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Posts Tagged ‘BJU’

Dear Family and Friends,

Many challenges and encouragements to improve our marriages are found in the second book in the Marriage and Family Counseling course I’m taking. In Sweethearts for a Lifetime, Wayne and Carol Mack have found that marriages are often lacking because “so little in our society encourages couples to make the kind of adjustments and sacrifices in their lives that are necessary for oneness in marriage.” When our society encourages a self-focused life, it is only by the power of the Spirit working through the Word that we can see the right way to live. PRAY for God to help Oksana and me to strengthen our oneness.

A BUSY BUT GOOD FURLOUGH

Oksana and I are thankful for good ministry opportunities in 13 churches during almost two months of travels recently. We enjoyed reconnecting with 13 churches and seven supporting families. We were not able to find a second vehicle before the trip; but God enabled us to fit everything into our Ford Escape and gave us safety over the many, many miles we covered.

2018.04.01 Easter (1)

Eliyas’ First Easter (Reading, PA)

During meetings in the first six weeks, we were able to return to one location, giving us a “home away from home” to enjoy welcoming spring as a family and to get some work done. I was able to complete five of nine lecture days for the two-week course, Bible Translation, that I will be teaching at Bob Jones University in July. Since then, I have completed another day of lectures and have made significant progress on the second course, Translation Technology, a one-week course. PRAY as I need to complete the rest of the material for both courses by the middle of July. PRAISE God that He has provided a way for a co-worker to share some of the teaching via Skype for the first course, and that He opened a way for two PhD friends to help teach Bible software in the second course. PRAY also for the Lord to raise up more students to take the Missionary Linguistics Program at BJU.

SHORT VISITS AT HOME

After furlough we had only two weeks at home before we headed out to Ukraine at the end of May. We will spend two weeks there before going to another Metanoia NT workshop in Eurasia. I have had to save all my workshop preparations for the first week in Ukraine, so PRAY for wisdom and strength as I prepare. PRAISE God for helping the team and Oksana to finish all their work so that I can start preparing. PRAY for wisdom as Oksana and I try to resolve complicated linguistic issues, including whether to borrow words from the old parent language of Metanoia or its new host country language.

When we return from Eurasia, we will have only two weeks in MI before we head to SC for the translation courses. Then, we’ll have only a few days at home before I lead the BI Consultant Seminar. PRAY for grace in these quick turn-arounds. PRAY also for good preparation and participation in the seminar. PRAY too that the Lord would provide a minivan before the trip to SC, since my mom will be going with us on that trip.

It looks like I will not be doing the research trip to another creative-access country this year or going to Mexico. Thank you for your prayers!

PRAISE God that Tim Fink has answered God’s call to become BI’s new director. PRAY for Tim and his wife Sandy as they adjust to this new ministry over the summer. PRAY for God to provide project coordinators and a Scripture Use manager.

For the sake of Christ,

Troy (for the three of us)

 

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It’s been since before our Eurasia workshop that I updated our blog. Life has been a blur since that point and is just now calming down. I was extremely busy during the workshop, as usual, but instead of preparing more text for the workshop, I was compiling the dictionary, studying the grammar, or preparing devotionals that would cover hard passages that were coming up. I’m thankful the Lord gave me the latter idea, because it prepared me and the team well for working through the passage during the workshop. I’m thankful that we covered more material than in the last workshop, but we are still very far from doing 130 verses per day. Maybe we’ll never get to that pace, since I have to work through an interpreter (Oksana), but hopefully we can get close so that we can finish this NT in 10 years.

After the workshop we flew to Ukraine to spend 11 days of vacation. Oksana had a few less doctor’s appointments, so she had a more restful time in Ukraine, and so did I. We were able to minister at a church in a nearby village one Sunday and then in her home church the following Sunday. We also enjoyed fellowship with family and friends.

