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Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh’

Dear Family and Friends,

For my Marriage and Family counseling course I’m taking, I decided to read Douglas Wilson’s Fidelity. I really appreciate his direct and comprehensive treatment of various sexual issues that men today battle with. In one place he says, “God does not place His children in situations where faithfulness to Him is impossible.” I had to remind myself of that truth while I was single, and still do, even now as a married man, especially when I travel by myself. A good read for any man!

TRAVELING AS A FAMILY AND SOLO

Eliyas’ world travels actually began in July when we took him to Canada; but now he’s been to Eurasia and Ukraine. I estimate he’s had large exposure to six different languages already in his first six months of life. Who knows which ones will come out of his mouth?! We are just thankful that he’s adjusting to every circumstance with wide-eyed curiosity and contentment (for the most part). We are thankful that the Lord enabled Oksana and me to conduct the Metanoia workshop, even though we also had to look after Eliyas’ needs. Continue to PRAY for the Metanoia church as they deal with persecution.

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I had to go to Bangladesh and another Asian country by myself in October. It was a grueling trip of many flights, overnight bus trips, and other discomforts, so it was probably just as well I was solo. I had the privilege of participating in my first dedication, the dedication of the Inner Seraji NT (pictured above). It was one of the happiest moments of my life! PRAY for successful use of these NT’s. After the dedication, a group of us traveled to another location for strategic planning meetings. PRAISE Him for giving us wisdom in those discussions. PRAY for guidance as we carry out our plans.

The Lord really blessed my (solo) trip to Chad in early December as I taught basic computer skills and how to use our Bible translation program, Paratext. With the help of a native French speaker editing my work, I put together 55 pages of material, and then taught through it in eight days. In spite of battling a stomach illness almost the whole time, I was blessed with strength and wisdom from the Lord for each day. PRAY for the translation teams as they begin using computers in their work for the first time. PRAY that it would speed up their work and improve the quality of their translations.

SUPPORT COMPLETE

We praise God that Heritage Baptist in Flemington, NJ, took us on for support, as well as a dear family, helping us to complete our support-raising ministry. Now we can concentrate on the ministry, while also keeping up with our 38 supporting churches and 28 supporting families. PRAY for God’s blessing on our Commissioning Service on January 21 at our home church in Grand Rapids, MI.

GOD IS PROVIDING PEOPLE

At the end of January we hope to finalize the BI constitution, so please PRAY for wisdom.

We had two literacy workers making trips to Africa to cover the literacy workshops there; but one is resigning and the other is really limiting her travel. Thankfully, the Lord seems to be providing in other ways through contacts in Chad. Please PRAY for God to guide. PRAY also as we have a good candidate for translation consultant in Chad. PRAISE the Lord for bringing us a BMM missionary who is willing to help as an adjunct consultant for a project in a creative-access country.  PRAY for my likely research trip there with two co-workers in February.

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As we enjoy our first Christmas as a family and in Ukraine, we hope you will also find great joy in celebrating our Savior’s birth!

For the sake of Christ,

Troy (for the three of us)

 

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We sang these words this morning at my home church in the song “As the Deer,” and I sang those words with believers on the other side of the world in a different language just two weeks ago. In both cases, I got choked up as I sang those words, because I could reflect on how God had been my strength and shield during my travels. God truly gave me strength throughout the trip, even though I had many disturbances to my sleep (traveling through the night on four different occasions, waking up early for flights, and sleeping in less than comfortable situations many other nights), and He protected me from evil (from terrorists, traffic, bad roads, religious extremists, etc.). He was also my family’s shield, though they seemed to face many attacks from Satan. My wife said she didn’t get a single good night of sleep while I was gone (but she’s already had 2 since I came back on Thursday).

