Tonga and Solomon Islands join the Wycliffe Global Alliance
Joy and celebration accompanied the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Wycliffe Global Alliance and two independent organisations from the Pacific on 14 August, 2013.
The Bible Translation Organisation (BTO) of Tonga and the Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership (BTLP) of the Solomon Islands joined the growing Alliance at a small gathering in Brisbane, Australia.
David Gela, Wycliffe Global Alliance Pacific Islands Affairs director, considers this a ‘historic occasion’ since it is the first time that organisations from the Pacific Islands have officially joined the Alliance.
The Bible Translation Organisation (BTO) of Tonga is focused on recruiting and training Tongans to assist with Bible translation ministries elsewhere in the Pacific. The chairman of the board, Uiliami Fukofuka said: “I know it is a huge responsibility for us, being so young, we are only two years old. It is a privilege that our service for the Kingdom of God is recognised. I was thrilled when I signed for my country to be part of this worldwide alliance. It gives me great comfort in the work of God that we are working together with over 100 other national bodies. We know that we have a small contribution to make, but it is important in the Kingdom of God. Therefore it gives us much encouragement to continue.”
The Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership (BTLP) of the Solomon Islands have already been operating for seven years in partnership with SIL Solomon Islands. Their commitment to see the work of Bible translation led by local churches brought them into an official agreement with the Wycliffe Global Alliance.
BTLP Director Joshua Lui said, “The MOU is one of our achievements. It is one of the ways, we believe, we can help the church and we can be a good partner with other translation organisations in our country. The important thing is that a local organisation will become a leading partner for Bible translation in the country. And that will help all the partners and the churches, and even the government, to see that Solomon Islanders are responsible – part of the work within the country – and also outside our country.”
David Gela highlights that while these new organisations will benefit from being able to connect and learn from others around the world, more importantly they will “enrich the Alliance with their unique perspectives and richness of fellowship”.
“The Pacific has 400 languages still without the word of God so the remaining work in the Pacific is huge.” David continues, “So, for me, to see BTO Tonga and BTLP Solomon Islands joining the global network of the Alliance is really encouraging. And we are looking forward to identifying more Pacific Islanders for a leadership role within Wycliffe. So these two organisations will become real partners and we look forward to great development.”
Wycliffe Asia-Pacific area director Sung-Chan Kwon signed the agreements on behalf of the Alliance and explains, “The Alliance encourages participating organisations to have their own mission story. So the benefit is that they may find their own identity, that they may develop their own missiology and theology. Then they can share their story with other participating organisations in the Alliance so that we can write God’s mission story together.”
Words and Photography by Elyse Patten