top of page


What is faith? Faith is being sure of what you hope for and being confident of what you cannot see. When I think of what has made my faith stronger, I also think of James 1: 2-4, which says that when trials and temptations come into our lives, we should not discard them, but rather “welcome them as friends” because they will strengthen our faith. We learn to endure by having our faith tested or, to put it another way, we gain faith by having things come into our lives that test us.


In the context of things that have come into our lives (because Joice has always been a part of my life), I can look back and see how our faith was strengthened by some of the following:


Going to our first summer session at the University of Oklahoma and learning of WBT and SIL. We found that we should become “Bible translators,” and our faith became real in that first summer of studying linguistics.


Packing up and going to the very southern part of Mexico (driving our car). We did it on faith because we had little idea (except for exaggerated stories) of what we would do there or what we would learn. Living in the jungle gave us confidence that our faith was taking us in the right direction—away from our normal cultural ease of living.


Getting on the SS Orcades, and sailing out of Oakland, California, our faith increased—we sold our car in California and had our shipment of personal items for New Guinea packed and sent to the ship. We were embarking on a life of faith that was just beginning.


Our arrival in Australia. Soon after our arrival, we learned that Joice’s dad died, and it was through new relationships (the Kerrs and Hibberds) that our faith was again increased.


Asking the PNG (then the Territory of New Guinea) director if we could work with the Kewa in the Southern Highlands. We were granted permission and lived in the village of Muli and studied the language and culture of the Kewa people. It made us call on our faith even more.


When Joice gave birth to Kirk, we needed all the faith we had. It was a difficult birth for Joice, but I remember having faith to dedicate Kirk immediately to God for his service.


Our faith was increased when we saw that we could analyze and publish information that we learned about the Kewa language and culture.


My faith was increased when Professor Kenneth Pike recommended me to study at Cornell University and when he later asked Joice and me to start a summer school in New Zealand.


Becoming an SIL administrator increased my faith by my dependence on God and therefore it gave me the confidence to become at various times (in SIL) Executive Committee Chairman, Associate Director for Language Affairs, Branch Director, teacher, Adjunct Professor, consultant, and even International Vice President for Academic Affairs. For every position, our faith was renewed and enlarged. God took me from being an introverted farm boy to areas of service that we could not have imagined.


When the West Kewa NT was dedicated in 1973, I could hardly contain my faith in terms of what God had accomplished.


To see God take our children through college and graduate studies, to read their books and watch their growth in marriage and work has been a continuous injection of faith into our lives. Then to have the added bonus of extremely loving grandchildren has bolstered my faith, and continues to do so.


When Joice died on March 22, 2021 (almost 3 years ago), I did not know how I could stand it. Yet somehow God continued to give me faith—through family and friends and church—to know that he is in control of my life. My faith in him, his purpose, and my future in heaven has grown.


I don’t have all the faith I need—I am convinced of that. But I do know, that as the occasion demands it, God will strengthen my faith and I thank him every day for that assurance.


To repeat: Faith is being sure of what you hope for and being confident of what you cannot see.


Karl Franklin


bottom of page