By Angela Nelson
When Diane was 12, her grandmother asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Diane wasn’t sure, but she knew she liked codes and foreign languages.
“Maybe you could be a Bible translator,” her grandma suggested.
“A Bible translator?” Diane thought. “You mean there are people in the world who don’t have a Bible in their language?”
This discovery opened up a whole new world for Diane. As she entered her teens, Bible translation continued to stay on her heart. Soon she got connected with a Wycliffe recruiter who periodically sent her information about Wycliffe projects. Later, she went on a mission trip to Brazil, spent time in Costa Rica, and passionately studied Portuguese and Spanish.
“I have a strange and insatiable passion for language-learning.” Diane explains. “No one else I know gets a thrill out of a class in phonetics, or would spend their free time looking up Portuguese grammar rules online. I would be a failure at sports ministry or medical missions, but language I can handle.”
Nine years after that conversation with her grandmother, Diane has begun the application process to work with Wycliffe as a translator. This summer she will graduate from Texas A&M and start graduate school for linguistics in Houston.
Of course, not everyone preparing to work with Wycliffe gets excited about phonetics and sentence structure like Diane.
For Twila, it’s pictures. Ever since she was a little girl, she remembers drawing in church while her dad would preach. Over time, it became obvious that she had a gift for art.
“She notices detail and color,” her husband Chris notes, “and she’s an ace at doing puzzles because she sees the variation in the pieces and can just tell where they go.”
In college, Twila enjoyed both art and missions. “I was very interested in other cultures,” Twila reflects, “but I didn’t see any way that the two paths connected.”
After college, Twila worked as an illustrator, and later went to Papua New Guinea to visit her sister who was a missionary there. Several other missionaries asked her to draw illustrations for primers and posters. “I was busy every day doing artwork, and I loved it,” Twila said. It seemed her two passions had finally come together.
Twila’s husband Chris came to Christ at a church service when he was about 20. “I got mesmerized by the Bible,” Chris said, when asked about the sermon that changed his life. That experience gave Chris a respect for the Scripture’s power to change lives. It’s what motivated him to participate in several short-term mission trips before he met and married Twila three years ago.
“At the time we met, we were both already in the realm of world missions, and we prayed about what we could do as a team,” Twila said. “We asked God to call us somewhere.”
Today, Chris and Twila are preparing to serve with Wycliffe in another part of the world — with Chris exploring the area of Scripture use and Twila using art to help people experience and understand Scripture.
“All through college I talked to translators and I loved languages, but I never saw myself in that role.” Chris said, “But when people told us how we could work in Bible translation, it just made sense. There really is a role for everybody.”
You might be surprised how your current, God-given skills may perfectly fit a role that will allow you to further His Kingdom. Click here.