Northern Translation Brief: “The Next Generation” update

Our Dear Partners,A couple years ago now, we posted a “Northern Translation Brief” that featured stories about how God is at work raising up The Next Generation of people who are committed to First Nations Bible Translation, especially among the Cree subgroup of the Algonquian language family.

We are so grateful for the way we have seen God bringing His people to join us and the First Nations communities in the work of helping to bring the message of hope in the Bible into many of these First Nations languages who are still waiting for it. This post is an update celebrating some milestones in the lives of these who have joined this work with us.

Matthew, Caitlin, Hazel and Eli Windsor on their way to Kingfisher Lake

Matthew & Caitlin Windsor

Matt and Caitlin are from Vancouver Island, British Colombia, Canada. They just completed their internship serving the Naskapi translation project in Quebec, where they helped with the completion of the books of Exodus and Psalms in Naskapi. After a short but busy visit with us in our home last week, on June 7th they arrived in the Oji-Cree language speaking community of Kingfisher Lake in northern Ontario. There they will support and facilitate the New Oji-Cree translation team in Bible Translation and language development.

Caitlin wrote on the day they arrived: “This morning I have two different lyrics from ‘Amazing Grace’ rolling through my head: ‘Tis grace has brought us safe this far, and His Word my hope secures.’ Praise the Lord, who has kept us on course all these years and brought us to this place!”

Martin & Alice Reed on their way to northern Manitoba

Martin & Alice Reed

Martin and Alice met while training for Wycliffe Bible translation ministry at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) in Dallas, and are united by a shared passion for crossing language and culture barriers to make God’s Word accessible to all. They completed their internship serving the Naskapi translation project in Quebec last fall, where they assisted the team with the completion of the Book of Bible Promises, and helped with the Psalms and the book of Exodus in Naskapi. They moved to the town of Thompson, Manitoba in December and celebrated the birth of their new daughter Grace into their family on May 31st.

Baby Grace Reed

Besides looking after baby Grace and each other, the Reed’s are continuing to make contact with believers and leaders in communities where Western Swampy Cree is still spoken by a significant percentage of the population. When they do, they share about the kinds of language development and translation services they can assist the communities with.

 

Tom & Bethany Scott and their son Josiah at the Mother Tongue Translator workshop

Tom & Bethany Scott

Tom is a linguist trained at CanIL in Langley, British Columbia. Bethany is a doctor and licensed as a family physician in Ontario. They are exploring the possibility of serving in both of these roles in a First Nations community where there is a need for Bible translation and language development work. At the moment they are working through the details of how they might serve an internship in a remote, isolated, northern community, with Bethany working as a medical professional and Tom working on language development and Bible translation.

Ben Wukasch working on Cree Scripture audio editing at the Canadian Bible Society

Ben Wukasch

In our Next Generation post two years ago, we introduced Ben and his interest in being involved in what God is doing in bringing the Scriptures into the heart languages of First Nations people in Canada. He graduated from Princeton in the States, where he majored in Environmental Engineering and minored in Linguistics and Latin American Studies. He was involved in both mission work in Latin America and wrote his thesis on Appropriate Technology and Peru.

This spring he began working at the Canadian Bible Society offices in Toronto on Cree projects: he is helping with the contemporary translation into Plains Cree, and a new project to help provide an audio version of the 1862 Western Cree Scriptures that were first translated by Sophie and William Mason.

Meg Billingsley working with the Oji-Cree translation team at the MTT workshop

Meg Billingsley

Meg isn’t exactly new to working in Cree language Bible translation: she served the Plains Cree translation project since around 2002, working mostly from Prince Albert, Sasksatchewan. She then took an assignment with the Mi’kmaq translation project at Sydney, Nova Scotia around 2008, where she has served as facilitator until this 2014, when she began her training to become a translation consultant. A year ago she also agreed to take a role as translation team leader as part of a larger team of our leaders who provide various types of support for translation teams working throughout North and Central America.

