We wanted to share a brief update, a challenge, and an exciting story about the importance of IT workers in Bible Translation.
- We have had a very busy month with VBS, work, finishing school, and now visiting with family in Florida. Tara and the kids are enjoying some time in Florida with her family.
- Tim’s work permit application has been sent to Papua New Guinea! We cannot begin applying for our visas until his work permit is approved.
- We at 35% of our monthly support. In order to reach our goal of 50% by the end of June, we need an additional $730 in monthly support.
- We are looking for advocates. What are advocates? Advocates are people that will share with their friends/co-workers/family, etc about us and the need for Bible Translation. They might host a home meeting and invite their friends over, so we can share with them. An advocate could arrange for us to speak at his/her church or small group or put us in contact with a pastor, missions minister, or teacher. Could you help? Please email us back and let us know how you can be an advocate. Tara is in Florida until Thursday the 24th and can schedule a time to share or meet with you to discuss about being an advocate.
- Will you commit to pray once a week for us? Would you choose one day a week to commit to pray for the work and needs of Bible translation, the people of Papua New Guinea, and for our family? Let us know what day you will be praying for us. We want to pray for you on that day.
- Has God laid on your hear to be part of His Great Commission by sending us to Papua New Guinea? If so, please click here and complete the online form.
Why is computer work an important part of Bible Translation?
Board a plane in Dallas, Texas. Travel for four days on 15 flights far into Southeast Asia. Now climb into a truck and journey up into lush green mountains on a deeply rutted, often muddy road. Hike over slippery landslides if necessary. Eventually you’ll come to a little village nestled into a mountain valley, where the local language is Yawa, but where the people have traditionally worshipped in the national language.
As you walk through the village, stop and talk to church leaders. Ask if anyone preaches from the Yawa Scripture portions published over the last 20 years. “Elder Sefnat does all the time,” they’ll say. Sefnat will show you two small worn books protected by brown paper covers—Yawa translations of John’s writings, Acts, and nine epistles. Tucked into the pages are little slips of paper with dated sermon notes, references to Scripture passages in those two little books, and unpublished verses that mother tongue translator Andowa has handwritten for him.
Stop by a thatched-roof home and ask if anyone there reads from the Scriptures in Yawa. Everyone will point to a bearded old man called Grandfather Bertasar. “He read to us this morning,” they’ll say. “He told us how to apply it to our lives, too.”
Walk on and you’ll come to the village church. Take a deep breath because you’re about to encounter an amazing scene! In this very remote village, where there is neither electricity nor phone service, translator Andowa sits at a laptop computer. A dozen people cluster closely around him, listening as he reads aloud a Bible passage in Yawa. The volunteer reviewers enthusiastically discuss it, looking for ways to improve awkward or unclear sentences. When they‘re satisfied with the way it sounds, Andowa revises it on his computer. Then, since his specially-designed software has a send/receive function, he logs onto the internet and “syncs” his draft.
|Andowa learns to use satellite equipment|
Halfway around the world in Arlington, Texas, Wycliffe translator Linda Jones will get up tomorrow morning, sync up her computer, and read the draft that Andowa has revised. She’ll check to make sure the meaning hasn’t been altered and send back suggestions for the next round of discussion.
This is how the final revisions are being made to the Yawa New Testament. It’s all possible because a new geostationary satellite began circling the equator in early 2009. Just two weeks after it went into service, IT specialists from Wycliffe’s Seed Company brought a computer and a small satellite device to the village, showed Andowa how to connect to the satellite, and taught him to use OurWord—the special software for mother tongue translators created by Wycliffe member John Wimbish.
|Andowa & friend going to the church|
Andowa and Linda have been working together long-distance for 17 years now, ever since Linda and her husband, Larry, had to move away so Larry could take on various leadership roles in Bible translation. Scripture drafts went back and forth by mail and in hand-carried packets. Linda and Larry made trips to the village. Andowa made trips out of the village. Always God helped them find a way forward, but they thought they had reached the end of the road when it came to the final revision process. “We did not see how we could finish the final revisions without greater community involvement,” says Linda. “It just looked impossible. I could not go there for any length of time, and they could not come here.” And then came the satellite—and IT specialists who knew how to take advantage of the satellite!
There have, of course, been a few maintenance problems with the equipment and satellite connection, but IT personnel have repaired most of them remotely. Only once did a faulty part have to be hand-carried to the city and back. That led to two and a half months without communication, but eventually the connection was repaired and revisions moved forward!
Soon the final draft of the New Testament will be sent to the printers, and the Yawa people will begin preparing for the dedication, set for June 2011. Elder Sefnat, Grandfather Bertasar, and translator Andowa are waiting. Dozens of reviewers and their relatives are waiting. The Scriptures are reaching yet another group of people, isolated, but not forgotten by the God who loves them all. He has conquered space and distance.
Honestly, I’m not sure what Tim is more excited about- using his existing IT skills to support Bible Translation or acquiring all the new skills and technology to support Bible Translation. I do know that God has worked to hone his IT and trouble-shooting skills the last 11 years to be used for His glory. It is exciting to see how God is going to work to bring Wycliffe to its goal of having a translation project begun in each of the nearly 2,000 remaining languages by 2025. WE (including you!) are going to get to be a part. We look forward to sharing our first New Testament dedication with you! Thank you for partnering with us!