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Archive for April, 2015

I’m at the midpoint of my two months at home and am thoroughly enjoying it. It took me about three weeks, but I finally got caught up on projects at home, after having 5 months in a row of hectic activity. I’ve also been able to get many things done in the office. The past two weekends I enjoyed blessed ministry at two different churches, which are actually quite the contrasts. Heritage Baptist Church in downtown New York City is in the midst of a fast-paced, bustling city. Faith Baptist Church, on the other hand, is in the midst of farm land and the slow-paced life of rural midwest America. Heritage has people from all different ethnic groups, while Faith is almost all Caucasian. Heritage has inter-ethnic marriages and people of all different age categories, while Faith is made up of mature, stable couples. But both are the same in that they are made up of people who are redeemed by the grace of God and are sincerely focused on worshipping God in spirit and in truth. I was honored to speak at a singles seminar, Sun AM worship, and then on the radio for Heritage, and then I took all 3 speaking slots yesterday at Faith. Praise God for these lighthouses of Truth!

I’m still marveling at how quickly the Lord allowed my petition for Oksana’s visa to be approved. I was just about to lay down for my Sunday afternoon nap in New York City a week from yesterday when I decided to check my email one more time. In it I found that the lawyer informed us that the visa petition had been approved the Wednesday before. I had to go back and check my notes to make sure I understood which stage should probably take 3-8 months. When I realized it was the petition stage, I counted the days and realized it took us only 2.5 weeks! I emailed the lawyer the next day to ask her how unusual it was for a petition to be granted so quickly. She verified that it was definitely a record! Praise God! Oksana and I were greatly encouraged by this event. Now what seemed like a remote possibility (uncertainty about whether or not we’d even get a visa) has become a much closer reality. If the visa granting stage takes only 1-3 months, as we have been told, we might even be able to get married in late-July or early-August. I have a very busy summer of activities, but when I heard the war in Ukraine is escalating again, I decided I need to do all I can to get Oksana out of that country before it’s too late. Please pray with us!

Now that I’m only a month away from the two upcoming workshops, it’s time to turn the corner and start focusing on them. I’m going to begin devoting half days to preparation for both of them. Pray especially as I figure out how to conduct translator training in a Russian-speaking context.

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When I was in India, I was able to hear excellent reports from the three Ranglong men about how well our NT and trial edition of Genesis are being received. I thought I’d share with you now (since I have better internet here than in Inda) what I wrote to a co-worker:

Three Ranglong (translator and two RRC) showed up this evening in preparation for working with Connie and her team. It was so encouraging to hear their comments on how well the work is progressing. They also said that almost all of the NTs are now gone, and they are hoping we have more back at the BI office. Do we? They have only 2 office copies remaining. (One man had his special copy stolen—he was on the NT RRC.)

What has happened first is that the Ranglong have increased from around 7,000 to 8,300. Also, literacy is up to 60%. In addition, a Catholic priest said that our translation is good and to be preferred over the [other] translation (that was published before ours). Apparently, the [other] translation is full of mistakes—missing verses, spelling, etc. It is the NT with Psalms, and they want to do the OT. So, since everyone is preferring ours, the Ranglong believers went from not being sure how to sell the remaining NTs to not having any more left. The [other] NT sells for 10 rupees and is still not selling, while ours sold for 50.

The people are very anxious to have the full Bible. In fact, one lady asked the translator if she will have her copy by Christmas. One lady said, “Oh the Christians who have not been able to read these stories [in Genesis], I feel sorry for them.” Another man forgot to go to work because he was so captivated by his reading of Genesis. Fame and I encouraged them to write these and other stories down, so they will do that. We also encouraged them to take pictures.

