Letter from the President: Rivers in the Wilderness

Nov 20, 2020 | Latest News

Rivers in the Wilderness

God does the impossible

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).

Lately I’ve been thinking about how God does the impossible. Just when all we see are obstacles He brings about even greater things. As the Word says in Romans 8, “all things work together for good to them who are called according to his purpose.” God’s purpose is highlighted in another verse that has become our theme, “So shall my Word be that goes forth from my mouth; it will not return void, but will accomplish that which I purpose” (Isaiah 55:11).

Our Strategic & Academic Councils have met and assessed the global situation as it concerns our residential training programs that were due to start January 2021 in Jerusalem, and we have prepared the following announcement:

In light of the worldwide situation in the shadow of the coronavirus epidemic and its implications for our program, mainly concerning requests for visas, the reopening of Israel’s borders, and unstable international travel, we at Whole Word Institute have been forced to postpone the opening of the Jerusalem school year to September 2021. 

Although this is a significant change in our annual programming, God’s new purposes have been revealed for the multiplication of the Word. Our staff has now been able to pivot and focus on the development of a distance learning program. This new program, together with the residential program in Jerusalem will enable us to serve many more translators and consultants globally and multiply the translation of the Word exponentially! 

“See I will do something new, I will create rivers in the wilderness.” God parallels His Word with water that extends to the earth, makes seeds grow for the sower and provides bread for those who are hungry. He describes a process of fulfillment and “success” that the Word of God creates, one that comes from the Lord and accomplishes His purposes.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall my word be which goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

This is a humbling reminder to me that God’s plan is bigger than our own, and even in times of challenge, always more than we can ask or imagine. Despite all of the challenging circumstances and changes this year, God is showing us an unexpected way that will increase the goal of giving the whole Word to the whole world.

I am personally so grateful for the generosity and provision extended to us and for your partnership which has made our continued operation possible. We trust that the fruit of the investments made in this season will serve to further accelerate access to His whole Word for people of all languages, whether through text, oral communication, or sign.

With you in His service,


Dr. David Swarr 

Institute for Biblical Languages & Translation
A program of Whole Word Institute
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