Northern Translation Brief: 18Nov2019

Our Dear Partners,

A few weeks back we asked you pray for several Naskapi translation projects that were current and nearing completion. Today we are pleased to report to you about the revision of the Naskapi Lectionary (Year A), and some answers to your prayers.

A 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, when major churches arranged the Scripture readings according to a schedule that 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.

Since the 1990s, the Naskapi translators have worked with St. John’s Church in Kawawachikamach, with the selection, translation and production of lectionary readings in the form of a printed Sunday “church bulletin” of Scripture. We were guided by the Revised Common Lectionary, which is the pattern used by the Anglican Church of Canada and many other denominations around the world.

The translators worked hard each week for several years to provide printed copies of the Scripture for the congregation

About nine years ago, it was decided that it would be far more practical to produce a book that contained all the readings for an entire year. Even though most of the translation and checking was done, it was still a big job to collect all the readings for an entire year into a book. But this was finally completed and the first book (Year A) was dedicated on Sunday, April 17th 2011.

Rev. Martha Spence and Deacon Silas Nabinicaboo at the dedication of the Naskapi Lectionary in 2011

Since the Revised Common Lectionary provides Scripture readings spread out over a three-year cycle, during the next three years we worked on the production of all three books: Year A (liturgical year 2010-2011) Year B (liturgical year 2011-2012) and Year C (liturgical year 2012-2013).

Year A (blue book) Year B (red book) Year C (green book)

Of course, when Year A rolled around again during Advent of 2013, more copies of the blue Year A books were prepared, and the cycle repeated.

As the years went by, the Naskapi translation team continued to work on their long-term translation goals: the book of Genesis was published in 2013, and translation proceeded on other Old Testament books. During the spring of this year, the book of Psalms was published in Naskapi and dedicated alongside the “Book of Bible Promises“, a topical collection of Scripture readings in Naskapi.

Psalms and Bible Promises books at the front of the church on Dedication Day

Remember that the lectionary readings for each week contain a passage from the Old Testament, a reading from the Psalms, a portion of the Epistles, and a section of the Gospels. A year of lectionary readings contains hundreds of verses from all parts of the Bible.

As usually happens in the course of our ongoing translation work and checking, many of the readings contained in the lectionary are often corrected to make their spelling more consistent, or revised somewhat to make the meaning more clear or natural. These corrections needed to make their way into a new edition of the books.

Therefore, this fall it was decided to completely update the book of readings for Year A, liturgical year 2019-2020, beginning with the next Sunday of Advent, coming this December 1, 2019.

The format of the new book is very similar to the previous books, but every Scripture passage has been updated to its current corrected form. We have also updated the accompanying index and calendar, and included simple instructions to locate the readings for any Sunday in the year. The revision also has a newly designed cover.

We completed the final composition and formatting for the books on November 1. On November 8 we received the first “proof copy” (the book pictured here) and upon review and approval we ordered a supply of 30 books to be printed and shipped to the Naskapi church.

We received notice from the printer that the books were printed, packed and shipped last week, on November 14th, and are now on their way to Kawawachikamach.

There is still a very good chance that these new books will be delivered to Kawawachikamach before the end of the month, which will be just in time for the First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 2019. When they receive their books, the congregation will find all the readings for that Sunday starting on “page 1”.

Thank you for your prayers for this project, which makes the Scriptures in Naskapi available to the congregation in Kawawachikamach every Sunday. Please continue to remember “FedEx” and “Canada Post” this week, as they do their job and get these books “to the church on time”.

Serving you with joy,

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

 

Northern Translation Brief: Bill’s head injury after two years

Our Dear Partners

Most of you will remember that a couple years ago I had a serious accident with a tree, a ladder and a chainsaw that almost took me from you. By God’s grace I am still here to live and serve Him in our lives and Bible Translation ministry for First Nations.

From time to time people have asked me about my recovery and so we thought that the two-year mark would be a good time to take stock and take the opportunity to thank you for your prayers.

