Archive for June, 2012

Last week definitely accomplished it’s purpose, because I feel refreshed and rejuvenated to get back to work this week. During last week’s vacation, I kept my computer closed from Monday evening to Sunday evening–one whole week! I am surprised that I could do that, but I did. Now, I did check email and other things on my Droid, but I still kept any internet work to a minimum. I needed a complete break in order to get fully refreshed.

On Monday, Friday, and Saturday, I did some errands and accomplished numerous house projects. I’m thankful for two friends from Virginia who just happened to be passing through and were able to help me reseal my deck. It took the three of us 3.5 hours, so I’m glad they helped reduce the amount of work that needed to be done!

On Tuesday and Wednesday I toured Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park in northwestern MI (lower penisula). I had a great “fitness” vacation as I biked some trails and strolled along the beach. On Thursday I enjoyed golf with a co-worker and friend. We had a great time together!

But now it’s back to the ministry that the Lord has called me to! You can read an article I wrote about my recent Haitian Creole workshop by going to the BI website (it may not be posted for a week or so), but I wanted to share some insights that I gained from that in-depth study on Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:6–The verb “acknowledge” in this well-known verse always puzzled me. The verb in Hebrew is yadang and is often translated as “know.” I would sometimes teach that it should actually be translated as “know” there, but I could understand why most translations don’t do it that way. I gained a little more insight when I realize that “acknowledge” means “to be aware of His presence and person in our lives.” Of course, we should “know” the Lord in all our ways too, but this verse is saying something different. The two are not too far removed from each other, but they are distinct. It is basically teaching that we must “fear the Lord” in all our ways, since “to fear Him” is basically to be constantly aware of His loving, holy presence and person in all we do.

Proverbs 16:3–As I helped the translator find a better way to translate the second line, “your thoughts will be established” (he had “your plans will succeed”), I came to understand this verse better. As we commit our plans to the Lord, He causes our thoughts about the future to be established, or clarified and settled, so that we might proceed in the right direction. We were able to get such a meaning reflected in the Haitian Creole after a significant amount of work.

Proverbs 31:19–I never fully understood what “distaff” and “spindle” were until I went through this verse in the Haitian Creole workshop. The “distaff” is the tool used to hold the unspun fibers. It is also the mechanism that does the spinning so that the fiber can be turned into thread or yarn. The “spindle” is the instrument around which the thread or yarn is spun. As you might guess, these words were hard to find in Haitian Creole, since they don’t produce thread this way, nor have any history of having done so. We decided to use more general words like “rod” and then added a short phrase to explain the function of each.

Proverbs 31:29–I realized as I was looking at the Hebrew that the word for “virtuous” (chayil) in v. 10 is also found in v. 29, so the two verses form nice bookends to this section. A “virtuous” wife is a rare jewel, and she excels others who have done “virtuously.” We had no way in Haitian Creole of preserving both the idea of “conduct” and “virtuous” in v. 29, so we went with “act well.” We wrestled with all the various options, and had to settle with this. The Creole preachers and teachers, who know Hebrew, will have to bring out this cool thing from the biblical text.

I could go on and on, but I really better get some other things done…

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Proverbs is Done!

I was pretty confident that we would finish Proverbs at this past workshop, since I knew that the number of pages we needed to cover each day was well within what we had covered in the Psalms in November. But when we didn’t actually cover that amount of pages on some days, I began to wonder. Thankfully, we decided to do the workshop for half a day during the weekend in the middle of the workshop. We did it primarily because we wanted a visiting high school girl to see two days of workshop during her limited stay at the office. It turns out that we needed to cover those 9 pages that day, because otherwise, we wouldn’t have finished Proverbs while still having a few hours to work through some computer issues.

So at almost exactly 12 pm on Friday, we finish Proverbs! That was my goal, and the Lord enabled us to accomplish it… not a minute too early or too late! (almost literally)

I was still pretty stressed out, though, about all the computer work we needed to cover in just one afternoon. I had to teach the translator how to use a new editing program, give him guidance on how it can help him through our “quality checks” (to prepare the text for printing), and then actually walk through the beginning portions of some quality checks. Well, then the editing program presented some complications. As we took it through a process to generate a dictionary to do spellchecking, the fonts got messed up. At first I thought the translator would need to manually fix all the errors, but then we were shown how to fix them with just a few clicks! Praise the Lord!

But then we ran into another problem: versification. In case you didn’t know, versification in French Bibles doesn’t match up with versification in English Bibles. The differences are mostly in the Psalms, since French Bibles have the Psalm titles as the first verse. But what makes life even more complicated is that one French version may vary from another. And to make things even more exciting, the printed version of the “old standard” in the francophone world differs from the electronic version in Bibleworks. Go figure!

Since our editing program depends greatly upon correct versification, we had to delay using this program for the Haitian Creole project. When it got to be around 4:30pm on Friday, and I still had many things to teach the translator, I decided we would just go back to the “old method” of using Microsoft Word for this upcoming NT with Psalms and Proverbs, and we would just use the editing program as a tool to guide us in the quality checks (once we get the complications worked out!).

I’m concerned that we won’t be able to go through all the quality checks during the next workshop in December, but it’s all in the Lord’s hands. We’ll see what He enables us to do between now and then, and then during that workshop.

Thanks for your prayers for this workshop! It’s such a relief to be done with that workshop and with Proverbs. It was a real joy to go through Proverbs in such great depth. I hope to post some insights I learned as we went through the Hebrew text. But right now I’m taking a one-week vacation, so I need to set everything aside in order to get maximum refreshment. I’ve been going hard almost every day and every night for 8 weeks (the linguistics course and then the workshop), so I need a break! I’m going to Sleeping Bear Dunes for two days and then golfing with a friend for a day. I’m really excited about this vacation, albeit short!

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In my last blog post I mentioned that I was halfway through in my preparations. Well, today we reached that halfway point. Thankfully, though, I’m much further along in my preparations. I have only 17 pages left in that. So I’ll have to keep on working this weekend and during the evenings next week, but I think I’ll be able to stay ahead of the workshop pace. We did only 2 verses on Monday, because we had many issues to discuss relating to the upcoming publication of the NT and Psa/Prov. We also had to work through the key words that Solomon uses in Proverbs–fool, simple, wise, wisdom, understanding, etc. Hantz was there to make sure we chose the right Creole words.

But on Tues we covered 8 pages of material, 14 pp on Wed, 21 pp on Thurs, 13 pp on Fri, and 9 pp this morning. I think we can actually get Proverbs done next week, and I’ll (kinda) be able to keep up with my other responsibilities as well.

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