Archive for February, 2016

Oksana continues to work at the Translator Training Manual in Russian. She got through the chapter on translation philosophy, so hopefully the rest will move more quickly. It’s not easy to find the Russian equivalents to “formal equivalence,” “discourse structure,” “kernel sentence,” etc. There are plenty of technical words in the rest of the manual, but there is not as high of a concentration of them as there is in the philosophy chapter.

I continue to prepare for the Haitian Creole OT workshop that starts on Tuesday. I have finished preparation for Judges and 1 Samuel 1-6. I have fallen behind a few chapters, since I haven’t always been able to keep up with studying 4 chapters a day (because of many other matters that come up during the week), but I’m thankful that I’m making steady progress.

Since Oksana and I have gotten married, we have watched our support steadily increase. In fact, it went up 15% since we got married. But recently when BMM and I studied recent giving, we discovered that it has dipped down a little bit, such that we now have 78% of our support. We trust God will raise it back up higher and higher when we go to churches beginning in mid-March. We are also thankful that two churches gave large gifts earlier in the month to help us with the shortfall of monthly support. God is so gracious! Our immediate goal is to get out of deficit spending (our current expenses are $140 higher than our committed support). God will provide, as He always has!

I am also thankful that the missions conference at our church, that I am coordinating, is coming together well. Basically, all of the missionaries (3) and speakers (5) have submitted information for the conference booklet and “passport” for the kids. My mom and others are working on preparations for the social events. Now, we speakers just need to put together our messages. Please pray!

We are thankful that my mom’s move to our area went well. Many friends came to help her move her stuff into her condo. She’s been living with us, though, as she waits for her condo to be transformed into the “condo of her dreams.” Oksana and I are thankful to have her cheerful spirit and servant’s heart with us.

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February is proving to be a very busy month for both Oksana and me. She’s revising the Russian translation of our new Translator Training Manual, which I taught through in Eurasia in June for the first time. Our old manual was too based upon the English language and English versions and helps, so I had to write a new one for that workshop. I praise God for helping me pull together 120 pages of material in time for that workshop. I drew heavily from the old manual, but I also used manuals of other organizations to supplement what our old manual lacked. What was the most enjoyable part of the process was that I also added knowledge that I have gained through the past 8 years of being mentored and doing translation work myself. I’m thankful to God that we now have a manual that’s more comprehensive than the previous one and that should be a very good tool for translators. It was translated into Russian for the translators in Eurasia, but Oksana is finding that it needs much revision. Usually she can only do 1-2 pages per day. Pray for her, as the translators need this tool soon.

I, on the other hand, have been preparing for the Haitian Creole workshop, that starts on Feb. 23. We hope to cover all 52 chapters of Judges and 1 Samuel. So far, I have prepared for 9 chapters of Judges, so I have 41 chapters left! I need to do 3-4 chapters per day until the workshop starts, and then 1 chapter each evening during the workshop. Pray for me to make good progress but also to not miss anything.

As if that weren’t enough work, I also need to keep up with emails. Currently, I have 32 emails waiting for me in my “action urgent” folder and 35 in my “read urgent” folder. Plus, there are always the new emails that have yet to come. On an average day I send 30-40 emails. Some take just a few minutes to read and respond to, but others take half an hour or more.

Then, in all my free time, I’m trying to coordinate a missions conference at our church, that will take place during the weekend at the end of the Haitian Creole workshop. I have to do lots of emails for that as well. Plus, I am speaking 3 times on the last day of the conference. I’m thankful that my mom is staying with us this month so that she can help us bear the burden of this month. Pray for us!

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I’ve been very delinquent in my blog posts! I apologize to those who read my blog regularly and have been disappointed to find nothing since Dec. 17. Life has been pretty crazy since then, but I’m sure I could have carved out a few minutes if I really wanted to.

The last half of December was somewhat of a blur primarily because of Oksana’s miscarriage. We found out on December 14 that she lost the baby. We met with an Ob-Gyn doctor on December 17 to find out that Oksana needed to have a surgical procedure done to clean out her body. Oksana had an ultrasound done on December 21 and were told that she may have had a molar pregnancy. Surgery was set for the 23rd. It was not an easy day, especially when I heard an emergency call while waiting for her in the waiting room. The call said “emergency response team needed!” Thankfully, I found out when I went to see her that the team was not needed for her!

After they tested the tissue from the surgery, they determined that she definitely had had a partial molar pregnancy. Our hearts were heavy, because we thought that meant no more children and also the possibility of cancer.

