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Archive for September, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

W. Garden Blaikie chronicles David Livingstone’s persistence to penetrate the interior of Africa, where no white people had ever gone. The biography, The Personal Life of David Livingstone, highlights Livingstone’s love for God and love for man, the two greatest motives for missions. Livingstone sought to free the Africans, both from the bondage of the slave traders and that of sin. Livingstone’s relentlessness in both causes is amply illustrated in the following question: “Can the love of Christ not carry the missionary where the slave-trade carries the trader?” Surely, the love of Christ ought to compel us to serve Him wherever He might direct us!

OVERSEAS

The Lord directed me overseas for five weeks this summer. At the request of Pasir Panjang Christ Church, I went to Singapore to kick off their missions emphasis month in July. I also presented my work at two other Singaporean churches. I thoroughly enjoyed fellowship with the Singaporean believers and look forward to returning when my travels will take me there again.

At the end of July I extended my travels on to the Philippines, where I met with another consultant and conducted translator training. The Tagalog New Testament was published in 1998, but has needed revision for a number of years. There are no more first editions for sale, so Filipinos are forced to share New Testaments. Rather than reprinting the first edition, we decided we needed to work on a revised edition. Six Tagalog speakers met us for the training at the same time that four monsoons blew across the islands. The Lord so blessed the training that we were able to spend extra time applying the principles of translation with the new translation team, ensuring that the work would proceed even more smoothly. The team and the churches they represent have such a passion for the revision that we think they might be able to finish the revision in three years. Please PRAY to that end!

IN TWO COUNTRIES

While I was helping with translator training, I was also trying to close on my new house. In the midst of a torrential downpour in Manila, I went to the U.S. Embassy and successfully completed the paperwork. I officially became a homeowner on August 4. I returned to the U.S. on August 9 and immediately began moving into my new place, while also rejoicing in God’s abundant provision. The previous homeowners graciously left me a number of things a first-time homeowner would normally have to spend $1,000’s to accumulate. I PRAISE God for His gentle guidance and kind provision of this new place. PRAY that I will use it for His glory.

IN THE USA

Moving into my new home was not the only significant event of August: During that month I also led the annual Consultant Seminar. Present and potential consultants came from around the nation to learn about teaching cross-culturally, Hebrew discourse analysis, and many other subjects. I PRAISE the Lord for helping the seminar to run so smoothly and to be of such great profit for all.

I resumed my deputation travels at the end of August, driving all the way to Minnesota. During this five-week trip, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Minnesota and Illinois, stopping along the way in Iowa.

I am pleased to report that Ashley Baptist Church in Belding, MI, has doubled its support, bringing me up to 85%! Please continue to PRAY for my remaining support to come in by the end of this year.

The next few months will find me going to more deputation meetings in Indiana and North Carolina. I will also make another trip to Haiti to check more of the Haitian Creole Old Testament. Please PRAY for God’s blessing upon all of these endeavors. PRAY that we will be able to finish the Psalms during this next workshop. That’s a very high goal, but we hope to achieve it. PRAY also for safety and freedom from distraction.

Continue to PRAY for me to have wisdom as I frequently correspond and meet with potential consultants. PRAY too for many volunteer projects that still need to be completed. Also PRAY for the BI Annual Banquet on October 20 to be a success. Thanks for praying!

 

 

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I’m thankful for the good services I enjoyed at Windsor Baptist Church in Loves Park, IL. Pastor K.D. Bodwell invited me back with the hopes that a second visit would stir even more interest in my ministry. That appears to have happened, because many said that they hope to see me back. One dear lady reported that she caught the lesson quite well Sunday night about how complicated my ministry is. That was one of my purposes–I want people to pray more for us and to realize that Bible translation necessitates such an organization as ours. We’ll see how the Lord leads!

I have a few more days here in the Rockford area, and then I head back to MN by way of IA.

I can now report that my support is up to 85%! Ashley Baptist Church notified me a number of months ago that they would be doubling their support, but that didn’t kick in until this month. Praise to God for the increase!

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I sometimes have to ask myself that question since I’m often at multiple places in a short period of time. This evening I’ll be staying with my sister Lori in Yorkville, IL, my seventh place of lodging in seven days! Ever since I left the Linscott’s in Marshall last Tuesday, I’ve been staying in one home after another in two different states. Praise to God for grace and safety in all my travels. The schedule won’t let up for the next few weeks either, though I will be staying in some places for 2 nights in a row. Won’t that be nice!

The Lord really blessed my time at Central Baptist Theological Seminary last Friday. Dr. Jeff Straub gave a very stiring introduction to my speaking, drawing the students’ attention to the great needs of unreached peoples around the world. Dr. Sam Horn, the new president at the seminary, championed my cause and urged the students to contact their pastors about my ministry. The students showed genuine interest and asked thoughtful questions. We’ll see what fruit the Lord produces from that visit in the years to come.

