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Archive for October, 2014

My last trip overseas was back in March when I went to Mali, Niger, and Benin, so I suppose I’m due for another trip. But I think I’ve just now caught up on life at home, so it would have been nice to enjoy my home for a few weeks of “normal life,” whatever that is. Actually, though I find the daily routine at home to be quite refreshing, I’m also excited and ready again for another overseas trip. Papua New Guinea is one of my favorite destinations for ministry because of the people, climate, and culture. I’ll be passing through Singapore on this trip as usual, and that’s one of my favorite countries to spend time in as well. I’ve lengthened my layover by one day so that I can get caught up a little on sleep and also connect with friends at my supporting church. I always wish I could spend more time there, but I gotta keep moving.

I’m not sure how successful this upcoming workshop is going to be, though. I had hoped to receive 15 chapters a month before the workshop and then another 15 a few weeks before I leave, but I received only 11 a month before and nothing since then. Technically, I have received other chapters, but they were not quite ready since the Read-and-Review Committee hadn’t yet checked them. I have the feeling this workshop is going to move slowly, so I wasn’t anticipating doing 30 chapters as we normally do, but I really wanted to do more than 11. If we continue at 1/3 the normal pace, we’ll take 3x longer to finish! Pray for us to make good progress in spite of the obstacles already in the way. And pray that I can help the team determine what the slow-downs are so taht we can get them resolved. We truly do want this project to succeed!

When I return in mid November, I’ll have a couple weeks to catch up on life again, try to keep up with my responsibilities as a head consultant, and prepare for the Haitian Creole OT workshop in Haiti. I will be down there for the first two weeks of December. Life always picks up the pace in August, and it doesn’t look like it will slow down until the end of March (trips for Christmas vacation, to west Africa, and then to India and Bangladesh all between now and then).

Since internet is expensive in PNG, I may not be able to update my blog until mid November, though maybe I’ll be able to post something while in Singapore.

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Dear Family and Friends,

I was recently reminded of the long-term impact of Bible translation through the life of Adoniram Judson. He endured much hardship throughout his 35 years in Burma (now Myanmar), including a torturous imprisonment, the death of his first two wives, and the death of some of his children. However, he persevered and saw at least 100 converts join the Burmese church. But this result pales in comparison to the subsequent harvests of his Burmese Bible. As Burmese got saved, they gained an excitement for the gospel that propelled them to reach the various tribes in Burma, including ones for whom we at Bibles International are now translating the Bible 200 years later. In fact, the Bualkhaw people, who number around 5,000 speakers, trace their introduction to Christianity ultimately to the impact of Judson’s Bible. The entire tribe professes faith in Christ. Clearly, the Bualkhaw have a thirst for the Bible, because they have bought up all the New Testaments we produced for them in 2012, and they long for the Old Testament to be completed. Truly, you can never fully estimate the long-term impact of the translation of the Word of God into the heart language of the people!

ANNUAL EVENTS

Though the results of a Bible translation ministry are surely glorious, the work requires marathon-like perseverance in the daily grind. We continue to invest in resources and personnel to increase the quality and efficiency of our work. Each year in August we have our Consultant Seminar (see picture above) and BI Annual Meeting. This year we had around 26 prospective and current consultants for the seminar, which I am responsible for putting together. This time we invited Dr. Robert Bell from Bob Jones University to teach us more about various Old Testament issues.

We also shared best practices so we could learn from one another about how to do our work even better. I did a presentation on “Literacy in Biblical Times” and “Streamlining the Translation Process” as well. The latter presentation required that I do a significant amount of research on our past work to gain proper historical perspective on our current practices. I noticed that it takes us an average of 13 years to complete a New Testament and 17.5 years to complete the Old Testament. By God’s grace I hope to reduce those numbers to nine years and 15 years, respectively. Please PRAY with me that we would have the wisdom to know how to make our process more efficient.

