Friday, April 25, 2008

WordSpring Discovery Center at Wycliffe

Dear friends,

I mentioned in a blog post from last month that our home school co-op would be taking a trip to the WordSpring Discovery Center at the world headquarters of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Our family had done this some years back, and we knew it was well worth the time (most of the day), the long drive (about an hour each way) and the reasonable entrance fee ($5 for kids, $4 for adults).

Our day started with a hearty welcome in the lobby to the several dozen students of all ages and their parents from our Providence group. I was so pleased to see that my new friend Carole Orr, whom I met at church on Easter, was one of our guides for the day. Here's Carole!

Our morning would be spent upstairs in a special field trip room, but on our walk up there, we passed a whole bunch of posters featuring different people groups, with Revelation 7:9 written in native languages....

Here is Revelation 7:9-10 in English: "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (This is a scene from Heaven, one of the most beautiful that I can imagine!)

In the field trip room, the kids were split into five different groups, and each group toured the various educational stations about the country of Thailand. One station featured how translators have to learn the language, which is tonal. That means that the meaning of the word varies according to the pitch in which it is said. I can't even imagine trying to learn a language like this!

At the map table, the kids learn about where Thailand is, and what the physical and cultural geography are like. They also used squirt guns to cool off some "elephants." You can see my Ben in the green shirt and Melody in the pink dress. (I do not recomment taking two year olds on this field trip -- it was a long day and she had a meltdown at the end...)

Another station down the hall was the music room, where the kids got to try various Thai instruments, and learn to sing the chorus "God is So Good" in one of the many Thai languages. Here is Naomi trying out a sort of tamborine & drum combo, followed by a picture of some of the instruments.

At the craft station, the kids learned about how families make elaborate paper parasols, and they got to make their own fans.

Some of the high school students are trying out their bartering skills at the "Thai Night Bazarre." Joanna is in the red hat on the left.

After a story, the kids joined in a prayer, in traditional Thai fashion of hands over the head in respect for God.

In the hallway on the way to the bathroom, I passed by a glassed bookcase with dozens of different Bible translations from around the world! Fascinating! It literally brought tears to my eyes to think of how many people can now read God's Word for themselves because of the tireless effort of Bible translators. I am so grateful to be able to read and understand my own Bible in my own language, and I can't take it for granted.

After our time in the educational room, we ate lunch at picnic tables overlooking a pond, then went inside to watch a video and tour the Discovery Center exhibits. The following photos show only a few things...

These statues (and several like them) greeted us as representatives of people groups around the world. You could press a button to hear John 3:16 in each language.

Several short videos and interactive computer displays are set up throughout the Discovery Center. Lydia is watching one on a youth program.
"How do they write 'Jesus'? One of the wall panels shows it in several languages.

In the gift shop, I bought a video on Bible translation called "The Power of the Word" to show to the middle school and high school students on Monday, especially since most of them weren't able to make it to our field trip today. Who knows if one of them will someday end up on the mission field?

I mentioned earlier in this post that I get a bit emotional about the thought of Bible translation because this is something that is near and dear to my heart. The Scriptures are such a treasure to me every single day that I can't even imagine trying to live without them. And as part of the mandate of Christians to spread the good news of Jesus to every tribe and nation, how can we do this without the Bible in the native languages? I may not play an active part in Bible translation, but I do try to regularly fund the distribution of Chichewa Bibles in Malawi -- and I do pray and teach and write about the subject. What will you do?

Are you interested in finding out more? Check out these links!

Wycliffe Bible Translators

WordSpring Discovery Center

Bible translations (English and foreign, some audio) on-line at Bible Gateway

My earlier blog post on teaching about Bible translation at Providence co-op



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