Oksana’s first few days after the surgery went well as she progressively got better. We had a very enjoyable Christmas together–our first Christmas as a married couple. But then she started feeling worse and worse over the weekend. By Monday, Dec. 29, it became clear that she needed to be taken to the emergency room. Apparently, not all of the tissue had come out, so her body was fighting to get rid of it by bleeding it out. It was not easy to see my wife suffering as she was. Plus, we were both concerned about what it might mean. To top it all off, the weather was terrible that Monday night–howling winds, snow-covered roads, and a wintery mix coming down. The snow plows weren’t able to keep up with the precipitation. People had been let out of work early to avoid the danger, and here I had to drive d0wntown in the midst of it! But thankfully, we arrived safely.

The ER personnel were able to get Oksana stabilized and comfortable, and the doctor who visited us assured us that everything was OK. The surgery took place early the next morning, and by late morning we were on our way home.

Oksana began recovering quite well again. In fact, she had such little bleeding that we wondered if that were a bad sign. We met with the surgeon the following Monday and found out that everything seemed to be going as it should. We had been concerned that we wouldn’t be able to leave for Ukraine the following Tuesday, January 5, but the doctor assured us that the second surgery was quite successful. So, we headed to Ukraine on January 5!

While in Ukraine, she saw many of the doctors that she had seen in the past. She also got blood tests done to make sure her HCG level was dropping, and she got an MRI and a few other things done. The quality of the care in Ukraine is quite good, and the costs are only a fraction of what they are in the USA. It was an extremely busy vacation for us, especially for Oksana, but we are thankful that we got almost all medical things done. We’ll need to follow up with other appointments here in the US.

On January 16, we flew to a country in Eurasia for a workshop, and we had a “scare” happen only a few days later. Oksana began bleeding again, causing us to wonder if we’d need to seek out help in this foreign country where we knew very few people. That night, though, Oksana and I turned it over to the Lord, and then we asked the translators to pray the next morning. The Lord healed her body and gave her such peace that she almost forgot she had anything to be concerned about. Praise God!

(After we returned to the US on Sunday, she had a blood test done. On Tuesday we received a very welcomed phone call–her HCG level had dropped to the normal level, indicating that she doesn’t have cancer. What a blessing!)

This allowed us to focus on the workshop. The first half of the workshop was taken up with a linguistic study of the target language. I had to study a related language in the region, which is extremely complicated, but the Lord gave me grace to understand both how that language works and how the target language works–to some extent. I would ask them about a particularly syntactical issue and then we would look at examples in the translated text they had completed. Then, I would write down my observations. This language has no books written in it, so the written form is not standardized at all. In fact, at the workshop we were trying to finalize what letters they want in their alphabet. It was exciting to help this language group standardize their language so that they can eventually have a quality NT translation. Seeing God’s grace enable me to help them was confirmation to me that I’m right where God wants me to be.

And seeing how God enabled Oksana to help me with her Russian translation was confirmation that God had brought to me the right girl to be my wife. It was my first time to do this type of workshop, and I found that it works better to explain the concept I wanted to teach to Oksana first before she could translate it bit by bit to the team. Normally, when I use an interpreter, I just do sentence by sentence, but that doesn’t work so well for this type of workshop. Oksana’s knowledge of Russian grammar really helped me too. And sometimes, when we were working through the biblical text, she would see something I had missed. What a blessing to see God’s infinite wisdom in leading Oksana and me to each other and to this project!

It was also confirmation for the translation team. They really enjoyed studying the linguistics and grammar of their language, and they appreciated greatly knowing how their language works from a technical viewpoint. They assured me that it would help them produce a better translation. They also expressed great appreciation for having chosen BI to help them with their project. Praise God!

Now I have only 3 weeks to prepare for a Haitian Creole workshop, which will take place here at the BI office. But I also need to catch up from weeks of being overseas or at home trying to help my wife while also getting ready for the Eurasia workshop.

Pray also for my church’s missions conference in early March, especially since I’m the coordinator. The conference begins the day that the Haitian Creole workshop ends. It’s going to be a busy month!

BTW, I thank God for leading Grand Valley Baptist Church to become our sending church. This happened while we were in Eurasia. They will also start supporting us monthly. We are also thrilled that Calvary Baptist Church in Clymer, PA, decided to start supporting us, and my former home church in SC, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, increased their monthly support. We now have 81% of our needed support. We have 17 meetings this year, 11 of which are at non-supporting churches, so we pray the remaining support will come in this year.

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