Archive for December, 2009

Report on Grand Rapids Trip

My internet has been down recently, so it wasn’t convenient for me to update my blog until now. I wanted to give a short report on my trip to Grand Rapids last week.  The trip was to meet with various parties connected with BI’s projects in Chad, Africa.  We currently have 8 projects in that country, but many of them are suffering.  They are having difficulties because of the fatigue that ensues from the long, arduous task of Bible translation. 

It’s relatively easy to generate excitement about a new project, but to sustain that excitement throughout the 10-20 years of the project is completely another task.  The work of Bible translation does not move at the pace of Ussain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who has captured the world’s attention by his record-breaking speeds in the 100-m dash.  Rather, it rolls along at the pace of Lance Armstrong, the 7-time winner of the Tour de France.  Multiple stages and strenuous obstacles must be overcome.  Apparently, many of our projects in Chad are not maintaining a winning pace right now.

Added to that is the most recent loss of a strategic missionary couple.  They were BI’s coordinators for the construction of the translation center as well as all the other translation and literacy activity.  This comes on the heels of the death of our national consultant, Ouya Bongo.  Thankfully, the newest missionary family, the Joshua Hedges family, are set to return back to Chad on January 7, though they had a health setback that brought them back to the States for a few months.  Thankfully also, Anna Beth Wivell (www.annabethwiv.com) is on deputation and hopes to arrive in Chad by the end of 2010.  She currently has 41% of her support.  So we are seeing the Lord raise up laborers to replace the losses, but the losses are still significant.

I praise the Lord that all of the Chaddian missionaries were able to attend the “Chad Summit” last week.  I flew in from South Carolina, one flew from Paris, and the others drove from Ohio and Illinois.  I also praise the Lord for how He helped us to get all the necessary information on the table and to begin making a strategic plan for each of the projects.  We have much work to do, but we are thankful for the progress that we’ve made.  Hantz Bernard, Bob Thompson, and Gordon Wyant will be going to Chad in February to work with the translation committees to finalize our strategic plans.  Please pray for us as we prepare for this trip and for them as they work with the believers to “revive” these works.

I’m excited about what the Lord is going to do in Chad.  Though the laborers seem to be decreasing for a time, I’m praying that the Lord will burden the nationals to take up the slack.  I would really like to see the Chad field turn a corner and become more indigenous.  BMM has been working with the Chad field since 1920, and there are over 500 churches there, so it’s time for the nationals to assume more responsibilities.  Thankfully, many have already done so, but we need additional, qualified men and women to do the work, especially since the projects are primarily THEIRS not OURS.  Please pray that the Lord will raise up Chaddians to help get the Word into their people’s hands.

On another note…  I have pasted onto the “Translator’s Page” an article I wrote after returning from my trip to Togo, Africa, in July 2009.  I wasn’t sure if it was going to be published in some other way, so I haven’t posted it on my blog until now.  I plan on writing an article about my trip to Haiti a few weeks ago, but until then, here’s one for your reading pleasure. 

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

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Report on Haiti Trip

Thanks to all those who prayed for my trip.  The Lord graciously answered all of the requests that I gave.  The Lord kept me safe to Haiti and while in Haiti, and my luggage (and Hantz’s) arrived in one piece and on time.  I should have asked for prayer for the trip back, because that’s when I ran into delays.  But the delay in Miami gave me the opportunity to witness to a couple, which was an answer to another request.  The couple ended up sitting on both sides of me, so it provided a perfect opportunity to witness.  They were Roman Catholics who live in the Florida Keys.  It was in Florida where my mom was regenerated and left Catholicism completely, so I was able to share some of that.  Florida was also where I was both born and born again, so I got to give my testimony as well.  And I gave them a tract that I wrote about my salvation.  We had such a good time talking that they offered to buy me supper!  I was also able to witness to a man on the way down to Haiti while in an airport restaurant also in Miami.  And I had a very interesting conversation on the way to Greenville with a retired science professor from Clemson. 

My sleep in Haiti was adequate, though I wonder how I was able to get the solid rest I needed with all the noises (barking dogs, crowing roosters, etc.).  I never slept all the way through a single night, but I always had sufficient strength for each day.  It was a blessing that I didn’t sweat as much this year during the night, since my hosts had installed a ceiling fan in the room.  The little blessings! 

