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Posts Tagged ‘Oksana’

On Friday night I drove down to Indy to pick up Oksana, and I was quite thankful that the Lord brought her safely back into my arms! She had hardly slept the whole week, since her focus was on helping her family mourn the loss of her nephew, Roma. Her flight connections were definitely not as ideal as on the way to Ukraine, but the Lord knew she needed almost perfect connections more on the way there than on the way back, so it was OK. She had to ask a lot of questions to get through Chicago’s ORD, but she eventually made it.

After a night’s sleep in a less-than-ideal hotel, we headed up to Clinton Township for a weekend with Pastor Wagner and Macomb Baptist Church. I had been there 4 years ago, so it was good to get back and see these dear people. Mrs. Wagner came up with the idea last time to give the church members experience in translation. They had to try to translate a Bible verse into a different language using that language’s dictionary, and then I checked their translations with Google Translate. Needless to say, they were quite convinced of how hard it is to do Bible translation, and they realized the wisdom in having mother-tongue translators do the work, as we do at BI. So, it was neat for me to see their heart for Bible translation. This was once again evident on this visit…but this time I had my wife with me! 🙂 We hope Macomb Baptist becomes long-term partners with us in ministry!

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Oksana and I will embark on our first extended road trip tomorrow, going to PA and then eventually to IL. I’m looking forward to getting back out on the road with her. We took a one-week trip to SC last week and thoroughly enjoyed being with my home church, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, and with my family. Oksana did a great job of sharing her testimony in front of the 600-person crowd last Wednesday. It was a joy for me to present her as the answer to my 25-year-long prayers for a wife. I got a little choked up as I introduced her and shared the good things God has done in my life. I am thankful that I can be a living witness to the truths of Lamentations 3:25-26:

 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

I definitely haven’t been perfect in my wait for the “salvation of the Lord” in marriage, but I have kept my heart pointed toward Him the whole time. I knew that He knew of my needs better than I did, and that His infinite wisdom and power would know the best time to grant me my deep heart’s desires. I hope we were an encouragement to the other singles at the church who continue to wait. We heard many encouraging things from the people there after the service and the next day at the wedding reception. The outpouring of their love was almost overwhelming, so our hearts went away filled with contentment and joy.

It was also a joy to take Oksana around on my “old stomping grounds.” We got on the campus of Bob Jones University a few times to tour it and meet friends and prospective consultants. We also went downtown a few times to see the beautiful sites there. On Saturday night we enjoyed getting gelato with my mom as we celebrated her birthday, and we were surprised but thankful that we ran into three guys speaking Russian. You never know!

On Monday we headed back up north, stopping off at the warehouse of Widow’s Jar Ministries to pick up some free household items. We are very thankful for this ministry that collects materials for missionaries to come and take at no cost. What a blessing! They helped us save around $400 in expenses! We arrived back home on Tuesday night.

So, we’ve had 3 days to unpack and get ready to re-pack. We look forward to being with the people at Worthington Baptist Church in Worthington, PA, and then Swissvale Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, PA. We also get to see some supporters in that area. Pray for effective ministry to these churches!

I did some reading on Classical Hebrew, and you can find notes from that on my Translator’s Page.

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I’m thankful for the past 2 weeks in which I could start getting caught up at the office after being away for 5 weeks for my “wedding vacation.” I had around 100 emails to read and another 50 to both read and respond to when I got back at my desk. At last count, I have 39 left to read and 14 in my “action-urgent” folder. Of course, the ministry continues to roll forward, so many more emails beside the 150 have passed through my inbox since I got back “at the saddle.”

In addition to writing a 5-page report about the Consultant Seminar (mostly for the members of my department who weren’t able to attend), I worked on a project that would guide our translators in the final quality checks before publication. After they have finished the NT text, they have to translate add-ons and then get those consultant checked and also go back through the entire NT to verify the consistency of the translation of key terms and many other editorial issues. We estimate that it takes around 6-7 more workshops to finish a NT. Assuming we do 2 workshops per year, the final steps take as many as 2-3 years to complete. We continue to develop our “quality checks” that will guide the consultant and the translator through this process. Some checks still have yet to be developed, so we have to guide them “the hard way.” Others have been written but need to be refined to make them easier to use. Computer software helps with many, but the checks are still needed to guide in the process. In addition to developing and refining the English ones, we need to develop them for French and Spanish. Only a few have been written in French, and even fewer are in Spanish. And someday we’ll have to get them into Russian! There are 13 checks and 11 add-ons. (You can read an article about quality checks in the December issue of the Briefings.)

Oksana and I look forward to seeing family and friends in SC next week. Pray for safe travels. Pray also that we would be a blessing to all we meet. I need to work on our presentation over the weekend.

Our US government established September 30 as “Bible Translation Day.” BI encourages churches to set aside one Sunday as close to this date as possible to celebrate the fact that “God has spoken” to the English-speaking world. If your church doesn’t do this, please talk to your pastor about starting it this year. BI has material that could give you ideas on how to celebrate on that day.

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As you can tell by the header of my blog, things have changed some, because my life has changed dramatically. In case you missed the big news, I got married on July 25 to Oksana Novikova, from Ukraine. So, now I can no longer speak about “my ministry” but will be speaking instead about “our ministry,” since I now have a helper in the ministry. Praise God!

I have updated my blog according to my new marital status. You can even read her testimony of salvation and call to the ministry on the “About Us” page. I just posted that on my blog today!

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We praise the Lord that a couple has committed to taking us on for $200 per month! That brings our support level up to 72%!

Oksana’s and my first three weeks in Michigan together have been quite busy. I set aside the first week to help her get established. We got a good start to that process, but we are still working on that. Today is only her 5th day at home by herself to get oriented to my house. During the second week of August the annual Consultant Seminar, which I lead, began. Our days were busy from 6 am to 8:30 pm. We ended up housing a family of 7 because they had an emergency situation come up. We were thankful to be able to serve them in that way, but that made our life even more interesting.