I also made some good contacts at the Minnesota Baptist Association’s Men’s Retreat last weekend. What particularly interested me was my conversations with a missionary in southeast Asia. He said that there are 6 slots for missionaries to come to the island where he is serving but that 5 remain unfilled. There are 50 million people in his side of the island but only two fundamental churches. What needs! He mentioned that the Bible of his people has serious translation issues. They translate baptizo as “religious cleansing” (an obvious capitulation to the Muslims) and glossalalia as “Spirit speech” (a clear accomodation to the charismatics). Maybe BI can help these people get an accurate, conservative translation some day! There are definitely other translation needs in that country, where there are around 730 languages. Maybe I formed a friendship that will produce translation fruits in the years to come!

My time at Shannon Baptist Church in Shannon, IL, and at Parkwood Baptist Church in Chicago, IL, went well yesterday. It was a full day, since I spoke in all three slots at Shannon during the first part of the day and then presented in the evening at Parkwood, after a three-hour drive traveling from one to the other. I praise the Lord for giving me strength and grace to minister. The people really seemed to catch my burden.

Ken Beckley, our missionary contact in Benin, mentioned in his latest prayer letter that he is developing a Dendi dictionary, beginning recording some messages (presumably, in Dendi) for radio broadcast, and is preparing a NT survey class for the Dendi Bible school in January. It’s a blessing to see developments connected with our Dendi NT.

Dan Gillette, a missionary in Asia and an adjunct consultant for BI, has recently returned to his field. He reported in his recent letter that in the language that he is working with, a speaker of that language has gotten saved. This language is not a BI project yet, but if we can see a church formed up, we will soon be able to help this Bible-less language group. Very exciting to see the “firstfruits”!

Joshua Hedges, one of our consultants in Chad, Africa, wrote about one of the quality checks he’s helping with on the Rito and Dagba NTs–the numbers check. He does a good job of explaining why such a check is needed:

You may wonder why numbers can be misspelled during translation.  Well, you are going to have to use your imagination.  First, imagine that you are translating the Bible in English.  Now, imagine that the Bible is the first book to ever be translated in English.  It is up to you to decide how to write numbers.

Let’s say that you come across the number “60.”  Remember, you have never seen this number written in letters.  You sound out the number out loud and write down what you hear.  You write down “sicksty” the first time.  A few months later, you come across the same number again. Now, you think that it would be better to spell the number more like you spelled “6” so you write “sixtee.”  Then, a few weeks later, you write it as “sixty.”  But, occasionally, you return to the spelling “sixtee” by mistake.  So when you are done translating you need to go back and make sure all of your spellings of the number “60” are consistent.

You can tell that I’ve been reading prayer letters today!

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Fall is finally here in Minnesota! The cooler weather arrived on Wednesday, and I welcomed it with open arms. I thoroughly enjoyed driving on country roads through the western side of Minnesota. The topography changed from prairie to rolling hills and more lakes. The pastor in Detroit Lakes said there are over 400 lakes in the 20-mile radius around his church. Now I see why MN is the Land of 10,000 Lakes!

I finally had my meeting with the church that initially got me to come to Minnesota. Pastor Greg Linscott, his family, and his church were very gracious hosts to me last weekend. It seems that the Linscott kids (at least the older two) grew a foot since I last saw them in 2008, but that didn’t keep me from still bullying them around! We got along so well that I almost consider myself to be their uncle now.

My long country drive yesterday took me up to Detroit Lakes, which is quite far into the state. My main purpose in going to the church up there, Berean Baptist Church, was to meet a boy I’ve been exchanging letters with for 1-2 years. He has an interest and ability in languages and missions, so I’ve been trying to encourage them in those areas. Since I was close to his neck of the woods (only 3.5 hours away!), I decided to pass by his church. His pastor, Pastor Riley, graciously allowed me to present my ministry at his church. He and his people showed genuine interest in my ministry and were a real encouragement. Before leaving the area this morning, I spent some more time with my pen pal and his family. We had a fun time exchanging stories!

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at the chapel of Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Pray for wisdom as I prepare this evening and for effectiveness as I speak tomorrow at 9:40-10:10. I’ll be going to a men’s retreat Fri-Sat before heading back east to Illinois.

No word on support increases yet. Keep praying!

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My meetings in Minnesota have gotten off to a good start. Pastor Groschel and the believers at Prior Lake Baptist Church in Prior Lake, MN, received me well last Wednesday. Though the group was fairly small (20-30), they were all attentive and inquisitive. We had a great time of fellowship. I also enjoyed extending my time with the Groschels for a few days and had the opportunity to speak to the high school Bible class about languages and translation. Some of the students seemed sincerely attentive, and others may have been as well, even though they didn’t show it in their faces. Only God knows what sunk in!

My second meeting in MN also went well. Pastor Seiler and his church, Faith Baptist Church in Albert Lea, MN, were already well informed about BI, since a retired stewardship representative, Paul (& Edwina) Lobb, attends this church. BI’s director and another consultant had also been here in the recent past. I was pleased to discover that this church gives funds to support the Haitian Creole OT project, the project for which I am the main consultant. It was neat to tell them details about the very project they are supporting.

I’m looking forward to a two-day vacation in Mankato, MN, this weekend. It will be good to get some R & R after a very busy and hectic summer.

Please pray for the Lord to give me an increase in support soon. Though I added two supporters in the summer, I had one decrease their support, so essentially I’ve seen no increase since May. Pray for an increase soon so that I can report one in my next prayer letter!

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