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Posts Tagged ‘Eurasia’

Eurasia and Ukraine

We completed the workshop on Friday, Nov 17, and then flew to Ukraine the following Saturday. The workshop was not without its challenges, especially with Oksana trying to meet Eliyas’ needs while also doing interpreting for me. Since two families meet us to do the translation work, we had many helpers. We also had many good times as a family (pics below of us at grocery stores [top row] and a cafe [left on second row]), since we were together all day and all night. We are very thankful that Eliyas is flying in the planes well (pic of his first plane ride below [right on second row]) and adjusts happily to each new circumstance we put him in.

2017.11.12 Eurasia (1)2017.11.12 Eurasia (7)2017.11.13 Eurasia (32)2017.11.02 first plane ride (4)

We normally cover only 300 verses in these Metanoia workshops, but I’d like to get us up to doing 80-100 per day. Well, we got up to 321 total, so that’s progress but not quite as much as I wanted. But I am learning much about the language, and the translators are honing their translation skills, so we are hopeful to see continued progress.

While we are stationed in Ukraine, we had a baby dedication for Eliyas at Oksana’s home church last Sunday. It was a joyful time as we dedicated him to the Lord in two languages. It was on his 6-month birthday, so we celebrating by giving him some table food. He really liked it!

2017.11.19 first real food (5)

Our family here is really enjoying getting to know him. We are thankful that he can spend 6 weeks straight here.

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At the end of the month, I’m flying alone to Chad, Africa, to train translators on our Bible translation program for two weeks. I’ve been preparing for this ever since we arrived in Ukraine. So far, I’ve collected 160 computer terms in French, which I need to memorize in order to teach well. Pray for God’s wisdom as I prepare. While I’m gone, Oksana will be getting dental work done (at a much lower rate) and in general just enjoying Eliyas with family and friends.

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Dear Family and Friends,

During our recent vacation in Ukraine, I completed my reading of Paul David Tripp’s Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. One of his core truths continues to challenge me: “Each of us has been called by God to be his instruments of change in the lives of others, beginning with our families and the church (Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 3:15-17).” How our churches would change if we adopted this ambassadorial lifestyle and stopped looking at the church only as a place to “get something!”

SUPPORT RISING

Thank you for praying about both the increase in our support and the manner in which it increases. We’ve seen our support rise by 9% to 90% in the first quarter with an increase of only two more churches to our support base! We are thankful that Calvary Baptist in Findlay, OH, and Union Baptist in Kittanning, PA, joined our support team. We also added two individual supporters and saw a family increase their monthly giving. We are also thankful that BI has agreed to begin funding Oksana’s travels to Eurasia, so we no longer have to raise those funds. PRAISE God for His provisions! However, we still plan on raising funds for travels so that Oksana can go with me to other countries once a year and so that we can cover our baby’s costs once he gets old enough to be charged for his plane ticket.

In case you missed it, I did use a “he” to refer to our baby. We found out in January that God is blessing us with a son in early May. Oksana’s pregnancy is going well in general, but the aches and pains in the third trimester are not fun. We are thankful for the free things we’ve been able to collect for our baby, and Oksana looks forward to good fellowship with friends at baby showers in late March.  Keep PRAYING for Oksana and baby!

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We currently have 33 churches supporting us and 27 individuals/families. We have meetings in five non-supporting churches this year. We are also reporting in six of our supporting churches, including the four in Quebec this summer. PRAY for God’s timing of the baby’s birth and departure for Quebec. We would like for there to be sufficient time between the two for mommy and baby to get into a good routine.

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WORKSHOPS

Oksana and I are thankful for the progress we are seeing in the translators’ abilities in Eurasia. Though we didn’t cover more material than in the last workshop, we had a profitable workshop and grew in our understanding of their language and of the work in general. We PRAISE God that both translators are in good health for now and are trusting God amidst heavy persecution. PRAY they can get the fine removed for not being registered to meet and that they would secure registration.

