Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gumballs and the B3P

You must be full of questions.

First, B3P is short for the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project. For twenty-five years now, Wycliffe has been inviting people to make a commitment to a single minority language community somewhere in the world which was yet without God's Word in the language they understand best. These B3P partners pray regularly that God will prepare the people in this community to receive His Word, that God will prepare and call people to do the language development work that includes translation of the Word, and that God will use His Word to engage worshippers from this community in a global hallelujah.

This "Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project" has connected thousands of people with thousands of communities. While Wycliffe technically counts a project "started" when language development begins in the language, we really believe that Bible translation begins as soon as the first person begins intentional prayer toward that end.

And Gumballs, well...see the illustration.

But what is the connection? This will take a little imagination.

I've been brainstorming with friends -- developing some sort of visual representation of B3P for visitors to the Wycliffe Mobilization Center that will help them understand the scope of the project as well as the importance of their involvement.

I had an idea one day that was, well...ridiculous. That's the one I'm going to tell you about. (And, like MANY ridiculous ideas, it lead to something we're going to do and which I'll have to tell you about some other day.)

Let's use gumballs to represent the language communities without a translation or language development program even started. (There would be just over 2300 of those.)

Then, each year when we receive the official report of project starts, we'll get volunteers to come and start chewing the gumballs that represent those languages.

It used to be that one translation team would go and work with one language community for one lifetime. Things are changing in how we do the work, and often a translation consultant will go and work with 7 or 8 or 12 language communities all at one time.

So...some volunteers would be chewing one gumball while others might need to chew 7 or 8 or 12. (These projects are often called "cluster" projects.)

Another new way of working that is proving effective is to have a team of specialty consultants working with a dozen or so projects in different places -- rotating in and out as specific consultation or training is needed.

To illustrate that, we'd have to get volunteers to tag-team in their gum chewing.

And if a project went from active to inactive status...would be place the chewed gum back into the gumball machine?

Each year as we receive announcements of Scriptures being completed, printed and delivered...would we take that gum from the volunteers with weary jaws and make a sculpture out of it? Yes!

Of course, this is so...NOT going to happen.


  1. God is so good to take our crazy conversations and work something meaningful from random thoughts. He has given you many talents, chief among them creativity-gone-mad! I love your colorful mind.

  2. Hi Ruth,
    It's so nice to meet you :-). I have been learning more and more about Wycliffe and I truly believe and support the work that you all do. I can't wait to become a part of the Wycliffe team. Thanks so much for leaving such positive comments on my blog page. I haven't visited Wycliffe in Orlando yet, but do plan to do that as my journey progresses. I look forward to reading your blogs and learning more about you. Have a wonderful day! God bless.

  3. Hey Ruth,

    Just a little update we are up to 6500+ gumballs in the display now...thanks for your creative idea.


    P.S. Your readers can sign up to pray for a Bibleless people group at