Posts Tagged ‘India’

I went into this trip still trying to get over my laryngitis and bronchitis, so I was concerned that the pressure changes on the plane would cause me serious pain. But God had apparently healed me enough to keep me from having any problems. My voice wasn’t strong enough to preach the first Sunday in Myanmar, but I was able to give a testimony to encourage the people. I wanted to save my voice to lead the consultant seminar during the week, so I passed up the opportunity to preach in the service.

This is the third year we had the seminar in Asia, and it’s the first time we did it in Myanmar (usually it’s in India). The plan was to hold the seminar in the new Myanmar Translation Center, but because of various reasons for delays, we weren’t able to use it, though the construction is probably 90% complete. Instead, the Lord provided a nice air-conditioned room in a local Bible college (connected to one of our adjunct consultants). We had no Plan B for the seminar, but God worked it out that the seminar would occur after Bible school graduation, which allowed us to have use of the Bible school facilities. I heard it would have cost a couple hundred dollars per hour to rent a room in Yangon, so we were so thankful that God prepared for this Plan B!


God worked in such a way that around 10 of us converged in Myanmar for a week of technical sessions to help us be better consultants for the Lord. I scheduled workshops around the seminar so that consultants would not have to pay for their travels (since workshop travel is covered by BI). This was the most well-attended Asia Consultant Seminar yet! In addition to the consultants, we also had translators (the Falam Chin translator is in the right back row above) and our interim BI director, Gary Walton, join us for a few days.

Each consultant who attended gave a presentation. I intentionally worked it out this way so that I would not have to bear the full load of preparing material. Plus, our consultants are extremely talented and knowledgeable, so we benefit more by allowing all to share. We discussed the importance of visiting the land of Israel to understand biblical backgrounds, fluency for Scripture engagement, James Kugel’s The Idea of Biblical Poetry, discourse analysis of Mark 12:1-12, neologisms and compound words, and difficult passages in Proverbs and other places in the OT. We also gave significant time to lexicography (dictionary making) and ParaTExt (our Bible editing program). We are seeing more and more the value of producing dictionaries to improve our translations and help our language groups.


During the seminar, we also enjoyed many informal times of team bonding, which is actually the primary purpose of the seminar. We got to see a second edition of Judson’s Bible, took a river cruise, and ate at many different restaurants (including an Indian one above, where the order was yelled out to the kitchen right after we told the young boy waiter what we wanted).


After my time in Myanmar, I head to Singapore to give a report at and minister to our supporting church there. I so wish Oksana where with me for this trip (as we originally planned before she got pregnant), and especially for this part of the trip, because I wanted her to meet my dear friends in Singapore. I had the privilege–at their request–of teaching both churches (Pasir Panjang Christ Church and Grace Independent Baptist Church) about English Bible versions and giving them the facts of the situation to help them deal with those who try to unsettle them about “missing verses.” My voice wasn’t strong enough to sing on the first weekend in Singapore, but I was able to teach in SS and preach in the AM service. On the following Sunday, I was asked to speak in all three slots, and God strengthened my voice for that task. I enjoy getting to eat with friends in Singapore, because the fellowship is so encouraging and the food is so good. In the picture below, I’m eating amazing Chinese food with Pastor Joshua Wong, the pastor of the first church (PPCC). I don’t have pictures of the second church I visited, but I really enjoyed being with Pastor Ping Ngian and his family and church. My last time with the church was in 2011, so it was good to see them again.


Between my two weekends in Singapore, I took a trip to southern India. I can’t say too much about this trip because of the increased sensitivity of Indian immigration, but I will say that I accomplished all my objectives, by God’s grace and thanks to many people’s prayers. I had been concerned ever since I began planning this trip a number of months ago that it would be extremely challenging to travel in this part of the country by myself not knowing anyone. But God guided and protected me all the way. God uses the experiences I’ve had in traveling to help me avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers (one driver purposely took the long way to try to get more money from me!) and stay away from danger (one taxi got into a small accident in Bangalore). Ultimately, it was not my travel smarts that protected me, but my powerful Deliverer. I enjoyed doing some site-seeing on the trip too. At one place I visited, I got to see many monkeys freely climbing around the Hindu temples.


I’m always struck by the blatant idolatry whenever I visit India. Walking down the streets of one area within an ancient fort, I was reminded of Paul’s experience in Athens in Acts 17. What incredible needs for the gospel to go forth with power in India!