A translation consultant is someone who works with translation teams in a variety of languages to support translators in their work and help them to produce a translation which clearly and accurately communicates the meaning of Scripture in ways that sound natural in the language.

Meg just returned last week from her fourth consultant visit to the Oji-Cree project in Kingfisher Lake, Ontario. She is also working with the Bible Society on the consultant checking of the contemporary Plains Cree translation.

Amanda Swappie, Naskapi translator, co-presenting at the workshop with Alice Reed

Amanda Swappie

Amanda is a Naskapi speaker and Naskapi Mother Tongue Translator who began work on the Naskapi project as a language specialist in the spring of 2013. At that time she was a part of an initiative to recruit and train new young indigenous language workers in her community. In the past five years she has grown in her abilities and confidence, and continues to develop in her skill and capacity as she serves her own community.

Ruby Nabinicaboo with her father Silas work together crafting a Naskapi Bible story

Ruby Nabinicaboo

Ruby is the Naskapi project’s newest Naskapi Mother Tongue Translator, who was just hired this spring. She will be learning from senior translators like her father Silas Nabinicaboo and from her co-worker and peer-mentor Amanda Swappie. Amanda and Ruby are young mothers who also have the privilege and responsibility to pass on their traditional language to their own children at home, and are learning to model these habits to others in their community.

None of us is as important as all of us together–but it is The Next Generation that will carry the First Nations Bible translation movement forward beyond this generation.

Prayer Requests:

Pray for Matthew and Caitlin Windsor and little Hazel and Eli:

  • that God would grant them everything they need to establish their family in Kingfisher Lake
  • that God would connect them with the people He will use to help them to learn the Oji-Cree language
  • that God would continue to show them His protection and grace each day in their new assignment

Get current prayer requests and connect with the Windsors here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/704731223011442

Pray for Martin and Alice Reed and baby Grace:

  • that God would grant Martin and Alice the wisdom and resources they need to be new parents of baby Grace.
  • that God would continue to give them good relationships and steady progress as they learn the Swampy Cree language
  • that God would lead them to the Swampy Cree community where they can best serve the language needs of the Swampy Cree population

Get current prayer requests and connect with the Reeds here: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/reed

Pray for Meg Billingsley:

  • for God’s wisdom for the Plains Cree and Oji-Cree translators, as she works with them to express God’s Word clearly in their languages, and for encouragement to persevere in spite of difficulties
  • for God’s blessing and anointing on her role in leadership as she supports translation services for many minority languages in the Americas
  • for God’s healing and protection on her body as she deals with dietary restrictions due to medical conditions

Pray for Ben Wukasch:

  • that God would bless his work at the Bible Society offices as he continues to help bring the Cree scriptures to those who need it the most
  • that he would be encouraged and persevere and increase in his knowledge of the Cree languages and the technical aspects of his work

Pray for Amanda Swappie

  • that she would be encouraged in her work in Bible translation for her own community
  • that God would guide her as she increases in confidence and ability handling her own language well
  • that God would lead her to areas of engagement in the Naskapi language community that would be fulfilling and effective, growing in grace and knowledge of God

Pray for Ruby Nabinicaboo

  • that God would instill in her a confidence in her ability and a commitment to His Word in her own language
  • that she would be a good mother to her children giving her insight from God’s word, helping her to become a good example to others
  • that God would give her perseverance in her work when discouragement comes

Thank you for your prayers for The Next Generation and for us as we guide, mentor and support these precious people that God is raising up for First Nations Bible Translation.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief: 2018 Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshop

Our Dear Partners

We are so grateful for your prayers for a successful First Nations Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshop that was held in Guelph, Ontario in April. God has answered your prayers in wonderful and encouraging ways! This was our fourth such workshop in as many years.

Speakers from three language communities came to this year’s workshop

What is a Mother Tongue Translator?

Even though we serve with a “Bible Translation” organization, we ourselves do not really translate the Bible ourselves: it is the fluent, “mother tongue” speakers of these languages who actually perform the Bible translation day-by-day, verse-by-verse.