My greatest joy on the trip was dedicating the Inner Seraji NT. The translator and his wife began working among the Inner Seraji people in 1990. He married a woman, who also helped with the translation work, a few years later. They had to leave the area because of health issues and the need for more training, but returned in the early 2000’s and began translation work in 2005. Twelve years later, the NT was completed and ready for dedication, and God gave me the privilege of preaching at the dedication on October 4 and praying for God’s blessing as people begin using it. The service was 3.5 hours long, but I enjoyed every minute of it. There were many tears as we recounted God’s goodness through the years. There were around 450 people present, 100 of whom were unbelievers. When the translator and a few other missionaries arrived in that area called “the valley of the gods,” there were no believers. Now there are 5 churches and another Bible study. There are estimated to be around 750 believers, which is slightly over 1% of this language’s population. I look forward to seeing how this number will multiply greatly now that they have good access to God’s Word in their own language.

On this trip, I also got to thank a church in Bangladesh for their faithful support of us since 2009. In Bangladesh, you have to have a police escort with armed policemen accompanying your travels through the country, because terrorists are targeting all foreigners. The situation was rather tense for me to see armed policemen in a pickup truck just in front of our vehicle. Thank God for keeping away any problems! I probably faced more danger when I rode on the back of a motorcycle with a friend in Dhaka to visit a nearby prayer meeting, but thankfully, that trip was quite short. Dhaka seems to be the rickshaw capital of the world, as they share the bumpy roads with other vehicles of all shapes and sizes. This capital city teems with around 18 million people, so it’s one of the largest cities I’ve ever visited. As you can imagine, the traffic is absolutely awful in this underdeveloped city. But one positive thing I can definitely say about the country: I didn’t see a single immodest girl the whole time I was there. Apparently, the Muslim religion at least has that positive influence on the people.

The third major portion of my trip was to gather with around 10 co-workers in BI in another location in Asia to do strategic planning about how to get more projects and personnel in that part of the world. I invited two cross-cultural translators (one from the Inner Seraji project) from within BI to join us for the discussions; their presence among us was profitable both for them and for us. We spent 2.5 days discussing research strategies and ways to connect with Bible college graduates to target Bible-less language groups. We still have a long ways to go in this strategic initiative, but I’m thankful for the significant strides we took during these planning meetings. I look forward to seeing how God will continue to bless these efforts.

When I arrived on Thursday, I had exactly three weeks to prepare for our departure to Eurasia, Ukraine, and Chad. Pray for our preparations during these busy 3 weeks. Pray also for the annual Harvest Dinner on Thursday, in which we will highlight our 3 newest projects in Myanmar.

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Joe and I arrived safely back in the USA on Sunday night. Our second week in Côte d’Ivoire went as well as the first. We finished up training with the second language group on Monday and Tuesday and then spent all day driving back to the capital. Our time with the Neao and Kaowlu people in the western central area of Côte d’Ivoire was truly filled with many blessings from the Lord. I had various concerns and questions about what we would find as we evaluated the projects’ needs. I really didn’t know for sure what we would need to do for them during our time with them until after we began the process of asking questions. It was a trip unlike any other for me, because I had to address administrative matters, linguistic issues, and translation needs. I praise God for giving Joe and me wisdom to know how to address each of these. I was thankful that we already had a 6-page document about our translation principles translated into French, so I used that to teach the people as they worked back through their NTs to determine how much revision is needed. Otherwise, I don’t know what I would have done, since our Translator Training Manual hasn’t yet been translated into French.

In the capital God worked out all of our visits such that we were able to gain much valuable information and build good relationships. I was even put in contact with a Christian lady who is doing technical linguistics work on these two languages! Who would have thought that a doctoral student would be working on these two languages, considering the 70 languages in the country! And that she’s a strong believer! Surely, her work will be of much value to us.

I leave tomorrow for India and then possibly Bangladesh. I will be conducting a Consultant Seminar with the consultants there and then leading a Ranglong OT workshop on the book of Leviticus. If the situation in Bangladesh settles down, I’ll fly up there in mid-March to spend time with a church who has given me gifts from time to time. Pray for peace in Bangladesh!