The Lord greatly helped me with my French as well.  I didn’t have to speak it much, since the workshop was mostly in English and most other conversations were also in English.  But that had me somewhat concerned about how my preaching on that last Sunday would go.  In fact, even as I was reading along with the congregation for the Scripture reading, I was having a hard time keeping up.  But the Lord gave me great confidence that He would help me in the pulpit, and He did!  In fact, some said that my French was even better than last year.  That can only be because of answered prayer!  It was a great faith-strengthening time! 

The Lord also answered prayers by helping the translation workshop to go well.  We are very satisfied with the various decisions we had to make.  Sometimes it would take 30 minutes or more, but we almost always arrived at a solution.  We are disappointed that we weren’t able to get all the work done, but we’ll finish Gen 7-10 in June when Daniel comes up for the next workshop. 

I’m thankful that we were able to be an encouragement to him.  Though he has gone through much these past few months, he seemed quite content and joyful in the Lord.  Maybe that’s partly because he recently became “serious” with a girl. 🙂

We were also able to participate in some strategic PR meetings.  We spent a couple hours talking with the Translation Committee, helping to diagnose how we can make our ministry more effective and making plans for a local Bible society.  The Friday I was there, we took a three-hour trip to Jacmel to attend a meeting of around 16 fundamental pastors.  Most use only Creole in their church, so they are dependent upon the work that we do.  So it was good to strengthen that relationship.  I was greatly encouraged by the fact that around 20,000 of our NTs have already been distributed.  And the believers are desiring to have access to the OT in their own language.  Maybe we can get some trial editions of various books finished within the next year or so. 

Thus, my heart is overwhelmed at how well the trip went.  Because of this, the Lord has caused Haiti to make its way deeper into my heart.  Thanks so much for your prayers!  I look forward to getting down there (though I’m also glad to be back in the US). 

I’m currently in Grand Rapids, MI, meeting with other missionaries to establish a strategic plan for the 7 projects in that country, especially in light of the recent loss of a national consultant and the resignation of a missionary couple.  Today went quite well as we did an analysis of the current situation.  Tomorrow we will begin planning how we should proceed from here.  The Lord has been manifesting His presence as we work through complicated issues.  There is a great spiritual warfare there, but praise God that we are “on the side of” the ascended Christ!

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Workshop in Haiti

The Lord has greatly blessed my time down here in Haiti.  I can tell that many are praying.  The work is going at a fair pace, and it looks like we’ll be able to accomplish all that we need to get done.  We may not get done as early as we would like, but we most likely will get all the work done. 

I see the blessings of the Lord mainly in the many ways in which He is making my stay down here so enjoyable.  We get to work in an air-conditioned room and there is a ceiling fan in the room where I’m sleeping, so I have sweat much less this year.  Plus, I didn’t bring a parasite from PNG down with me this year like I did last year, so the eating is much more enjoyable.  We also have a good internet connection to use during the day (though we can use it only for a few minutes each time). 

There are other blessings, but I’ll stop here, since I have to get back to work.  Pray for a successful end to this trip.

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Haitian Creole OT Workshop

I leave early tomorrow morning (6:30 am) from the Greenville airport and will fly through Atlanta and Miami before arriving in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, at 4:15pm, Lord willing.  Thankfully, I’m not flying north, so I should avoid any snow storms, though rain storms are forecasted for this area tomorrow.  I will return on Dec. 14 at 8:12 pm in Greenville.  We (Dr. Bernard, the director of BI, and I) will be checking Daniel’s (the Haitian translator) work on word taxonomies, passages that he worked on in response to our previous consulting, and new material (Psa. 3-10 and Gen. 1-5).  I haven’t been able to finish my preparations for all the new material, so I’ll need to do some of that in the evenings.  I’ll also have an opportunity to preach one or both Sundays.  Here are my requests for this trip:

  1. For a safe and timely arrival of us and our luggage to Haiti (especially in light of the storms)
  2. For safety while in Haiti (since it is a very dangerous country, especially in the capital where we’ll be)
  3. For health and restful sleep (my back still wakes me up each night at around 3 am; the night sounds in Port-au-Prince also take some getting used to)
  4. For ability to speak and teach in French (it gets harder to use my French when I have to go in/out of it and am more out than in)
  5. For liberty and blessing as I preach on Sunday(s)
  6. For wisdom as we work through complex translation issues
  7. For grace to be an encouragement to Daniel, one another, our hosts, and others
  8. For opportunities to witness for Christ

I doubt I’ll be able to update this blog during the trip, but we’ll see what kind of access I can get.  Thanks so much for your prayers!

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