Friday, April 26, 2024

God's Point of View

You might have noticed there aren't as many stories of my Wycliffe ministry that I can share in this season. Many times, it's because I am working with my colleagues' finances or learning of challenging situations in their lives... and those things need to be kept in confidence. Sometimes, my days are as exciting as a Zoom meeting to help someone update their W-4 form. Very important, but not exactly the kind of thing I race to share with you!

The last face-to-face program I was a part of in Orlando was in February 2020. At that time, there was absolutely no way I could have imagined how things would be today -- with me back in Indiana and in entirely different roles. I am so thankful for the continuity of still being with Wycliffe and the continuity of you, faithful partners, who have prayed and given and encouraged, every step of the way. And though "our" contribution is different now, we are still part of what God is doing to transform lives through the translated Bible.

But why does Bible translation make a difference? Take a look at the first 4:30 of this video from the Spring Scripture Celebration (Of course, you're welcome to watch the entire video.). The image gives a hint:​

Recent Highlights -- Answers to Prayer:
  • An unexpected project came up this month and I was able to draft a solution. We tested it and are ready for implementation in May.
  • The long-term project due in May is essentially finished.
  • I was recently the Zoom facilitator for sessions on "Caring for Aging Parents" that were attended by 124 colleagues. It was good to help with encouragement for so many.
  • The Lord is continuing to help me memorize (working on Colossians, Psalm 103).
Items for prayer:
  • May 6, one of the processes I work with will change radically. Pray that our testing was adequate (see above!), that I will see issues quickly, and for good attention to detail.
  • May will be the first month for the new departmental paradigm. Pray for good adjustments.
  • Pray for wisdom for Wycliffe's leadership as they make decisions regarding the sale of the current campus in order to unlock underutilized resources so that more might receive the Bible and be transformed.
Thank you for your faithful prayers. How may I pray for you?

Friday, March 29, 2024

Hidden in my Heart

I don't know how your "quiet time/devotions/Bible study and prayer/personal worship" goes, but I know that from time to time, I need something different to awaken my heart in new ways. This year, I've been memorizing the book of Colossians. I started this process once before, in 2021, but got derailed when I relocated to Indy. I began again in January and am making good progress.

So what does that mean? It doesn't mean I am ready to do the whole thing in front of a crowd... but with some prompting, the Lord has helped me commit sections to memory. And here's what I've learned: I really look forward to my time working on it -- reviewing it, taking on the next new section. Almost every time I hear the Bible taught, I am reminded of a Colossians theme. I am becoming much more aware of God's Word, and that's a good thing.

Here's my encouragement to you: whatever you need to do so that you are more eager for your times with the Scriptures, do it! May the Lord constantly grow our appreciation for his grace in revealing himself to us, and may that make us even more passionate about seeing others receive his Word in a language and form they best understand.

Recent Highlights -- Answers to Prayer:
  • Your prayers for productivity are still being answered. I was able to help bunches on a pop-up project the past two weeks.
  • The long-term project due in May is ready for the finishing touches.
  • God is increasing my desire to know more of the Bible.
Items for prayer:
  • One of my departments is about to experience a significant transition of people and roles.
  • Wycliffe is looking to sell the current campus to unlock underutilized resources so that more might receive the Bible and be transformed.
  • Pray that I not only continue to memorize, but that I will continue to let the Spirit apply the Word to my heart.
You are such a blessing to me. How may I pray for you?

Friday, February 23, 2024

Reverend Dr. Samuel Ajayi Crowther

The "Sword of the Spirit," placed in the hands of the congregations, in their own tongue, will do more to convince and convert them than all our preaching, teaching, and meetings of so many years put together.” — Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. 1809-1891)

Before he was known as Reverend Dr. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, his name was simply “Ajayi.” Ajayi grew up in West Africa among the Yoruba people. In his early teens, he was captured by raiders and crammed aboard a Portuguese ship bound for the New World. But the ship never made it. A British warship attacked the Portuguese ship in an attempt to stop the slave traders. Ajayi was one of only 87 of the 189 enslaved passengers who survived the attack. He was then sent to Sierra Leone. After learning English and beginning to study the Scriptures, Ajayi became a Christian and took the name “Samuel” at his baptism in 1825.

As a college student, Crowther studied Greek and Latin in addition to West African languages. In 1843, Crowther began compiling a dictionary in his own language -- Yoruba -- and began translating the Bible for his people. While the full Yoruba Bible would not be completed until 1884, Crowther aided other West African translation projects. Local and foreign leaders saw Crowther’s work as a groundbreaking approach to indigenous-led Bible translation that helped affirm the power of local communities. In the last 50 years, churches and organizations worldwide have rediscovered the importance of that approach to Bible translation. Dr Crowther's legacy continues today.

