13 September 2017

Someone once said that faith is the courage to let God have control of your life and that is exactly what Linda Jordan did. Although she trained as a vet, she followed the call of God and ended up working in Bible translation in Angola, far from Wisconsin, USA, where she grew up.

Linda grew up in a Christian home and missionaries often visited the family’s church, sparking her interest in Bible translation. Matched with her God-given love for languages, words and sounds, it is no wonder that she now works as a Bible translation needs assessment surveyor.    

After she graduated in 1995, Linda joined the Peace Corps and spent two years as a secondary school science teacher, in the mountains of Lesotho. “I loved every moment amongst the Basotho people and it was during this time that God called me to Bible translation,” she says.

Linda joined Wycliffe in 1999 and did courses to learn the basics for language work, such as linguistics and cross-culture training, as well as more advanced courses for survey work. She also worked on partnership development to raise support for the field. Her interest and expertise was as a surveyor, who identifies language needs and gathers relevant information before a Bible translation project can start. 

Her first assignment was in Ethiopia, where she completed her internship with a couple who are survey veterans. She stayed for six years, until the official survey project was completed in 2007. As the project was nearing completion, Linda asked her supervisor for advice on other places in Africa where surveys are needed most. He discussed various countries on the list, but only when he got to Angola did Linda become interested. 

“When he mentioned Angola, it was like an electric charge going through my body. In my heart, I knew that this was where God wants me to go to do Bible translation work,” Linda says. 

During her study leave, Linda prayed fervently, telling God about her fascination with Angola and asking Him to send her, even though she was not the obvious choice as she did not speak Portuguese at all. She completed her masters in Language Development and studied Portuguese. ”When God calls you to service, it is still your responsibility to prepare for the task,” she explains.

Linda moved to South Africa in 2012 and visited Angola regularly for a few years. She finally packed her bags and moved to Angola in January 2015. This enabled her to do more survey work, as travel time was dramatically reduced. She started to build strong relationships with the local people and government officials, which is very important for Bible translation projects. 

“My time in Angola has been extremely rewarding and challenging at the same time. In my first year I contracted typhoid and in 2016 I suffered a bad case of malaria. While I was very ill, I just remembered that I heard God clearly speaking to me about my assignment in Angola. He opened doors for me that were impossible to open. I am therefore committed to finish the work that He has called me to do while I am there.” 

At the start of the five-year survey project in Angola, it was thought that there were about 40 languages needing translation. As the project draws to a conclusion in 2017, the survey has revealed that there are in fact closer to 20 languages needing translation. It is of extreme importance to Wycliffe that the viability of a potential translation project is verified before committing resources to it. Karen Floor, CEO of Wycliffe South Africa explains, “We will not waste resources by duplicating efforts or rushing in to a project without research, yet we also won’t leave people without access to the Scriptures in their own heart language”. 

Linda’s survey team has ambitious goals for 2017 and they continue to trust that God makes what seems impossible, possible.

“One of the biggest lessons I have learnt living out here, is that although we may feel like we are in control of everything, the truth is that only God is in control and it is only by the grace of God that anything happens.  When you are living in familiar surroundings with all your creature comforts, it is easy to forget that God has a calling upon your life, just as He has on mine. If you do not know what your calling is, I challenge you to ask God – He will answer you and then it will be up to you to say, ‘Lord, here I am, send me’.”

If you are interested in getting involved with Wycliffe, visit www.wycliffe.org.za.

Article source: www.wycliffe.org.za

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