Man Continues Global Work for Bible Translators Despite Cancer Diagnosis

A man who traveled the world with Wycliffe USA Bible Translators, designing offices and schools for the organization, has been struck with pancreatic cancer. But he says he wishes to continue doing God’s work.

David Pennington, from Ijamsville, Md., was close to retirement in 2005 when he was first contacted by the organization about helping design an international school in Ethiopia. He shared with The Republic his very first experience in the African country – when he was escorted to a housing center in a car by a man who did not speak English. Pennington said that he did not know any of the languages he would have to deal with, and still remembers the feeling of having to rely entirely on the support of others.

"This gave me a sense of what it would be like for a non-English-speaking individual to attempt to read our Holy Bible not in his mother tongue," the designer remarked.

Since then, his work has taken him to Haiti, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Nova Scotia, Togo and Burkina Faso. He has become an important part of the Wycliffe Bible translation project, which, according to the official website, serves languages spoken in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Wycliffe reports that there are around 6,800 languages being spoken today, more than 2,000 of which that still need a Bible translation. It also reveals that there are about 340 million people who speak those languages without a translation, and that the organization is at work on 1,500 different projects worldwide.

Volunteers like Pennington are what keep the project going, and the designer plans on continuing helping out as long as he can, despite being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010 at the age of 67.

"I still have been able to work on additional projects, including drafting changes for housing units in Nova Scotia, and for other mission organizations," Pennington said.

He talked about how he feels blessed by God, who allowed him to rise out of the poverty he lived in as a child, and concluded, "Knowing God has left me just very content with life. I just wish God would give me strength to keep working."

Wycliffe USA could not be reached for comment at the time of press.

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