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Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

Maybe not too many will be interested in all this, but I found it quite interesting and helpful to analyze all the work I’ve done on my own and with my wife in order to raise funds for our ministry. I actually began deputation meetings in July 2007, and I continued with meetings until May 2012, though I had actually gotten full support by March 2012. So, that means that for my first 5 years of ministry with BI, I was doing deputation meetings. And now that the support estimate went up when I got married, deputation meetings began again soon thereafter. So, I had 3 years where I was not doing many meetings, though I was still doing some in late 2012, 2013, 2014, and early 2015.

Here are the statistics concerning number of deputation meetings per year:

  • 2007–10 meetings (started in July)
  • 2008–39 meetings
  • 2009–44 meetings
  • 2010–37 meetings
  • 2011–37 meetings
  • 2012–5 meetings
  • 2013–3 meetings
  • 2014–4 meetings
  • 2015–3 meetings
  • 2016–14 meetings (2 more to go)
  • TOTAL–196 meetings

Here are the statistics concerning the number of new churches I/we have visited per year:

  • 2007–10 churches
  • 2008–39 churches
  • 2009–44 churches
  • 2010–37 churches
  • 2011–35 churches
  • 2012–4 churches
  • 2013–2 churches
  • 2014–1 church
  • 2015–2 churches
  • 2016–4 churches (2 upcoming meetings are return visits)
  • TOTAL–178 churches

The numbers are the same on both lists for 2007-2010, but by 2011 I was returning to churches I had already visited. I continued to return to churches in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, but I would visit a few new ones too. In 2016, I made a big push to visit churches for deputation meetings, but only 4 of them were churches I had never visited.

I’m not yet sure what we will do next year, but so far we have 8 meetings but only 1 is a deputation meeting. We know of 2 new churches that plan on taking us on for support, but that will still leave us around $800/mo short of 100%, depending on how much they commit to. And then, there’s the issue of having a baby in May and needing more support for that. Ugh! I’ve been on deputation 6 of the 9.5 years of ministry at BI, and it seems the end is not in sight. Only God can sustain us to the very end!

It was great to be with Pastor Ostrander and the people at Harmony Baptist (Beaver Dam, WI) and then with Pastor Coley and the people at Bethany Baptist (Grand Rapids, OH) these past two weekends. In both places we enjoyed special events on the Friday before the meeting. In Beaver Dam we heard the singing group Forever Be Sure, a ladies sacred music group. They were a huge blessing! Then in Grand Rapids, OH, we got to be involved in a youth activity, which included “capture the flag” and a hayride. I got to share a devotional at that. Coley’s church also reserved two nights at The Mill House, a nice old Bed/Breakfast in the quaint little downtown of GR. We loved walking along the river down there. I highly recommend that little town for a nice weekend get-away.

Tomorrow we head to Parma, OH, for a deputation meeting at Southwest Community Baptist Church. This will be a return visit for both of us, and I had already been there a few times before marrying Oksana. But this time we’ll be there when they are without a pastor. We hope to be an encouragement as they go through this transition time.

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Where was I in 2014?

Though 2014 is not yet over, my plans for the rest of the year are well-established, though God may choose to change them. So, I thought I’d see where I was during the year, since I often get asked how much of the year I am away from home. Well, I discovered that I will have been away from my wonderful and very comfortable home for 171 days of the year, traveling either domestically or internationally. That’s almost half of the year!

Here’s how those 171 days break down:

  • 63 days traveling overseas for ministry (9 weeks)
  • 10 days traveling overseas for personal (1.5 weeks)
  • 10 days traveling domestically for personal (1.5 weeks)
  • 48 days traveling domestically for deputation (7 weeks)
  • 40 days traveling domestically for work (6 weeks)

Believe it or not, I really do like my home, though my lifestyle doesn’t seem to indicate that! But I have to fulfill the work the Lord has given me to accomplish, and I really do enjoy traveling too.

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Larry B. Jones presented a paper entitled “Volunteer Exegetical Checkers–addressing the growing translation consultant gap” at the Bible Translation 2009 conference in Dallas, TX. In this paper he cites statistics presented by Gordon Williams and other Seed Company staff in 2006 in support of the Seed Company’s National Consultant Intern project. The numbers are slightly outdated since they were given in 2006 (a recent post of mine gives more up-to-date numbers), but I still thought they would be good to post.