Oji-Cree mother tongue translators Zipporah and Jessie at work

These precious individuals speak their mother tongue, their heart language, and with some help from us translate the Word of God into the indigenous language of their community and family. Linguists, consultants, Bible Translation facilitators and others (like us) work along side mother tongue translators–we learn their language, we help them understand what the Bible means, and we equip them to make the best translation they can into their own language.

What is a Mother Tongue Translator Workshop?

While most of the work of Bible translation happens in the mother tongue translators’ home community, we conduct workshops to bring together many mother tongue translators from several communities. That’s what we did in Guelph this April.

SIL International Translation consultant Steve Kempf teaching about Old Testament sacrifice

At workshops like this, the mother tongue translators can benefit by learning from a wide range of facilitators who serve on staff and come to bring their experience and expertise, helping each translation team with their own unique challenges.

Bible Society translation consultant Ruth Heeg teaching translation basics

They can also learn about new tools, materials and media that can help them bring the message of God’s love in their own language to a wider range of people in their own communities.

Colin Suggett demonstrates a talking “Scripture App” with audio

Martin Reed helps participants plan the future of their language

We usually think of the Bible in a “book” when we talk about Bible translation, but the Word of God is living and active, and is a vast story of God’s love for and redemption of every people, language and nation. At this workshop, participants were also trained to craft the story of the Bible in their own language and tell these stories orally.

Meg Billingsley helps the participants learn the story of Adam & Eve

Matt Windsor helps the Oji-Cree team craft and record their oral Bible story

Even more importantly, mother tongue translators interact with other mother tongue translators from other languages, learning how their shared experiences can be an encouragement to each other, and realizing that they are not alone doing their task of Bible Translation for their home community.

Speakers of Naskapi, Oji-Cree and Swampy Cree learning together

Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, the National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, addresses, encourages and prays for the participants

Why translate the Bible into minority First Nations languages?

God is doing a work in the hearts of speakers of indigenous languages across Canada. Their grandparents and great-grandparents were taught God’s message of love and grace during the past century and a half. Many of these learned the Word of God from books that were translated into languages that were not in their own their “mother tongue”, but sometimes some other language, such as a neighbouring dialect of Cree.

1863 translation of the Bible in Western Cree

Many of the First Nations mother tongue translators that we work with love Jesus. They also love their communities and they love their traditional languages that they learned from their parents and grandparents. Now, God has given them the desire to pass on their faith to their own children and grandchildren, along with their precious language which is such a vital part of their culture.

The history of relations between the First Peoples of this land and non-indigenous people have been sometimes strained and difficult. Practices of the newcomers and policies of our governments often resulted in the tragic loss of their traditional languages. Besides providing access to God’s message of love in their own language, the First Nations Bible translation movement also gives speakers of these languages the resources they need to make their languages sustainable and even to flourish.

God has been using these MTT workshops to train, equip and encourage mother tongue translators with the skills and capacity they desire to see their vision and realized.

Thank you for your prayers for this one. They were answered in wonderful ways.

Serving with you, Bill & Norma Jean

Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald

“Mother tongue Bible translation is the most important thing you can be involved in for your community. It is really saving lives. It is hope that we give to our children and our grandchildren and great-grand children. The Holy Spirit assists you in your work of translation because it results in praise to God.

 

“The Word of God must become living and real in the languages of our communities. It is a part of our preparation of the coming of Christ: Bible translation in your local languages has a role in God’s plan for the universe. So, it is vital on a physical level but also on an spiritual and eternal level as well.”

–from the address by the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, to the participants at the 2018 First Nations Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop, Tuesday, 17 April 2018, Guelph, Ontario.

More pictures from this year’s workshop:

 

 

Northern Translation Brief 09Apr2018

 

Our Dear Partners,

Next week, the Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop for First Nations Bible translators will be held in Guelph, Ontario (April 15-20).
What are these workshops for? They are a response to the request from First Nations church leaders and community members themselves, to bring together people from different related language communities, creating a safe environment for mutual encouragement, and equipping their own community members and speakers of their languages to more adequately handle the complex task of Bible translation.

