Connecting with Communities of the Diaspora: SIL International Makes Plans at Upper House

August 14, 2021

Left to right in above photo: Steve Quakenbush, Director of the Global Diaspora Team, with Gordon Williams, Sunny Hong, Carleen Pedersen, and Trevor Deck

When a team from SIL International (partner of Wycliffe Bible Translators) met in Upper House last week, their plans overtook two walls, three tables, and two video screens, one of which was occupied by a teammate videoconferencing from a train in Switzerland.

Their work focuses on serving people of the global diaspora in ways that help them flourish. During this particular meeting they dove deep into data, analyzing a series of case studies of diaspora communities collected over the past two years. What common needs did the data reveal? What opportunities were emerging for Bible translation, Scripture engagement and related language development? And in what ways could they help staff and leaders in SIL and Wycliffe gain the most from the lessons they are learning?

SIL is a long-time partner of Wycliffe. Serving ethno-linguistic minority communities, the nonprofit is founded on the belief that all people are created in the image of God, and that languages and cultures are part of the richness of God’s creation. In this spirit, SIL staff advocate, build capacity, and work with local communities, applying language expertise to advance meaningful development, education, and engagement with Scripture.

Wycliffe continues a mission envisioned in the early 20th Century to translate the Bible for every known people group. At this time 2,000 language groups still lack translated Scripture; at least half of these groups live in areas where foreigners are not able to easily work. In reaching out to people of the diaspora, the team that met at Upper House aims to accomplish two goals: to serve a new neighbor and eventually serve their relations in inaccessible communities.

To learn more about the global diaspora project you can read this story and meet Sunny Hong, who made sure she and her colleagues made time for one important thing before they returned to their homes in other states:  enjoy a delicious Babcock ice cream on the UW-Madison Terrace.