“Impossible” dreams and the history of Wycliffe

Right now, we are asking God to do something big – to bring us to 100% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget by August 15th so we can purchase plane tickets and be in PNG by September 15th. When we sent out our first e-mail on July 31st, we needed $878. Today, our need is down to just $403. God is a big God, and with Him nothing is impossible.

Really, our whole journey with Wycliffe has seemed a bit “impossible.” A computer guy. A stay-at-home mom. Four kids (and then five!). Going to, literally, the other side of the world. But God gave us this dream – and we are thankful to know our impossible dreams are in good company!

In 1945, the very early days of Wycliffe Bible Translators, our founder, William Cameron Townsend, went to a meeting with Jose Jimenez Borja, assistant to the Peruvian Minister of Education at that time. Townsend presented his “impossible” dream – he would go into the jungle with a group of linguists to learn the languages of remote people groups. They would create alphabets for these unwritten languages, teach the people to read them, and translate the Bible. Townsend was there to seek Mr. Borja’s blessing. Their conversation went something like this:

Borja: Mr. Townsend, who is going to do all this work?
Townsend: It will be done by trained linguists – young men and women with college degrees who are willing to spend their lives among the indigenous peoples.

Borja: This is a difficult task. How many are willing to go?
None yet. But when I go back to the U.S. and challenge them, many will volunteer.

Borja: The jungle is impossible. How will you get those people out to the villages?
I plan to use airplanes to land on the rivers and airstrips that can be cleared in the jungle.

Borja: How many planes do you have?
None, but when I share the need, God will give us enough planes.

Borja: Who will fly these planes?
Hundreds of young people, seasoned pilots and mechanics will volunteer.

Borja: How many pilots and mechanics do you now have?
None, but God will send them along.

Borja: There is much disease in the jungle. How will you stay healthy?
We’ll have clinics staffed by doctors and nurses.

Borja: How many doctors and nurses do you have?
None, but God will supply them.

Borja: Who will finance all this, the U.S. government, a wealthy foundation?
Townsend: No, I’ll go home and tell the people of the United States about this plan. God will supply. All the workers will raise their own support.

Mr. Borja was taken aback at this strange man, and finally said, “When all that comes to pass, come back to me and I will bless you.” At this Townsend got up, gave him a big hug and said, “’ll be back soon.”

Mr. Borja recounted that when William Cameron Townsend walked out of his office door, he turned to his secretary and said,  “Alla va el gringo mas loco que jamas he visto.” (There goes the craziest gringo I’ve ever seen in my life.)

A few months later, Townsend was back. He was ready to start! Over the next 25 years, all that he dreamed of came to pass.

Only God could do such a mighty thing.” – Jose Jimenez Borja




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About Melissa

I'm so thankful to be wife to my sweet husband, and stay-at-home mom and teacher to our five beautiful blessings. I'm continually overwhelmed that God chooses foolish and weak vessels for His mighty purposes, and I'm so thankful for the way He has broken my heart for those waiting for His Word!

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