Samuel Ajayi Crowther (c. 1809-1891)

Recent Highlights -- Answers to Prayer:
- The January/February work project is complete! Thank you for your prayers!
- I'm beginning to feel more settled into my home. I'm almost at the one-year mark here.
- My prayer/devotions/quiet time plan is still moving forward. More about that next month!
- While I don't have specifics about the Nkukoli workshop, we continue to get good news from Nigeria about the progress of Bible translation.

Items for prayer:
- Pray for Bible translation for those who have no access to God's Word in a language they clearly understand.
- Pray for consistent progress on another long-term departmental project that is due in May.
- Pray for growth in my personal disciplines.

What a joy to be on this faith journey together! How may I pray for you?

For partnership opportunities with my Wycliffe ministry:

Friday, January 19, 2024

Nkukoli Update

The Nkukoli people have a team ready to begin learning Oral Bible Storytelling on February 1! Here's what that will look like: A team of 3-5 Facilitators will lead six 2-week workshops evenly spread over 2-3 years. The 4-5 participants per language (often 5-6 language groups are part of each project) are chosen by their church or their community. The participants learn to tell 30-50 stories of the Bible in their own language over the length of the project.

The whole group decides together with the facilitators which Bible stories to learn, generally starting with stories from Mark’s Gospel. Story selection varies from themes, books of the Bible, the lives of Biblical characters. The stories and storytelling are checked by translation consultants and checkers. There is a strong emphasis on using the local storytelling style in the crafting and performance of the stories. There often is immediate impact between workshops as the storytellers tell the stories in their communities (village, family, church). The stories create a hunger for more of God’s Word in the local language and are excellent preparation for more Bible translation.

Read the Jan 9, 2015 update about the Nkukoli.

Thanks so much for your prayers for the January/February work project. Things have been even busier than anticipated, but it has gone remarkably well. God has been using your prayers! I can't tell you much about it, because it's working with financial things for people, but I can tell you that it has been a blessing to be a part of the process, celebrating God's provision.

Recent Highlights-- Answers to Prayer:
- Christmas with my family and friends was encouraging and enjoyable as we celebrated Jesus together.
- The extra work project is going very smoothly!
- Sundays with the Jr High are going well.
- I'm in a sustainably good routine for restful sleep now.

Items for prayer:
- The Nkukoli Oral Bible Storytelling team.
- Wisdom with clients.
- My Bible reading and prayer/devotions/quiet time plan is a little different this year. [When I get a little farther along, I'll share more. :-)] Pray that I grow more and more in love with God's Word and that I learn to know God better.

It is a privilege to partner together in prayer. Let me know how I may stand with you, too.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Language and Identity

“Language is very important because that is our identity, what makes us unique as Naskapi people,” says Amanda Swappie, a team language specialist and translator. “Without it, our culture and traditions would not be the same...”

More than 1,000 Naskapis now live in their community of Kawawachikamach in Quebec, surrounded by forests and swampy muskeg (peat bog). Forty years ago, Naskapi leaders asked SIL (one of Wycliffe’s strategic partners) to help start a foundational grammar and dictionary project for the Naskapi language (which uses syllabics - characters that each represent an entire syllable).

SIL’s Bill Jancewicz has been serving as resource linguist since he and his wife Norma Jean joined the community-based Naskapi language and culture development strategy in 1988. The project has yielded a Naskapi dictionary, mother-tongue literacy and education, printed Naskapi stories and legends, and translation efforts, including Scripture.

Imagine how different life would be without access to the Bible in a language we clearly understand... As we each celebrate the joy and truth of Christmas within our own cultures and traditions, so now can the Naskapi, praise God!

Pray for continued Bible translation in Naskapi and other First Nation languages.


Personal Update

My November trip to Florida was wonderfully warm and my time with friends was so refreshing, but I came home with a nasty cold that sidelined me for a while. I am very thankful to be able to work from home and it is nice to be feeling better now.

Both of my roles with Wycliffe are going well. Thank you for your prayers that the Lord will continue to give wisdom to faithfully serve my colleagues with the background details that permit them to focus on their own tasks in Bible translation.

I’m enjoying helping with the Jr High Sunday School class at Faith Church. I’m learning lots, too, as the class is a survey of the entire Bible!

This holiday season has already been different than previous years, but the Lord is allowing me and my family find our new normal for this chapter. I am grateful for the many prayers and encouragements through these months of adjustment.

For an annual financial update, please visit my Google Group.