Carla Unseth

My desire to be a missionary began at a very young age. My Mom had spent part of her childhood in the Philippines, and she developed a heart for missions as a result. She never had the chance to go on the mission field herself, but she did the next best thing, which was to teach her kids about missions. We read lots of missionary stories growing up, and as I heard those stories of God’s power, I knew that I wanted to serve God and see His power in my future career.

In high school, I read the book Bruchko about Bruce Olson, a young man who went to the Amazon as a missionary. He was captured by an indigenous tribe that no one had been able to reach, and used his linguistics skills to learn their language. After he had learned the language, he discovered that they had a myth that a man with yellow hair would bring them God’s Word on a banana leaf. Bruchko was able to share the gospel with them, and as he shared, they asked to have God's Word in their language. So, he began translating the Bible. When they read God’s Word for the first time, they were filled with joy. While reading this story, I knew that I wanted to be a Bible translator and bring God’s Word to those who do not yet have it.

In order to fulfill this calling, I attended Moody Bible Institute and graduated in 2008 with a BA in linguistics. During my senior year, I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators. I continued in my education and graduated in 2012 from the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics with an MA in linguistics.

During the time that I was attending the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, I got married. We intended to continue in missions, but it became clear that the role Wycliffe wanted my husband to fill was not a good fit for him, so I resigned from Wycliffe so we could reevaluate our direction. It was a difficult time, but I learned a lot about submitting to God - I had to submit my dream of becoming a missionary to God as much as I would have submitted my life to Him while I was on the mission field.

As I learned these things, I also discovered Pioneer Bible Translators, and that I could work as a translation consultant. This meant I could work from the United States to assist teams overseas with their translation. I was so happy that I could continue to serve God using the gifts that He has given me with Pioneer Bible Translators. I started to work with a West African translation team in order to learn about translation and consulting.

I continued forward on this path, and found that God was preparing me for another difficulty. My husband and I were divorced and I took on the role of single mom. I was thankful that God had already provided a way for me to continue working in Bible translation while living in the United States, where I can best care for my daughter.

The translation team that I have been working with for training has become close to my heart, and recently, God made it possible for me to work remotely specifically with this translation team. So I am no longer working toward becoming a consultant, but rather focusing on this one translation team. I am again so thankful for the opportunities that God has given me!

I am currently based in Fond du Lac, WI, which gives me the opportunity to bring God’s Word in fresh ways to people in my community as well. I am excited to see how God uses me in this ministry and continues to display His power in my life!