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Archive for September, 2017

I just completed the painful process of saying goodbye to my family, and now I’m waiting for my first plane toward my destination in Asia. Thankfully, I’ll have only one layover, and then a 14-hour flight to my final destination. This week will actually be mostly a “blank week,” since what I had planned for the week got cancelled. Since that’s the case, I have time to catch up on work and sleep, and also do some site-seeing, which is what I said I would do when I applied for the visa. (It was too expensive to reschedule my itinerary.)

Though I will enjoy doing some tourism, the real fun begins at the end of the week when I fly out to another country in the region to visit a supporting church. These people live in a very poor country, but yet they still send money from time to time, and they pray regularly for us. It’s actually a very expensive ordeal for me to visit them, but well worth it to meet people who have been supporting us sight-unseen. We’ll finally get to fellowship together, and I’ll get to thank them in person for their support to us. I also get to minister the Word with the hopes of being a blessing to them. I just wish my family could have come with me! Maybe another time when our son is fully immunized and ready to travel to such tropical climates.

Then I return to the first country to prepare for a NT dedication. Though I’ve been doing this work for over 10 years, I’ve never been to a dedication of our translations. So, needless to say, I’m very excited to go! Again, I wish my family were with me to enjoy this special moment. The translator is a national, but it’s not his native tongue, so he’s considered a cross-cultural translator. He moved up to live among the people in 1991, and he’s spent his life energies since then learning the language and giving the gospel. Translation work began soon after he got there, so it’s been around 24 years since the work has been in process. Finally, these people will have the complete NT in their hands! I get to preach to them and give a prayer of dedication of the newly published NTs. What a privilege!

I hope I’ll be able to encourage them to get on the right course of an effective use of the Scriptures. As I’ve already posted on my blog, we are working through Scripture Use issues at BI, so this is my opportunity to try to preempt future problems with Scripture use. Here are some issues that sometimes arise after translations are put into use:

  1. Church leaders may refuse to humble themselves to learn how to read their language publicly (they learned in a majority language).
  2. Church leaders may not know how to show the relevance of the Scriptures to the people’s daily lives.
  3. Men may feel that learning to read is for women and children.
  4. Women may feel that it’s the man’s job to read, while she does housework.
  5. The people have a low view in general about written material.
  6. The people may develop a negative attitude toward their own language.
  7. Speakers of another dialect may not want to read in the chosen dialect.
  8. Church leaders may not raise awareness about the published translation, or they may not make the translation easily available.
  9. The laypeople may not want to sacrifice time and money to get their own copy of the Scriptures.
  10. The laypeople may get dissatisfied with carrying two books to church, if they only have a NT in their language.
  11.    The people may not be pleased with the format of the translation—number of columns, font size, etc.
  12.    The people may not like the orthography that has been developed.
  13.    The people may not like the terms that were chosen for key concepts in the Scriptures.
  14.    Translators may fall into sin, casting a shadow on the translation they helped produce.
  15.    Churches may become estranged from the ones associated with the translation project.

Pray that God would help these people overcome these challenges to Scripture use, and pray that the Lord would use me to help them get on the right track. Pray also for the cross-cultural translator as he continues to work with the people concerning Scripture Use and works toward starting the OT in a few years.

I’ve spoken of leaving my family behind a few times in this post. I think this calls for another picture of us. This one was taken in Shipshewana a few weeks ago.

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We were planning on going down to Charleston, SC, for a missions banquet at a supporting church, but the Lord decided to change those plans by sending Hurricane Irma. Thankfully, our friends in Charleston were not greatly affected by the hurricane, but we couldn’t have predicted the Wed before. So, that meant we weren’t leaving that Thurs but instead would stay home. That meant I got a week and a half of my life given back, because we would have been quite busy during the entire trip. What do you do when you are given your life back?

Well, we had worked so hard to get things done before the trip that we had nothing pressing to do last Saturday. Since my mom’s bday was coming up (Sept 13), we decided to celebrate it with her by an all-day trip to Shipshewana. We capped that off with a surprise stop at a church in the area, because the pastor helped me purchase a new porch swing frame for my mom. She was quite pleased to see it waiting for her. I didn’t realize how much that swing meant to her until she sent a thank-you. It’s the one that she had at her home in SC, so she spent much family time (with all of us) on it and did her devotions on it after my dad died. Now she can use it in her new home in MI!