When we got back to the US, we had two days to unpack and get ready for a deputation/furlough trip that would last 5 Sundays. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Faith Baptist in Lebanon, PA. Pastor Burggraff and his church received us very well, and we received a very generous love offering. On Wednesday, we went to our supporting church, First Baptist, across town so we could be with the Fernetts and the dear people there.

The following week we took a few compensation days to visit Washington DC and spend time with friends at a vacation house on the outer banks of NC. I carried my work to each of these places, but at least we got to spend a few hours here and there learning about the US and enjoying God’s creation.

We really enjoyed our time at Keystone Baptist in Berryville, VA, with Pastor Wright and his church. We spent all day with them, and at the end of the day Pastor Wright assured us that his church would eventually begin supporting us. Praise the Lord! A week or so earlier, we had heard that Peoples Baptist in Frederick, MD, would also soon take us on for support. Plus, a friend in SC began supporting us a week later, so with all three of these additions, we might be up to 84%. Praise God!

After being in Berryville, we drove down to Greenville, SC, to be part of BJU’s Global Opportunities Week. The Lord greatly blessed our visit there. I was quite busy with speaking in 7 different classes (3 of which required that I make new presentations) and in 3 other opportunities, but God also worked in hearts. We were able to make 14 new connections and renewed contact with 4 others. Pray that the interest the students showed was not just a passing thing.

At the end of the week we drove back up to PA for meetings at Calvary Baptist in York and then Calvary Baptist in Elkins Park. The people at York were extremely generous toward us; we received the largest love offering that we’ve been given in a while. They seem to be quite likely to take us on for support. We also popped over to NJ for a few days to be with Pastor Troutman and his people at Heritage Baptist, where we had a great meeting in July. They also really like our ministry.

We finally got to go home that following Monday, Oct 17. That week was restful but not the normal routine all week, since BI’s Harvest Dinner took place on Thursday. We are thankful for the 500+ guests who joined us and for the $40,000+ they gave toward our 7 projects in Chad and CAR. All of those projects are within 2-5 years of completion, so when I was leading the offering portion of the service, I challenged people to consider standing alongside the translation teams until they get to the finish line. Pray that many will!

We are now in WI for a meeting at Harmony Baptist in Beaver Dam next Sunday. We originally had a meeting planned in Huntley, IL, but that church disbanded. But since we already planned some chiropractic appointments for Oksana and a day of recruiting at Maranatha, we came anyway. The appointments have been very helpful, and the recruiting was mediocre. We’ll be hanging out on campus throughout the week, so we’ll see if we can make more connections.

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I’m thankful for the many blessings the Lord poured upon me and the other BMM missionaries at our annual conference this week. Dr. Dan Anderson of Appalachian Bible College was the main speaker, and the Gospel Heralds from ABC provided most of the ministry in music. Both were excellent! It was good to get a glimpse into ABC through the president and this ministry team, and it was refreshing to see another institution that hasn’t capitulated to the contemporary pressures to be more “progressive.” Dr. Anderson, who was also my teammate in the golf outing on Wednesday, dealt very carefully with the Word and was not afraid to confront sin, though he was also quite desirous of encouraging the missionaries. His messages revolved around the conference theme “Be Still and Know” from Psalm 46:10. He walked us through 2 Peter and in a sense vindicated Peter from the “bad raps” he receives from people who only focus on the less sanctified aspects of Peter’s personality. Dr. Anderson helped us understand better Peter’s carefully crafted message in 2 Peter that leads us to be still and know that Jehovah is God.

I praise the Lord for His help with my session on Wed, “Speaking to the Heart: Linguistics and Missionary Service.” The classroom was full, and the missionaries stayed focused throughout the 50-minute session, as I helped give them tips on how to shed their foreign accent when speaking a foreign language and as I emphasized the important role that Bibles International plays on the mission field. My burden for the former topic was that they strongly consider taking a linguistics course on phonetics, primarily under Bob Jones University’s Missionary Linguistics Program. There really are very few shortcuts to learning a new language, and knowing how to speak the language correctly must not be devalued. My burden for the latter topic, a presentation of the importance of mother-tongue translations, was that the BMM missionaries call upon us more for help with translation projects and that they be willing to partner with us as they do church planting and as we do literacy and translation work to reach the unreached language groups. We’ll see what the Lord does with that session! Around 35 were present, but I believe others will be able to listen in on the audio recording of the session.

