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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Refined by Fire

From Jill's Journal Summer 2010:

Refined by Fire In Samban, men will spend months carving out a canoe. First, they must get the right kind of tree for the canoe and then they begin the hard work of carving the canoe so that it can travel through the water carrying them and their cargo. I was surprised to learn that at the end of this process they burn the canoe inside and out with fire. The fire causes the wood to create a tough skin which prevents the wood from going rotten from the constant exposure to water. If a canoe is not cooked in the fire, it would rot and fall apart quickly. A canoe made from good wood and cooked well will last for many years. In the same way, when we are exposed to various trails we develop a stronger faith. Isaiah 48:10 says, “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” In Romans 5:3-5, we find that “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Village Checking and Back Translation Course

The day for everyone to travel to Nob Nob for the village checking and back translation course was rainy and cloudy. I was already in Madang, but as I loaded my car to go the office, I prayed that it wouldn’t last, because it would make traveling difficult, if not impossible. Most of the planes that we use to travel from the village to Madang cannot fly through clouds and so would not be able to pick up people for the course if the rain continued. After I got my car loaded up, I discovered that the battery was dead. I was able to get a ride into town and start the day of waiting and rescheduling everything due to the rain. Getting up to Nob Nob was a challenge, because it is on top of a mountain and the road is a one-lane gravel road. Some of the interns and I did make it to get set up, but the rain did not stop. The next day, I was in charge of the entire course because Martha Wade, my co-teacher, was still in Pasinkap waiting for a plane to pick her up. Those who had made it up to Nob Nob with me, began working on translating the shellbooks, How the Jews Lived. This series of books provides cultural information that will assist nationals in understanding foreign concepts found in the Bible. Fortunately, the rain cleared off the next day and all the planes were able to fly out to pick up everyone and we were able to start just a day later than scheduled on the village checking and back translation course. On the village checking side, Martha taught how to check the translation against the Tok Pisin Bible. This will improve the accuracy of the translations that they produce. On the back translation side, I taught how to write a back translation and gloss of the translation. The back translation and gloss will help the advisor who does not know the language to understand what the text is saying to evaluate its accuracy. Throughout the course, we did several dramas to stimulate conversations about issues in translation like how to work with co-workers, protect data, and deal with criticism. It was a productive time of working through drafts and learning. Please pray that the language groups who went through this course will put these skills to use.

Intern's Come for a Visit

From Jill's Journal Summer 2010:
The interns had an interesting time out in Samban. Initially, I was not sure if they would be able to come because of lack of rain. We did not receive any significant rain, but the missionary family in the neighboring village offered to let us use their rain water. We used the rain water for drinking and cooking and we used the well water for washing. My waspapa has a well that does not go dry even during very dry periods. The interns were welcomed off the plane by a singsing group comprised of adults and children. The children were studying traditional singsings in school and decided to show off to their new guests. The interns were impressed and honored. The interns then spent the next two weeks learning Tok Pisin, making friends, and learning what life is like in the village. They learned how to make sago, how to work in the garden, and how to make toys and decorations out of coconut fronds. The guys had the opportunity to go spear fishing and went on a canoe trip to Angoram. The ladies went with me by canoe to Latten for a Bible study of James. We all hiked to Simbri for a visit. They also had the opportunity to observe me working with my new translation team in drafting texts and checking materials. It was a very full and busy time. Please be in prayer for these individuals as they pray for God’s guidance regarding their role in the ministry of Bible translation.

Checking of James

From Jill's Journal Winter 2009: Since my last newsletter, I’ve participated in two checking sessions for the book of James. The first one was in August when Martha Wade, the Director of Language Affairs, came to Samban to do the exegetical check of James. I was able to assist with a little of this checking, but for the most part I was listening and observing. Martha and Maso Leko, the national translator, worked through the text to make sure that it was clearly translating the concepts that James’ wrote in his epistle. It took the entire week to work through the five chapters. Next, Maso had to go through and make corrections based on this checking session. He then printed out several copies and gave them to men in the village to read through. These men, Maso, and I met in early October to do a village checking. The main focus on this checking session was to make sure that it made sense to everyone and that the text was clear and understandable. Through this checking session, we found some things that did not make sense to the men. For example in James 4:7, it says to resist (or push away) the devil and he will flee from you. Well, to the men, the devil is not a man that you can push away so they had to find another way to translate this section. Maso quickly made the revisions based on this checking session. While I’m in town, I will be sending it to the consultant who is scheduled to come and do the consultant checking next year.