For three days after the seminar, we met at a local retreat center for our Annual Meeting. It was another blessed time together of reporting, praying, worshipping, and playing together.

WRAPPING UP 2014

I spent five weeks after those two events reporting to churches and visiting non-supporting churches in Pennsylvania. I heard positive indications of new support from these new churches, and I saw a family take me on for monthly support. PRAISE the Lord for good meetings and answered prayer! PRAY for the remaining $300 per month to come in soon.

In late October I’ll be leading a checking workshop on the Tok Pisin New Testament in Papua New Guinea. Then at the end of November I’ll go to Haiti for a checking workshop on the Haitian Creole Old Testament in Haiti. PRAY for success in these workshops!

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The Bible app YouVersion just uploaded their 1,000th Bible version onto their app! They have the Bible available in 700 different languages (apparently there are multiple versions in various languages). You can read the announcement here. You can read the story about the people who received this 1,000th version here (though probably most Hdi people would have limited access to the app, since app usage is limited in Africa, though cell phone usage isn’t). Hdi, a language group in Cameroon, is a good illustration of the translation process as I explain it to churches: church planting (begun in the 1970s), language learning and translation work (begun in 1987), and then the NT dedicated in Dec. 2013. A long, complicated process, but well worth it! Through the power of the Word of God, the Hdi people came to understand what true love is all about!

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I arrived home on Monday night after a 10-hour drive from central PA. Yesterday was a day to catch up after being away for 6 weeks. I had jetlag-like symptoms, sleeping almost 9 hours and then running out of energy by 9 PM. I’m so thankful to be home. I was reading yesterday morning about Ezra’s account of his return to Jerusalem with his company of people. He spoke of God’s good hand upon him that brought him safely home. I could rejoice in God’s good hand in bringing me safely home. I went in and out of a couple of rain showers, but otherwise, the trip was rather uneventful.

As I look back over the trip, I can rejoice in all of God’s blessings. I was able to speak 22 times in 11 different churches. In addition to speaking at a new consultant’s commissioning service in NY, I reported to 5 supporting churches, and I got to re-present my ministry to 5 other churches that I had visited during deputation 5 years ago. Two of those churches spoke very positively about future support. In fact, in one of the churches, the pastor recommended me to the church even before I got up to speak for the first time. How encouraging! I’m thankful for the great time I had with the believers at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Mechanicsburg. They have two worship services on Sunday mornings because of the size of the congregation and the limited seating. I’m thankful that the Lord gave me the strength to preach the same sermon twice in one morning (with a break in between for SS). It was interesting to see how the Holy Spirit led me to emphasize different things in each sermon. It’s exciting to sense the Lord working in that way!

On an earthly note, I was able to buy a few things at their school auction to benefit the ministry (no other motivation, of course!). One was a framed poster of Michael Jordan’s “Last Shot” in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. It was the last shot of the game (to win the game) and his last shot before retiring (for the first time). it was their sixth and final championship of the Jordan era. My family lived in the Chicago area from 1984 to 1998, and we loved watching all the playoff games. As one friend noted, we were so biased toward the Bulls that we turned down the volume on the TV so we could listen to the commentators on the local radio station!

Please pray for new support to actually come. In spite of being low in support since around February, I overviewed the first 8 months of this year and noticed that giving into my account has exceeded my needs each month. God is good!

Now I get a little over 3 weeks to catch up from being away and also to get ready for my trip to PNG at the end of the month. Pray for grace to do both and not to get anxious when things aren’t falling into place!

Pray also for our annual Harvest Banquet that will take place next week on Thursday. We are really pleading for God’s blessing upon the night as we are trying to raise funds for a translation center in Myanmar. Costs are skyrocketing over there, so we need to secure a place where we can meet without facing increasing housing expenses. We also need something that is more adequate for our work than what we currently have. Our goal is to find a place that can handle multiple workshops at the same time as well as house visiting consultants.

On a language note, you may be interested in learning here why English has become the dominant language in science.

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