Participants are guided to work together at the 2017 MTT Workshop

The program this year is multi-tracked to accommodate both beginner and more experienced translators.

We are also planning a program that includes:

Oral Bible Storytelling:
This year, besides the usual modules covering translation principles, we are also pleased to announce that there will be an extended focus on Oral Storying. First Nations culture places a high value on storytelling, and this approach ties together the Stories of our Creator and His love for His People with the traditional First Nations practice of passing stories to the next generation orally in their heart language. These story modules will be facilitated by Rod & Liesel Bartlett.

Old Testament Sacrificial System:
This year, guest instructor Steve Kempf is introducing the topic of sacrifice in the Old Testament, in particular, the key terms for each of the five main sacrifices as well as how the sacrificial system worked. He is also presenting about the Day of Atonement and its significance as perhaps the most holy day in the Israelite sacrificial system. There are a lot of key terms here that extend throughout the Old Testament which help us to understand the significance of the death of Jesus Christ.

Participatory Methods and the Future of Our Language:
Another guest instructor, Carletta Lahn will continue applying the theme of participatory methods to grassroots local indigenous language program planning to help with the maintenance and sustainability of these threatened mother tongues.

Pray that all these who come will experience God’s anointing, protection and provision as they travel from near and far and serve First Nations language communities.

Participants in 2017 discover how and where their own language is used.

Thank you for your prayers for the staff, participants and the program of the upcoming 2018 workshop.
Also remember those traveling from long distances, as they pack and plan their trips this week. Our next message with prayer requests will be from the workshop site next week.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief 02Apr2018

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for praying for the upcoming Mother Tongue Translator Workshop participants last week. Please keep them in your prayers through the next few weeks. We’ll send you another reminder.
This week we are also asking you to remember the staff for the upcoming workshop:

The next Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop for First Nations Bible translators will be held this April 15-20 in Guelph, Ontario.
First Nations church leaders are seeing their vision for workshops that bring together people from different related language communities realized: creating a safe environment for mutual encouragement, and equipping speakers of their languages to more adequately handle the complex task of Bible translation.

Staff (Jeff Green) works with the participants at the 2017 MTT Workshop

We are blessed, especially this year, to have a large staff to share the teaching and facilitation tasks for the workshop sessions. We hope that you will find the time to pray for each of these staff members by name:

Cree Initiative “Next Generation” teams:
Alice & Martin Reed
Matthew & Caitlin Windsor
Meg Billingsley
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz
Senior Translation Consultants and Bible Translation Facilitators with SIL/Wycliffe BIble Translators and the Canadian Bible Society (both active and ‘retired’)
Steve Kempf
Ruth Heeg
Jeff Green
Rod & Liesel Bartlett
Colin & Dot Suggett
Scripture Access team leader for SIL Americas “North Region”
Carletta Lahn
Other participating SIL & Wycliffe Staff
Beat Kunz
Colleen Boyd
Tom Woodward
Brandie Green
Special guests
Bishop Mark MacDonald
Dr. Cindy Westfall
Tom & Bethany Scott

There is still the possibility of a few more staff and/or guests. We will keep you posted.

Pray that all these who come will experience God’s anointing, protection and provision as they travel from near and far and serve First Nations Bible Translators.

Translation consultant staff (Steve Kempf) presenting to participants in 2017

Thank you for your prayers for the staff and participants at the upcoming 2018 workshop.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief 26Mar2018

Our Dear Partners,

We are so grateful for your prayers for Bill as he continues to recover from his accident with the tree, chainsaw and ladder last November. The ongoing challenges include a dull headache and back pain. We appreciate your continued prayers, but with God’s help we have been turning our attention to something else.

Over the past few months we have been anticipating, planning and coordinating the next Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop that will be held this April 15-20 in Guelph, Ontario.

Our next few Translation Briefs will be inviting you to pray for this event, by focusing on the participants, the staff, and the guests; and also on the vision, the program and the effects.

