Our Work For The Lord
To sum up what I did from January to April of last year, you could say I checked, checked and checked some more. I had the privilege to work a friend of mine from our sister organization (SIL) on half of their Gospel of John in a Gulf Province language. The preparation I did for their project came in handy as I then did the Advisor checking of John for the Akukem team in Madang.
To say that there were a number of challenges when we worked on the book of John for this second group would be quite an understatement. Incomplete back translations, a late start date, uncertainty on who will arrive and work on which team, a potentially serious inter-clan conflict, and a dead hard drive are just a few of the exciting things we had to deal with. As many would say, “Welcome to PNG.”
The men were very good to work with though once we got down to the business of checking the Scriptures, verse-by-verse-by-verse-by-verse. You get the idea. Including a brief break in the middle while I did more clean up work, it took us six long weeks to go through the entire book. Our minds and bodies were worn out for sure, but our spirits rejoiced when we could say, “It is finished.” We could pass the book along in pretty good shape for the final consultant check.
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The last consultant project I worked on in April was the book of Daniel for a third language group. Believe it or not, it felt like a breeze after the long grueling sessions on John. In fact, we checked all of Daniel in just a week and a half. There were a number of “ahhhs” and “ohhhs” and widened eyes as we worked through the apocalyptic material, but the translation was good, and we all got a greater appreciation for the power and majesty of God who rules over nations and kingdoms.
Whenever I was doing consultant checking, Jill helped in the office and the publishing department. She was able to help prepare questions for the E-1 curriculum which will help teachers to prepare lessons for their own vernacular preschool and Grades 1-2 education program. She also helped with some Paratext coding for one of our completed New Testament projects, and then assisted me when I became fatigued or needed help with daily tasks around the house where we stayed.
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Then it was time to go back home to Canada. I made the assumption that “home” would be warm when I got back to Calgary at the beginning of May. Wrong!! Oh well, it is Canada after all. Jill and I celebrated our 28th anniversary on May 11th, and we decided that it would be nice to take a car ride out to the mountains, which are just an hour west of Calgary. We had barely left the city limits when we both exclaimed, “It’s Spring!” How did we know? The orange construction pylons were dotted along the highway.
It was so nice to spend the Spring and Summer in Canada, with family and friends. I stayed pretty close to home in Calgary and decided to pick up a hobby for the summer. What did I do? I retaught myself Hebrew after not using it for 19 years. (There must be something wrong with me don’t you think, as I actually enjoyed reading backwards again in that strange Semitic font.)
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The other main summer activity for both Jill and I was to visit three churches in the Maritimes (two on PEI and one in Halifax) and then one in Calgary. I would preach at the service hour, with Jill running the Power Point projection. We would then talk with people after the services and meet in some homes to tell more about the work that we do for PBT-Canada.
At the end of October, I traveled to Dallas where it is warmer and more conducive to doing my translation checking preparation for my 2013 trip to PNG. During November and December, I finished preparing my questions for Exodus chs. 1-24 as well as Psalms 120-150 for one group who have finished translating the New Testament.
In the middle of my time in Dallas, I was able to take a trip up to Illinois where I visited a number of our supporting churches. I spoke in three churches and in three small group meetings over a ten day period. They are all excited to see what God is doing in me (physically) and through us in the work of Bible translation.
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The big achievement for Jill last year was getting the acceptance letter from the Nursing Council in PNG and the Work Permit which provisionally allows her to do some nursing experience in PNG. We do wonder if this is the beginning of us making a move towards living and working full-time here in PNG, or if we are meant to continue coming over each year for so many months out of each year. This next trip will show us where this might lead.
I must mention an amazing thing that is occurring for me physically. Ever since the churches in the Maritimes, and also Oak Park church in Calgary, prayed for me and Jill and for my healing, I have been doing better and better. I am rarely using my arm crutches now. I can walk around inside buildings without any assistance, and I am also starting to take short walks outside with only my pole or not even that. I believe that God is incrementally healing me, and I am very grateful for that. I believe He is preparing me for what lies ahead in PNG.