Wycliffe Associates (WA), an international organization that involves people in the acceleration of Bible translation, welcomes hundreds of volunteers each year who serve for a few weeks or several months without ever leaving the United States. And many of them stay at the organization’s RV sites, located in Texas and Florida, the Christian Telegraph reported.
A majority of the volunteers are retired and travel seasonally to Texas and Florida from Canada and the northern U.S. states, especially Minnesota and Michigan. Between October and March, as many as 500 volunteers stay at the RV sites or in apartments on campus, serving at the Bible translation facilities in Orlando and Dallas.
“The level of skill and dedication these volunteers bring when they travel here is critical for Bible translation to advance,” said Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates.
The volunteers’ tasks are widely varied and can include project management, accounting, maintenance work on the buildings and grounds, administrative work, kitchen and dining hall service, and working in the mail room or medical clinic.
Some volunteers serve for six weeks, while others stay for six months. Still others stay year-round. However, volunteering is a requirement for all those staying in one of the 69 RV spaces in Orlando or 42 spaces in Dallas.
Most volunteers serve four or five days a week, typically from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., depending on the nature of their assignments. They also meet for devotions four mornings a week and for chapel services on Sunday evenings. Residents at the RV sites have opportunities to get to know each other through activities such as potlucks, socials, a talent night, an orchestra, and a Friday golf league, all organized by a volunteer social coordinator.
Bill and Sandy French of Holland, Mich., stay at the RV sites in Orlando from October to April and have been volunteering for 12 years. Bill works on the headquarters grounds, while Sandy works in job placement for other volunteer positions.
Larry and Vicky Arnold, from Fort Wayne, Ind., have been volunteering for the past four years with Wycliffe Associates in Orlando, staying at the RV site for one month in the fall and three months during the winter. Larry, a retired engineer, has worked on a computer project and also as an electrician’s helper. Vicky, a retired teacher, has worked with children visiting on field trips, as a hostess for other volunteers, and with the operations staff. The couple plans to return for a fifth season of volunteering this fall.
Vicky has especially enjoyed the friendships they have developed through their time of service with Wycliffe Associates. “We work together, play together, and worship together — therefore we become very close,” she says. “We consider each other ‘WA family.’ ”
Each year the volunteers auction off donated items and services, usually raising thousands for Bible translation needs. Serving in Dallas or Orlando is a great first step toward serving with Wycliffe Associates overseas.
Wycliffe Associates involves people in accelerating the work of Bible translation through their time, talents and treasure. Because millions of people around the world are still waiting to read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as they can to translate every verse of the Bible into every language.
The organization partners with nationals, mother tongue translators, staff, volunteers and supporters to direct and fund these efforts, as well as provide logistics, networking, and technical support. Through a growing global network, Wycliffe Associates is striving to overcome local limitations of time and resources to achieve the goal of beginning the translation of God’s Word in every remaining language that needs it by 2025.
Last year, the organization mobilized 3,703 volunteers and staff members to accelerate Bible translation in 77 countries. Additional information is available at www.wycliffeassociates.org.