Whatever You Do – Don’t Lose Your Head! {Guest Post}

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If you have read any of my reviews, you might remember a TOS review I did for the book, Seed Sowers. I still think it is a book that should be on the shelves of all church libraries and read by anyone who proclaims Jesus.

So I am super excited to have Gwen Toliver, the author of the book, as a guest writer for the Broken Hearts, Fueled Passions series. AND she is including a GIVEAWAY of her book! Enjoy!

Broken Hearts

Twenty-three years old was considered quite young for a single woman to be starting Bible translation work among a remote tribe in Brazil. Yet, Rose Dobson believed with all her heart that God had called her to work among the Kayabi people and to translate Scripture for them in their very own heart language.

A terrifying, near-drowning experience during Jungle Camp – the weeks of real-life missionary training – had only confirmed in her mind that God had and would continue to protect her.image 1RoseDobson_Edited

She continued to believe that even when it was discovered that the Kayabi’s headhunting days were possibly not just a thing of the past.

Her first months as a Bible translator were terribly discouraging. After months of tedious, painstaking language learning with the Kayabi, she discovered most of her language notes were worthless. Not only were they wrong, but the errors were a result of the Kayabi people lying to her. The Kayabi feared that she would “steal their language” so they had given her all the wrong words.

When my husband and I first visited the mission’s linguistics center in Dallas, Texas, we were skeptical. Yes, we had a heart for missions and individually supported a number of families serving on the foreign mission field.

But missions for us? Definitely not. For one thing, we would have to raise support, we already had seven kids, and the US was in the middle of a recession. Plus, many people had Scripture in their own language already – wasn’t the work of Bible translation about done?

Then the day before we left the Linguistics Center, we heard Rose Dobson speak – a little white haired elderly lady with a soft voice and a gentle chuckle. Despite the forty-plus years of danger, adventure, and failure on the mission field, she had completed translating the New Testament for the Kayabi people in Brazil with her heart for the lost, and even her sense of humor, still intact. She still likes to joke that the phrase, “Don’t lose your head!” takes on a whole new meaning when you’re working among headhunters.

We were convicted that God had provided for Rose Dobson and He could certainly provide for us as well.

Not only that, but of the seven thousand languages spoken in the world today, fewer than six hundred have the complete Bible. The work was not “nearly done”!

What is our part in Bible translation? That has been another beautiful thing where we’ve seen God’s hand. Romans 12:4-5 talks about many members of the body having different functions working together toward the same goal. In the field of Bible translation, we see that passage in action!

While God has gifted some in the area of linguistics, there are many people in support roles – like our family – that are needed to keep the Bible translator doing what God has called him to do.

So we serve full-time at the Linguistics Center where an enormous amount of administrative work takes place to keep the translator on the field. Everything from finances to logistics, archives to publishing – it all takes place at the Linguistics Center. There is also a graduate level school where young students are trained in the fields of translation and linguistics; there is also a retirement home for missionaries, many of whom have served on the mission field for over fifty years.

As of this spring, my husband, John, has been asked to step into the role of Center Director. The responsibility of operating a Center where more than five hundred people live, study, and work is an enormous responsibility, but we are truly thankful for the opportunity to serve in this way.

We are thankful for the opportunities our children have to interact with missionaries on a regular basis – the wealth of experience and Godly wisdom from these faithful servants of Christ is invaluable to our family.


One of the biggest blessings for me took place during our first two years in Dallas. I sat down with dozens of retired missionaries and collected their wonderful adventure stories of life on the mission field. The end result was a book called Seed Sowers: Gospel-Planting Adventures. While I intended it to give young people a passion for missions, it has spread beyond that and many adults have been blessed by these amazing stories as well.

What does God have for you? Don’t limit yourself to what is easy. Actually, I should say, don’t limit God to what you think He can do. As you live a faithful, godly life, step out in faith and obedience, willing to serve where He wants you.

Read about great men of God, like Elijah in I Kings 18 or Hezekiah in II Kings 19, who asked God to do great, miraculous things, just to show that He is God and that all the world would know.

You remember our fears about raising support with a big family during a recession? God did an Elijah-sized miracle for us and we raised our full support in less than eight months.

So don’t try to limit God. May we be faithful to obey God so, like the Apostle Paul, our lives will be a shining light for Christ and will truly be conducted in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Phil. 1:18)


SONY DSCGwen Toliver and her family serve with Wycliffe Associates at the Linguistics Center in Dallas. Gwen blogs about homeschooling, ministry, and family at ToliversToTexas.com and SeedSowersTheBook.com. With country living in Texas, eight children, ages two to sixteen, and a busy life in ministry, she never lacks for an abundance of blog material.


And now YOU get to enter a GIVEAWAY for a paper copy of Seed Sowers: Gospel-Planting Adventures by Gwen Toliver!! Only those in the US and over 18 may enter.

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Whatever You Do – Don’t Lose Your Head! {Guest Post} — 10 Comments

  1. I know several missionaries and it is always amazing to sit with them to hear their stories. I love to read about and pray for missionaries with my son.

  2. My favorite missionary is Erika Widseth, my husband’s cousin. She is in Thiland on an 18 month mission trip, and I love hearing about her adventures through facebook. At only 19, she is such an amazing young lady with a passion for the Lord. She was able to raise around $30,000 in our small town of 3200 people in about 6 months for her trip. I cannot wait to hear all her stories when she returns this fall.

  3. I don’t have a favorite. I have not read very many missionary stories, except for a few that I have read as non-fiction without thinking about the missionary part. This is a big shortcoming on my behalf and I am beginning to work on fixing that. I am currently reading one book by a missionary and will be looking for more in the future.

  4. This is a tough question…favorite missionary….ummm. A local missionary who goes to Honduras twice year to work with children in an orphanage. She started this organization when in I think in 1997 a hurricane destroyed parts of that area and she along with her husband took a semi truck load of food and supplies. She gave her heart to those children then and today. I admire her love for those children and her dedication to serving the Lord, today she also works for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and travels the world getting the word out to the needs of those who lost everything in natural disasters. So although not famous, she is indeed one of the Lords many servants.

  5. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite! The stories of Hudson Taylor and Adoniram Judson have always stood out to me. Recently I read the story of Samuel Zwemer, missionary to Arabia, and his was amazing, too! I love learning about missionaries and Bible translation and supporting both any way I can.

Thoughts? Please share!