On a recent visit to South Africa, twice widowed Janet Christian of St. Louis was in a group that went to minister to missionaries there. Indeed she and the others did. On her short-term missions trip she met Olivia and Serge Razafinjatoniary, natives of Madagascar and Bible translators with the world impacting Wycliffe Bible Translators, who now live in Cape Town, ministering in Bible translation for the millions in the southern African countries.
An immediate bonding was established with these three committed followers of Jesus. Janet told them if they ever visited St. Louis, she would “… have a place for them to stay in her home!”
That is exactly what happened as they came to St. Louis in June, 2018.
Serge is a skilled Software engineer, which ordinarily would result in a high income career. But the call of God to use that software training with Wycliffe Bible Translators “won out!” Olivia has an earned Doctorate from Gordon-Comwell Theological Seminary in Boston.
A wonderful and heartwarming article about Serge and Olivia with several terrific pictures can be accessed by clicking on https://www.wycliffe.net/articles?id=6127. From that article …
“ … at a retreat in Kenya in 2000, Olivia learned about Bible translation work, and was convinced that was what she wanted to do. Though encouraging Olivia in this endeavor, Serge didn’t think it was for him. But remembering that his nation had the Malagasy translation of the Bible for over 160 years, Serge felt God was telling him to go and help others.
“Olivia served as a Bible translation consultant-in-training, helping to check Bible translations for accuracy to the original biblical texts. Eventually, she became a fully qualified Bible translation consultant. …
Serge attended a Paratext (translation software) workshop in Madagascar. During one session he discovered that there were bugs in the program – a problem he was equipped to fix! By the end of the workshop, he realized, “There might be a need for a software engineer!”
“As of March 2015, Serge became the new director of SIL Southern Africa, overseeing SIL’s work across 18 countries, including Madagascar. Olivia continues to work as a Bible translation consultant, while completing doctoral studies in Bible translation. In October 2015 they relocated to South Africa to be in a better location for Serge’s new role.”
Again, check it out at https://www.wycliffe.net/articles?id=6127.
As Wycliffe Bible Translators must raise their own mission support, they occasionally have faced near poverty conditions. But they did not quit!
I received their permission to share this scenario: In their current residence in Cape Town, South Africa, culturally and racially the locals usually categorize others there into one of the following categories … (1) blacks (2) whites, (3) Indians (as generally from India), and (4) “Coloreds,” (being of mixed radial origins, such as the Samaritans of John chapter 4.} Though Olivia and Serge have a lighter skin of the Madagascans, their appearance put them in the “colored” category.
The ties with Janet Christian, longtime friend Dr. David & Ann Claybrook, Joan Hendrick, myself will be continuing and eternal with our new friends who grew up and received Christ in Madagascar!
But if you are reading this in June, 2018, it is the first time Serge and Olivia are available in St. Louis to come to your church or group, as schedule allows. We hope that they will return to do so again.
To discuss having Serge and Olivia visit your church or group, Janet Christian, their hostess, can be called at 636-544-6423. (Audio phone # is incorrect)
To learn more about Wycliffe Bible Translators, visit https://www.wycliffe.org.