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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sharing Stories From a Cultural Goldmine

Guest Blogger: Johanna Fenton

This month we at The Seed Company are celebrating a milestone: entering our 700th Scripture translation partnership. Since 1993, the year we were launched by Wycliffe Bible Translators, we've operated on the mandate to accelerate Bible translation.
We thank God for His blessing and for our many partners—on and off the field. As I reflect on this milestone, however, I'm cautiously aware of a potential danger: hoarding what we've been blessed with.

In my role of coordinating social media content for our blog, Twitter, and Facebook, I have access to a cultural goldmine of stories and information. Instead of hoarding that information, which would be the easy thing to do, I want to do the exact opposite by delivering to our readers the best stories from that treasure trove.

Consider the possibilities with me. We've got local people translating Scriptures in a major langugage—spoken by about 70 million people—in a sensitive region of Asia. On the other end of the spectrum, we've got local people translating Scriptures in Sudest, a language spoken by about 2,000 people in Papua New Guinea. Out of this ministry, many stories are born.

But sharing stories has challenges.

For starters, many of the places we operate are sensitive. People's lives hang in the balance when they dedicate themselves to translating the Scriptures. We must protect their identity and their work.

Thankfully we have several standards in place and knowledgeable folks who help determine the best avenue for stories from sensitive locations.

Another challenge is sharing stories with passion. Stories, after all, are not just dry collections of facts.

Just recently I questioned the method of how I was collecting stories. Before I was using email and documents. But sometimes the stories were lacking … passion. So then I turned to what many would call an old trick-of-the-trade: interviewing eyewitnesses. My, what a difference! I ask just a few simple questions and people begin bubbling over with an overwhelming amount of vivid details!

I can hardly wait for my next interview. I’ll be interviewing a woman who just returned from a Trauma Healing Workshop led by local Bible translators in a sensitive country. Be on the lookout for her story in an upcoming blog post.

What are other ways we can share from a cultural goldmine? Please share your thoughts!

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