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Archive for December, 2015

December Prayer Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

The “Sussex Carol” (Bramley/Stainer version) has these words that are encouraging my heart this time of year: So how on earth can men be sad, When Jesus comes to make us glad; From sin and hell to set us free, And buy for us our liberty? These words reflect the prophecy of Isaiah 9:3, which says, …You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. Jesus’ birth is truly news of great joy, because it promises a harvest of righteousness and victory over our preeminent foes. May we rejoice this Christmas season in God’s wonderful gift of salvation! Merry Christmas!

FAMILY NEWS

We had hoped to announce in this prayer letter that we are expecting a child next June, but we found out recently that the Lord has taken our child to be with Him in heaven. Please PRAY for comfort and grace as we go through this difficult trial. PRAY also for us to get wise answers to our questions.

We are thankful for the support that has come in to supply our new needs as a married couple. We currently have 76% of our support. Our short-term goal is to get out of “deficit spending” by early next year. We have 15 meetings scheduled for next year, nine of which are at non-supporting churches. We hope to add four more meetings at new churches. We look forward to our first meeting in 2016 at our home church, Grand Valley Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, MI, on January 3. We are thankful that God has brought us to this loving church family with whom we can join in worship and service to our Lord. We are also excited that my mom, Pat Manning, will also be moving to Grand Rapids to live near us and serve with us at Grand Valley.

NEXT YEAR’S WORKSHOPS

God has provided all the funds necessary for our upcoming trip to Eurasia in January, and He has given us a gift so that we can spend a few weeks of vacation in Ukraine before we start the workshop in another country. We are so thankful that Oksana and I can team up to work on this project together, and we greatly appreciate how doing this workshop also provides a way for us to visit her family and friends in Ukraine on the way for only a small fraction of what it would cost if we traveled directly from the USA. We plan on doing another Ukraine-Eurasia trip in September to do another workshop, and God has already provided $1,000 toward that trip. PRAISE Him!

It’s been exciting to see some of God’s Word already being translated for this new project, which BI is calling the “Metanoia NT.” The translators have already completed most of Mark, all of James, and 1-3 John; and they have produced an interlinear of most of these books in Russia. Oksana has been using a powerful Bible editing program to put this Russian into an English interlinear so that I can compare it with the Greek text. PRAY for wisdom as we prepare for this complicated situation. Oksana will have to function as my Russian interpreter during the workshop.

PRAY for the Haitian Creole Old Testament to be held in Grand Rapids in late February. I will also be coordinating our church’s missions conference during the weekend in the middle of the workshop, so please PRAY for preparations for that.

Continue to PRAY for wisdom as I oversee the technical aspects of our 42 projects and the 28 people in my department.

PRAY also for my administrative assistant, Terri Fiebig, who was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in October. She and her family desperately need our prayers.

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

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Preparing for Eurasia

We are thankful that though Monday was very difficult for Oksana, she’s been feeling better the rest of the week. This has allowed her to start translating the Eurasia back-translation from Russian into English. She has already finished chapters 1-2 of Mark. I’m just getting into chapter 1, so she’s got a good head-start on me.

We are thankful that a couple in PA sent us $1,000 toward our trip to Eurasia. Since we already have the amount we need, we’ll save this gift for the September trip. That means we will have very little remaining to complete the trip needs. Praise God!

On Friday I sent in the paperwork for the visa for the Eurasia trip. It took me around 2.5 hours to enter all the information on the internet, print out the necessary documents, collect everything into an envelope, get a cashier’s check, and mail it at the FedEx office downtown. This is my first time having to do it myself, and I learned many things that will make the next time easier. Terri Fiebig, my former administrative assistant, used to help me with these things. But she hasn’t been at the office since mid-October because of her pancreatic cancer. We greatly miss her, but we don’t expect she’ll be able to come back to work again. Pray for grace and strength for her and her husband and family as they endure this very difficult trial. She’s currently undergoing chemo treatments.

I had to report for jury duty on Tuesday. Thankfully, my number didn’t get called, but I still had to sit through 3.5 hours of training and selection. I need to keep calling each week to see if I’m needed for that week. The BI Admin Group is supposed to work on Strategic Planning Mon and Tues, so pray I won’t be called in next week.

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I knew I had been procrastinating in posting anything on my blog, but I didn’t realize it’s been almost a month. So sorry! You would think I was the one who has been suffering from headaches and morning sickness, but I haven’t. Oksana has, so please pray for her!

I have been working on deputation, though. We currently have 74% of our support, and I’ve been connecting with various pastors to get more meetings. So far, we have 14 meeting next year, 8 of which are at non-supporting churches. I have 5 more slots to fill until we will have completed our schedule for next year.

I’ve also been studying various languages as I prepare for the upcoming workshop in Eurasia. Because of the sensitive nature of this project, I can’t give too many details, but I will say that in addition to studying the Russian alphabet, I also compared the alphabets of three other languages, since this project has influences from them. Thankfully, they use the Roman script, but they also have some characters that we don’t use in English. I just added a new language keyboard to my keyboard options (I already had English, French, Greek, Hebrew, and Russian.)

Oksana and I have already been analyzing some texts of this language. They sent us a short sermon, so we could get a feel for the language and analyze how it works. Oksana has noticed that their Russian knowledge is not extremely solid, so they make small mistakes here and there. Doing consultant checking of their work is going to be quite complicated, but I think the Lord has shown me the path forward today. Someone over there will take their translation into Russian, and then Oksana will take it from Russian into English. We are using ParaTExt for this project, and it has a powerful interlinearizer tool that will help us with both steps. At the beginning this tool will not be able to guess the renderings very well, so we’ll have to type them in. But as we teach the program the correct words, it will get more accurate in guessing. I saw one older project in Benin where this tool guessed at a 90% accuracy rate. And as I learn Russian better, things will get even easier. But until then, it’s going to be slow moving on this project, so we need your prayers!

We are thankful for these 2 months at home, partly because it’s allowing us to get settled in well at our new church, Grand Valley Baptist. If all goes well, we hope to join on December 20, and we will be presenting our ministry with the hopes of support from them on January 3.

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