August 2011 Mission Update

It has been a while since I gave a complete update on what we are doing.  Many of our friends know some of the pieces of what is happening, but I want to lay out the full picture of our work and family so that you will know how to be praying for us and our ministry work.

Location

Our family is starting to head off in different directions.  I will leave the family members till later, as nothing new has occurred yet.  With regards to me, many of you probably know by now that I am currently in Dallas, Texas, and will be here almost up to Christmas of this year, a four-month period.  I am staying in a dormitory style Guesthouse on the campus of the International Linguistic Center (ILC).

The ILC is host to a number of mission agencies like Wycliffe Bible Translators, The Seed Company (a fund-raising group for overseas translation, literacy and other mission activities), the top-notch linguistic training school, GIAL (Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics), and also the mission group that Jill and I have been a part of since 1995, Pioneer Bible Translators (PBT).

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The primary reason for me being here on the Dallas campus, for those who don’t know, is because of my health.  The seasons of this last year, from fall through to spring, have been exceptionally cooler than normal.  Definitely this past winter was tough on everyone, but with my muscle disease, it was very brutal on me and the colder it got, the more debilitated I was with the pain of my tightened and stiff muscles.

And so the decision was forming in our minds by April this year to look at where I ought to be living when temperatures start to cool down.  The obvious first step was for me to plan to do more consultant checking in Papua New Guinea (PNG) during the winter, but that still left the fall to consider.  So when I talked with our Dallas office of PBT, they were very pleased that I would volunteer to help out in the fall, but even more so if I would consider coming down mid-summer.  And so I am now here in Dallas.

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Ministry Work

God has been so good to me this year to not only allow me to continue doing ministry work for Him, but God has opened up even more doors of opportunity than I could have ever imagined.  As you all may recall, Jill and I went back to PNG during this last winter.  I was there for nine weeks, the longest overseas trip since 2007, and Jill was able to join me for almost six of those weeks.  She helped me with many of my daily needs, but had plenty of time to help the Branch out as well in various support roles.

My primary role with PBT is to be a Bible translation consultant.  When a team of missionaries and national people (or some projects have just nationals) have completed the translation of a book of the Bible into the vernacular language of the people, and have done a number of their own internal checks on the book, they then call on an outside consultant to do the final check of their translation before the book can be published.

Last winter, we were able to finish Matthew in one language, check Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians in a second language, and then do the checking of Hebrews in a third language.  In 2012, from mid-January through April, the tentative plan is to check two epistles for a member of a group called SIL (the name for Wycliffe field members), then to help one national team of translators get a good workable translation of the Gospel of John roughed out over a six-week period.  And if I stay into April over there, I will work with a third group as a consultant or an adviser.

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Meanwhile, back to my time in Dallas, there is plenty the Lord has given me to do.  The reason the Dallas office of PBT wanted me to come as early as mid-August was so that I would be able to help them by teaching an in-house training program (Intro to Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition) to some of our new missionary recruits.  From now until Christmas I will spend about 15 hours a week doing this.

And back to my primary job of doing translation consultant work, there is a great deal of preparation that I do to get ready to go over to PNG and do the checking of Scriptures.  But there is one more consultant task that PBT has given me.  Namely, there is a project in southeast Asia that has most of their New Testament close to finished, but which still needs the eyes of a consultant to check.  And thankfully, that is something I can do by remote computer file sharing.  So thank you Lord for giving me many areas of ministry to do for You.

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Family Back Home

Finally, news about the family.  Jill has not made a change of her residence or where she works.  But she has made two other significant changes.  She began a full-time line position on her Postpartum Unit at the Calgary hospital on July 1st.  At the same time, she has begun some Master’s online studying that definitely keeps her busy when she is not working.  She will be able to be with me for about 10 days in mid-October, and we are praying about how much time she can take to come over to PNG again in the next winter.

And then the one other member of the family still living at home with Jill, might very soon be packing his bags.  Glen has had his application to the Army accepted.  He has passed the interview and medical exam stage.  He got word that he is on the “Merit List” which is the call-up list.  And so now we just wait for that last phone call, and then he will be off to Army Boot Camp training.

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We ask that you all please keep us in your prayers as we seek to follow the Lord’s leading.  It definitely is exciting the number of things that we are all getting to do, but it does not mean that they will be easy to do.  But we will walk forward by faith, believing that God will give us the strength to do what He has asked us to do.

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