Don't worry, we're here to clear up the confusion about who we are and what we do.
What are Wycliffe & SIL?
This organization equips and sends missionaries throughout the world with the express purpose of translating the Bible into new languages. You can think of Wycliffe as the people who send missionaries abroad while promoting Bible translation to those at home in the U.S. There are partner Wycliffe organizations in many countries of the world who also mobilize their own countries for the cause of eliminating Bible poverty around the world. Wycliffe USA is the organization you're most likely to have heard of and be familiar with. We(Jason & Brenda Carwile) are members of Wycliffe USA. Find out more about Wycliffe USA here.
SIL is an organization that operates worldwide with many branches in different countries. We work in the SIL Papua New Guinea branch while overseas. SIL, as its name implies, is a primarily linguistic organization. Its goals range from literacy and language development to Bible translation. It is focused on holistic approaches to reaching communities by developing languages in all its facets. Though Bible translation is usually one of the primary goals other objectives, such as literacy, must be cultivated to achieve that primary purpose. As such SIL can also operate in countries that are more hostile to the Gospel and the Bible as the organization offers services in language development and literacy that many countries, even those opposed to our faith, desperately want. Papua New Guinea is not hostile, but it is important to realize the difference between Wycliffe and SIL. SIL is an organization that actually operates internationally and utilizes personnel and resources sent by organizations like Wycliffe to achieve linguistic goals. We(Jason & Brenda Carwile) are members of SIL. Find out more about SIL here.
This is a group of mission organizations worldwide that have committed to the same goals of reaching all languages with the Gospel through translation of the Bible. It is an alliance of more than 100 organizations. Read more about it here.
As you can see, there are several organizations that sport the name of Wycliffe, all of which in shorthand have been referred to as simply Wycliffe. In particular, if you have been to a banquet for promoting Bible translation it is most likely being operated by Wycliffe Associates and it is common for people to confuse Wycliffe Associates with Wycliffe USA. This has caused great confusion in the past and continues today. Wycliffe Associates was a former partner organization with Wycliffe USA and SIL. They were an organization that mobilized resources and personnel to support Bible Translation around the world. They were not previously directly involved in the translation aspect of the mission. As their goals changed, they became more directly involved in translation. They are no longer a partner organization with Wycliffe USA or SIL and are pursuing their own goals and methods. If you have heard something about Wycliffe that there is controversy about, please ask us about it, it may be due to this confusion between organizations. Please send us an email.
We wanted to mention one more organization. Bible Translation Association(BTA) is a home-grown Bible Translation organization in Papua New Guinea. This is one of our most crucial partners in country as we focus on building up the nation's own capacity to do this work. Please pray for this organization.
You will sometimes hear or read this phrase "Partners in Bible Translation." This refers to anyone who has the mutual goal of translating the Bible into all the languages of the world and has taken some action either big or small toward achieving that purpose. This includes organizations previously mentioned, but it also includes schools, prayer warriors, givers, etc. If you give to any ministry involved in translation or pray for a missionary or people group to receive the Gospel in their own language, you also are a partner in Bible translation. We believe that no matter how big or small that contribution is it is vital and precious in the sight of God. We encourage you, if you aren't already, to consider being a partner to this endeavor. Do not be deceived by the enemy that your contribution would be too small to make a difference, because it is not true. Every offering given because you love God is one he judges, not by the size of the gift, but by our hearts.