Dr. Gary Anderson, the president of BMM, announced that the General Council has begun the process of finding a successor for both his role and that of the treasurer. The process will take around 2 years total, ending in late 2014, so at least we have Dr. Anderson around for another year and a half. I’m so thankful for putting such a godly man at the helm of this large mission agency, and I beseech you to pray with me that God would provide another capable man to take his place, as well as that of the treasurer.

I’ve put together a presentation for my reporting this Sunday in WV and PA, and I have trimmed up a sermon to fit the slots I’ll have in both services. Pray for safety as I travel and real fulfillment for both my supporters and me as we reunite after not seeing each other for 4-5 years.

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Though there have been certain days in which MI had higher temperatures than SC, I noticed that usually the “feels like” for each put SC higher up in the hot scale. These days I’ve noticed that MI is around 10 degrees cooler than SC, so it’s definitely nice that I’m heading back home tomorrow, though I’ll miss seeing family and friends down here. I did enjoy seeing my niece Jaden’s first softball game last night, though the temperatures were above 90 at 7:30 pm. Today, though, all of my activities should be in the air conditioned indoors.

The Bible Translation course is wrapping up today. The students are actually sweating out the final exam right now, but I as an observer was able to leave. Instead of taking a final exam, I would like to write a few thoughts on the course. But I’ll save them for my “Translator’s Page”, since the thoughts will involve some technical vocab. But I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed Glenn Kerr’s class. I grew in my understanding of the task of translation and gained a greater appreciation for Glenn’s giftedness and experience as a consultant. He pointed out that if Bible translation continues at its current pace, the initial work of Bible translation will be completed in the next 50 years. I say “initial” because revision work is unending; but the first draft translations will be completed. We are currently living in the greatest period of Bible translation in the history of mankind, and it’s a privilege to be part of it.

The Missionary Linguistics Program is a great program at BJU, having a history that goes back about 40 years. There’s a Language Learning course (2 weeks),a Grammar in Use course (4 weeks), Phonetics and Phonology (4 weeks; concurrent with Grammar in Use), Field Methods and Literacy (2 weeks; prerequisites are the aforementioned 3 courses), Bible Translation (2 weeks), and Translation Technology (1 week). The program is excellent preparation for missionaries–all missionaries, not just those going to an area where the language is not written down. A missionary could come just for the two-week language learning course to gain the skills necessary to make language-learning so much easier. Or he/she could stay for the second two courses to learn how language sounds are produced in the mouth, how to hear them, how to decipher the grammar of the target language, etc. Missionaries today seem to think that they can avoid such courses, but then they often struggle through language learning and never really learn how to stop sounding so much like an American speaking a foreign language. Instead, they maintain a language barrier throughout their ministry. Yes, I am putting in a plug for the Missionary Linguistics Program. There’s nothing like it out there, since it combines skilled instruction from experienced professors and a biblically based, doctrinally sound approach to missions. I hope many can go in 2014 when it’s offered again!

Once I return to Grand Rapids, I’ll begin in earnest to prepare for the Consultant Seminar in late August. I’ll have basically two weeks to prepare, and there’s lots to be done. It’s my once-a-year opportunity to get most of the consultants into one room to deal with issues in my department. I’m looking forward to seeing these dedicated, skilled servants of the Lord, and moving the department forward.

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Pastor Oliver, the pastor of my supporting church in Belding, MI, asked me a few weeks ago if I would like to join him and his pastoral staff for the BJU pastors/wives fellowship in Lansing. I had received the invitation from BJU myself, but quickly discarded it since I am not a pastor and don’t have a wife. But Pastor Oliver explained when he called that those qualifications are not absolute musts for attending this fellowship. Though I have SO MUCH to do here at BI, I decided to set aside the day for the fellowship.

