• Aug 25, 2008

    Papua New Guinea

    Ryan & Crystal Pennington, working for Wycliffe Bible Translators, moved to Papua New Guinea in 2008 to begin a translation project among the Ma Manda people. Ryan & Crystal moved to the village of Saut, spending much of the next 8 years living in a remote village environment. They learned the Ma Manda language, analyzing its grammar and developing the first alphabet for this previously unwritten language. Ryan received his Ph.D. degree from James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. His research project was a comprehensive grammatical description of the Ma Manda language.

  • May 18, 2017

    Project Launch

    In May 2017, Dr. Pennington launched Refugee Language Project as a service project under the oversight of Redeemer Christian Church. Over the next three years, Redeemer incubated the program by allowing Ryan to build a base of donations under their umbrella.

  • Research

    These initial years enabled Dr. Pennington to research the refugee communities of Amarillo without the pressures of running a separate organization. During this time, a volunteer base was grown, and trust was established with the leaders of several refugee subcommunities.

  • Sep 9, 2019

    Non-Profit Organization

    In 2018, Refugee Language Project established an initial board of directors and submitted its Articles of Incorporation to the State of Texas. In September 2019, RLP finalized its bylaws and received federal tax exemption as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

  • Refugee Community Dialogues

    As RLP established itself as a standalone non-profit organization, Dr. Pennington facilitated a series of community dialogue events, conducting needs assessments of major refugee subcommunities in the Amarillo area. This research led to the Amarillo Refugee State of the Union, where Dr. Pennington presented his findings and made a series of key recommendations to area stakeholders.

  • Dec 1, 2020

    The RLP Team

    In December 2020, RLP approved its first budget and began to accept donations directly. At this time, RLP hired its first five staff members—including Dr. Pennington as its full-time Executive Director. RLP opened up its first office in May 2021.

  • Jan 1, 2022

    The PLACE

    In January 2022, RLP collaborated with two other organizations to open a multicultural community center focused on serving the refugees of Amarillo. At the same time, RLP expanded its staff and began the process of moving its offices next door to the PLACE.

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