Abe and Debbie met in Brazil and it was there they saw firsthand how they could support Bible translators! Abe is from Steinbach, Man. and Debbie, from Denver, Colo. Their meeting in Porto Velho, Brazil, where Debbie served with Wycliffe as a short-term secretary, was God’s perfect timing. Abe had just come to know the Lord in Central America and had arrived in Brazil to visit his brother Gordon, who was translating the Scriptures for the Deni people. Debbie’s grandmother had reminded her that God would turn the world upside down to find the right spouse! They were married in 1977.
Two years later, the Koops joined Wycliffe. After Spanish studies and a three-year internship in government relations in Peru, the family moved to Bogota, Colombia, where they represented the Bible translators and literacy workers to the government of that country from 1984-2000. Their ministry changed when they returned to Peru to partner relations—not just with the government, but involving the Church as a vital part of Bible translation. They served in these roles from 2001-2010.
From 2010 until 2014, Abe and Debbie put their Spanish-language skills to good use in Africa, where they co-ordinated Bible translation efforts by Latinos serving in Equatorial Guinea (the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa).
The Koops are now in Canada. They have three adult children and seven wonderful grandchildren. In preparation for future retirement, they have returned to Canada for Debbie to meet requirements for citizenship. Meanwhile, they serve as Wycliffe representatives to churches in the Greater Toronto area and help manage Wycliffe Canada’s Toronto office. Abe continues his involvement in Peru, representing Wycliffe to two Quechua partner organizations there—ATEK and AIDIA.
“It’s exciting to see the Canadian Church get involved directly with translation and literacy organizations around the world,” says Abe. “For this reason, retirement will just have to wait a while; we are having just too much fun! And don’t forget VISION 2025—we are trusting God to provide and enable teams worldwide to begin translation of His Word for every language community that needs it, by 2025.”