The seminar was a real blessing as we had around 25 in attendance for the 6 days. Mark Vowels from BJU was our special speaker for the first two days. He addressed the issue of how to relate better to millennials, the next generation at BI. On the second day he spoke about contextualization and then gave us some feedback regarding our short-termer programs. On the following days we deal with NT Quality Checks, OT Translator Training, NT Translator Training, a book study on Job, Discourse analysis, a new linguistics translator training manual, new word formation, strategic planning, and various IT matters. I’m thankful for a good team that helped me pull together a successful seminar, even though I was quite preoccupied with personal matters for the 5 weeks before the seminar.

The day after the seminar, Oksana and I headed north for the annual BI retreat a local bed & breakfast called “The Shack.” BI has been going there for over 15 years. I had been going up by myself for the past 8 years. It has gotten harder and harder to be by myself. As I was getting to know Oksana during last year’s retreat, I texted to her that I hope I never have to return to The Shack by myself. She also desired the same thing. But neither of us thought the Lord would actually work it out such that she would be with me the following year. Praise God for working wonders to bring her here so quickly so we could enjoy the retreat together! One of my favorite activities is getting up early to watch the sun rise over the lake, while sipping coffee and reading the Bible. It was a joy to do that with her this year!

IMG_2570We have two more weeks in MI before we begin traveling to other states. Our first trip will be to SC to report at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, SC, on Sept. 9 and then to enjoy a wedding reception on Sept. 10. I look forward to showing Oksana my old stomping grounds and introducing her to family and friends. If you will be in the area that week, please look us up! We will be worshipping with Mt. Calvary the following Sunday before heading back up north.

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Back in April when I saw that the Lord was opening up the possibility of my getting married this summer, I had decided that the summer was just too busy to fit it in. Well, here we are near the end of the summer, I’m married, and I’m still alive. Tomorrow begins our annual Consultant Seminar, and I think I’m actually ready for it (which worries me!). I’m not ready for every day of the seminar, but I’m ready for at least the first two days. Just one day at a time!

Since I’ve never been married before, I wasn’t familiar with what being married feels like. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m actually married. Something similar happened when I got my PhD. Suddenly, I was Dr. Manning, but I sure didn’t feel any different than the day before. I guess “the married feeling” will sink in more and more each day as I get to share life with a beautiful, godly Ukrainian princess. Yesterday, we were able to report to Westside Baptist Church in Jenison. It was Oksana’s first time to report as my wife, and she did an excellent job. As I saw her share her heart with the church during her testimony, interact with the believers in fellowship, and then pray heartfelt prayers (even though she said before the prayer time that she wouldn’t be praying, since English isn’t her first language), I was reminded of the treasure that God has entrusted to me. Maybe what I ought to focus on sinking in is the reality that I’m blessed beyond measure with an amazing wife, not just that I’m married.

Prayercard 1

Pray for God’s provision as we will need to raise a little over $1,900 in monthly support. We thank God that we are already seeing His provision for this month!

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I’ve been working through Derek Wilson’s The People’s Bible, which tells the story of the KJV. He writes that, between 1500 and 1550, “only a dozen pastors [of the 869 East Anglican clergy] throughout a large, populous, and thriving part of England owned the sourcebook of the Christian faith.” Thankfully, though, during that same span of time, the Lord was raising up men like William Tyndale to meet that great need in order to deliver the clergy from darkness and to guide their flocks to the light. I’m thankful for the small part I can have in getting the Bible into the languages of others who still lack “the sourcebook of the Christian faith.”

WORKSHOP IN HAITI

I’m thankful for my gracious hosts in Haiti (pictured) and for the strength the Lord gave the translator and me as we checked Deuteronomy and Joshua. I received the material only weeks before the workshop, so I spent many hours before and during the workshop trying to prepare more material. But God helped us to get it all done in good time! PRAY for the Haitian Creole committee as they continue to prepare the revised NT with Psalms and Proverbs for an upcoming publication.

WORKSHOP IN EURASIA

Only a week after my workshop in Haiti I went to a country in Eurasia to train translators for BI’s first ever project in this part of the world. We have to keep information confidential about this project, but I can show you a picture of my fiancée and I teaming up as she helped me with her knowledge of Russian. The translation team knows almost no English, so Oksana and another interpreter had to help me communicate my translator training teachings and also give us all an understanding of how Russian works. The translation team will use Russian and two other languages for their source languages. I thank God for supplying the needed grace to write a new 120-page translator training manual and then to train the team using that manual. PRAY for the translators, as they have just begun their translating work.

WEDDING AND BEYOND

Oksana and I are so thankful for how God expedited the fiancée visa. It took only three months! She received her passport back as she was heading to the airport for the Eurasia trip. What timing! We are also thankful for how God is working through my mom and the dear people at Victory Baptist Church in Reading, PA, as we prepare for the wedding on July 25. Oksana will make her first entry into the USA on July 14, and then we’ll have less than two weeks to finalize wedding details. Then, after one week of honeymooning in the Poconos, we’ll head to Michigan to establish our life together. PRAY for God to be glorified through the wedding and through our lives together. PRAY for grace to adjust well to married life, and especially for Oksana as she adjusts to the USA. PRAY for wisdom and God’s provision in meeting our new support needs as a married couple, as we will need an additional $1,500-2,000. We will be reporting to some churches in MI, PA, and IL in the fall.

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PRAY also for the Consultant Seminar and BI Annual Retreat in mid-August. My next workshop is not until November, when I’ll be going back to Eurasia. PRAY that Oksana would get travel authorization so she can join me.

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