By Professor William Lawrence Svelmoe
“Cam” Townsend is rightly referred to as the visionary founding father of the summer time Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and the Wycliffe Bible Translators. This joint attempt is now the most important Protestant undertaking association on the earth, a venture which has dramatically replaced the tradition of what was once often called religion missions. Townsend revolutionized Protestant missions via emphasizing that missionaries had to study the language of the folks to whom they have been despatched and to reside between them as a way to comprehend their groups. His process under pressure education the missionaries in public health and wellbeing, easy schooling, and agricultural talents. The confirmed good fortune of missionaries who Townsend’s plan resulted in SIL/WBT impact within the higher societies during which the association was once current. Townsend used to be non-dogmatic in looking allies to pursue his goals, together with neighborhood political pursuits and gear buildings, teachers, and different spiritual faiths, expanding the effect of his team to the purpose that SIL/WBT turned a significant factor within the nationwide affairs of the nations during which they have been energetic, quite in Latin America. The very good fortune of Townsend’s equipment ended in hassle along with his base within the usa. As conservative and evangelical monetary backers and potential missionaries observed the association and Townsend operating amicably with Roman Catholics, leftist political teams, and atheist and agnostic lecturers, the SIL/WBT bumped into hassle at domestic.
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Additional info for A New Vision for Missions: William Cameron Townsend, The Wycliffe Bible Translators, and the Culture of Early Evangelical Faith Missions, 1917-1945 (Religion and American Culture)
William Cameron Townsend A s the weathered steamer slowly beat its way down the coast, Townsend filled his journal with detailed descriptions of everything he saw and experienced. Throughout his life he journaled most often when exploring unfamiliar territory alone. He kept his journal religiously during his first year and a half in Guatemala. As his responsibilities grew (and the work became perhaps more routine), the journal lagged for more than a decade. He picked it up again when he traveled alone in Mexico in the early 1930s.
He practiced the language by translating sermons from the Christian Herald. A young Guatemalan in the cabin next to him, with whom he frequently played checkers, corrected his work. He also read all he could about Guatemala, seeking to acquire some understanding of the country that would soon be his home. Having departed for Guatemala without any effective missionary or cross-cultural training whatsoever, he still mustered the courage to slip some gospel tracts to the waiters, perhaps leaving them on the table with a small tip, a classic evangelical soul-saving gambit.
23 Mornings on the road usually began with an hour or so of devotions with Francisco Díaz. As the gringo and the one who ostensibly knew the Scriptures, Townsend usually took the lead in reading and commenting briefly on a select passage. At times they sang together, but always they prayed. After a simple breakfast, they packed their bags and set off. Early on, Díaz carried the heavier load as they walked from village to village, but Townsend, uncomfortable with this policy from the beginning, soon purchased a mule.