Jerusalem (MNN/WYC) — Jerusalem police are on high alert
following a terrorist bombing on March 23 that jolted the city. It has
been linked to the renewed hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians in the
In response, Israel set up its Iron Dome missile defense
system. Airstrikes Sunday bolstered the response to
the violent explosion–the first fatal attack in Jerusalem since 2004.
40 were wounded in the attack, and the one casualty was a Wycliffe
Bible Translator team member, Mary Gardner, 55.
She was studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to further the
journey she embarked on in 1986. At that
time, she began her training at the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow,
joining Wycliffe Bible Translators in August 1988.
At the time, she described her passion for her work: ‘The Bible has
always been important to me and played a large part in my own conversion. I am convinced of the value of the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators and that
other aspects of mission such as evangelism and church planting are greatly
strengthened by having the Scriptures in the language people know best.'
According to Wycliffe UK, Gardner was working with specialized linguistics
training, which she completed by January 1990. Gardner did her orientation in Cameroon and then began work in Togo in
April 1990 until 2010.
Gardner was involved in a language called Ife, developing the orthography
(writing systems), working on a dictionary, holding literacy classes, and
preparing materials including graded reading primers and math books. Bible translation began in 1994 leading to the Scriptures in print and on
cassette, and the production of the JESUS film. She became the leader of
the translation team and trained national translators, working in a mixed team of
expatriates and nationals.
By 2000, the Ife/French dictionary was published, and the Ife New Testament
was to follow on October 17, 2009, nearly 30 years after the project first
Mary was training as a translation consultant, which requires a good grasp of
Biblical studies, in order to help with Old Testament translation. Thus
she traveled to The Home For Bible Translators in Jerusalem in early
Halvor Ronning, (Director) says, "Mary was really enjoying the
camaraderie and fellowship she had found in Jerusalem. She told us that until
she got here, she did not realise how alone and isolated she had been living for
years in a remote village in Togo, the only European for miles around."
Eddie Arthur, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, said: "I
cannot tell you how highly regarded she was. She was an extremely gutsy person,
highly intelligent, with huge drive and the ability to stick with the project
for 20 years in far-from-comfortable conditions. It must have been incredibly
isolating at times. But she was completely dedicated to her work and to the
Mary had shared in one of her newsletters: ‘When a person hears clearly
what God is saying, it changes lives. And so we persevere in translating
the Bible into Ifè, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. We
continue to teach people to read in their own language. We hold courses
for church leaders to help them use the Ifè Scriptures in the life of the
church. Why? Because we long to see changed lives that glorify
Gardner is survived by her parents and siblings.