Wycliffe Bible Translators are the “big dog on the block” when it comes to doing Bible translation. In 2006 there were 338 translation consultants in Wycliffe, and they were working on 1,640 projects. They estimated that there were still 2,529 projects needing to be done. Wycliffe and others with the Forum for Bible Agencies (FOBA) established Vision 2025 in which a translation project would be started by 2025 for every language that needs a Bible translation. The Seed Company, therefore, was assessing how to meet the needs of these 2,500+ projects.

Before I give their report on their consultant availability to meet these needs, I want to cite the numbers they give that break down this 2,529 number for languages still needing a Bible translation. They break this number down into regions:

  • Americas: 104
  • Africa: 881
  • Asia: 931
  • Eurasia: 181
  • Pacific: 432

In Wycliffe where, as I said above, they are working on 1,640 projects, each consultant averages 4.85 projects per person. That’s a little higher than the number of projects each of us BI consultants works on. You may not think I am assessing things correctly, since we have 37 active projects and 15 active translation consultants. But only 7 of those consultants do full-time consulting (I don’t include myself in that number). So, it’s actually quite complicated to figure out how many projects can be distributed over our consultant pool.

Back to Jones’ paper… Though Wycliffe isn’t proposing that they meet all of the upcoming needs in Bible translation, Jones assessed the future situation in Wycliffe by noting the age of the current consultants. Of the 338 consultants, 307 gave their age information. Of the 307 who submitted information, 124 were over the age of 60. This means that it’s possible that 40% of their consultants will be retired by 2016. If I read the line graph in the paper correctly, it looks like only around 64 are 50 years old or younger, so around 80% of their consultants will retire by around 2025, the year that FOBA marks for the goal of getting translations started in all projects that need them.¬†Yes, I know they have new consultants joining on each year, but I’m not sure the new consultants is more than the retiring consultants.

At BI 4 of our 15 translation consultants are over 60. Thankfully, we have 4 new translation consultants currently on deputation (not to mention 2 new literacy/linguistics consultants to join the 1 full-time literacy/linguistics consultant!). We praise the Lord for answering our prayer to send forth laborers into “our corner” of the harvest, but more are needed! Please keep praying so that we can help meet the needs of the millions who still wait for a good translation of the Word of God.

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Wycliffe has updated the statistics on the Bible Translation needs around the world: http://www.wycliffe.net/resources/scriptureaccessstatistics/tabid/99/Default.aspx. They noted two key points about the current situation:

  • For the first time ever: the number of languages that may have a need for Bible translation fell below 2000. Current estimates stand at 209 million people speaking 1,967 languages.
  • For the first time ever: the number of languages with translation in progress exceeds the number of languages needing translation.

We can praise the Lord for the incredible progress that’s being made. Truly, this is the greatest era of Bible translation work! However, I have to point out that just because a language receives Scripture doesn’t mean they receive good access to the Scriptures. Sometimes translations can be so poor that they essentially still haven’t received access to the Scriptures. That’s why we at BI are interested in helping those with no or inadequate access to the Scriptures! Our projects are evenly divided between these two needs.

Pray for me as I minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Fair Haven, NY. I will be filling all three slots tomorrow morning. I plan on showing them some of the needs and complexities of Bible translation in the morning. I’ll be doing a regular sermon in the Worship service, and then I’ll show a BI DVD and give a short devotional in the PM service.

I thank the Lord for helping things to go so well at Elmira, NY, last week. The people at Hillcrest Baptist Church have been giving me half of their Christmas offering each year since I began in 2007 (the other half goes to BI). I was given all three slots last Sunday too, and the Lord really blessed. I also shared a challenge at prayer meeting on Wed about the importance of prayer in the work of missions.

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August is a very busy month for us at Bibles International. The BI Annual Meeting is right in the middle of the month, and the annual Consultant Seminar begins the day after and continues through all of the following week. I lead the latter, and my preparations for that event begin many months ahead of time. I’m thankful with how well this year’s seminar went. We had around 30 in attendance and enjoyed what could be considered the best seminar I’ve been a part of since joining BI in 2007.

Dr. Rod Decker began the seminar, bringing us up-to-date with verbal aspect in Greek, middle and deponent Greek verbs, the periphrastic construction, and other issues involving Greek and linguistics. The new insights on how tense works in Greek are revolutionizing how we should view them and how we should translate them. We’ll need wisdom from the Lord as we seek to apply these things in our ministry.