Briefly it happened like this: On November 7th, 2017, I was about 12 feet up a ladder against a large tree, holding a chainsaw, cutting off a large dead branch next to me. The branch broke suddenly and hit me in the skull knocking me and the ladder to the ground. I woke up hours later in a hospital, with Norma Jean anxiously waiting by my side.

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).

You can read the full account of what happened here:

http://billjancewicz.com/2017/11/11/one-hundred-nineteen-unread-email-messages/

God is Good, All the Time

During these past two years, Norma Jean and I have counted each day together as a precious gift. We both know that God protected me from more serious injury or death, even though the actual recovery period has taken many months. As I noted, the only broken bones were my skull, which received a half-inch depressed fracture at my temple between my left eye and ear, and three cracked vertebrae in my upper back between my shoulders. I also suffered a severe concussion that resulted in dizzyness and disorientation for several months. I was on strong Oxycodone-based prescription pain medication for the first several weeks, but recognizing the dangers of addiction to this medication I chose to voluntarily reduce the prescribed dosage. I was no longer taking this medication by the beginning of January 2018. The severe back and head pain could be reduced considerably by changing to a more reclining position. So I took my desk work to the living room and spent many of my days (and some nights) in a reclining chair. This went on for months.

Because of my dizzyness and disorientation, Norma Jean took over most of the driving. We also had good friends helping to drive us to appointments, and I walked with a cane well into the spring of 2018. The doctors had cautioned us that a brain injury like mine made me vulnerable to much more severe injury should I bump my head again. The fractures of my vertebrae would heal in time, but the displaced bone in the skull fracture would remain that way indefintely.

Gradually, over the full year of 2018, the constant headaches reduced considerably, and I was able to regain some stamina. I started walking without a cane. Indeed by the end of 2018 I had begun to do some physical work, such as operating the log splitter or carrying out minor home repairs. But I did find that I was only able to work a relatively short amount of time, an hour or so, before having to head back to the recliner and do some “other” kinds of work.

Other kinds of work

We are so grateful to God for the privilege of joining Him in His work of bringing His Word to First Nations languages, mainly the Algonquian languages of Naskapi, Cree and Innu. During the weeks prior to the accident, I had begun to work with Rev. Fred Evans as he read and recorded the Cree scriptures in the legacy 1862 Western Cree Bible. Fred, a Cree elder and pastor, lives with his wife in Swan River, Manitoba. He started to read and record the Cree New Testament in November of 2017. By phone and internet connection, I was able to guide Fred through the recording of each chapter of the Bible from Matthew to Revelation. I received his audio files via internet and spent my days (in my La-Z-Boy) carefully editing the audio files, following along in the Cree Bible and listening to Fred’s clear and faithful reading of the text. In general, for each hour of Fred’s recording, it would take five hours of listening and audio-editing on the computer to prepare the files for others to listen to. Our ministry partners, the Canadian Bible Society, SIL International, and Faith Comes By Hearing provided the technical support for this task–but God provided just the right kind of work to suit my physical limitations at the time, as I carried all the editing work for the first six months of the project, which were the first six months of my recovery.

Rev. Fred Evans working at his home during the recording stage for the CreeTalker Bible

Later, I trained our friend Ben Wukasch at the Bible Society to share the audio editing task with me, and so together we had the audio for the entire New Testament in Cree complete by March of 2019.

Read more about the CreeTalker Bible recording project” here:

http://billjancewicz.com/2019/02/03/northern-translation-brief-creetalker-bible/

We continued to supervise, mentor and support the other “Next Generation” translation teams during my recovery. It has been so gratifying and encouraging to see that God in His wisdom was preparing these younger folks to carry on His work as we had to slow down a little during these past couple of years.

http://billjancewicz.com/2018/07/02/northern-translation-brief-the-next-generation-update/

How do I feel right now?