Dog and Cat Dynamics

Dori, my cat, is used to being a one cat family. Now she has to share my attention with the new puppy, Honey, and she is not happy about this new development. Just the sight of Honey will cause her to arch her back and hiss. It doesn’t matter that the dog is asleep, she will hiss and go into attack mode. This is usually detrimental for her sake. If she hisses at the sleeping dog, the dog will awake and want to “play” with her. Dori is not interested in playing. The only thing that would make her happy is a Honey-free environment. This is not going to happen so hopefully Dori will learn to tolerate her new sibling. It appears unlikely that Dori will change her attitude about the dog. As Christians, we should consider how we interact with people. Is there anyone in your life that you have a similar reaction to? As soon as you see them or hear about them, you start remembering some hurtful thing that they did to you or someone you love. You tense up when they are around. Just like Dori’s reaction is not beneficial to her, this reaction is very hurtful to us. It seriously damages our Christian walk. This is bitterness that will eat away at your soul like a cancer. If you find this in your life, please pray that God will help you let go of this bitterness.

Looking for Legs

From Jill's Journal Winter 2009:
During my last village visit, I translated and revised several shell books. These books are set up to be very simple to translate. The pictures are already there and all you have to do is insert the text. One of the books that I set out to revise was called Looking for Legs or Sipag Ladup. I already had a translated version, but I needed to check to make sure that it was written in good Ap Ma. I gave it to one of my language helpers to look over. She made some significant changes which gave me insight into the Ap Ma culture. In this book, a boy goes on a walk and counts legs for each of the creatures that he encounters. The first creature that he encountered was a snake (kobe). The snake had no legs. Then, the boy sees a bird (awon). The bird has two legs. The boy finds a rat (lebon) which has two arms and two legs. Wait a minute! Doesn’t a rat have four legs? Not in Ap Ma. They view rats as having two arms and two legs. Ants (yilii) have two arms and four legs. Spiders (pebçla) have four arms and four legs. Whoever first translated this shell book had just followed the Tok Pisin. But in order for this book to be really translated into Ap Ma, it needed to reflect the Ap Ma’s view of how many legs and arms creatures have.

Teaching at Gandep Bible College

From Jill's Journal Winter 2009 Teaching at Gandep is nothing like teaching at the university. For the last two weeks, I worked with a couple of other PBT missionaries to teach a class consisting of 6 different language groups. In order to communicate effectively, we used the trade language, Melanesian Pidgin. I was a little concerned about teaching in Pidgin, but I think it worked out ok despite my fumbling efforts. The students were all very enthusiastic in their work. Each day, we began the class with prayer, devotions, and singing worship songs. Prayer and the worship songs were done in the various languages. When it was the Ap Ma group’s turn to lead the morning worship, I stood in the front and sang with them. I was encouraged that I could actually understand most of what they were singing and saying when they lead.
The main purpose of this two week class was to teach the students how to teach a Scripture in Use (SIU) course in their own language. For the first week, we translated materials for them to use as a guide when they go back to their villages and run a course. We created a teacher’s book with an outline of the course and directions for each portion of the text. We also created study guide books based on which books they already have translated into their language. Some of the language groups only had Luke, some only had Mark, and there were a couple with the entire New Testament. Each teacher’s guide and study guide had to reflect what the language group actually had translated. It would be too confusing to just leave everything in the book. The students would work on the translation of the material all day during the class. Then they would go home and continue to translate, edit and revise. It was amazing to see their willingness and excitement.
The second week, we began to demonstrate the course and ask the students to practice teaching the course. We would show what should happen during day 1 of the course. Each day followed a basic pattern with lots of Scripture reading, information about their alphabet, answering basic comprehension questions, and lessons on how to use the basic tools in the Bible (like footnotes, maps, and parallel references). To help them find Scripture verses with more ease, we taught them how to do “Sword Drills” (I remember playing this in Jr. church). If you’ve never done a Sword Drill, here is what happens: you make sure all the students have their Bibles closed and then you call out a verse. The first person to find it stands up and reads it. It was a little more complicated since we had different Scripture portions for different language groups. We had to give verses from both Mark and Luke and then have one from each read. We also taught games to help with Scripture memorization. In one game, we would write the memory verse on the board and then slowly erase words as we continued to read it over and over until all the words were gone. In another game, we used a ball made out of a coconut leaf. We passed the ball around and said the memory verse. By the end of the second week, the students had demonstrated all five days of the course. Many indicated a desire to do this course in their village. Please pray that they will be able to remember all that they have learned and that God will provide them wisdom and skills to help their people read and study God’s word in their own language.

PNG Sunset

PNG Sunset
Samban Sunset