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Archive for September, 2012

Today is my last full day in Quebec. The Lord has really blessed my time here, just as He did during the first time in 2008. When I came in May of that year, I was able to see some of the sites in Quebec City and became fascinated with that French city, so that’s why I decided to plan a week-long vacation there for last week. My first day actually began far north at Parc du Bic, a park I hiked in 2008. At that time it was too early in the year to be able to see seals, but not this year. I saw around 30 in a bay, relaxing on rocks during low tide. I was too late, though, for a whale-watching boat trip that I tried to do Monday, so I’ll have to plan my next visit to Quebec a little better.

Two days out of the week I toured various sites in Quebec City and just enjoyed taking in the European spirit of the city. I gained a greater understanding of the context that underlies some of the issues that Quebecois wrestle with to this day. It’s amazing how various issues continue to repeat themselves during their 400+ year history.

I was also able to spend extra time reading my Bible, praying, and doing some leisure reading, as well as sleeping. Overall, it was a very restful and relaxing vacation! I’m very thankful for Jen & Ray Teachout, who let me use their church’s prophet’s chamber. We had great fellowship together, and I had a good place for R & R.

Before I began that vacation, I had my meeting in Rivière-du-Loup. Pastor Rioux and his church received me graciously. It was such an encouragement to be with them. They were excited to hear my report in SS and seemed to understand well when I preached in French in Sun AM. Yesterday morning, I gave a report and preached at Eglise Baptiste de la Vallée du Richelieu, where Claude Jutras is the pastor. That was actually my first time to preach in a Catholic church, or should I say former Catholic church that is now a Sports facility on the first floor and a Baptist church meeting place on the second floor. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that Baptist church could purchase the entire building and turn that entire facility into a Baptist church building?!

In the afternoon I drove through Montreal for my final meeting in Quebec. Pastor Faucette and Faith Baptist Church was also very welcoming. This is an English-speaking church, so I was able to go back to my native tongue. The only problem was that I didn’t have time to print off my sermon notes in English, so I had to preach from my French notes. But I guess that’s fitting for this bilingual country!

Tomorrow I begin the long trek back home. Today I began the daunting task of trying to catch up after a week of vacation. I think I’ll need the break tomorrow to pace myself as I tackle the mound of work that has been waiting for me!

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Life in Quebec

The Lord gave me a good start with my French in Quebec. I began in St. Jérome where my Quebec friends often wanted to practice their English. And since I had a good translation done by a French speaker of my sermon, it went pretty well as long as I stuck closely to my notes. It was a great encouragement to be back at Eglise Baptiste des Basses-Laurentides. I was the first missionary they began supporting. They now have 3 missionaries–an American missionary in Quebec, a missionary working with Muslims, and me.

Since I was passing through Quebec City and wanted to see the Websters and their church, Pastor Webster invited me to report on the work at BI and to share a message last Wed. My French had improved some since first arriving in Quebec, so I felt even more comfortable preaching that night. Webster’s church has gone through some difficult trials recently, but it is evident that there is now a unified, sweet spirit among the people. Since there were only around 20 there, I was able to speak to each one. The night was very encouraging.

I continued heading north along the St. Lawrence River on Thursday, arriving at Rivière-du-Loup. It’s been a blessing to see Pastor Maxime Rioux and his wife. At this location, I’m having to speak almost solely in French. I’m thankful the Lord saved this church for a week after my arrival in Quebec! I’ll be reporting on my ministry in SS and then preaching in the worship service on Sunday.

On Monday I begin a week-long vacation in Quebec City. No to-do list! No schedule! Just rest, relaxation, site-seeing, and extra time with the Lord. I’m looking forward to it!

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August is a very busy month for us at Bibles International. The BI Annual Meeting is right in the middle of the month, and the annual Consultant Seminar begins the day after and continues through all of the following week. I lead the latter, and my preparations for that event begin many months ahead of time. I’m thankful with how well this year’s seminar went. We had around 30 in attendance and enjoyed what could be considered the best seminar I’ve been a part of since joining BI in 2007.

Dr. Rod Decker began the seminar, bringing us up-to-date with verbal aspect in Greek, middle and deponent Greek verbs, the periphrastic construction, and other issues involving Greek and linguistics. The new insights on how tense works in Greek are revolutionizing how we should view them and how we should translate them. We’ll need wisdom from the Lord as we seek to apply these things in our ministry.

In addition to bringing the consultants up-to-date on how the projects around the world are going and what reader, translator, and consultant helps we are producing, we discussed other issues such as “Producing First Scriptures,” “Writing Consistency Checks,” “Trial Editions,” “Collecting Feedback,” and “Audio Scriptures.” My session was on the first topic–producing first Scriptures (i.e., the first completed portions of the NT for a language group). I was pleased to discover in my research that BI has been involved in more first Scripture projects than I had originally thought. Of the 51 projects we list in our quarterly Prayer Guide, 25 of them are first Scriptures! And today we are currently working on 9 more first Scriptures, in addition to the 8 first Scriptures in which we are currently continuing on into the OT. So of the 32 active translation projects currently going on right now, 17 of them are with language groups in which we are providing them with their first NT or first Bible! I’m so thankful to have a part in this!

But the needs continue to remain great, as I mentioned in an earlier post. There are 2,252 languages that still have a definite need. Some people may question that number. They may say, “But aren’t most of the world’s languages dying out? Is there really that great of a need to help these people get the Bible into their language? I heard there will be only around 100 languages by 2100.” I brought up that last statistic, because I did read that somewhere. But that was in a book in which the author himself thought that number was not very realistic. The author believes we will be down to 2,500. Even if that is the case, that’s almost a century away. In other words, that’s still 4-5 generations away. Are we OK with letting 4-5 generations die before they can get clear access to the Bible?

And another thing to consider is the power of a small language group. Yes, we do help language groups that have less than 10,000 speakers, though a number of our languages groups have a higher population. I can think of what one small language group is doing in Myanmar now that they have the NT in their language (and will have the OT in a couple of years). Because of their evangelistic efforts, they are seeing people get saved in other language groups, creating the need for us to help them get the Bible into their language as well. So should we just concentrate on the big language groups? Should we only focus on the language groups that we know will still be around in 2100? I don’t think so!

This first day of September finds me in Ontario, heading to Quebec. I haven’t been to Quebec since 2008, so I’m excited about seeing my Quebecois friends again. I have 4 supporting churches up there, and I’ll be visiting them during these next 2 weeks, while also squeezing in a 1-week vacation in Quebec City. Pray that my French will return easily so that I can report on my work, minister the Word, and stir people up for missions.

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