Do Great Things For God

This past trip to Papua New Guinea (Jan. 27 – March 28) was a big leap of faith on our part.  The question on everyone’s mind was how I would manage on such a long trip overseas.  The good news is that I can honestly say this has been my most successful trip in the past three years.

My assignment was to do the consultant checking of translated Scripture books for three language projects:  finish checking the book of Matthew in the W. language, check three Pauline epistles in the T. language, and check the book of Hebrews in the A. language.  I was able to complete all three language projects, each ahead of schedule, so that five more books of Scripture are now ready for publication.  I am thankful to God for my role in being able to see this made possible.

Along with completing the assignment given to me, I attained the status of being a Full Translation Consultant.  From a health perspective, I was able to live and function better than I have done on any other trip.  Jill was a great help to me in many ways, and so were many of the Branch members over there.  Not only have I learned to pace myself and my body better, but the new pain medicine has helped to reduce the level of daily pain to a moderate more tolerable level and has reduced the number of bad spike days of pain.

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When we all saw how well this trip went, we went ahead and had a meeting with all the Directors of the PNG Branch, as well as with the Regional Area Director for Pioneer Bible Translators who happened to be in PNG at the time.  In the meeting, we discussed various ways I could serve the ministry of Bible translation, and the timing and length of our next visit to PNG.  We are looking at going back early in 2012 for 2-3 months to do more consultant checking work.  In addition to this, I was asked to consider being involved in a new program with a language project in Southeast Asia.

This project will be a new approach for PBT, but has tremendous potential.  The missionary who oversees the project lives about half the year in the States and then spends the other half of the year in Southeast Asia.  The national translators are located in a city that has a stable internet connection and stay in touch with the missionary through email attachments, language program file sharing and through Skype calls.

The idea that was presented to me is that I would become one of the primary translation consultants, and do all my work with the missionary and the team through long-distance internet connection.  In other words, I could work all year-long and live in any location globally to help do the consultant checking of this project.  This opportunity is very exciting, and I have agreed to become attached as a remote location translation consultant with respect to the Southeast Asia team.

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Looking back, it wasn’t that long ago that I thought I would not be able to continue such an active international involvement in mission work.  Looking ahead, it sure seems to us that the Lord is opening many doors for me to serve Him.  There are a lot of details to still be taken care of, but we are going forward with confidence that this is the direction the Lord is leading.

You may have noticed that the title for this article and the last one in this four-part series (click here to read) go together very well.  These words are a famous quote by William Carey who helped to launch the modern-day mission movement.  Putting them together, they are:

Expect great things from God; Do great things for God.

William Carey is one of my “heroes of the faith” and through his missionary and Bible translation efforts, much of India and surrounding countries were impacted by the Gospel.  Of course I am no William Carey, but I do hope to emulate his motto.  I put my trust in God that what we do for Him, checking Scripture translations one verse at a time, will have a long-lasting impact on the people of PNG, or wherever we may serve.

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And before I sign off on this article, let me say how grateful I am to all of you who read these blog stories.  Jill and I know that we do not go on our own into the mission field abroad.  We are part of a team, part of the greater body of Christ.  We go as your representatives, and you all come along with us in spirit to attempt to do these great things for God.

My prayer is that each of us would hear God’s voice and follow His leading to serve Him where we live, or wherever He may lead us.  We know that the victory is won in Jesus Christ.  But we also know that there is much to be done in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to the people groups of the earth.  Let us all by faith serve our God well until He calls us Home, or until the day that Jesus will return.