful tradition to start with your children, with your grandchildren, just to be able to say, ‘We have so much, what can we give to others that has eternal values, that brings joy, that brings hope?’”
God’s Word, Christensen affirms, is foundational to everything we do as followers of Christ. It’s impossible for us to understand how necessary it is to have the Bible in our heart language if it’s always been available to us. But it truly matters.
“Maybe they’ve heard about God, maybe they’ve heard about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us. But, when they hear it in their language, it speaks to their heart, it speaks to their understanding so much better. They get it!”
Wycliffe USA is also working on expanding their Deaf Bible outreach as well. The Deaf community is often overlooked because, even though they’re born into a culture whose language has Scripture, their heart language is Sign Language. Reading text can often be like reading in a second language. The catalog provides a way you can help with this as well.
Another way to incorporate the Wycliffe USA Christmas Catalog into your holiday season this year is to give a gift in honor or memory of a loved one. It’s a tangible way to remember someone who can’t be with you this year, or give a gift in someone’s name.
Prayers alongside presents
Christenson asks you to pray for guidance for Wycliffe, that they would use each gift wisely and that they would answer the opportunities God brings their way. And ultimately, she asks you to pray that God’s Word would come to all people all over the world.
Learn more about the catalog below. You can find the catalog online here.