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Archive for February, 2012

A co-worker shared a chart that gives the current stats on BT around the world. You can find the chart at this address: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/427619_337843629592530_177861942257367_986560_817862870_n.jpg.

Let me total the statistics for you:

  • 471 languages with a full Bible
  • 1,223 languages with a NT
  • 1,002 languages with just portions of Scripture
  • 4,142 languages with no known Scripture

The needs around the world are still immense! How many millions of people still wait for the Word of God in their own language!

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Final Asia Trip Update

Today is my last fully day in Asia, so I thought I’d send out one last update before the big trip home starts and then jetlag sets in.

During my final week in India, I flew up to the state of Manipur so that I could meet up with personnel connected with two of our language projects up there—the Simte OT and the Paite Bible revision. The Simte NT was adopted in 1995 and completed in 2010, but they plan to complete the OT in 7 years. The main translator is a sharp, dedicated man, and he has three assistant translators. All four have ThMs. The Read-and-Review Committee is made up of four good men, and they’d like to add two more. We had actually helped the Simte people publish the complete Bible a number of years ago, but it needs more than just a revision. It needs a complete replacement. But in spite of the weaknesses of this first Bible, the Lord has used it to point people to Christ. I was able to obtain some testimonies when I preached at one Simte church:

Through the Bible we have lots of spiritual insight; we were spiritually blind before, but now we can see  spiritually. He also said, “Not only me but my grandchildren are benefiting from the new translation.”

The glossary at the end of the Bible really helps me in finding words, and this new Bible is really helping me.

Although I understand English, when the Bible is written in my Simte language, it is more significant to me. The language is also very clear, and it is also easy to read the new translation. To know the Word of God in my own language which I have is a great blessing for me.

Before, people who read English have had the chance to read the Word of God; now with the Simte Bible we can read the Bible by our own language, and we have lots of development  in our lives. Not only myself, but my children and my grandchildren are reading.

I cannot read English and I cannot translate English; because of the Simte Bible I can read the Bible, and my children can read the Bible, and through that I got eternal life and salvation.

In the old translation  into Simte, there are old vocabulary words; in Simte there are certain words that we use for different purposes. Here the Word is very clear and consistent ; I usually read the English Bible, though we cannot read and understand English so well.   Simte being my mother language, this Bible helps me to read and understand better.

Praise God that we can help them gain access to the Word and that soon they will have an even better Bible.

The Paite Bible revision project is nearing completion. We published the first Bible in 2005, but it quickly became apparent that revision was needed. The main Paite translator is working tirelessly day and night to complete the revision and hopes to have it done by next year. In addition to working through each verse on his own, he also reads the text during family devotions and looks for weaknesses. He also has a team of six readers who check the text and send corrections. Each man checks every verse and then passes it on. As the translator stated, there will not be a more thoroughly checked translation.

The Simte and Paite are among the privileged few in the world. Of the almost 7,000 languages, less than 500 have a complete Bible. One Simte believer marveled at that fact—that his language of around 20,000 speakers would be among that small number!

After my four weeks in India, I spent about a week in a SE Asia country. I met with the BI Executive Committee there and at another time with a group of 10 Mizo church leaders. This latter group received our Mizo NT in 2005 but strongly desire an OT. We are beginning that process right now, but we need wisdom as this language spans across the  borders of two countries and therefore brings many complications. While in that country, I also spent some time mentoring our new translation consultant there. He has great potential and a teachable spirit, but he has much to learn and needs our prayers.

I’m currently in Singapore. I met with my supporting church’s missions committee here last night and presented a project that they can become involved in personally and financially. Pray for wisdom as they consider a trip to India to help this group in 2013.

Praise God for keeping me safe and healthy throughout this trip. Please continue to pray, especially during the long trip home tomorrow.

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Four-week Update

Though it’s not technically 4 weeks into my trip yet, it’s close enough, especially since today is my last day for good internet access for about a week. I’ll be flying to Imphal and then driving to Chiruchandpur on Thursday, and I’ll be there until I leave for another country on Tuesday. When I get to that location on Wednesday, I should have good internet access once again.

The Lord really blessed the Asia Consultant Seminar last week. Six of us gathered together into a small room to discuss various big matters. We hadn’t done a seminar in Asia since 2008, and I wasn’t even able to attend that one. But since my deputation is now basically over, I could both attend and lead this seminar. I’ve been praying for and thinking about this seminar for years, so it’s a blessing to see it finally come to fruition, especially since it went so well. I presented to the consultants our newly approved Translation Philosophy statement (a refinement and expansion of our previous statement), gave training on our Bible translation software called “Bibledit”, brought them up-to-date on various departmental matters that we had developed since my joining with BI in 2007, and discussed numerous different project-specific and project-general matters. We discuss so many of these things in Grand Rapids each year, but it’s so valuable to talk through them with the consultants on the field, who know their culture better than we missionaries. We talked about such things as how to gain feedback on our translations in this culture, how to improve distribution of our translations, and how we can conduct “on site” workshops, instead of always doing them in the BI India Society office.