During the trip, I usually had enough Internet access to connect with my wife, for which I am so thankful. We even got to use Skype at times in all three countries. And most of all, I’m thankful that God protected her and our unborn child, and that He kept her from delivering our baby until I got back. Less than a month away!

Pray for four of us who will spend Tuesday and Wednesday working out the particulars of a new constitution at Bibles International. We need much wisdom as there is so much pioneer thinking to do!

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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!”


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!

2017.03 Waterman BC

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.



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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When I was in India, I was able to hear excellent reports from the three Ranglong men about how well our NT and trial edition of Genesis are being received. I thought I’d share with you now (since I have better internet here than in Inda) what I wrote to a co-worker:

Three Ranglong (translator and two RRC) showed up this evening in preparation for working with Connie and her team. It was so encouraging to hear their comments on how well the work is progressing. They also said that almost all of the NTs are now gone, and they are hoping we have more back at the BI office. Do we? They have only 2 office copies remaining. (One man had his special copy stolen—he was on the NT RRC.)

What has happened first is that the Ranglong have increased from around 7,000 to 8,300. Also, literacy is up to 60%. In addition, a Catholic priest said that our translation is good and to be preferred over the [other] translation (that was published before ours). Apparently, the [other] translation is full of mistakes—missing verses, spelling, etc. It is the NT with Psalms, and they want to do the OT. So, since everyone is preferring ours, the Ranglong believers went from not being sure how to sell the remaining NTs to not having any more left. The [other] NT sells for 10 rupees and is still not selling, while ours sold for 50.

The people are very anxious to have the full Bible. In fact, one lady asked the translator if she will have her copy by Christmas. One lady said, “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. Fame and I encouraged them to write these and other stories down, so they will do that. We also encouraged them to take pictures.

One of the three men worked with Henry Osborn on the NT—in fact, he’s one of the translators in the picture on the wall in the meeting room. This is his first time in the BIIS office, and he didn’t know his picture is on the wall (they were asking about Henry Osborn, Ada Temple, Warren Faber, Bernard Northrup). He is the first college graduate among the Ranglong. He was transferred to an area far from the project, so he has not been able to help for 12 years. But he was able to transfer back a few years ago, so now he’s the head of the Sponsorship Committee. He’s a school administrator and said rather sheepishly that he sometimes goes into the classrooms and uses the Ranglong NT to preach the Word of God for 5-10 minutes. He’s not a pastor but clearly has a heart for the Lord.

The men said the RRC meets basically every night except Sunday to help review the translation. They are clearly excited about getting this work done! They have as their goal to finish everything by 2021. They know this is quite ambitious, but they want to try. They have already finished 19 OT books. The translator, Peter, doesn’t know what it is that changed the people from not being as excited about the Scriptures in Ranglong to be as excited as they are now. It’s obvious God is at work!

I suggested that maybe they can do a printing soon of NT with Psa/Prov, so we will be discussing the options soon. Clearly, we need to think about printing something else while waiting for the OT to be completed.

Praise God for how He’s working among the Ranglong!

Pray as I fly to New York City tomorrow for a singles seminar at Pastor Matt Recker’s church, Heritage Baptist Church. I’ll be giving my testimony and then two 30-minute messages. Pray I can be a blessing to all the singles, no matter how they arrived at their single state. Pray also as I preach the Word Sunday morning and then am interviewed on the radio Sunday afternoon.

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Dear Family and Friends,

While I was in India recently, the Ranglong translator relayed what one believer said after reading the Genesis stories for the first time in her language. She exclaimed, “Oh, the believers who died before being able to read these stories, how sorry I feel for them!” This comment renewed my zeal to help other people in a similar state and revived my thankfulness for the privileges the English world has.


Many probably doubted this would ever happen—I did, too, at times. But now that I can see what God has caused to happen, I realize there’s no way I could have rushed this relationship with a beautiful, godly Ukrainian girl who lives 5,000 miles away from me. Pastor John Conover of Reading, PA, connected me with Oksana Novikova in May 2014. We began corresponding soon after that—first with Facebook, and then e-mail and Skype. Finally, I traveled to Ukraine in August and then again for Christmas. Throughout these months, it became apparent to both of us (and to those closest to us) that God had created us for each other. I proposed to her on February 13, and she gave an unreserved “Yes”! We submitted our petition for a fianceé visa in mid-March, so we are hopeful that the wedding can take place in late September or early October. PRAY for quick processing of the visa! The joyous ceremony will be at Victory Baptist Church in Reading, PA, since that’s where the missionary she translates for, Bruce Tuttle, is from. He has become like a father to her, so she wants him to walk her down the aisle and perform the wedding. Rejoice with me that this long-standing prayer request is finally being answered!