God continues to amaze me every day for His care and healing for me. I am still “aware” each day and every day of ongoing symptoms from the skull fracture and concussion. Real severe “headaches” are much less frequent now, and I treat them with Tylenol. I still have them about four or five times per month. But they usually don’t “stop” me. On good days I can still feel a sensation of discomfort at the damaged area of my skull–not really very painful as far as that goes, just an awareness of some uncomfortable pressure; like the feeling you would get when you are wearing a hat… that’s too small… all day long.

My back pain can act up if I “push” physical activity too much–such as if I am up and doing things, walking, home repairs or maintenance; splitting wood. These days, sometimes I do go beyond a couple hours or so of that kind of activity, and I am sorry I did, afterwards.

I was almost 62 years old when I had the accident. Next week, I’ll be 64, Lord willing. So I feel pretty good and I am so grateful for all of God’s blessings on my life and His work.

Gratitude

Our family members, our friends and supporters, and the church have all been used by God in mighty ways to remind us of His care, and to deliver his care. Many meals were brought in to us during the early weeks of my convalescence, prepared by the women of Simcoe Immanuel church. The men of the church have repeatedly pitched in to help cut, split and haul firewood. We are deeply grateful for these expressions of love and care.

I know that many, many prayers were offered to God for my health and recovery by most of you. God has answered your prayers wonderfully, and He continues to do so. We are very grateful for all He has done and continues to do through you. We praise His Name and once again express our thanks. Thank you for being along side of us during this journey over the past two years.

Serving with you,

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief: 18Oct2019

Our Dear Partners,

We are rejoicing in the blessings of God this autumn harvest season. We can see His goodness and provision all around us, reflected in the beauty of the leaves on the trees and His care for our lives.

In the Naskapi community, we are pleased to see steady progress toward their goal of translating through the Old Testament. Silas has completed the first draft of the book of Judges, and has gone on to work through the Song of Solomon. Tshiueten has completed the first draft of the book of Deuteronomy, and is continuing on with the book of First Samuel. And we congratulate Ruby who successfully completed several weeks of her program at Mawiomi Treatment Center in Gesgapegiag, Quebec this summer, and is back at her translation desk, working on the book of Second Samuel.

Ruby completes her treatment–continue to remember her in your prayers

Amanda, the fourth translator working on the Naskapi project is on an extended leave of absence working as a conservation officer on the land, and is expected back to the translation desk in early 2020.

I (Bill) stay busy reviewing the Naskapi translation work, and facilitating the composition (typesetting) and publication of their work. I am currently working on the final layout of the book of Exodus in Naskapi, which is due to come out before Christmas, Lord willing. Just ahead of that I am working on compiling a new revised edition of the Sunday Lectionary Readings: These are weekly readings in Naskapi of a different passage from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Epistles and the Gospels that are read each Sunday and Wednesday in the Naskapi church services. The first edition of this collection was prepared and distributed nearly 9 years ago. We would like to have this revised edition finished and published and in the pews of the Naskapi church before the First Sunday of Advent, on December 1, 2019. Pray with us that we can reach this goal.

Dedication of the First Edition of “Year A” Naskapi Sunday Lectionary in 2010

We have been busy in other ways too. During the past year we applied to become a “resource home” with the Ontario Children’s Aid Society. In common terms that means that we have been trained and approved to serve as foster parents for children in crisis. In mid August, the agency called us to say that they had two small boys to place with us. The oldest just turned five years old in September, and his brother is two years old.

The Childen’s Aid Society goal is to eventually place the children permanently with a family member, but in the meantime the boys find care and safety, love and routine in our home with us. Pray for us, that our influence on their lives is positive and nurturing, and that we would have the wisdom and patience it takes to care for little ones in our home again.


In the middle of September we were blessed to be a part of our youngest son Nicodemus’ wedding to Brooklyn, in Langley BC. We are so happy that she is a part of our family now. It was wonderful to have all of our children, our grandchildren Nya and Arion, and Bill’s mom Martha all together with us for the wedding.

