Comings and goings describe our summer break time. Both of our Chinese students left in June to go home for the summer. Yuan left on June 15 and Maggie left on June 26. Yuan will be going to another school in the fall and will be staying with a host family that lives a lot closer to that school. Maggie will be back on August 17, the day Jeannette and I leave for a 10 day vacation in Hawaii. Karen was in Pittsburg for a flute master class for a week in June and left last week for another masterclass/music camp somewhere in New England.
Esther will be traveling to Europe to help with a conference/retreat for missionaries of our denomination in July. Eric came home form Ohio last week and will be with us for most of July before he goes to Nebraska for a friend’s wedding and then back to Ohio as a paid assistant football coach for Malone University.
John is mainly traveling around a lot locally to play with a variety of different groups in a lot of different settings. Neil (III) and Lori Anne are not doing any traveling this year, but they are both working a lot. Neil (III) is doing a variety of music related jobs for one of the local school districts, including directing a couple of beginning bands and Lori Anne is working to help pay for school in the fall.
Jeannette and I went to Canada to work with Sarah for a week. We had a good time working with her and meeting and spending time with some of the rest of her family.
I’ll be traveling to Mongu, Zambia in Africa to help again in July with a mother tongue speaker translation training workshop under The Seed Company. It will be at the same place I went to three times last year to help finish a Luke Partnership Project. This time, we (5 trainer/consultants) will be continuing training five teams of mother tongue translators (MTTs) in Bible translation principles as they work on translating the book of Acts. The goal is to train them so that they can continue in Bible translation for their language group.
Much of this month has been spent changing over from one program used in Bible translation to another. I began many years ago using a program called Shoebox (you know, you keep all your cards for the dictionary you are building in a shoebox). It became a very useful tool to use in Bible translation. As it changed and developed, it became known as Toolbox, with a lot more tools that could be used in Bible translation. Later another program was developed by two major Bible translation organizations that was called Paratext. It added the capability for multiple translators, trainers, consultants and others to work together on the same translation by allowing a user to send any changes they made to a remote computer/server and receive any changes that others made as well. A consultant could write notes about the questions he or she had and then send them to the translators through the remote server. The members of the team could be in different villages or towns in one country, in different countries or even half-way around the world. The program also tracked all the changes that were made in the translation and allowed the translator or consultant to undo any changes that had been made that were not accurate. There were also a lot of tools that were available. They could check the spelling and make it more consistent; they could check what words were used for Key Bible Terms and they could check the punctuation, verse numbers, and a lot more. Other translations could be viewed at one time.
I had not been using Paratext since Sarah and I were the only ones working on the translation, apart from Jeannette typing in the handwritten scripture from Sarah. We did not need the communication capabilities Paratext. Now, with both Jeannette and I working on checking with Sarah, the sending and receiving to a server is an extremely useful feature.
Most of June was spent in getting things set up for the change over, including converting the scripture and other data to a different format. When we were in Canada, I spent most of the week getting Sarah’s computer set up to run Paratext, which included upgrading the operating system and installing new programs and other things like fonts and keyboards. The conversion has taken a lot of time but it should help a lot in the future as all three of us work together on the translation.
In July, I will continue with the next phase of the Bible translation workshops I was part of in Zambia. Last year four other translation trainers/consultants finished the Luke Partnership Project Translation Workshops in Mongu in the Western District of Zambia. There were five translation teams from five different languages that came together to learn how to translate the Bible through translating the book of Luke and the script for the Jesus Film. We will be continuing with a new workshop series where the five translation teams will be reviewing what they learned and learn more about translation as they apply it to translating the book of Acts. This is the first workshop in this new series. I’m not sure how the long this series of workshops will be at this time. They should be able to translate the book of Acts more quickly than Luke, which took three years.
I have also spent some time this month helping Dot with a variety of computer issues.
- Do more work on conversion of data for the change over to Paratext
- Prepare for and go to Zambia for a workshop
- Do Bible translation training and consultation at the workshop
- For all the computer experts and programmers that make computer tools to make Bible translation faster, easier and more accurate
- For family—it’s so good to be together
- For the Church, where we can encourage one another, help one another, grow as believers and from which we go out to reach the world for Christ
- For safety in travels for all of us
- For the Mongu, Zambia Bible translation training cluster project and the five teams of translators from five languages that they will not forget all they have learned so far and be able to apply it well to the book of Acts
- For the scripture translated at by the Mongu, Zambia translators will be accurate, clear and natural and be useful in the salvation and growth of many in the Western District of Zambia.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.
Neil and Jeannette