I’m so thankful I went last Monday, because the fellowship was very encouraging. It was great to see Dr. Bob III, Dr. McAllister, and Mrs. Yost from BJU. Their fellowship and teaching times were warm-hearted and informative. I learned much about the current state of the typical college student at BJU (and probably other similar schools). I was also blessed by the men as they sought to encourage us in our work for the Lord. It was truly a blessing to set aside that day for the fellowship.

I must add that I also thoroughly enjoyed driving to and from Lansing that day. For some reason getting on the highway is so relaxing and therapeutic for me. It seemed like it had been forever since I had last been on a highway, but it was actually only two weeks earlier. I really enjoyed the relaxation on the way over as I thought through various ministry and life issues, prayed through them, prayed for friends and family, and just meditated on some of the riches in Christ. On the way back I fellowshiped mostly with my mom on the phone, but that was good too!

But now that I’m back in the office I need to figure out how to regain that day that was lost. I’ve already had to put in some overtime and will have to do more, especially as that linguistics course at Maranatha is looming on the horizon. I have only 2 weeks left to prepare. So far I’ve prepared enough lecture material for 6.5 days. 3.5 days to go!

I was so pleased to see last night that a supporting couple increased their support for me some. Praise the Lord for His continual provision!

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Translators.  I just finished reading The Theory and Practice of Translation, by Eugene A. Nida and Charles R. Taber (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1969).  David Bell called Nida “undoubtedly the most influential figure in modern Bible translation.  He coined the term “dynamic equivalence,” which he defines in terms of receptor response.  Though the book posits various principles that I don’t agree with, I have found much helpful information.  As linguists and translation theory experts, the authors make a comment about language acquisition that is very supportive of Bibles International’s use of mother-tongue translators:

The average person can quite well master the syntactic structure of a language in four or five years, but it is a rare individual who masters the semotactic structure of a foreign language in less than twenty years, especially if he begins this process after he has become an adult. (‘Semotactics’ has to do with ‘the linguistic context which pertains to the meanings of terms surrounding a given term.’) (pp. 158-159)

In other words, you can learn the grammar fairly rapidly, but you cannot know how to use words in proper context with extreme precision until you have spent years being exposed to the language.  They also note:

Even with all the formal analysis of texts which he might be able to undertake, there is simply no substitute for the millions and billions of words a person should listen to and speak, if he is to build up a ‘feeling’ for the semotactic appropriateness of certain combinations.

So, rather than spending 20 years to master a language, it is better to train mother-tongue translators who already have this mastery.  That’s what we do at Bibles International.

Graduation.  I believe this year was the first in which Bob Jones University streamed the commencement ceremony live on the internet.  I remember finding the ceremony to be quite the bore as an undergrad, but after graduation I began to value the spiritual impact of it.  What an encouragement to listen as students recounted the marvellous works of the Lord.  How many other opportunities are there in life to hear this great concentration of such God-glorifying testimonies?!  It was a great blessing to listen to these graduating students.

Speaking of this graduation, I must note that I had many of these students when they were sophomores.  With this graduating class of seniors exits the last class of students that I would have taught during my two years at BJU (2005-2007).  It’s very encouraging to think that I had a spiritual impact in some of the seniors’ lives.

And finally, congratulations to my friend, Michael Cole.  He was the lone PhD graduating this year.  Now that the formalities are behind him, he must continue to travel on the deputation trail.  Pray for him as he and his family prepare to serve as missionaries in France.

My Back.  My back was quite sore this morning, but I believe that’s because of the bed.  It is getting better now as I move around.  I was worried that maybe I had made the wrong choice in not having the surgery done.  Pray that I will be patient in this healing process!  And pray for me to sleep in better beds in the future!

My Support.  Will you join me in asking the Lord to meet my prayer goal of 55% by the end of this 5th month of 2009?  That would mean an increase of 10%.  I believe I will add two supporters soon, but I will need more to arrive at 55%.  God can work!!

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