Paul Hefft grew up as the son of cross-cultural workers in Panama. After three years as a pastor in Illinois, God called him and his wife, Melissa, away from their “reached” ministry field to serve Bibleless people groups. Consequently, they joined Wycliffe, started Dallas International training, and graduated in 2009 with certificates in Applied Linguistics. Paul also took additional Dallas International courses complementing his previous Biblical Languages M.A. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in order to receive the equivalent of Dallas International’s Master of Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics program training.
Later, God used Paul as the translation advisor to the Burunge Translation Project and the team leader for the Dodoma Cluster of the SIL Uganda-Tanzania Branch (UTB). On August 23, 2017, the Burunge people celebrated the completion of their New Testament translation, after 12 years of hard work. Praise God for His faithfulness! The Heffts shared some thoughts from one of their colleagues, Tracy Hensler, who attended the event: “Having their language written down, and as a result, being able to have God’s Word written in their language, not only validates the worth of their language, but also their worth as a people group. Besides the introductions and speeches by local leaders and honored guests, readings, preaching, and singing were all done in Burunge — and the onlookers were captivated by the many choirs in their traditional clothing and indigenous instruments. I think that’s one more reason why the New Testament celebration was especially joyful–besides celebrating the books that had been printed, the community was also celebrating that they and their language are valued not only by men, but also by God.”
For Paul, his classes in Translation Theory and Practice and Language Programs Design and Management were the most invaluable sources of training he received at Dallas International. Furthermore, he and Melissa still have good friends from their days of doing life together at Dallas International.
Currently, Paul works remotely from the U.S. and travels whenever needed as a translation consultant and the branch translation coordinator for UTB. He supervises the UTB team of translation consultants, works on the development of best practices and policies for the UTB translation department, and acts as a liaison between the administration and translation departments. He also does translation consulting for translation teams in Uganda and Tanzania and helps train translation workers in software tools like Paratext and Logos. For a while, Melissa served as the branch prayer coordinator for UTB; now she serves as a scripture typesetter and the manager of the home while Paul travels.
Please pray God’s wisdom over Paul in his leadership roles within UTB, and over both him and Melissa as they parent their children, Josiah and Anna. Finally, let’s praise God for His global Kingdom work through His children and His Word!