PRAY too for good progress with the Haitian Creole translator in late May as he comes to Grand Rapids for a workshop. PRAY also for God’s timing as our baby is due on May 11 and the workshop is supposed to start on May 15.

PRAY earnestly for God’s provision of laborers for BI: director, Myanmar director, project coordinators, composition editor, and Scripture Use Manager. PRAY also for wisdom for a committee of four of us who have the daunting task of writing a constitution for BI. We hope to have it completed by July.

Lastly, PRAY for my trip to Asia without Oksana in late March and early April. I will be going to Myanmar (consultant seminar), Singapore (two churches), and India (school partnerships). As of March 22, I’m still recovering from sickness, so pray that will clear up very soon.

For the sake of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

 

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Metanoia NT workshop

Oksana and I are thankful for the safety and the Lord’s blessings on our recent translation workshop in Eurasia. My goal was to cover 600 verses, which would be double what we did last time, but we ended up doing just under 300. But that’s partly because we took an entire afternoon (thanks partly to the power outage) to elicit verb forms from them, so I could understand better how their verbs work. We also spent an afternoon trying to work through some problems with their orthography. There are around 4 sounds that still have issues regarding what symbol to use. Another organization is trying to settle the matter by field testing, so they came to the workshop to test the symbols with our team. Hopefully, we’ll get this settled this year, so we can use the correct symbols throughout the translation. And hopefully we’ll make better progress next time in the translation. I’m thankful to see how the translators are growing well in their skills in translation and grammar. Oksana and I are also growing in our understanding of the language. We asked them to write 4 different types of regular (not translations of biblical passages) texts by 3 different people so we can do more analysis, and we asked them to complete 4 verb tables as well. Hopefully this material will give us even better ways to understand their language.

Because of the slowness of the workshop, we had time on the second weekend to take a two-day trip. We really enjoyed seeing the countryside and spending time getting to know friends. We are also thankful for many opportunities to minister to our friends.

We are also thankful for many opportunities for ministry to our translation team. They’ve been through a lot recently, so we were able to be an encouragement to them, as they were also an encouragement to us. They are truly a great group of believers to work with! We look forward to the next time we’ll see them, though this time there will be three of us!

As a side note, we are very thankful that our support rose to 88% during our trip. God is providing!

If you are interested in some technical details, you should check out my “Translator’s Page” for a list of some issues we wrestled through during this workshop.

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Dear Family and Friends,

In an effort to help us understand how much we need God, Paul David Tripp points out in his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, that God made us to be “revelation receivers.” Even before man’s fall, we needed God’s Word to guide us. We cannot live for His glory without a growing relationship with God’s Word.

A BABY IS COMING!

It was one of those moments in which we wanted to shed tears and shout in praise to God at the same time. On November 7, we heard the heartbeat of our child in Oksana’s womb. What a relief, after not being able to hear a heartbeat a year ago! We look forward to welcoming our baby in early May. PRAY for the many adjustments involved in preparing for this little one.

SUPPORT ROLLERCOASTER

The coming of the baby and the rise in health insurance put us on a rollercoaster in support raising, which was our main activity for the fall. We had seen our support rise to 83%, but then it went down to 73% because of all the increased expenses. It’s now back up to 81%, thanks to Keystone Baptist (new) in Berryville, VA; Bethany Baptist (new) in Grand Rapids, OH; Calvary Baptist (increase) in Westminster, MD; as well as two families in Michigan and another in Pennsylvania. We also received all the funds we need for Oksana to go to Eurasia for the workshop in January. We are so thankful to the generous gift from First Baptist Church in Lebanon, PA, as well as the gifts of friends from another place in Pennsylvania and from Florida.

PRAY for the Lord to provide for the remainder of our support. We need another $130 per month to break even on our reduced budget, which does not include the full health insurance increase, the expense of a second car and second driver (Oksana), and a few other budget items. Based on how much our 32 churches give us on average, we need 11 more churches to take us on for support to bring us to the full 100%. We can’t imagine trying to report to 43 churches on a rotating basis, while also trying to keep up with full-time ministry. PRAY that God would provide in such a way that we would partner with the supporters God wants for us but also in a way that’s manageable for our future schedule. We are thankful that we gained three new churches after speaking at 16 non-supporting churches this year; and a fourth is planning on starting support in January. We had 24 church meetings total this year. We are thankful for the many blessings in all those travels but hoping that we won’t have to be on the road as much in the future, especially with a baby coming. We look forward to missions conferences in IN and MD in March.