The First Nations church leaders and speakers of these related Algonquian languages identified capacity-building and training for their own translators as one of their priorities at the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering in Prince Albert back in June of 2014. They were inspired by how God’s Word translated by and used by the Naskapi community was having a growing positive influence on their lives and creating a hunger to know God in their own language.

They had a vision for workshops that bring together people from different related language communities, creating a safe environment for mutual encouragement, and equipping them to more adequately handle the complex task of Bible translation.

Participants work with the staff at the 2017 MTT Workshop

Again this year, the Naskapi community is sending both experienced and newer language workers involved in Bible translation and language development work. You are invited to pray for each of these participants by name:

Naskapi Bible translation project, Naskapi Development Corporation:
Silas Nabinicaboo
Ruby Sandy-Robinson
Amanda Swappie
Kissandra Sandy-Dominique
Naskapi translation services, Naskapi Nation Quebec:
George Guanish, translator
St. John’s Church (Naskapi) Kawawachikamach, Quebec:
Susan Nabinicaboo, Naskapi lay reader
Cheyenne Vachon (possibly)
Oji-Cree Bible translation project, Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, Ontario:
Jessie Atlookan
Ruth Kitchekesik
Saloma Sainnawap
St. John’s Church (Swampy Cree) Tataskweyak Cree Nation Manitoba:
Larry Beardy
Elizabeth Beardy

There is still the possibility of a few more participants. We will keep you posted.

Pray that these who come will experience God’s peace, protection and provision as they travel so far from their home communities.

Workshop Participants in 2017 working on domains of language use

Thank you for your prayers for the participants for the 2018 workshop.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Bill & Norma Jean have a NEW phone number, 226-567-4440!

Even though we are pretty tech-savvy when it comes to education, linguistics, computers–I mean, you are reading this in an email sent out on the Internet–we must admit that we feel somewhat bewildered with “smart phones”.

We got our first cell phone when Norma Jean was going to University in BC, and went with what we thought was a reasonable service provider and have been slowly getting used to using a phone that is not physically wired to the wall ever since.

When we moved to Ontario, we decided against having a “landline” (a wired-in home phone), and just use our cell phone for all voice calls. When we set up housekeeping at our home in Windham Centre, Ontario, we requested our cell phone provider to change our number to a “local” number.

But we discovered that through some administrative slip-up, they provided us with a number for “Wingham, Ontario”, which is actually a “toll call” for most of our new friends who live near us in southern Ontario.

Finally, after spending some frustrating hours with a customer service representative who could not understand why we should even care that our local friends and acquaintances would have to pay long-distance charges just to talk with us calling from the next village over (“after all,” they told us, “you’re not paying any extra charges, the ones who make the call have to pay that.”)we decided to change service providers, and get a new local number.

So yesterday we went to one of those “cell-phone kiosks” that you see all over the place in every shopping mall, and brought our current HTC Android smart phone and a copy of our old phone bill. Of course we had to learn about “unlocking” our phone, and then get it done, and then negotiate a new “phone plan” with our new provider. It still took an hour and a half to get through the whole process.

It looks like our new monthly bill will be less than half of what we were paying for the past three years, with the promise of hundreds of “more minutes” to use each month.

We selected a very basic plan, with “no data” (only voice, and unlimited international “texting”). We are somewhat old fashioned in that we like to use our computers to go on the Internet, not our phone.

So now it’s your turn: Right now, go update your “Contacts” or your “Address Book” or your “Rolodex” or your “Little Black Book”, and DELETE or cross out our OLD number: (519-357-5163) and put in our NEW number 226-567-4440 instead.

Our mailing address and email addresses are still the same. The only thing that’s new is our phone number:

226-567-4440

Blessings, Bill & Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief: 08Jan2018

Our Dear Partners,

 

 

Greetings to you all for the New Year. We would like to share some exciting news from the New Oji-Cree translation project that has been going on in Kingfisher Lake.

You will recall that the a new Oji-Cree Bible translation project was started by the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh a couple of years ago. Since then, they have been working on a project to prepare Sunday readings from the the “Prayer Book Lectionary” for their church in Oji-Cree.