In addition to bringing the consultants up-to-date on how the projects around the world are going and what reader, translator, and consultant helps we are producing, we discussed other issues such as “Producing First Scriptures,” “Writing Consistency Checks,” “Trial Editions,” “Collecting Feedback,” and “Audio Scriptures.” My session was on the first topic–producing first Scriptures (i.e., the first completed portions of the NT for a language group). I was pleased to discover in my research that BI has been involved in more first Scripture projects than I had originally thought. Of the 51 projects we list in our quarterly Prayer Guide, 25 of them are first Scriptures! And today we are currently working on 9 more first Scriptures, in addition to the 8 first Scriptures in which we are currently continuing on into the OT. So of the 32 active translation projects currently going on right now, 17 of them are with language groups in which we are providing them with their first NT or first Bible! I’m so thankful to have a part in this!

But the needs continue to remain great, as I mentioned in an earlier post. There are 2,252 languages that still have a definite need. Some people may question that number. They may say, “But aren’t most of the world’s languages dying out? Is there really that great of a need to help these people get the Bible into their language? I heard there will be only around 100 languages by 2100.” I brought up that last statistic, because I did read that somewhere. But that was in a book in which the author himself thought that number was not very realistic. The author believes we will be down to 2,500. Even if that is the case, that’s almost a century away. In other words, that’s still 4-5 generations away. Are we OK with letting 4-5 generations die before they can get clear access to the Bible?

And another thing to consider is the power of a small language group. Yes, we do help language groups that have less than 10,000 speakers, though a number of our languages groups have a higher population. I can think of what one small language group is doing in Myanmar now that they have the NT in their language (and will have the OT in a couple of years). Because of their evangelistic efforts, they are seeing people get saved in other language groups, creating the need for us to help them get the Bible into their language as well. So should we just concentrate on the big language groups? Should we only focus on the language groups that we know will still be around in 2100? I don’t think so!

This first day of September finds me in Ontario, heading to Quebec. I haven’t been to Quebec since 2008, so I’m excited about seeing my Quebecois friends again. I have 4 supporting churches up there, and I’ll be visiting them during these next 2 weeks, while also squeezing in a 1-week vacation in Quebec City. Pray that my French will return easily so that I can report on my work, minister the Word, and stir people up for missions.

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The mission of Bibles International is to provide Scriptures for the “millions who still wait.” This includes helping to translate Scriptures for those who have nothing or who have inadequate Scriptures. I didn’t know the exact distribution of our projects among these two types of projects, and I had assumed that more of our projects were with those language groups that have inadequate Scriptures. In fact, I thought the number was around 75% of our current projects. Well, it turns out that around 50% of our projects are with language groups that have inadequate Scriptures, and the other half are with those who have nothing. We currently have 51 language groups listed on our quarterly Prayer Guide, and 27 of them are “first Bibles” (technically, first NTs), and in 18 of these 27 we are still working on Scriptures.

While we can’t say that we would necessarily rather help only those languages that have no Scriptures (since inadequate Scriptures can do great damage to people, if the are extremely poor), we can be thankful that we are heavily involved in language groups that have no Scriptures.

What are the current needs? Well, there are 4,142 languages with no Scriptures at all, as of 2011. Wycliffe estimates that 2,252 of these need Bible translation work to begin (the others are ones where the language is dying out and/or the people can understand another language well), as of 2009. In my blog post on April 14, 2011, I noted the needs in Chad–40% of the people have no access to Scripture in their own language. That represents 89 of the 129 languages in Chad! Some of these are quite large language groups. The Kanembu have 461,000 speakers. The Dazaga have 381,000. The Maba have 296,000; the Musey 229,000; and the Naba 278,000. That’s a ton of people with no good access to Scripture!

Pray with us that we will have wisdom as we try to meet these needs!

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A Success Story

Earlier in the summer I noted NT projects that took 13-15 years to complete. Thankfully, though, not all of our projects take that long. A translator from southeast Asia visited the office yesterday and gave us more information about his project that is nearing completion. He noted that he began his translation work in 2006 and that he finished it in 2010. That’s only 5 years! It’s going to take another 2.5 years to get this text ready for dedication, but that’s still only 7.5 years for the whole project. What a blessing!

He also explained more about the current Bible situation among his people. All of the people in his church association of 28 churches as well as all other denominations are using a translation based on Today’s English Version (TEV). It has been revised but just on the level of the target language, not in regards to the original languages. An RSV-based NT was done in 2000, but it’s considered hard to read. Also, an evangelist in our translator’s church has done his own translation and is now looking for a publisher. He translated from another translation in his country. A one-man show that is based on a translation of a translation! Do you see the need for BI to produce a Bible for these people?? An expert in this language said that our NT is of excellent quality and will be well received.

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