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RECRUITING

While on the road to visit churches, we also did recruiting at Bob Jones University and Maranatha Baptist University. We are thankful that we made about 20 new contacts for BI. PRAY for the Lord to send forth laborers to this part of His harvest.

WORKSHOPS

The Haitian Creole translator wasn’t able to complete enough material to warrant a workshop in November, so PRAY that he will be able to manage all his responsibilities better (including two special needs children) and keep up with the work. However, I must say I was thankful for the extra time at home and at the office to get caught up on the large piles of work.

PRAY for us to accomplish more in the January workshop in Eurasia. PRAY also for good health for the translators and for deliverance from heavy persecution.

Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!

Troy (for both of us)

 

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The summer has flown by and is not going to slow day in August. It really picked up speed in July when we went to BMM Candidate Seminar in early July for Oksana. Here’s a picture of her class:

Class of 2016.jpgAfter the seminar we had a few meetings in PA and NJ and then headed across the eastern states to WI for the Bible Faculty Summit hosted by Maranatha Baptist University. Here’s a picture of the group of profs (and others) who attended that.

2016.07 Bible Faculty Summit.jpgIt was a great time of fellowship and learning. I really appreciated the warm-hearted scholarship taht this summit promotes. I hope I can attend next year’s summit which will be hosted by Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

On Tuesday of this week we at BI will begin our annual Consultant Seminar. It should be our best attended seminar yet, as we’ll have around 30 by the end of the week. We look forward to learning about lexicography by an SIL expert, whom we have invited to teach us. She has a wealth of training and experience so I know we will learn much. We hope to make dictionary-making more a part of our process. I will be leading the seminar, and my mom with Oksana’s helping will be overseeing food preparations, so it will be truly a family affair!

Our annual picnic is right after that and then we fly out to Eurasia for another workshop on the Metanoia NT. So, as I said earlier, it’s going to be a very busy month. We look forward to taking a vacation in Ukraine on our way back from the workshop.

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Dear Family and Friends,

Oksana and I hope to become certified biblical counselors, but so far we haven’t made too much progress. We may not get very far until after deputation. But I’m thankful for some of the reading I’ve already done. Robert Smith’s The Christian Counselor’s Medical Desk Reference was particularly helpful. In reference to a Christian and illness, Smith said, “Getting over the illness should not be the primary goal.” Later he said, “Getting well is not necessarily the best thing.” As believers, our focus must always be on glorifying God, even if that means having to endure illness for a long period of time.

PERSONAL NEWS

April was filled with meetings at churches in PA, VA, and NC. We had two more in IN in May and will have another in IL later this month. In July, we will hit the road to present at churches in MD, PA, and NJ. We now have around 80% of our support, since our home church, Grand Valley Baptist Church, voted to double their support. THANK GOD for that and PRAY for more increases!

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(Picture is of Oksana’s first visit to the Atlantic Ocean–Virginia Beach, VA)

We will also be attending the BMM Candidate Seminar for Oksana in July. We praise God for how He enabled Oksana to pass her oral doctrinal exam on May 19. God kept her nerves calm and gave her the remembrance of all she studied. She memorized everything in Russian but had no problem articulating her beliefs in English. PRAISE God!

In addition to the language obstacle, she also had to keep from being distracted by a family tragedy—the loss of her 17-year-old nephew. The Lord provided funds for her to make a one-week trip to comfort the family in May. What makes this loss so difficult is that we are uncertain of the nephew’s eternal state. PRAY for God to use this death to draw family and friends to salvation and for comfort for the believing family members (Oksana, sister, mom). How certain, eternal, and sometimes sudden, death can be!

