Experiencing the Love of Christ – Graham and Ellie’s July News

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We love each other because God loved us first.
(1 John 4:19)

Dear Beloved Friends and Family,

‘What’s your secret?’ We lost track of how many times Ellie’s parents were asked this question as we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

‘Everyone keeps asking us what our secret is, but what I want to know is where has the time gone!’ Ellie’s dad said. Time does go by so quickly these days. 

Henry and Sue give glory and praise to God for the many blessings he has given them over the years, and for sustaining their marriage for 50 years. We think the secret is revealed in the Scriptures – love comes from God, and as we receive God’s love for us, this enables us to love others. We praise the Lord for the love he has given Ellie’s parents, and the love that we see flowing through you all in so many ways.

We are all so grateful that we were able to be with them for their celebrations. Thank you for your loving prayers while we travelled. Thank you for your loving gifts that enabled us to be there. Thank you for your love for the Lord and his Word, which binds us together in partnership.

We experienced God’s love through many of you as we travelled. A big thank you to those who housed us, fed us, and caught up with us during our time in the US. Thank you to those of you who gave a bit extra so that we could manage this trip. We marvel at the amazing people that God has brought into our lives over the years.

In Chicagoland we stayed with two dear families, who put up with busyness and changing plans.

We were pleasantly surprised to connect with some friends who live out of town and happened to be in the area while we were there.

We enjoyed taking time to check out a friend’s new woodworking shop.

We celebrated with Ben as he graduated from junior high and laughed with his family as we played ‘Stinky Pigs’, a new game we discovered.

We had a great time with ‘old’ friends from Ellie’s high school, college and theatre days. We were blessed to see church friends. We relished again the taste of real tacos (more than once).

We attended an artist friend’s live painting event as a classical quartet played.

We celebrated Graham’s 50th birthday. We sat with dear friends, shared our hearts and lives, heard their stories, and prayed with each other. We had so much fun!

In Florida, we enjoyed spending time with Ellie’s folks and celebrating their 50 years of marriage.

Some of our extended family joined us in Florida for the anniversary dinner at a Brazilian churrasco restaurant. We hadn’t seen most of the family for nine years or more, and so the reunions were very sweet. What a blessing to be able to hug family again after so long! How thankful we are that God answered your prayers so that Ellie was well enough to travel.

God also gave us the privilege of sharing at three different churches and a couple of small groups. One of these was an international Bible study, whose members spoke an amazing diversity of languages. We loved how they immediately grasped the importance and complexity of translation, having experienced their very own struggles to understand and read God’s word, whether in their mother tongue or in English. They loved hearing stories from the Papuan Malay translation team about their experience translating and sharing the book of Ruth.

The book of Ruth was the first book that our colleagues in Papua, Indonesia translated into Papuan Malay. When Bible translation starts, usually, a short book with a straight forward story like Ruth or Jonah is chosen as a starting point. So when Maryam, a Papuan Malay speaker and Bible translator, and her advisor started working on Ruth, Maryam found the verses that have Naomi talking about God making her life hard and bitter very difficult to translate.

Ruth 1:13 – Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me.

And Ruth 1:20-21 – “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”   (NLT)

Maryam’s natural preference was to soften this, so Naomi wasn’t blaming God, but just her hard life. As they worked together, Maryam said that her desire was to translate it as it was in the original Hebrew, so they explored that, and eventually a Papuan Malay word was discovered which captures Naomi’s feeling exactly.

And when that first chapter was finished, Maryam took it to her ladies’ Bible study to try it out and to see the women’s response. Amazingly, this idea that God had given Naomi a hard life, was a point at which the women said, ‘Yes. My life is hard too. God has given me a hard life.’ And they truly do have hard lives. Those verses that Maryam struggled with, and had to search hard for the right word for, were the very verses that women in Papua could relate to. It’s amazing how God guides Bible translation and translators like Maryam!

The Papuan ladies’ Bible study group loved the final verses of chapter four, verse 14 – Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! and verse 17, The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” They suggested that the book should be named Naomi and not Ruth – because the book of Ruth is about the redemption of Naomi and the grace poured out in her life. They saw the book of Ruth as a testimony of God’s faithfulness to Naomi in her hardship and suffering. And it gave them hope that God would be faithful to them also and turn their bitter and hard lives into something good that would show his faithfulness to them.

As we shared this story with the Chicagoland international women’s Bible study group, they immediately started discussing how these verses had been translated into the various languages represented in the group. And they started to think about how God had been faithful to each of them in the midst of their own hardships. We love the power of God’s Word and the way it speaks to us and others of God’s faithfulness and grace! What a privilege to share this love with others!