Nico & Brooklyn have posted a collection of photographs of the wedding that you may view here if you like:

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1BWdfOq7UpoDGJ2uNhEbB6GOsZOfyyOnX

Thank you once again for your interest and prayers for the Bible translation ministry that God has entrusted us with.

Serving with you, Bill & Norma Jean

 

 

Northern Translation Brief: Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree VBS 2019

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers for the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree Vacation Bible School (VBS) that was held this summer the week of August 5-9, 2019. This is the third year that we have helped facilitate and conduct this “Scripture Engagement” event. This was first proposed in January of 2017, when the Oji-Cree Bible Translation team in Kingfisher Lake expressed their hearts desire to us for the children of their community (their next generation) to hear the message of the Gospel in their own language. Their twofold goals were (1) to have local Oji-Cree speakers and church members gain experience in conducting their own VBS programs for their children and (2) to provide their children with wholesome activities through their summer school break.

This year, the Oji-Cree leaders met with us at the April workshop in Guelph to confirm their desire to have us come and help them again this summer. The topic they chose for this summer’s VBS was the Easter Story, which was woven into memory verses which remind us that even when life is be hard, God is Good, as the theme for the week.

Travel to the North

Kingfisher Lake is an isolated First Nations community in northern Ontario, where the Oji-Cree language is spoken. On Friday morning, August 2nd, the six travelers met with loved-ones and members of the Simcoe, Ontario Immanuel Church for prayers and farewells before we drove to the Toronto Pearson Airport for the first leg of the trip, a 2-hour flight to Thunder Bay.

Ashley & Amy, Bill & Norma Jean, Eric & Elizabeth at Immanuel Church in Simcoe, Ontario

Immanuel Church has been praying and fundraising so that we could send two of our youth, Ashley Booth, and Amy Lewis. Our daughter Elizabeth Jancewicz has been working for months helping with the plans and creating the culturally-appropriate visual images and crafts for the program. We were also very happy that her husband Eric Stevenson could come again this year to help with games and music. Norma Jean was the overall VBS coordinator and liaison with the Oji-Cree team.

We were very happy to also have help from new friends from another church in central Georgia, USA. Almost five years ago, in the fall of 2014 when the Oji-Cree Bible translation project was just starting, Harvest Church provided generous financial support through Wycliffe Bible Translators that enabled the hiring and training the initial Oji-Cree Bible Translation team. Since then, God has been speaking to the people at Harvest Church to find out how they might partner with the Oji-Cree Bible translation project more closely. They sent members of their congregation, Jim & Ellie Fuss, to participate in this year’s VBS program at Kingfisher Lake.

Ellie & Jim Fuss from Harvest Church in Byron, Georgia

Eric & Elizabeth, Amy and Ashley waiting for our first flight from Toronto airport.

Because of flight connections to the northern communities, we spent the night in Thunder Bay at a hotel where we met up with Jim & Ellie who had just arrived there from Georgia. We  got up bright and early to take the morning flight to Sioux Lookout on Wasaya Airlines, a First Nations-owned airline that services the northern communities in Ontario and Manitoba.

Ellie at the Wasaya counter in Thunder Bay

We are grateful to the Lord that the weather was fine for all the flights from Toronto to Thunder Bay, to Sioux Lookout, to the little Oji-Cree community of Summer Beaver, and finally to Kingfisher Lake by Saturday afternoon.

Boarding Wasaya’s Beechcraft 1900D in Sioux Lookout

So, after three planes, six airports, 1100 miles, 14 hours, two time zones, and one sleep all in one and the same Canadian province*, we made it to the Kingfisher Lake community in northern Ontario.

*Jim & Ellie Fuss traveled much farther and longer than we did–more planes, more miles, more airports and more countries!

Vacation Bible School

We were met there at the Kingfisher Lake airport by our good friends from the Oji-Cree community along with Matthew and Caitlin Windsor and their family, the Wycliffe team who have been there for a year now to assist the Oji-Cree Bible translation project. They brought us to our rooms at Mission House, where we all began to unpack, sort and organize the VBS materials, and plan the week with the VBS team.