 

MINISTRY NEWS

In late May, I began conducting the Haitian Creole OT workshop at the BI office. The translator has been quite occupied with complications from the birth of his third child, who has Down syndrome, so he wasn’t able to provide enough material to keep us busy for two weeks. So, we finished the work in seven days and also made last-minute corrections to the upcoming publication of the NT with Psalms and Proverbs. PRAY for him and his family as they adjust to the new child, and PRAY he can get enough material done to hold a workshop in Haiti in November.

 

In August, Oksana and I will travel to Eurasia for another workshop on the Metanoia NT. They have already submitted revised portions of Mark and James. PRAY for Oksana as she produces an interlinear in English from the Russian interlinear, and PRAY for me as I check the English with the Greek.

 

We at BI are thankful that Gary Walton, our Stewardship Manager, has agreed to be our interim director. PRAY for wisdom as he leads BI while also trying to keep up fundraising efforts. And PRAY for God to provide a full-time director soon. PRAY also for my former administrative assistant, Terri Fiebig, who has been told that she has only a month to live. PRAY, too, that we would find a new administrative assistant, especially with the Consultant Seminar coming up in August. I need help on the many details involved with that! Our new Indian consultants were unable to get visas to come to the USA, so PRAY for us as we provide in-house training.

 

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

 

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Dear Family and Friends,

At a recent conference that I attended, I was reminded of the powerful grace of God that has delivered us from the power of sin such that we no longer have to sin anymore. We often need to set up “fences” (e.g., accountability partners) to help keep us from sinning, but ultimately we want God’s grace to so transform our desires that we no longer want to sin. Instead, we want to please Him. PRAY that God would give Oksana and me warm hearts of love and thankfulness for all He’s done in our lives so that we might live in a God-glorifying manner.

FAMILY NEWS

Oksana and I are thankful for your prayers for us after the miscarriage in December. After two surgical procedures that month, we finally saw her body return to normal—just in time to leave for Ukraine on January 5. We enjoyed seeing family and friends while there, but we also stayed quite busy with medical appointments. PRAY that the treatments Oksana is taking will help her health condition to improve. She has no serious medical issues but isn’t at 100% either.

We are very thankful that Grand Valley Baptist Church, our home church, has voted to begin supporting us. We are also very pleased that Calvary Baptist Church in Clymer, PA, has become a new ministry partner. Four churches and one family increased their current support, so we praise God for that as well. We have lost some support and a supporter, however, so our current level is 78%. That means we are still doing “deficit spending,” but we have been overwhelmed by some large gifts that have come in to carry us through. PRAISE God! We have nine meetings at churches this quarter, and three are at non-supporting churches, so please PRAY for God’s blessings as we travel and minister.

We rejoice that Oksana was approved for a “green card” on March 2! After almost exactly a year, the immigration process reached this major milestone.

PAST AND FUTURE WORKSHOPS

We PRAISE God for helping us through a very busy first quarter: workshop in Eurasia, helping my mom move, workshop on the Haitian Creole at the BI office, and a missions conference at our home church. The workshop in Eurasia had some unique challenges, but the Lord gave us the strength and wisdom to teach the people there more about Bible translation, how their language’s syntax works, and how to improve the material they have already translated. We didn’t cover much biblical text during this workshop, so PRAY the team produces a much higher quality translation between now and August so that we can move much more quickly.

In the Haitian Creole workshop, we covered Judges and almost finished 1 Samuel. We hope to do at least two more books in early June.

OTHER NEWS

As of January 12, BI has had to adjust to ministry without our director, Dr. Hantz Bernard. We pray God will guide him and his wife to a new place of ministry, and we look forward to how God will continue to bless BI, whose mission ever remains the same. PRAY for God to provide a new director, as well as a new part-time administrative assistant for my department and Projects Management. We also still need projects coordinators and consultants.

Continue to PRAY for Terri Fiebig, my former administrative assistant. In October, she was told that she has only another three months to live because of her pancreatic cancer, but God is working through the treatments so that she is now expected to have another year.

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

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