On a week-by-week basis, the translation team has been translating, team-checking and community-checking the Epistle and Gospel readings in Oji-Cree for their Sunday morning vernacular language services.

Lectionary is a collection of Bible readings to be read to the faithful during the worship of God. Lectionaries have been used since the fourth century, where major churches arranged the Scripture readings according to a schedule which follows the calendar of the year. This practice of assigning particular readings to each Sunday and Holy day has continued through the history of the Christian Church.

Even though each Sunday these readings are printed and distributed in leaflet form for the congregation, they are still considered a “work in progress”, until they would be properly checked and approved by a translation consultant.


In November (just after Bill’s accident with the tree, ladder & chainsaw), translation consultant Meg Billingsley went to Kingfisher Lake again to work with the translation team in order to help them carefully check their translation and approve it for publication.

Connecting with the translation team by Skype in November

WIth Meg’s help, the team was able to complete the consultant checking for all the Epistle and Gospel readings for the season of Advent up through Christmas.

At the same time, they also reviewed and approved the layout for a published “book version” of the Lectionary readings. The checked and approved text was formatted and typeset in diglot (by Bill) in Oji-Cree and English and is their first publication of the New Oji-Cree translated Scripture in book form.

The team is making plans to continue the translation steps and consultant checking that need to be accomplished for each section so that soon an entire year of Sunday Lectionary Readings will be available and accessible to the community in book format.
As more of the new Oji-Cree translation is completed and approved, further editions of this book will be produced that contain more and more of God’s Word in the heart language of the Oji-Cree people.

Praise God with us and celebrate that these very first Scriptures to be published by the new Oji-Cree translation project have been completed, delivered and used in the church at Kingfisher Lake.

Pray with us for the Oji-Cree team as they continue to make progress toward their translation goals, for their plans for another checking session with a translation consultant, and as they await having Matthew & Caitlin Windsor come to their community to work with them full-time once the Windsor’s internship with Naskapi is completed. Lord willing, this will happen in the late spring of this year.

Matthew Windsor & Bill meeting with the translation team and the local committee members at Kingfisher Lake, July 2018

Thank you for your interest in First Nations Bible Translation, and for your prayers.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Christmas 2017

Our dear friends and family,

As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus this year, we are especially grateful for your prayers and kindness to us after Bill’s accident with the tree, ladder and chainsaw on November 7th. We have a renewed dependence in God’s blessing and His sovereignty, and assurance of His love.

We want to remind you all of how God continues to lead us in our work in Canada: As you know, it’s 30 years ago now that we first moved to Canada to work with the Naskapi community at Kawawachikamach in Northern Quebec. We raised our family there and served the community as a linguist and as a teacher. We worked alongside community members in language development, literacy, and Bible translation. It was 10 years ago this year that we helped their team to complete the Naskapi New Testament. God continues to speak through His Word to the Naskapi community, and their hunger for more scripture in their language continues to grow, along with their capacity to accomplish the work themselves.

‘Well done, my good servant!
Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter,
take charge of ten cities.’
–Luke 19:17.

 

God is at work multiplying and establishing the work of our hands.
–Psalm 90:17

Moreover, the Naskapi inspire and motivate other First Nations communitiesthat do not yet have access to scriptures in their own languages. In 2014, after much reflection and prayer, we believed that God would multiply His work by raising up a team of younger Bible Translation facilitators. They would work as we have in several other communities, while increasing the number and capacity of First Nations translators through mentoring and training workshops. The Naskapi project has grown to become an important training location and inspiration for the new teams whom they have invited to serve internships there in Kawawachikamach.

Meanwhile, God is also at work in other communities that speak closely related languages–in Oji-Cree in northern Ontario, Innu in Labrador, James Bay Creein Quebec and Swampy Cree in Manitoba–and our vision of seeing of several new Bible Translation and language development projects get started is becoming a reality.