For our new friends at the international Bible study, it was clear that they appreciated being able to read the Scriptures in more than one language, because the different languages reveal nuances of meaning, and this sometimes helps makes sense of passages that are unclear to them in one language or another. Quite a few of the group had come to faith in English-speaking contexts, and so their preferred language for their spiritual life and expressing their faith is English, which also serves an important role in day to day life in the United States. At the same time, their mother tongue (first language) remains an important part of their identity and is used in the home and with friends from the same background. And for some of them, they like comparing their first language’s Bible with an English translation to deepen their understanding.

Our new friends at the international Bible study are what we call ‘multilingual’. Multilingual refers to people and communities who use more than one language in their daily lives. That might mean a different language at home than in the workplace; or different languages being used in education or at church; or a number of languages being used interchangeably throughout the day, depending on who they are interacting with.

Multilingualism is a key issue for language development and SIL. The reality is that most of the world’s population is multilingual. This can impact language development and Bible translation strategy. So this week, SIL Australia has been hosting a workshop on multilingualism for colleagues with a particular focus in the Pacific area.

The Pacific area is vast – almost half of the Earth’s circumference across – and is home to communities speaking 1,312 languages (almost 20% of the world’s total number of languages). Globalisation and the need to access education and sustainable employment has led to remote island communities relocating to urban areas within their own country, or on neighbouring islands, including Australia and New Zealand. This has resulted in language communities being spread further and further apart, and taking on new languages as well.

So the picture for who speaks which languages, and which languages might best serve a community as languages of faith is increasingly complex. These are the sorts of issues that the workshop has been grappling with this week. We have been examining the implications of multilingualism, migration and urbanisation, and diaspora communities for ways the peoples of the Pacific might engage with Scripture.

What an incredible few weeks we have had! Graham, especially, has hit the ground running since we returned from our trip to the US. We are very aware of God using your prayers to sustain us. And we remain so grateful for the love of God, which enables us to love one another.

We pray for you, as the apostle Paul prayed for the church, that the Lord will give you ‘the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.’ (Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT)

Love and hugs,
Graham and Ellie

Please join us in praising God:

  • for blessed reunions with family, friends and churches in the US
  • for safe travel and good health as we travelled
  • that the SILA team coped well in Graham’s absence
  • that the SILA conferences have been well attended and received
  • Ellie’s finger is healing beautifully – she won’t even have much of a scar (she badly cut her left ring finger two weeks before we travelled to the US and had surgery to repair her artery and nerve).
Our dear friends Bob and Caroline became our very first supporters when we were first accepted as members of Wycliffe 20 years ago.
‘We wanted to be the first to support Graham and Ellie because though our hearts ached even at the thought of seeing our beloved friends go, we believed God was sending them out. These two are a Kingdom couple committed to Christ Jesus and His gospel. They exude His grace and love, and we considered it an honor to send them,’ they say.

Please join us in praying for:

  • Graham as he prepares to teach a class next week, and for his general workload, which can be overwhelming at times
  • the participants of the SILA conferences – that God will give them wisdom to put into action what they’ve learnt and discussed
  • good health, renewed strength and energy
  • SILA key positions that need to be filled – deputy principal, business manager, administrative assistant, and board members
  • our continuing PhD studies

How to Send Us a Financial Gift 

Electronic giving from anywhere in the world:  

Or donate through any Wycliffe organisation worldwide—just include a note that it is for Graham and Ellie Scott, ID#281522

Monthly pledges also can be set up at https://wycliffe.org.au/member/graham-ellie/

Australian cheques can be sent to Wycliffe Australia, 70 Graham Rd, Kangaroo Ground, VIC 3097, with a note that it is for “Graham and Ellie Scott.”

Donate online through Wycliffe USA — copy and paste this info: Graham and Ellie Scott ID#281522 into the Give to the Ministry of My Wycliffe Missionary page.

By check in the USA: Wycliffe Bible Translators P.O. Box 628200 
Orlando, FL 32862; note it is for us, ID#281522

For US-based ongoing automatic giving, you can set up a Bill Pay through your bank by providing Wycliffe’s name and address: 11221 John Wycliffe Blvd; Orlando, Fl 32862 – and put as a reference our ID #281522 Graham and Ellie Scott. Or call 1-800-992-5433 to speak to a Wycliffe representative.

For partnership information/inquiries:  Wycliffe Australia
70 Graham Rd, Kangaroo Ground, VIC 3097   info@wycliffe.org.au   (03) 9712 2777

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