Serving The Lord In 2012

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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.

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March 2011 Prayer & Praise

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Two Months in Papua New Guinea


Wow!!  The month of February has come and gone and we are already part way into March now.  I have been over here in PNG for five weeks, with another three weeks to go.  Praise God that Jill has been able to be with me for six of the eight weeks.  I could not have managed without all her help and support.  (And the evenings and weekends are certainly more enjoyable having one’s mate and friend with you after all the work is done.)

It is amazing to look back and see all that has been accomplished in this time.  The major work for me of course is to do the consultant check on translated books of Scripture into the languages of the people of PNG.  In the time that we were up in the highlands, I was able to help check and revise the books of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians in the T. language, and also to finish the last eight chapters of Matthew in the W. language.

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Meanwhile, Jill has kept herself busy by helping out our mission’s data publishing department.  While in the highlands, Jill received a disk that had all the literacy materials for the M. Language.  She spent about 40 hours creating file folders and renaming the files.  A final step in this task was to create an excel worksheet to contain enough information that these books could now be more readily found.

Once in Madang, Jill was asked to teach one of the other team members working in the publishing department about scanning old files so that they could be preserved.  This was something she had done last year, so she first spent a half day doing some scanning and then writing out the instructions for others to follow.

Two languages, M. and K., have a lot of their literacy materials published in a program format that is no longer being used.  Jill’s task then was to convert this data from the old system into a pdf format which they will be able later to clean up for any future printing and/or revisions to the material.

It was quite the daunting task that they gave to her.  But now our Branch can at least start again with these three language group to be able to find out what translated and literacy materials they have and where it is in the computer.  (Way to go Jill!!)

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But now we are counting down the days till our work is done here in PNG.  Jill will be flying to Port Moresby on Sunday.  Then Monday she starts her long trip home to Canada.  Her route will take her Moresby to Brisbane to Los Angeles to Calgary.  And seeing as she crosses the international dateline, she will get to do all this on one very very long Monday.  On this one day from start to finish, it will be 29 hours for her….and still be Monday.  Go figure.

Meanwhile, I will remain behind and continue doing the consultant check on the book of Hebrews for the A. language.  We will have already started the checking by the time you read this, but we will keep going and Lord willing have it all checked and mostly revised by March 24th.  Then I too will get on a plane on the 25th and start my journey back to Canada.  It will take me a little longer than Jill seeing as I need to take hotel rests at all the stops along the way to conserve my energy and be well by the time I get back to Calgary.

In light of all this, we would like you to join us and give thanks to God for some great answers to prayer and blessings He has given to us.  And we would ask you to be praying about some important matters.  They are as follows:

Praise God…

  • that I have had very good health over the past six weeks since leaving Calgary
  • that the narcotic patch I wear daily has cut down my sharp levels of pain significantly
  • that we were able to finish checking the books of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians in the T. language
  • that we were able to complete Matthew in the W. language which we began on our Sept/Oct trip
  • that Jill has been able to help out the Branch in some significant ways
  • for our safe, although delayed, flight from the highlands to the city of Madang
  • that the consultant checking of Hebrews in the A. language is now underway and going well

Pray to God…

  • that He will bless the checking of Hebrews which will take two weeks to do
  • that my energy would remain strong and my mind would remain sharp and clear
  • that when we hit difficult spots in Hebrews, God will give us clarity and understanding
  • that the Spirit of peace and unity and brotherly love would cover over us all
  • that Jill will have a safe and uneventful trip all the way to Calgary (March 13-14)
  • that I will manage well for the two weeks on my own after Jill has left me

It is truly wonderful to have a fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters all over the world who can spiritually hold hands with us and lift up all of these praise and prayers items to our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Messiah, and to our God and Father who is over all, and in all, and through all things.

And it is wonderful for me to be able to share my life journey with so many people around the world.  Besides the obvious ministry of Bible translation consultant checking, He has surprised me by opening up this “Armchair Ministry” of writing articles which are intended to encourage and bless many other people.  And from the feedback I am getting, this is exactly what God has been doing through me.

What can I say to you Lord, except simply, “Thank you for loving me so!”