Opening Day-Troy5

I PRAISE the Lord for the safety He gave a co-worker and me in late January as we traveled to Côte d’Ivoire to meet with the Kaowlu and Neao language groups to evaluate the amount of revision work needed for their New Testaments, determine if their orthography needs updating, give assistance to their literacy program, and establish and train the committee members who would do the work. God provided the personnel and resources necessary to succeed in this very challenging trip! PRAY for the committees, as they have begun their work.


The Lord gave me an abundance of energy to keep up a rigorous schedule as I prepared for a consultant seminar and a translation workshop on Leviticus in Ranglong. I ended up having an overabundance of material for both events. Two Indian consultants said they thought this fourth trip of mine to India was my most profitable so far. I PRAISE the Lord for how He answered prayer! My trip to Bangladesh was cancelled due to unrest in the country.


Continue to PRAY for the strategic planning activities at Bl. We hope to finish our work by the end of April. PRAY for my preparations for a checking workshop in Haiti in mid-May and then a translator-training workshop in a Eurasian country in mid-June.

PRAISE the Lord that my support level is now at 100%! PRAY for His provision as I get married and for wisdom in determining when to begin deputation as a married couple.

For the cause of Christ,


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Life has been pretty crazy for me every since late October, and now things are finally calming down. First it was a trip to PNG in early October for a Tok Pisin workshop. Then right after Thanksgiving I went to Haiti for a Haitian Creole workshop. I had 1 week home before I went to Ukraine to be with my girlfriend (who is now my fiancée!) at Christmas for 2.5 weeks. There were 2 weeks at home after that, and one was spent doing strategic planning all day for 4 days. That left me with basically 1 week to prepare for a two-week trip to Côte d’Ivoire in late Jan/early Feb. I had 2 days after that trip before I headed out again for 4.5 weeks in Ukraine and India. Of course, that stop-over in Ukraine was to propose to my girlfriend, so I had no problem conjuring up the strength to do that, and then the joy of that carried me all the way through India.

But then I finally arrived home for a longer respite last Monday, and I crashed! I actually think I went into a mini-depression. I also had a stomach bug I endured in India that revisited me on Tuesday. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other to dig myself out of the pile of work waiting for me when I got home (I’m still digging!). It’s been a tough 5 months, and the adrenalin was quite high because of my engagement, so it was natural for me to go through a “low” last week. Thankfully, with the help of my fiancée’s encouragement and prayers, the fellowship of other believers, and time in the Word and prayer, I am back to a somewhat normal condition.

And during these past 5 grueling months, I can testify to God’s faithfulness. I still remember feeling overwhelmed at various times as I prepared for each assignment. Either the assignment called for more preparation than I had time for, or it involved a unique twist that I had not yet encountered, or both. A lot of evenings were filled with work, and even some Sundays. I also had to read on airplanes and buses when I would have preferred just to relax. But God gave strength and helped me through it all.

I’ll share just a few examples of how God helped. When I was preparing to go to Côte d’Ivoire, I wondered how I could do lots of interpretation into French for my co-worker, analyze the quality of 2 New Testaments (that we completed a number of years ago) to determine how much revision needed to be done, and evaluate their orthographies to see if it still worked for the spoken form of these two languages. God sent two Africans to help with the French interpretation, He gave me good ideas for how to train them in French on how to evaluate their own NTs, and He provided various resources so I could lead the Africans through evaluations of their orthographies. I still marvel at how well that came together!

Having only 2 days between my Africa and India trips sure put lots of pressure me. I had to begin preparations weeks ahead of time in the evenings and on the weekends, but I was still far short of being ready. My time in India began with a consultant seminar that I lead, and would you believe that I actually had more material than what we could cover in 2 days?! In other words, I was over-prepared for the seminar! But then I thought I had to start the Ranglong OT workshop the very next day, which I was not prepared to do (I wanted at least one day to step back and transition). Though I had enough material to begin, it was decided it would be better for the translator to spend the next 3 working days with a linguistics volunteer to analyze and fix his orthography. That gave me just the transition time I needed! I thought the Lord was also giving me time to prepare more workshop material, but instead, most of those hours were spent with administrative duties–talking to 3 consultants about their challenges and how to overcome them, teaching an overview of our translation philosophy to new translators, helping a different translation team determine how they can work more efficiently, creating survey forms for strategic planning, and answering many, many emails. I ended up preparing only 2 more chapters of material for the workshop, but in the end we didn’t even get to those two chapters. Why? Because the workshop went much slower than I expected! In other words, I was over-prepared for the workshop! Truly, God’s ways are amazing! I just hope I can remember these lessons, because the overwhelming feelings will surely return in the future!