VBS “plan for the week”

On Sunday, the team went to worship at St. Matthew’s church in Kingfisher Lake, and later continued our preparations for the VBS program.

The team prepared the VBS program for two different age groups each day: Kindergarten through grade 3 in the morning, and grade 4 through grade 8 in the afternoon. Each group had an age-appropriate song time, Bible story, crafts time, snack time and game time during their session every day.

Registration

Every day we met the children at the door, learned their names, and gave them name-tags in the shape of a cross.

Afternoon Attendance

Song Time

Eric led a fun singing time as the children gathered each day.

Bible Story

Norma Jean told a Bible story while Elizabeth drew an extra-large “colouring poster” that illustrated the story. During crafts time, colouring the poster was one of the options.

Crafts time

There were different arts and crafts projects prepared each day that the children could do that were related to the topic or the VBS theme.

One of the major crafts was for the children to screen-print their own t-shirts and sweatshirts, with help from Elizabeth and all of you who contributed to the sweatshirt fundraiser. These were appreciated by all the children and leaders.

Snack time

To keep everyone’s energy up for all these activities, snacks were prepared and served to the children each day. Everyone pitched in with the crafts and snacks.

Game time

Eric was a wonderful game leader and the children had a good time playing old games (musical chairs) and learning new ones (stack the cups and steal the bacon).

Story Review

After game time, everyone sat down to hear Norma Jean re-tell the story, and having the children fill in the details… sometimes with the help of Mrs. Beaver and Mr. Moose!(Elizabeth and Eric).

Answered Prayers

All our travels went reasonably well. Some children came every day, and those that came really seemed to enjoy all the parts of the program. The VBS staff from outside worked together well with the local VBS staff. It was wonderful serving along side Matthew & Caitlin Windsor and their family, now living at Kingfisher Lake for the past year, and continuing their service there as Bible Translation facilitators.

This was also a good opportunity to work with the Oji-Cree translation team on “team-checking” the book of Mark. The team is on track to complete the entire Gospel of Mark by the end of this year, Lord willing.

Oji-Cree Translators Jessie, Ruth, and Mary working with Matthew

Team-checking the Gospel of Mark in Oji-Cree

Prayer Requests

It was wonderful to see Matthew & Caitlin’s new “Tiny House” that had just been positioned next door to the Mission House where the translation project is located (and this year’s VBS). But so far they still are “camping” in their home until they can be hooked up to running water and electricity. Please pray with them for the completion of their new home on-site, utilities and other details.

The Oji-Cree translation team would also like your prayers as they seek to grow their team in numbers and capacity.

Pray for us too, as we consider about how God would have us participate in His work in the Kingfisher Lake community in years to come, and that they will hear as God continues to speak his message in the language of their hearts.

Serving with you,

Bill & Norma Jean for the entire Kingfisher Lake VBS team

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Translation Brief: Psalms-The Book of Praises in Naskapi

Our Dear Partners,

On the 3rd Sunday of Lent, March 24th, 2019 there was a special service held at St. John’s Parish, Kawawachikamach, for the dedication of the translated book of Psalms in the Naskapi language. This is another important milestone for the work the Naskapi translation team does in making the Bible available and accessible in their own language Work began on the Naskapi Bible translation project in the 1990s. The Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC) partnered with St. John’s Parish and Wycliffe Bible Translators to build a translation team that sought to fulfil the vision of the late Joseph Guanish, long time chief of the Naskapi Nation, former president of NDC, and mentor and inspiration to the team and the community.

He lived to see his vision begin to be fulfilled with the publication of the New Testament in the Naskapi language in 2007, followed by the dedication of the book of Genesis in 2013. The Translation of the Psalms into Naskapi was initially a part of Lectionary Readings for Sundays and Holy Days (2012), using the Psalter included in Bishop John Horden’s 1889 Book of Common Prayer in the Cree language as the primary source material. With the present publication, the Naskapi Development Corporation is pleased to present all 150 Psalms to Naskapi readers for the first time in a single volume. Our prayer is that these Scriptures would bless the Naskapi people for generations as they have blessed millions of God’s people around the world for thousands of years.


