International (MNN) – As you celebrate Christmas this year, why not add to the celebration by making it possible for someone else to hear the Christmas story, in their language, perhaps for the first time?
This is the premise behind Wycliffe Bible Translator USA’s gift catalog.
Pixie Christensen of Wycliffe USA says, “The catalog is our favorite project of the entire year because we get to think about it not only in terms of the translation projects and getting the Word in people’s language, getting it out there, but we think about it from the perspective of a person who’s looking at the catalog and thinking of giving a gift that has eternal value.”
The catalog has 18 gift options and while they each come with a suggested gift price, any donation is accepted. The gifts range from the very beginning of written translation work to methods of getting God’s word out through media. But what they all have in common is opening the door for people to hear the Good News of Jesus and learn more about him.
Christensen says, “The Word of God is foundational to a personal growth in getting to know Christ, to Church growth, to evangelism … Having the Word is what we need—it’s what everyone needs to draw closer to Christ, to get to know him and to find out about the message of God’s love for each person and the fact that at Christmas, God showed his love to us by sending his only Son to take that human form. It’s just a time that we can celebrate that and celebrate the joy of Christ.”
This year’s gifts
Christensen is especially excited about a gift that brings another mission organization in. The JESUS Film Project has partnered with Wycliffe to work on translating the ‘JESUS’ film into Chuka, a language group out of Kenya.
There are plenty of other projects that have to do with oral communication of the Bible, as well. Christensen says judging by last year’s response, people are starting to realize just how important these audio methods of sharing the Gospel are.
“We have audio Scripture and video Scripture portions. And we have several projects for that and those are wonderful projects for people that are not only in communities that have strong oral traditions, but in communities where they may have difficulty accessing any printed Scripture.”
Another project focuses on training women to share the Gospel using Bible stories.
“It’s in Asia and it’s in the areas of the world where women are sometimes marginalized and this project will help provide workshops where the women can go and not only learn the stories themselves (select Scripture stories in their language), but they can learn how to tell them and how to share them with other people.
“So, it’s a wonderful project for involving women and having women be able to share [the Gospel] in one-on-one or in a small group setting with others. And those key Bible stories convey Old Testament stories and New Testament stories.”
And how about a project that impacts several communities at once? Christensen says one of the gifts focuses on several language groups in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. They are training people from these language groups in Bible stories.
“There are 12 language groups that will have the opportunity to hear God’s Word for the very first time in their language. Again, it’s key stories from Genesis and the New Testament that will show them God’s love for the people and then prepare them for the translation of the entire New Testament.”
The total funded project will provide five workshops which will produce 20 stories for each of the 12 communities. This project is just the beginning of Bible translation for these language groups.
Ways you can be involved
There are a number of ways you can interact with the gift catalog, whether you decide to buy a gift individually, or involve a group of people.
For example, there is a history of churches taking on one project as a congregation.
“Last year we had a need for bicycles in Burkina Faso to help literacy class teachers go from village to village and use Gospel portions for that. So, it was fun to hear that a church adopted that project and their youth group actually made little bicycles to hang on their Christmas tree at church. And then when someone gave to the project, they were able to put a Christmas card on the tree. They were also able to take a little card if they wanted to give a gift in honor of someone.”
Christensen says another example that sticks out from last year is a grandfather who brought his grandchildren into the gifting process.
He shared with Wycliffe that he enjoys going through the catalog with his grandchildren so they can help pick out gifts and see ways that, even at their young age, they can make an impact for the Gospel.
“We have several that are a low enough price point that a grandchild or a child could say ‘Oh! I have $8. I could help pay for a Bible [for] these people in South Sudan.’”
The gift catalog even includes a coloring page for children who are helping pick out gifts. They can send the picture of their completed artwork to be featured on Wycliffe’s Facebook page. They can also find additional coloring pages online.
In the web version of the catalog, there is an option with each project to start a campaign. It’s a great way to invite your friends to participate in raising funds for a project.
You can even order a gift card so that a loved one can pick out a gift for you to give in their honor.
What about prayer?
But before you decide to go ahead and donate to the catalog or not, consider taking time to pray about it.
Christensen says for anyone who is considering, to “Pray first about … their involvement. How would the Lord direct them to getting involved? Is it being involved by just getting a gift individually? Is it being involved by sharing it with the entire family or by sharing it with a church group?
“And the second thing I would ask them to pray for is that the people who’ve received the catalog or who go online to see it, that their hearts would just be moved because the need is great and this is just a small portion of the need that’s out there, but these projects– each one was chosen specifically because of the impact each project could have on the people in that part of the world.”
Finally, she asks you to pray for the people who will be hearing God’s Word in their language for the first time as a result of these gifts. Ask God to open their hearts to the Gospel.
“We’re excited to see how God is going to use these projects. We usually have reporting about six months after to see how some of these projects are doing and how people have been impacted. So we’re just excited to see how God is going to work through these projects to bring his Word to the people who are anxious to be hearing it.”