Archive for December, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Reviewing my travels in 2013, I computed that I had been away from home on ministry trips for 194 days of the year, bringing to mind Richard Baxter’s comment in his Saints’ Everlasting Rest: “If you were banished into a strange land, how frequently would your thoughts be at home!” I wasn’t banished, but I did often think of home as I traveled. Therefore, I can relate to his words and have been pondering his next thought, “And why is it not thus with us in respect to heaven?” How my thoughts need to be even more directed to my heavenly home!


October was probably the busiest month I’ve ever had in ministry. It began with my winding up the workshop in Benin. After being home for five days, I headed to Texas for the annual Bible translation conference. I’m thankful for the ideas I gleaned and for the relationships I made.

I returned to the office for two days before heading out again for Bob Jones University’s missions emphasis week. I PRAISE the Lord for the opportunities to preach twice in chapel and to speak in six different classes. PRAY for laborers and supporters to join us because of that trip.


After I returned from BJU, I had five days to prepare for my two-week trip to PNG (Oct. 31 to Nov. 18). I knew the trip would really stretch me, because the translators hadn’t sent much work ahead of time, so I would need to prepare in the evenings instead. I was also preparing myself to follow up the translator training that I had given them in February. It wasn’t until I was on my way, though, that I could begin those preparations. So, on the planes and in other places along the way, I began reading up on Tok Pisin grammar. This reading, along with Tok Pisin’s close relation to English, gave me enough knowledge to be able to understand the translation without the need for an English back-translation. That made the workshop even more enjoyable, as I could personally enter into the translators’ discussions of how best to word the text, even sometimes giving my own suggestions.

It was humbling but also very fulfilling to train the translators more on translation principles and methods and to teach them such important concepts as the differing nuances for “grace” and “righteousness.” It was also a privilege to hand out to believers for the very first time some of our translated material. We did a small trial edition of Philippians 1 so we could see history in the making right away–and so they could have our translation to begin using!



I had less than a week after the PNG trip to prepare for my workshop in Haiti, partly because I made a surprise visit to my family in South Carolina for Thanksgiving. This meant that I had to do much of my preparations during the workshop in the evenings. But God’s grace was present once again, especially in helping me to begin to be able to read the Haitian Creole directly without a French or English back-translation. This and other factors helped us to finish checking Exodus 2.5 days early! It also allowed the translator to focus just on the Creole. PRAY for the translator as he wraps up work on the soon-to-be published revised New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs.

PRAISE God also for carrying me through a very rigorous 2013! I couldn’t have made it through without your prayers!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,


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My last post for 2014

This might be my last post for this year (except for my next prayer letter), as I will begin my vacation tomorrow. I’ll return from vacation in the second week of January. Here’s how 2014 is shaping up for me:

  • January: trip to Faith Comes by Hearing in NM
  • March: workshops in Mali and Benin
  • May: teaching linguistics at Maranatha
  • June: Haitian Creole workshop at the BI office
  • July: teaching at the BMM annual conference in OH; dedicating the Rito NT and doing a Dagba NT workshop in Chad
  • August: BI annual consultant seminar and staff retreat
  • September: reporting to churches in PA
  • October: Tok Pisin NT workshop in PNG
  • November: Haitian Creole workshop in Haiti

All these are reasons why I need to take this upcoming vacation very seriously!

If you feel so inclined, you can check out my “Translator’s Page” and see what makes a linguist say that one language is more complex than another. But be warned, the post is quite technical! That’s why it’s on that page and not this one.

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I’m finally on the homestretch for this incredible year of ministry! I’m writing this post while still in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, using my two “free” days after the Haitian Creole workshop. I call them “free” days, because I didn’t expect to have them. But since the translator and I made such quick work in checking Exodus, we finished 2.5 days early! The translator is doing such good work, and I can now understand the Creole directly, so those two things are helping us move along more quickly. I can read the Creole translation directly, and the translator can read the Creole directly as I examine the Hebrew during the workshop. I listen to the Creole while reading along in the Hebrew text (and the English and the French translations). Being able to understand the Creole now means the project can save money, because there is no longer a need for a French back-translation to be produced. Praise God for enabling me to get to this point! It’s so much better when I can understand the target language!

As I prepare my December prayer letter and as I do a Powerpoint presentation “2013 in review,” I calculated that I spent 194 days of 2013 on ministry trips. I visited 9 countries and Guam, and two of those (Papua New Guinea and Singapore) I visited twice. It would take too long to calculate the number of miles I flew, but I added up that I had taken 56 flights (not counting my personal trips to CO and SC)! No wonder it cost me only $10 to fly down to SC for Thanksgiving!

I praise God for His sustaining grace in 2013. Often I wondered how in the world I would make it through each month, but I guess I shouldn’t have doubted, because God’s grace is always sufficient. I focus too much on my own weaknesses and inabilities. I trust I have grown in faith, though, as I’ve seen God’s faithfulness proven over and over again throughout the year.

Now, it’s about time for a nice Christmas break! I can assure you that I’ll be resting and relaxing during the second half of December. The only way I can continue to minister in God’s strength next year is if I refresh my own physical and spiritual strength with a vacation. I look forward to more fellowship with Him and with family and friends in SC.

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