I get to enjoy 2 months at home before I have to head out again! I’m sure going to enjoy being at my home and experiencing routine in life for a change!

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I’ve just finished up my second-to-last week in India. It started well with a good time of ministry and fellowship at a local church near the BI office here. Monday was supposed to be the first day of the Ranglong OT workshop, but I decided to give the translator a third day to work with a volunteer consultant on orthography issues. That gave me another day to work on other things and meet with consultants. I thank the Lord for giving me three such days so I could more easily manage my workload!

The Ranglong workshop ended up starting on Tuesday. By Friday we had covered only the first 7 chapters. The translator said that Leviticus has been his hardest book to translate of all he’s done so far, including Psalms. He and his committee have had a really hard time with the long sentences. Plus, the grammatical connections in those sentences can be quite complicated. And to think that some people think Hebrew can only do simple sentences!

I’ve also spent some time with the other translation groups who are here. Last week we had 4 different teams here. Two left over the weekend, but another two came in this week. Three are just starting their OT, so I spent time training them on how to use a powerful Bible software resource.

Group--4 translation teams--2015.03.05b

Tomorrow a group of us will travel down a bumpy road for an hour or so to visit a national consultant and his family. I’ve never been to his house, so I look forward to the opportunity. On Sunday I’ll be preaching a rather large Baptist church in Silchar, the closest city in the area.

Pray for grace to finish strong!

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At the halfway point in India

Technically, I’m not quite halfway since I have 1.5 weeks behind me and 2 weeks in front of me, but it’s close enough. I arrived a week from last Wed and on Thurs began the third Asia Consultant Seminar. There are a potential of 7 translation consultants who could come to this seminar from India and Myanmar, but we had only 4 this year, and one couldn’t come for the last two days because of sickness. However, 2 from the US joined us on the last day.

As usual at our seminars, we discussed current projects, though here in India we focused just on the ones in this country. I did, however, update them on other BI happenings around the world. I also presented my paper, “Literacy in Biblical Times,” and gave the presentation, “Streamlining the Translation Process,” once again (I gave it in Aug to the group there).

Each participant got their turn to present something. The director of BIIS joined us for a few sessions and presented some of his administrative concerns. The senior consultant here interspersed his concerns and questions throughout the other sessions. Our national full-time Indian consultant presented what he has been learning in his PhD courses. Our new consultant from the US reflected on what he has learned during his time since joining the India field in November.

We learned much from one another and have already seen improvements made, thanks in part to the fact that I could address these concerns on Thurs and Fri. I was supposed to begin the Ranglong workshop on Leviticus, but we decided a volunteer should keep working with the translator on improving the spelling conventions of their language. I was relieved for the break! But I stayed plenty busy, improving certain tools, preparing more material for next week’s Ranglong workshop, meeting with consultants, and talking with the Mizo translators about the state of their project.

Meanwhile, the other consultants here are meeting with different language groups. On Friday we had 4 different translation teams here! One is working with the Chakma on their literacy primer. Another worked with the Mizo translators on their spelling conventions. Then on Friday she began linguistics training/learning with the 4th group (Tangkhul Naga) that arrived the night before. As I said above, the volunteer worked with the Ranglong translator.

I like coming to India during this time of year, because I hardly ever sweat. It warms up to the high 80s during the day, but the mornings and evenings are cool and refreshing. I’ve enjoyed going for a morning walk 3x per week, though I still don’t like the gawkers. It’s as if some have never seen a white giant before!

Pray for my health as I’ve had some stomach bug pull me down yesterday and today. I’m already on the mend, though. Pray as I preach in a local church tomorrow and then begin the Ranglong workshop. I’ve been overseas for about 2 weeks, so I’m a little “road weary.” Pray for grace to endure and thrive until the end. I assure you that Satan is quite active during this trip, but our God is more powerful!

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