Matthew & Caitlin Windsor will be completing their internship with the Naskapi and then moving to become full-time language project facilitators with the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree community in the spring of 2018, while Alice & Martin Reed have already moved up to the Western Swampy Cree area near Thompson, Manitoba.
Our own continuing role is to mentor and support these new teams and projects. Bill’s accident and recovery period has given us time to reflect that these translation projects are in God’s hands, under His control, and not ours. We actively support and guide the new teams using current communication technology, while the new teams begin to carry more of the load working in the local communities.

The Naskapi work also continues in Northern Quebec, which we still support at a significant level. In addition, with our team members we are planning the next First Nations Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) training workshops in April 2018.

We are grateful to God for our home here in southern Ontario. It is a place for the new teams to come for rest and renewal and also gives us time with them to discuss project goals and challenges. It also and provides us a place from which we can travel when our own help is needed in the communities in the north.


Thank you again for your continued care and prayers for us, for your interest in Bible Translation and reconciliation with our First Nations brothers and sisters. Thank you for your many gifts and reminders of your love and care for us in these days of restoration, recovery, and dependence upon God.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz
http://bill.jancewicz.com/

One Hundred Nineteen unread email messages

I apologize for ignoring all my email messages for most of the week, but I was not answering any messages because of a serious tree-and-chainsaw accident that I was having last Tuesday, November 7th. I was in the hospital, my computer (and all of your emails) were on my desk at home. Thanks for understanding!

I decided to write this message for several reasons. My main motivation is to put your minds at ease and thank you for your many, many prayers for me during the past several days. I am so grateful to God that he has spared my family a serious loss–we realize more and more that God still has His work for us to do on earth together, and that thanks to His grace I am alive at all.

Our big Black Walnut tree between the garage and the barn

It all started on Tuesday when I decided I needed to cut a nice dead branch off our Black Walnut tree in the back yard. This big “two-trunk” tree had a nice, big and very dead branch on the left-hand (forward) trunk, which would make a good collection of seasoned, ready to split firewood. The entire branch was already dead, with no leaves growing on it this year, and most of the bark already peeling back for most of the length of the branch.

I set up our aluminum ladder on the right-hand trunk, so that I could reach the branch that I was after with the chain saw, and got to work–I made a cut to the bottom side of the branch and then the top… but then the branch let go of its trunk with a very sudden snap, and the butt of the branch swung sideways and hit me on the left side of my head.

You can see from this picture how the branch landed far to the right of the right-hand trunk and the ladder (which I was standing on)–It’s all physics, I’m sure–centre of gravity and all that, but as soon as the branch was suddenly no longer supported by the left hand trunk, it snapped to the right, hit me in the head and knocked me off the ladder. I am re-constructing this, because I don’t remember anything from the time I made the top cut–until I woke in the hospital some time later. Here’s what happened in between:

Norma Jean was right nearby in the chicken coop at the time, and she ran over to find me on the ground under the butt of the branch, which somehow had landed on top of me after bringing the ladder down. She got the branch off me and says that I was bleeding from where the branch had hit me in the head, and while she thought of calling “911” right away, instead she decided to run to the house, get the phone and the car keys and get me to the hospital right away herself. She drove the car over to where I was on the ground, and got me in the car (with my “help”, but I can’t remember any of this part of the day).

Here’s the butt of the branch that hit me in the head. Somehow, I was underneath this (and, somehow, Norma Jean lifted it off me).

Norma Jean said that I talked to her on the car-ride to the hospital (it’s about 20 minutes), but as far as we can tell it was all incoherent: for example, I asked her several times if she had “found my glasses” (she had–they were bent); and when I was in the hospital I said to her, “You have grey hair?” (as if I didn’t realize this before today…)
She got us to the emergency room at the Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe, Ontario and the staff there helped get me taken care of, stabilized and stopped the bleeding. Since it was a serious head trauma, any scans or needed operations would have to take place at a hospital better equipped for physical trauma cases. The Norfolk General staff decided then to transfer me by ambulance to Hamilton General Hospital trauma unit, about an hour away.

