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Archive for July, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Having recently read Sent to the River God Forgot, I was reminded once again of the utter necessity of prayer to sustain this ministry of Bible translation. This book is an autobiography of a couple who spent 17 years of their lives learning an Indian language and then translating the New Testament into it. They expected all of the tribe would be present to welcome them back when they delivered the translations for the dedication–but, instead, only a few tribe members were at the airstrip. A second village proved more encouraging but, overall, the distribution was anti-climatic. The lack of enthusiasm was apparently due to the dark cloud of greed and materialism that overshadowed the villages because of the invasion of cocaine lords. Thankfully, the missionary couple saw about 30 Indians come to know the Lord, though they couldn’t help being disappointed that their life’s labor in translation was so tepidly received. Again, it reminded me of how dependent we are for God to work through our prayers for effective ministry in this complicated work!

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TEACHING LINGUISTICS

In May I had the opportunity to teach Basic Linguistics to 14 students at Maranatha Baptist University. I always enjoy getting back to this school and being with the kind and enthusiastic students there. I also taught some principles of linguistics to around 30 BMM missionaries in July at the Annual Conference. I’m thankful for these opportunities to share what the Lord has taught me through the years and to help equip future servants of the Lord. Thank you for praying for these opportunities! PRAY for the Lord to raise up more coworkers and give us inroads into more resources through these efforts.

HAITIAN CREOLE WORKSHOP

In June I led a translation-checking workshop at my sending church, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, in Greenville, SC. I took the workshop there so that I might connect with prospective consultants and to expose this type of ministry to laypersons (including kids!) who support the ministry through their prayers and giving. Thank you for praying, because I connected with 10 prospective consultants and had around 35 laypersons drop in. PRAY for the Lord to continue to guide these prospective consultants as they determine His will for their future. PRAY also for the Haitian Creole project that we would be able to get back on track, as we’ve fallen behind in the work, which is partly due to the fact that we were preparing for a printing of a revised New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. This publication will likely come out in early 2015, so PRAY for a warm reception of this work. My next workshop with this project will be in Haiti in early December.

VISITING CHURCHES

I will be reporting to my supporting churches in Pennsylvania in September, so I look forward to seeing friends, many of whom I haven’t seen since I was last there four to five years ago. PRAY for me to be a blessing to them. PRAY also as I will be seeking ways to bring my support–which has fallen to 93%–back up. Let me know if you would like me to speak in your church or in a church you’d recommend.

PRAY also for a profitable time at the annual Consultant Seminar in August and then the BI Retreat just after that. My next overseas trip will be to Papua New Guinea in late October. Thank you for your prayers!

For the cause of Christ,

Troy

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Dr. Ettien Koffi, a linguistics professor at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, was one of our special speakers at an annual Consultant Seminar a few years back. He spoke with us about orthographies, as he has personal experience of putting his own language into written form. You can read more about his story here. Being an African and a linguist, he knows the language situation well in Africa. The article states,

There are more than 2,000 languages spoken in Africa, and Koffi notes that close to a third of them are strictly verbal.

The article also quotes Dr. Koffi concerning his perspective on how to change the situation in Africa:

“If we want to change the situation of people in rural Africa, we need to bring literacy to them. There is no other way around it. If we don’t bring literacy to them, the hope of development will not take place,” Koffi said. “Current knowledge is in the minds of the people. It is only in their heads. When an older person who has accumulated that knowledge dies, it is gone. … All the knowledge that he or she had in their own mind is gone. What literacy does is it changes the dynamics.”

He continues to work with his people, the Anyi, and their Bible translation. He hopes to finish translating the NT in a few years, and his plan is that by that time 5,000 Anyi will know how to read.

“It is my goal that by the time the New Testament is finished and in the hands of people, I’d like to have 5,000 people that know how to read and write. … Experts have found that if you have 5,000 people in a community that know how to read or write, it is quite unlikely that that group will revert back to illiteracy,” Koffi said.

May God abundantly bless the work of God among the Anyi!

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The Lord really encouraged my heart at the recent BMM Annual Conference. The special speaker used Hebrews 11 to remind us of the importance of walking by faith. Another highlight of the conference was to see what God is doing in other fields through our BMM missionaries. Brazil, our most mature field and the one with the most missionaries, has actually come full circle in that the nationals have formed their own mission agency and are actually sending and supporting missionaries to go to other lands. It was also exciting to see what God is doing in a country that has been closed to missionaries for years. Truly God is at work.

At the conference I was also greatly moved as we honored the faithful service of many different missionaries. The BMM President noted that at least 1,500 years of service was represented by those who were honored. May God give me grace to remain faithful for many years as well!

The conference is also a great time to network. I’m thankful for the possibilities I discovered in India and Peru. I’m also thankful that the Lord helped my session on “Linguistics and Missionary Service” to go well. Around 30 gathered to hear the tips I had to offer and to learn more about Bibles International and the need for heart-language translations.

It’s been a blessing to have a work team from my supporting church, Bethel Baptist Church, in Schaumburg, IL, with us for the second half of this week. Three of them are staying at my house, but all 6 of them are hanging out with me in free times. They have come to beautify the wood trim on the exterior of our building.

We’ve also had the privilege of having Lydia Whitelam, a missionary appointee to Peru, visit us for a few days. I took advantage of her Spanish translation skills to put her to work preparing more material for Spanish-speaking countries. It’s been such a blessing to see the Lord provide around 8 people to help me get materials into Spanish and French.

I look forward to multiple weeks straight of being home before I head out in late August to report to churches. I will be spending some time strategizing on how I can raise my support back up to 100%, because it has dropped down to 93%. Please pray with me about this! I’m also spending much of my time preparing for the Consultant Seminar in August. I have lined up a special speaker (Dr. Bob Bell from Bob Jones University), and I have determined what we will be covering in each session. Now I need to get my multiple presentations ready! We should have a full house of current and prospective consultants, so it should be a profitable and enjoyable time.

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The Lord gave me a good week and a half of vacation (technically, two days were “compensation days” from previous workshops). My main project was to get ready for installers to come and put down engineered hardwood in about half of the main floor of my house (dining room, kitchen, and main walkway). In order to save money, I prepared the floor myself by ripping up the carpet and linoleum. I am also doing all the finish molding. I’ve cut all the pieces, and just today finished staining and varnishing them. Next weekend I’ll put them in, and then I can show pics. I’m really liking the new look! I’m glad to have the stained, rippling carpet ripped up.

I also spent more time with the Lord and working out at the local fitness center during my vacation. Also, my mom came to visit me for a few days, so we had lots of fun buying things for the house, decorating, and hosting friends. As far as my time with the Lord, I decided to start an easy evening Bible project of reading through Paul’s epistles to find promises from the Lord. I started in Romans and haven’t gotten very far. So many promises to claim!

On Wed and Thurs I went back to the office to get caught up on things. I had over 100 emails waiting for me. I had two more days at the end of this week because of the holiday, and it was just what I needed to get more projects done. I did enjoy a game of early morning golf on the Fourth too!

I said in the title that I’m “kinda” back to work, because next week I’ll go to the Cleveland area for the BMM Annual Meeting. I shared a session there last year entitled “Linguistics and Missionary Service”, and they asked me if I can share it again this year, since missionaries come on a rotating basis. I look forward to giving practical tips to missionaries about speaking a foreign language, and sharing the importance of mother-tongue translations.

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