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Dear Family and Friends,

November 22 was a very special day for Bibles International and even more so for the Darlong people in northeast India, because on that day they finally received their long-awaited Bible. I remember visiting the Darlong language committee in 2012 in order to bring the unhappy news that, though the Old Testament books were all now translated, it would take another two years to complete quality checks. Many believers had already paid for their copy of the Bible, because they wanted to make sure they got their own copy. The Darlong wait no longer! We have since then been informed that 19 churches immediately began a reading program in which they read the Bible out loud for all to hear. They read from cover to cover for seven days, with many sleeping in the church to make sure no interruption occurred. What a wonderful reception! May God so work in hearts that all our language groups have such a God-exalting reception of the Word of God!

PAPUA NEW GUINEA IN NOVEMBER

The Tok Pisin NT project has gotten off to a slow start since it began in 2012. The administrative committee is barely functional, and the Read-and-Review Committee misunderstood the procedures to follow. The translation team has been productive in writing the first draft, but they struggle with the grammar of their language and have difficulties coming up with good solutions during the workshop. All the men are dedicated and godly, but they need God’s grace and wisdom to turn this sputtering project into a successful one. Thankfully, I saw some improvements when I was with them in November, and I gave them suggestions to get back on track. PRAY they will!

HAITI IN DECEMBER

In contrast to the PNG project, the Haitian project has been operating quite successfully since it began in 2008, though we are getting behind in our target year for completion (2020). But, in December, we were able to finish the book of Numbers, and I was able to teach the translator (pictured above) a new translation-editing software, after learning it myself in the evenings down there. The Lord also enabled me to preach a sermon in French in the translator’s church. PRAY we can get this project caught back up, and PRAY the translator will find new members for the Read-and-Review Committee, as the current members are very gifted men and have moved into spheres of greater responsibility. PRAY for the publication and distribution of a revised New Testament with the newly translated Psalms and Proverbs later this year.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES IN 2015

January began with a bang as I spent the first four days in the office working with the rest of the administrative team on strategic planning. PRAY for wisdom as we continue to strategize.

In a week I will leave for Côte d’Ivoire with a co-worker to spend two weeks with leaders in two different language groups, for whom we produced New Testaments around 30 years ago. PRAY for wisdom as we work with them to establish a strategy for revising their New Testaments and establishing a solid literacy program.

I will have less than a week after that trip to get ready for a month-long trip to India and Bangladesh. I will be leading a consultant seminar and conducting a translation workshop on the book of Leviticus. PRAY for grace, wisdom, and safety.

PRAISE the Lord that my support level is now at 98%!

For the cause of Christ,

Troy

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My prayer letter will be coming out soon, but let me expand on a few items…

A co-worker and I will be going to Cote d’Ivoire a week from today to meet up with leaders connected to the Neao and Kaowlu language groups. We translated the NT into their languages around 30 years ago, so the NTs need to be revised. Because of civil war, the literacy activities were stunted, so many still don’t know how to read their own language. So, we will be strategizing with them to determine how to get their NTs revised and how to establish a solid literacy program. Carla and one or two others will go later this year to really establish the literacy, so we will be just laying a foundation. This trip will be two weeks long. I’ll also serve as an interpreter, as my co-worker doesn’t know French.

I’ll be home for less than a week and will need to head to India for about a month. I’ll be leading a consultant seminar with the consultants there, and then I’ll conduct a Ranglong OT translation workshop on the book of Numbers. At the end of the trip I’ll tack on a short stop to Bangladesh to spend time with a church that has given me some support through the years.

Pray for strength and wisdom to prepare for all these events coming up in such short succession! Pray as I also need to give attention to strategic planning for BI, which we began doing this week. Our goal is to establish a strategic plan for BI by the end of March.

P.S. Because of all the busy-ness of these first few months, I probably won’t be able to update my blog regularly.

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