Several of you were praying by now; Norma Jean messaged some people from our church in Simcoe, and a few came to see me at Norfolk General Hospital. We left Norfolk General at about 7:30 PM, and it was about then that I was “awake” and answering “neurological questions” (like, what’s my name, what day is it, etc.) I answered lots of these questions every day for the next few days in the hospital.

I was admitted right away to the Hamilton General Hospital physical trauma unit, and several tests (besides the questions they asked) were taken: blood tests, CT scans and regular “vitals” (temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate). The various “teams” at the physical trauma unit assessed my neurological, skeletal, and internal condition from the accident.
It turns out I had (still have) a depressed fracture of the skull with very little internal bleeding, somewhere above my left eye and ear. I received this skull fracture from the branch, I expect. Further CT scans confirmed this and also concluded that I have three cracked vertebra as well. I was dosed up with some pretty strong IV pain medication on the first night, but then the staff started to give me regular medications by mouth starting on Wednesday to manage the pain.


How do I feel? My head still hurts the worst, most of the time. Then my back and chest, then “all over” like I was hit by a truck. It comes and goes, depending on the timing and effectiveness of the pain medications.


By Thursday at the trauma unit, various departments were “signing off” on me–I was “out of danger” neurologically, I could have the neck brace removed when the spine team agreed, and then the Occupational and Physical Therapy people could start to do their work. It hurt to move, hurt to roll out of bed, even with help. They started me on a “walker” and then I graduated to using a “cane” (which I still use). A couple hours of this practice around the ward became my routine on Thursday and Friday, as I waited for final clearance to go home (and waited to take some more pain medications).

Meanwhile, Norma Jean checked into a housing unit that was available for family members of patients in care at the hospital. She stayed with me through the hospitalization except for a quick trip home to pick up personal effects and be sure that the animals were cared for. Thanks to our friends from our Simcoe church who helped us with all these details! Thanks to all of you who were praying us through these days of “trauma”, both the physical and the emotional.

Friday, and I am almost ready to go home from the hospital: I am released just after lunch. Our daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Eric came up to Canada from Connecticut to spend a week with us and help to look after me here at home. They converted the “living room” into my own home “hospital ward”, where I now stay. They are carefully caring for me, monitoring my diet and medications, and seeing that I don’t hurt myself hobbling over to the bathroom.

We have prescriptions to take now, and several return appointments to medical professionals who will be monitoring my long recovery period. We are taking a hard look at our upcoming plans over the next few months.

“Raccoon Eyes”

It hurts more on the inside than on the outside. Only the Lord knows what the recovery period may be like, but we have been learning some lessons:
  • Healing takes time
  • I will get “someone else” when chainsaws and ladders are both in the plans
  • We will be quietly cancelling or postponing many of our current plans and activities, until we know how I am doing
  • God is very, very good to us, and certainly not surprised by this
Thank you all for your prayers.
By the way, I have known for some time in logging culture that such branches and trees that can fall in sudden, dangerous and unexpected ways have been called “widowmakers“. I am so grateful that this one didn’t.
Eventually, I will be getting caught up with my correspondence. Thank you for your patience. One Hundred Eighteen to go.
With our thanks for God’s care and your prayers.

Bill & Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief: 05Nov2017

Our Dear Partners,

Last week, Alice & Martin Reed finished their 8 month internship with the Naskapi language project in Kawawachikamach. This weekend they were with us in our home and we just brought them to the airport for their first visit to Tataskwekak (Split Lake) in Northern Manitoba, where they will be serving in the new Mistah Wasaha Inenowuk translation project. The speakers of this language, which is referred to as “Western Swampy Cree” by linguists, will be sharing their vision with the Reeds, and what God has laid on their hearts for a Bible translation and language development project into their own mother tongue.

Please pray with us for the community and their leaders this week, and for Martin & Alice as they listen and learn how God can use them in this work. They plan to be there from Nov 6-14. We know you share our excitement and anticipation of seeing what God has planned for bringing His Word to this language community.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and your faithful prayers!

Serving with you,
Bill and Norma Jean