I also got to spend lots of quality time with my wife and my son. Here are some of our favorite recent pics.

What I didn’t expect is that though I had 7 work days given back, I still got behind in emails! I had my urgent emails down to around 5, so I thought I could chip away at the 70 non-urgent ones. But instead, I couldn’t even keep up with the new emails that came my way. Thankfully, I’ve been able to get the number back down to 10, but that’s with writing 30-40 emails a day. I can’t imagine how far behind I’d be if I didn’t have those 7 working days given back! When I fly to Asia for two weeks, I’ll definitely get behind, because I’ll be doing a lot of traveling from place to place: 2 days to get there, half a day to fly to another country, half day to fly upcountry, half day to drive down-country, half a day to fly back to the first country, overnight bus trip upcountry, overnight bus down-country, half day flight to another location in the same country, and then almost 2 days to fly back home. Lots of traveling, but also lots of good ministry opportunities! I’m actually a little fearful of the safety in the second country, so pray for safety and protection!

With 2 days of training next week and 1 day of work meetings (constitution and Admin Group), I’ll be quite busy throughout the rest of the week. Then it’s two weeks in Asia, so don’t expect any blog posts until mid-October.

Pray for good meetings at Bible Baptist in Wakarusa, IN, tomorrow. We are excited to get back to this church, which is our newest supporter.

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September Prayer Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

At BI’s Annual Meeting, we had the privilege of hearing Dr. Les Ollila challenge our hearts. God has given him a way of putting thoughts into memorable phrases. In one sermon, he reflected on God’s call on Moses and how Moses tried to dodge his mission by bringing up excuses. But, as Dr. Ollila pointed, “You don’t say ‘I can’t’ to ‘I AM.’” When God calls, He equips because He’s the ever-present One who comes alongside to strengthen us!

BEGINNING AND ENDING LIFE

 

There have been significant challenges while getting used to our new little family member, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Eliyas has brought so much joy into our lives! He just passed the three-month mark, so he’s sleeping through the night without a need for food, and he’s responding more and more to us. We considered taking him to Asia with us in late September, but then we decided to wait on an overseas trip until he gets more vaccines. His passport should arrive soon, and then we’ll begin making plans to travel with him in November. Meanwhile, I’ll travel alone to Asia in September & October. PRAY for preparations for this trip: a New Testament dedication (my first!), strategic planning, and ministering in churches.

Eliyas is just beginning his life course, but a dear consultant, Ross Hodsdon, completed his on August 6. After translating a New Testament in Brazil, he joined BI and traveled to 14 different countries, working with 21 different languages. Twenty-three of BI’s publications have his fingerprints all over them, and countless missionaries have been deeply affected by his life, not to mention the thousands of other souls. What an amazing legacy he leaves behind! His translation work lives on! PRAY for his wife Cathy and the rest of the family as they mourn his loss and adjust to life without him.

SUPPORT ALMOST COMPLETE

Thanks to Bible Baptist Church in Wakarusa, IN, our support now stands at 98%. Indications are that our support will be completed in September. PRAISE God! We have one more church trip for this year in September: Charleston, SC, and then Wakarusa (with a stop-over at BJU and Mt. Calvary Baptist). We PRAISE God with you that He gave us safety and good ministry at six churches in Quebec and two in the US in the summer.

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(Picture: We visited Ross & Cathy in Maine in July.)

MINISTRY

We still await BMM’s input regarding BI’s new constitution. We actually hope to get everything settled this month and have it ratified in November. Please PRAY!

I PRAISE God for answering your prayers about wisdom as I prepared various presentations (a long article for India about the philosophy and methodology of Bible translation, a presentation about literacy in Bible times for the Bible Faculty Summit in WV, and others) and led the Consultant Seminar. God really blessed the seminar, with four attendees seriously planning on joining someday. We also had good discussions about Scripture Use (SU) and other topics. PRAY for God to send us personnel to help with our SU plans. Please check out my blog if you are an interested candidate yourself. We still need a new director as well as project coordinators.

PRAY for God’s blessing on our Harvest Dinner on October 19. We will be highlighting our newest translation projects. PRAY also for our overseas trip to Eurasia, Ukraine, and Chad (Troy only to Africa) later this year. We look forward to introducing Eliyas to Oksana’s family and friends and also getting lots of work done.

For the sake of Christ,

Troy (for the three of us)

 

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