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Archive for November, 2014

Yes, I did return from Papua New Guinea over a week ago, but life has been pretty crazy since then. The first day back is when I try to start getting caught up on life, so that’s what happened a week from Monday. But then Tuesday and Wednesday I spent most of the day sleeping, trying to get over a flu (probably got it on one of the planes). When I finally got back into the office on Thursday, I was pretty stressed out, because I knew I have only 2 weeks to get ready for another workshop in Haiti, but I’m calming down now as I see progress on my preparations.

The workshop didn’t seem very promising at first. The team was supposed to send at least 15 chapters a month before the workshop, but they sent only 11, and they were submitted late. I was very close to cancelling the workshop, but I decided to proceed, assuming they would send more before the workshop, as they had promised. Well, no more chapters ever came. What helped things get started off wrongly in PNG was that they weren’t waiting for me at the airport, but that’s partly because I was 15 minutes early. But when they still didn’t show up at 9:30 am, I decided to take a taxi. It didn’t help that I arrived on Sunday morning, when the only vehicle is used to taxi people to church. Monday wasn’t a whole lot better, because 2 of the 3 translators never showed up. One had to spend all day securing permission to miss work for the entire 2 weeks. That was in question, so we are thankful that he did get that permission.

We were finally able to start with all three translators on Tuesday morning. We ended up working 4.5 days that week and 5 days the next week. In the previous two workshops we covered 8 chapters and 12 respectively, but those 12 chapters in the last workshop actually included a reworking of 6 chapters that were supposedly covered in the first workshop. It takes a while for the translators to get rolling well down the right tracks, so we expect slow starts for new projects. But this one seems to be going even slower than normal. So, I was very thankful when we covered 13.5 chapters in this workshop! God answered prayer! We should cover 130 verses per day in a book like Matthew. On most days we covered around 30, but on one day we covered 81! I have hope now that this project can eventually get up to the right speed!

Another of my goals was to determine what was slowing the project down. It was partly due to the translators not following correct methodology in their work. Another was that the administrative committee was not holding any meetings. And another was that the Read-and-Review Committee was checking every verse when they met, when they were supposed to check every verse on their own and then just bring questions to the meeting. We expect new projects to not always be doing things correctly, because there are a lot of methodology details to learn at the beginning. But pray that the team will now have all the details down and that they will become second-nature.

A fourth translator showed up at the beginning of the last week. His story is incredible, though quite normal for PNG. Here it is:

No one had heard from Reuben for months for some reason. But as we talked about him during the first Wed of the workshop, he texted Alois at that very moment. We told him the workshop was presently ongoing and that he should come right away so we could find out his situation. He said he had no money and that he couldn’t borrow from anyone because they were undergoing tribal warfare. A man had died in his tribe, so the people accused another tribe of exercising sorcery and causing the death. So, they killed the sorcerer and burned down many of their houses. Reuben’s tribe was then waiting for this other tribe to retaliate and burn their houses. Reuben had transferred his family away from the area and slept in the house by himself. He hardly slept because he was wondering if the enemies would come at night. If so, he would throw his valuable things (knife, shovel, spade) into the bushes and then run and hide as he watched them burn his house down. He said the other men stay in a hausman together as they supposedly stand guard but in reality just play cards as the women bring food and drink to them. If you don’t stay with them, then they expect you to give money. They excuse Reuben because he is a pastor. He doesn’t want to stay with them because they do all sorts of wicked things, including sorcery (calling down curses on the other tribe, etc.)

Pray for continued preparations for the Haiti workshop. We will be covering most of Numbers. The workshop begins on Monday!

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