If you’re the kind of person who loves language puns, solving puzzles and easily picks up phrases from a foreign language, then you might be a future linguist. If you’re also passionate about seeing people around the world receive God’s Word in their own language, then you might be a future Bible translation adviser.
How do you find out for sure? Consider going to the Canada Institute of Linguistics! Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) is one of the top schools in North America preparing linguists to serve in Bible translation and it is a close partner with Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. CanIL works with Trinity Western University and Tyndale University to offer two bachelor’s degrees, three master’s degrees, a doctor of ministry and 16 certificate programs.
Danny Foster, the president and CEO of CanIL along with Anita Lebold, the director of strategic enrollment management, share the five reasons why you should consider CanIL on your journey to serving in Bible translation.
You’ll be equipped for ministry.
CanIL’s ultimate goal is to train people to serve effectively in ministry, especially in Bible translation. “We want to pour highly skilled experts into the Bible translation movement,” Danny said.
Danny was 19 years old and in Bible college pursuing missions when he heard a presentation from a Wycliffe speaker. “It caused me to rethink everything about how I was approaching missions,” he said. “Bible translation needs to precede everything!”
After getting his master’s degree at CanIL, Danny and his family went to East Africa for 10 years as translation advisers and trainers. When he was invited to return to CanIL to serve in leadership, he originally said no. “I liked it in Tanzania,” Danny said. “My family liked it. … I felt like I was having the biggest impact of my life!” But after thinking and praying about it, Danny realized that God was inviting him to have an even bigger impact through CanIL. “I wanted to equip more people like I was equipped,” he said.
“[At CanIL], we don’t measure success by tuition revenue,” Danny said. “All of our metrics are based on how many people we launch into ministry. It’s exciting to see where we’re going. After my second year working at CanIL, seven people went to Tanzania. It was like God saying, ‘See! Just trust me!’”
You’ll be academically prepared.
CanIL has created a high-quality academic program focused on applied linguistics and practical knowledge needed for language work in minority language communities around the globe. Their faculty have extensive field and practical experience.
“This program is extremely academically rigorous,” Anita said. “You are going to learn. You’re going to work hard. But when we hear from Bible translation organizations, they are so grateful to receive CanIL students because they are so well trained. They have experience and can jump right in.”
In addition to their year-round programs, CanIL offers an on-campus nine-week summer program at a reduced tuition rate. Anita said: “The summer program is a really good way to try [linguistics] out. It’s very rigorous but it’s risk-free [because] in that short amount of time, you’ll know if linguistics is for you or not.”
Even if linguistics is not your specialty, CanIL offers many other ways to get involved in the Bible translation movement, such as through Scripture engagement or literacy. When Anita and her husband, Randy, first attended CanIL, Anita expected to get her M.A. in linguistics. But she very quickly found out that her strengths were leadership and administration. After serving for several years in Indonesia in Bible translation, unexpected visa issues led to the couple searching for a new direction. God opened doors for them to both serve at CanIL, and Anita has thrived in her role helping students find their place in the Bible translation movement.
Financial assistance is available.
Thanks to some incredible donors who believe strongly in the work of Bible translation, CanIL has been able to develop a mentorship program called “CanIL Launch” which comes alongside students who are planning on entering full-time Bible translation ministry or those currently in ministry who need more training.
Launch equips students with financial tools and relationships, and covers topics like how to write and communicate, the philosophies of partnership development, financial aid and matching grants for churches who choose to partner with those students. If students maximize all the opportunities, they receive at least $23,000 in financial aid. As a result, many students who participate in Launch are able to graduate debt-free and can join an organization immediately instead of having to wait for several years to raise financial partnership.
God uses the gifts of these donors mightily in the lives of students. “So many of the students tell us they didn’t know how they would pay for their tuition next semester, but that they knew this is where God wanted them to be,” Anita said. “I’m just blown away by how God works. We have the opportunity of being that conduit. It's very beautiful to see.”
You’ll be part of a thriving community.
In addition to a strong academics program, CanIL has a thriving community.
“We believe that a community is critical for maturity, spiritual development … and even academic growth,” Anita said. “These people you are going to hike with and play ultimate frisbee and go to the ocean with … will be the colleagues you serve with on the field. We want to build those relationships and have opportunities to talk about different philosophies … [and personal] backgrounds.”
Students enjoy sports, exploring God’s creation, chapel, community meals and prayer meetings. During the summer program, students get to go deeper in community. They live together in the dormitories, cook together and do childcare together.
“[Students] come for the academics, but they have no idea how good the community will be,” said Danny.
Alumni receive support.
CanIL doesn’t just launch new students into missions; it also cares for its many alumni serving around the globe. CanIL is intentional about creating a community of alumni who can support each other when they are overseas, building upon the deep relationships that are formed during school and studying.
“You are a part of the family [as alumni],” Anita said. “You haven’t been forgotten.”
During the summer, CanIL offers programs and workshops for alumni to help them work through linguistic problems they might have in their language programs, such as grammar, discourse, tonal analysis and more. Many of the new students sit in on the workshops and get the chance to observe how linguistics is used in real language programs.
CanIL exists to serve others. By equipping people with the tools and expertise needed to effectively minister in the global Bible translation movement, CanIL’s impact is multiplied exponentially across the world. Could your next step in missions be with CanIL?