Program Update from Jerusalem

Feb 1, 2023 | Latest News

The first month of 2023 has been exciting in Jerusalem! Our campus is packed with students interacting in Hebrew and sign language, teams working together on new Bible resources and global partners joining for meals and events to further collaboration in advancing full Bible translations around the world. 

Wycliffe Australia gathered at the Whole Word Institute campus as part of their K2K Study Tour of Israel. 24 Bible translators, consultants, and others interested in the Bible Translation Movement joined our students and staff in fellowship and learning.

They experienced a taste of Whole Word Institute’s immersive Hebrew teaching techniques when Sharona Alley, Dean of the Hebrew Department, demonstrated Total Physical Response (TPR), a fun and intuitive method for language learning. On Shabbat (Sabbath), Academic Provost, Dr. Randall Buth and his wife, Margret, led the Shabbat dinner and blessings in Hebrew, explaining the deep significance of Shabbat in the Scriptures. It was a special time of encouraging one another in the collective effort to bring the whole Word to every language around the world.

Walking Through the History of the Bible 

On a field trip last week students explored biblical sites in and around Jerusalem. From the Mount of Olives to Herodium, an ancient Jewish fortress built by King Herod, students got to immerse themselves in biblical history. Azariah, a consultant-in-training from Nigeria, shared his amazement after seeing the architectural accomplishments of the ancient king, saying he could now better understand Herod’s pride, written about in Acts 12.  

“I have not seen another architect as great in the world as King Herod. He covered the whole mountain in buildings from top to below the mountain. These school tours expose me to the historical geography of the Bible and make my interpretation of the text as easy as it should be.” 

Generational Movements in Oral Bible Translation 

Ricki Gidoomal and Sharon Birnbaum with the leader of Wycliffe Benin

Some of our staff recently attended an Oral Bible Translation conference in Uganda, hosted by ETEN (Every Tribe Every Nation). Around 140 people came together to advance Oral Bible Translation and facilitate collaboration through sharing vision and resources. 

There were some familiar faces at the event. Sharon Birnbaum, one of our Hebrew teachers, reunited with four former students. When they saw her, they broke into speaking fluent Hebrew. How exciting to see student translators taking what they have learned in Jerusalem to the field! 

One of these translators, Otniel, came from Benin. This year six of our students came from Benin, each of whom were impacted by Otniel when they saw what his knowledge of the biblical source language could accomplish in multiplying translation efforts. Now they are in the program in Jerusalem, and Otniel, with three other YWAM former students, is serving in Benin while facilitating and training others in Zambia, Gabon and Uganda. Over this last month, they have been participating in the oral Bible translation of the book of Ruth into three languages. 

Deaf Exegetical Resources

A team has been formed to create Deaf exegetical resources – an area of great need for Deaf translators and consultants in their work around the world. There is much work to be done in researching, writing, and creating content for these digital resources. Meanwhile, a new cohort of Deaf students continue in the immersive program to learn Hebrew for Deaf Bible translation. 

Master’s Students & Translation Consultants 

Master’s students who completed their MA program have returned home, stepping into language projects and consulting internships taking place across the globe. 

One of our former master’s students, “Elazar” Lawrence A., has recently been certified as a Translation Consultant with Rhema for the Nations, and verified by the Asia Bible Translation Coordination Team, enabling him to work independently with translation teams in India.

Pray With Us

  • Continued strength and health for students and staff throughout the semester 

  • Recent graduates of the MA program who have returned home or to their translation projects in the field 

  • The continuing impact of the recent Oral Bible Translation conference in Uganda

Thank you for sharing the Word,

The Whole Word Institute team 
The Whole Word for the Whole World

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