Unique Orlando day-trip destination…

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February 18, 2014

We are always on the lookout for a unique day-trip destination that’s fun and interesting, and this winter, while we were spending some time in Florida, we found such a treat of a day-trip in Orlando.

DSC_0203_032We spent a morning at Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando, checking out their Discover Center. Wycliffe is a non-profit organization that translates the Bible into languages that do not currently have the Bible available to them in their “heart language” (your heart language is the language that you think, dream and naturally speak in). Named after John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English, the Wycliffe Discover Center focuses on informing people of the need for Bible translations and the works that are in progress. The Discovery Center is a very engaging, interesting, and informative place; you can either self-tour the facilities, or the center offers 20 minute guided tours on the hour, every hour, from 9 to 3.  They also have a special talk every day at 1:00 that features a different staff member at Wycliffe who talks about their personal mission adventures in other countries.


We opted to do the fun scavenger hunt (available in 3 different levels, from little pre-readers to adults), and enjoyed the various hands-on displays and exhibits, including listening to how translators learn about “heart languages,” printing out a page that shows how your name is printed in over a dozen other languages, and going in to a hut and listening to people talk about what it means to them to have the Bible in their own language.Wycliffe offers some really fun and enlightening programs for groups of 12 or more. We did the A to Z program.  This program varies year to year, and this year is about Mexico.  We learned about their topography, flora and fauna, music, language, and even some of their traditions.


We were invited to participate in a play about the beginnings of Wycliffe, and we got to dress up in traditional Mexican clothing. The whole program was very fun! We chose to do the student program with our kids, but Wycliffe also offers a program for older kids and adults called Mission Adventure. I think that it would make such a fun outing to get a group of other adults, from your RV resort or your neighborhood, and sign up for the adult program (I would love to do this)!  Programs must be booked in advance, and there is a minimum of 12 attendees required.
The Wycliffe campus is beautiful and is a relaxing atmosphere.  The grounds have a large pond out the back of the discovery center, and there are picnic tables located nearby so you can enjoy your lunch or coffee in the beautiful setting.  Across the hall from the Discovery Center museum is a cafeteria that is open from 11 to 1:30 to the  public.  Lunch averaged $5 a person for our family, and the food was great; they have traditional cafeteria foods, soups, a baked potato bar, and a salad bar.  Next, we visited the gift shop.  Wycliffe’s gift shop is special; it features some traditional gift shop wares, like books and t-shirts, but the items that most interested me were the artisan items that are for sale in the shop – handmade items from Christians in other countries.
We loved every minute of our visit to Wycliffe (you can find lots more pictures on our personal blog post about it); you can learn more about Wycliffe’s ministry on their webpage, and they also keep a Facebook page at ‘Wycliffe USA’ if you would like to keep tabs on what they are working on.
DSC_0459_288After our fun morning and lunch at Wycliffe, we drove around the block to the Campus Crusades for Christ (CRU) campus, and the ‘The Jesus Film” headquarters.  CRU offers free tours every day at 10:30, 1:30, and 3:00.  The tours last approximately 45 minutes, and tell you all about The Jesus Film.  We had not seen the film before, even though it was first shown in theaters in 1979, and is shown in every nation in the world.  The mission of The Jesus Film (which is a dramatized account of the life of Jesus, taken from the book of Luke, nearly word for word) is to make the film available in every language.  There are nearly 7000 heart languages, and well over 50% of these do not have either the Bible, or the Jesus Film available to them in their heart language.  Can you imagine not being able to read or hear God’s word in your own first language?
The Jesus Film was made in English, but has been quality dubbed over into more than 1,700 languages!  That is incredible(!), but there are still so many people who have not heard the story due to language barriers.  During the tour, we got to see how the dubbing is done; in fact, our son was chosen from the audience to voice over in the movie (just a for fun example for the tour), and he even got a recording of tape over to keep.  It was incredible to see Peter’s lips moving, but Joel’s voice coming out! LOL!   The organizations commitment to keeping the movie authentic appearing, even tho they are changing it into another language, is impressive.  One of the parts of the tour that I found most interesting was the equipment that is used to take the film to remote areas.  Technology is incredible, and a backpack can hold the equipment needed to show the Jesus film to 500 people!
At the end of the tour, you can purchase the Jesus Film for $5 (no pressure whatsoever!), or they had other films available also.  If you would like more details of our visit to CRU, you can find them here, or you can go straight to the CRU website to find our more about The Jesus Film.
We still can’t believe that we were in Orlando for months last year, and had no idea that these incredible tours were available. These are tours that, if we find ourselves in Florida again next year, we will repeat! They were both so interesting, and I really appreciated the dose of reality, and the reminder of what incredible lives we are blessed with as Americans. So, grab a group of friends and go on an adventure, or at least spend a morning checking out the well done tours of both stops in a great Orlando day trip!

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