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Archive for September, 2016

Recently, a pastor asked me if it’s truly worth the many years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars to help a small language group get the Word of God into their heart language? He wasn’t asking because he doubted the legitimacy of our ministry, but he was asking an honest question that we at BI need to be able to answer.

As I’ve thought about the question more, I came up with these responses:

  1. We need to be where God is working. If God is working among a language group, then Bible translators need to be there after people are converted and churches are planted. People don’t need a translation in their heart language in order to get saved (e.g., a few churches are in existence in Eurasia because a missionary took the gospel to them and preached through an interpreter), but believers and churches cannot grow without good access to the Word of God. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
  2. We must go where He sends us. If God gives clear indications that He wants us to work with a particular language group, who are we to resist? We do lots of prayerful research before we choose to adopt a language.
  3. We should put ourselves in their shoes. If we were a speaker of a small language group and we were believers with no good access to the Word of God, would we think it justifiable to skip us because our language group is too small to work with? The Ranglong group in India have only a little over 8,000 speakers, but clearly they are receiving our translation well. We just printed a trial edition of Genesis as we work on the OT, and this is what we heard one lady say about getting that book in her own language: “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.”  Should we ignore these believers who have such a hunger for God’s Word? (You can read more about the Ranglong story here.)
  4. We cannot underestimate the potential of small groups. The two groups we are working with in Cote d’Ivoire number 13,000 and 55,000 speakers. The translation work started in the mid-1970s and the NTs were completed in 1982 and 1992. But our literacy efforts were brutally interrupted by two civil wars. Many believers survived the wars and continued following Christ in spite of significant obstacles. Now they have a vision to reach their entire country for Christ. Why wouldn’t we want to come alongside them to help? We restarted our work among them last year.

There are probably other reasons why we should work among such small language groups, but these are sufficient to keep me motivated to persevere the many years of work to complete our translations. May God help us!

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I just realized that I never updated our “where are we?” page for August. Here’s what happened (and why we didn’t have time) last month and the beginning of this month:

Aug 3-13: hosted an intern

Aug 9-16: led the BI Consultant Seminar (which includes activities almost every evening)

Aug 17-19: BI Annual Retreat

Aug 20-Sept 3: Metanoia NT workshop

Sept 3-14: vacation in Ukraine

Sept 18: Calvary Baptist Church, Westminster, MD

Now I will update our blog for the rest of this month and October.

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Dear Family and Friends,

In Jay Adam’s A Theology of Christian Counseling, my current counseling book to read, he points out the seriousness of the accusation “That isn’t fair!” that counselees often make. It’s tempting to say such words when we don’t understand how good things can happen to bad people and vice versa. But with this accusation the counselee is “challenging the justice of God and the faithfulness of His Word.” It also demonstrates “a clear lack of faith.” As believers, we must trust God and accept by faith what He says about how He will reward good and punish wickedness.

PROGRESS AND LOSS

The month of July began with Oksana attending (with me at her side) BMM’s Candidate Seminar. We enjoyed the fellowship and learning at the week and a half of orientation, and we are rejoicing that Oksana now has “appointee” status. Eventually, we’ll both be commissioned by our new church in Grand Rapids, and she’ll then have full missionary status. PRAY as we continue to seek monthly support, which is currently at 81%. PRAISE Him for the 1% increase!

During the seminar, Oksana’s dad had some sort of mild heart attack. He refused to get medical help, and passed away a few weeks later. He most likely died in the same spiritual state he was in throughout his life—a hardened atheist. Oksana wasn’t able to make it to Ukraine for the funeral, but she got to visit his grave when we stopped in Ukraine after the Metanoia NT workshop. PRAY for her and her family as they now deal with the loss of two loved ones—her nephew and her dad. PRAY especially that Oksana’s brother-in-law will turn from alcohol and false religion and run to Christ.

ANNUAL EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

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In August, I led another Consultant Seminar, which was probably the most well-attended since I began leading in 2007. Current consultants, prospective consultants, and others enjoyed our focus on dictionary-making and literacy. It does no good for us to publish the Scriptures if the recipients can’t read, and one thing that encourages literacy is having a dictionary in the target language. PRAY for wisdom to put into practice all we learned. PRAISE God for my mom’s leadership over all the food service. Next year our new administrative assistant, Becky Holub, will be in charge. PRAISE God for His provision of a new assistant!

After the seminar, we enjoyed three days at the annual BI Retreat. We are thankful for the emphasis on living by faith. On October 20, we’ll have our annual BI Harvest Dinner, which will focus on our Chad and Central African Republic projects. PRAY for a good offering.

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The day after the retreat, Oksana and I flew to Eurasia for another Metanoia NT workshop. We checked James, 1-3 John, and Mark 1:35-3:22. I’m so thankful for Oksana’s significant aid as my Russian interpreter. PRAY that God will provide more funds for her to go again in January (designate gifts to “Troy Manning—Passage”), which we need until we get full support. PRAY for better progress on this project too and for the health of the two translators.

PRAY for the Haitian Creole OT translator to finish enough material for us to have a workshop in November. He’s been struggling with electricity outages in Haiti.

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

 

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