This morning, before we left, we took a tour of the Wycliffe office in Tucson. Normally American offices do not have translating going on, just administration. During the 80's when Mexico closed its borders to the US, translators found themselves back in the States and unable to get a visa to return to their regional sites. So, this office was born. For over a decade translators brought individuals from various people groups up to aid them in translations out of that office. Now, it is the home of retired volunteers and the literacy offices.
The amazing thing about their center is how total it is. There is an upholstery house and an automotive shop. Missionaries on furlough use donated cars to get around, but people rarely donate new vehicles. The auto shop workers spend their time literally piecing vehicles back together again. (I saw one half of a van being rebuilt from bits and pieces)
The audio department takes recordings of sections of scripture, edits them, and converts the reels to tape and cd. One woman listens to every word of a recording in a language she doesn't speak, and makes sure it is correct. In one particular recording, the spaces between sentences were over edited, and the breaths were too loud, so she was lengthening pauses and cutting and pasting new breaths in. Tedious work there.
Missionaries on furlough also need clothes, so there was a boutique of donated articles. Unfortunatly, like the cars, many of the donations are from vintages that will never be revived. No one goes to Saks 5th Avenue to stock the missionary barrel. Do people even realise that there is such thing as a missionary barrel this century.
Something to think about, if you are donating items after spring cleaning. Call a Wycliffe office, or any missionary organization and see what their needs are.