Though we had to change locations for the seminar to accommodate one consultant’s schedule, we still accomplished all that we needed to during that week. Praise God! Now we need His wisdom to implement all that He helped us cover at the seminar so that we can be more effective with our current language groups and make some progress in reaching the estimated 300 language groups that are still waiting for the Word of God in their language.

During my time in India, I have been scheduled to speak at two different churches each Sunday. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to minister the Word and to get to know about the believers and their churches in India. God blessed this past weekend as I spoke at two churches close to the BI India Society office. The northeast region of India is basically “Christian” in a nominal sense, so there is real freedom to meet at churches. But the presence of Hinduism, Islam, liberal Christianity, and paganism remind us that the darkness is still quite intense.

My trip over the weekend will be filled with meeting with two different Read-and-Review Committees, checking a few chapters of the Simte OT, and preaching at three different churches. I look forward to getting to know our translation personnel up there, seeing God’s work in another part of this region, and ministering the Word. Pray for wisdom and God’s blessing with these various opportunities. Pray also that the Lord would help me to obtain good testimonials about how our translations are already having an impact in that area. We’ve already completed various portions of the Bible for these people, so I’d like to know how God is using them.

God has blessed so far with good health, safety, and grace to minister.

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First two weeks

I’m bringing to a close my first two weeks on this trip, so I wanted to update you on how the Lord is answering prayers. Here are the answers in terms of major events these past two weeks:

  • The two seminars at the Bible college went very well. I think the students understood my English and learned much. They were very receptive to me during my time, and the Lord helped me to prepare as well as I needed to.
  • My visit to the state of Tripura was very interesting. That Sunday we (the director of BI India society, an Indian consultant and I) met with the Ranglong Read-and-Review Committee, after I preached in their church that morning. They dedicated their NT in 2003. They’ve spent the last 8 years trying to establish a new organizational structure. Now they are ready to begin with the OT. They made a contract with BIIS to finish in 7 years. Peter Ranglong, the main translator, has taken a leave from his church to work full-time on the translation. The Ranglong group has only around 12,000 speakers, but they basically have no access to the Word other than through Ranglong. Christianity came to this tribe in 1958 when two college students got saved through the witness of their friends. Mizo missionaries also helped evangelize the tribe, and now most are at least nominally Christian.
  • That Monday in Tripura we met with the Darlong Read-and-Review Committee. They dedicated their NT in 1995. They have been working on the OT ever since, facing various challenges throughout the process. The translator has completed the translating work, so the people are expecting the Bible by the end of this year. Some have already paid for their copy. We had to inform the RRC that it wouldn’t be finished until 2014 because of all the quality checks that have to be done. They pled with us to tell the people for us, because they are afraid of the people’s reaction. The Darlong is a small language group (less than 10k), but they are very influential because of the Darlong in Christian leadership positions in the associations. They have the potential of affecting many other language groups. When I preached in a church on Sunday PM, I noticed many worn NTs being used. (in one pic the RRC is looking at various formatting possibilities for their new Bible)
  • During my first full week in India, I helped the Darlong translators by checking their work on 2 Chronicles 32-36, the last 5 chapters needing content checking. We were thrilled when we finally finished that work on Friday afternoon.
  • Yesterday (Saturday) I got to speak at a local Christian school, where 95% are Muslim or Hindu (not the American version of a Christian school). During the 6 minutes allocated to me, I got to give the gospel to those rural, spiritually needy students.
  • Today I preached in the state of Manipuri, in which I couldn’t have entered two years ago. The Lord really helped me as I preached. In the afternoon I preached at a church closely associated with a Christian hospital nearby where I’m staying in the Assam state. The Lord’s blessing was on that time as well.
  • Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at another local Christian school for around 10 minutes during their morning “assembly.” Most are also not saved there either among the 800+ students.
  • Tomorrow is also the first day of our Asia Consultant Seminar. There will be 6 of us meeting each day of the week for the entire day to address issues of the present and to strategize about the future. The director of BIIS estimates that there are around 300 languages in India with definite need for translation work. Pray for wisdom and grace as we discuss various complicated matters.

Thanks for your prayers! I’m in good health and the Lord has kept me safe over many bumpy Indian roads filled with crazy Indian drivers.

 

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