I’m Rebekah Overton and I’m a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
I believe that nobody should have to learn another language to know and understand God’s love for them.
Yet, out of about 7,000 languages worldwide, only 636 have a complete Bible.
Over a number of years God has been at work in me, deepening my passion for his word and increasing my desire to take it to those who need it. During a brief time in Tanzania in 2009, God showed me the impact his word has on people’s lives when they fully understand it in their mother-tongue.
“It touches our hearts like Swahili doesn’t. We know the meaning of the Swahili words, but only from school and work. They aren’t deep words to us, they don’t go inside us like Zanaki words do.” (retired Zanaki-speaking pastor, Tanzania)
Through studying for my Classics degree, I developed an enthusiasm for linguistics – looking at the details and mechanics of languages. This led me to Wycliffe’s MA in Field Linguistics, which I started at Redcliffe College, in Gloucester, from July to December 2014. The first term of this course helped me to understand more about aspects of culture behind language, as well as learning about and using technical skills necessary for studying and mastering different languages.
In January 2015, I came to Tanzania with Wycliffe.
I have joined the Mara Cluster Project in North-west Tanzania, in Musoma town. The team are working with 8 different, but related, languages, hence the term “cluster” project. They have a large multinational team of about 40 people, comprising both national staff and seconded staff from the US, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia. I’ve joined the Linguistics part of the team, focusing on things like language research, orthography development (spelling systems) and assembling dictionaries.
Since January 2017, I’m back at Redcliffe College, Gloucester, finishing off the MA there. I plan to be in the UK for the next year, before returning to Musoma.
I would love for you to partner with me as I work with Wycliffe, supporting language communities and churches, to enable all people to hear about God’s love for them in their own language.