One of the three men worked with Henry Osborn on the NT—in fact, he’s one of the translators in the picture on the wall in the meeting room. This is his first time in the BIIS office, and he didn’t know his picture is on the wall (they were asking about Henry Osborn, Ada Temple, Warren Faber, Bernard Northrup). He is the first college graduate among the Ranglong. He was transferred to an area far from the project, so he has not been able to help for 12 years. But he was able to transfer back a few years ago, so now he’s the head of the Sponsorship Committee. He’s a school administrator and said rather sheepishly that he sometimes goes into the classrooms and uses the Ranglong NT to preach the Word of God for 5-10 minutes. He’s not a pastor but clearly has a heart for the Lord.

The men said the RRC meets basically every night except Sunday to help review the translation. They are clearly excited about getting this work done! They have as their goal to finish everything by 2021. They know this is quite ambitious, but they want to try. They have already finished 19 OT books. The translator, Peter, doesn’t know what it is that changed the people from not being as excited about the Scriptures in Ranglong to be as excited as they are now. It’s obvious God is at work!

I suggested that maybe they can do a printing soon of NT with Psa/Prov, so we will be discussing the options soon. Clearly, we need to think about printing something else while waiting for the OT to be completed.

Praise God for how He’s working among the Ranglong!

Pray as I fly to New York City tomorrow for a singles seminar at Pastor Matt Recker’s church, Heritage Baptist Church. I’ll be giving my testimony and then two 30-minute messages. Pray I can be a blessing to all the singles, no matter how they arrived at their single state. Pray also as I preach the Word Sunday morning and then am interviewed on the radio Sunday afternoon.

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Dear Family and Friends,

While I was in India recently, the Ranglong translator relayed what one believer said after reading the Genesis stories for the first time in her language. She exclaimed, “Oh, the believers who died before being able to read these stories, how sorry I feel for them!” This comment renewed my zeal to help other people in a similar state and revived my thankfulness for the privileges the English world has.

I’M GETTING MARRIED!

Many probably doubted this would ever happen—I did, too, at times. But now that I can see what God has caused to happen, I realize there’s no way I could have rushed this relationship with a beautiful, godly Ukrainian girl who lives 5,000 miles away from me. Pastor John Conover of Reading, PA, connected me with Oksana Novikova in May 2014. We began corresponding soon after that—first with Facebook, and then e-mail and Skype. Finally, I traveled to Ukraine in August and then again for Christmas. Throughout these months, it became apparent to both of us (and to those closest to us) that God had created us for each other. I proposed to her on February 13, and she gave an unreserved “Yes”! We submitted our petition for a fianceé visa in mid-March, so we are hopeful that the wedding can take place in late September or early October. PRAY for quick processing of the visa! The joyous ceremony will be at Victory Baptist Church in Reading, PA, since that’s where the missionary she translates for, Bruce Tuttle, is from. He has become like a father to her, so she wants him to walk her down the aisle and perform the wedding. Rejoice with me that this long-standing prayer request is finally being answered!

CÔTE D’IVOIRE

Opening Day-Troy5

I PRAISE the Lord for the safety He gave a co-worker and me in late January as we traveled to Côte d’Ivoire to meet with the Kaowlu and Neao language groups to evaluate the amount of revision work needed for their New Testaments, determine if their orthography needs updating, give assistance to their literacy program, and establish and train the committee members who would do the work. God provided the personnel and resources necessary to succeed in this very challenging trip! PRAY for the committees, as they have begun their work.

INDIA AND BANGLADESH

The Lord gave me an abundance of energy to keep up a rigorous schedule as I prepared for a consultant seminar and a translation workshop on Leviticus in Ranglong. I ended up having an overabundance of material for both events. Two Indian consultants said they thought this fourth trip of mine to India was my most profitable so far. I PRAISE the Lord for how He answered prayer! My trip to Bangladesh was cancelled due to unrest in the country.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Continue to PRAY for the strategic planning activities at Bl. We hope to finish our work by the end of April. PRAY for my preparations for a checking workshop in Haiti in mid-May and then a translator-training workshop in a Eurasian country in mid-June.

PRAISE the Lord that my support level is now at 100%! PRAY for His provision as I get married and for wisdom in determining when to begin deputation as a married couple.

For the cause of Christ,

Troy

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