How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

ᑕᓐᑕ ᒐᒋ ᐅᒋ ‍ ᐸᔭᒋᑕᑦ ᐅᔅᒋᓂᒋᓱᐤ ᐅᑦ ᐃᓯᑥᐅᓐ?
ᐊ ‍ ᐃᔭᒂᒥᓯᑦ ᐊ ‍ ᐃᔅᒋᔄᒥᑭᓂᔨᒡ ᒋᑦ ᐃᔨᒧᐅᓂᔪᐤ᙮
ᒥᓯᐛ ᓂᑕᐃᒡ ᔅᒋ ᐅᒋ ‍ ᓇᓂᑐᐛᔨᒥᑎᓐ:
ᐅ ᐊᑲᐎᔾ ᓇᐊᔨᒥ ᒐᒋ ᐅᓂᒥᑎᒪᔭᓐ ᒋᐎᓱᐛᐅᓇ ᐅᒡ᙮
ᒋᑦ ᐃᔨᒧᐅᓐ ᓂᒋ ‍ ᑲᑕᓐ ᓂᑕᐃᒡ,
ᒐ ᐊᑲ ᒋ ᒥᒋᑐᑕᑕᓐ᙮

–Psalm 119:9-11–


The book of Psalms is one of the books of the Bible that give us wisdom on how to live well. It is a collection of raw, honest prayers poured out to the Lord that cover a wide range of life experiences. Each was composed in response to a real-life situation or celebration. Together they cover the full spectrum of human emotion, from exuberant joy to agonizing pain.
The Psalmists invite us to express our true thoughts and feelings to God. We do not have to hold anything back. We are not alone in the ups and downs of life. Instead, we have the assurance that God is faithful and good, and His presence is with all who trust in Him.

The translation team expressed to us how proud they are of this accomplishment, and the Naskapi people are also grateful to have still another part of the Bible available in their own language. Continued work on translating the Old Testament into Naskapi is still an on-going project that we are committed to, and provides them with another way of preserving their language, and know and love God better.

Psalms books at the front of the church on Dedication Day

Our friend, the Rev. Silas Nabinicaboo, the deacon at the Naskapi Church, asked us to tell you:

“The Naskapi community and St. John’s Parish would like to express our deep thanks to all those who have been dedicated to this project. The early drafts of Psalms were prepared and reviewed by the late Joseph Guanish, and work continued on this project over more than fifteen years by myself, joined by Naskapi Language Specialists Amanda Swappie, Ruby Nabinicaboo, Tshiueten Vachon. We are filled with gratitude to everyone who provided their guidance, and assistance, and to all who gave their support for this project.”

Please join us in praise and thanks to God and congratulations to the translation team at Kawawachikamach for this accomplishment!

Serving with you, Bill & Norma Jean

Deacon Silas Nabinicaboo tells about the new book of Psalms at the Dedication Service

Prayers of dedication for the new books

Young Naskapis who learn to read at school can now read the Psalms for the first time

Older Naskapis expressed their gratitude after having waited many years for this day

People of every generation will treasure “Psalms: the Book of Praises in Naskapi” for years to come

The Book of Psalms in Naskapi is also available to the general public through online sales:

http://www.lulu.com/content/21310118

 

Northern Translation Brief: 23Oct2018

Our Dear Partners,

On Sunday, October 14th, a special service was held at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City to honour and recognize the Naskapi speaking congregation at Kawawachikamach.

Many members of St. John’s Church, Kawawachikamach were on hand to participate in this service

The Anglican Diocese of Quebec (of which the Naskapi parish is a member) presented a celebration to commemorate a change in the status of the Naskapi church.

During the summer, we were informed about this change, which (in the words of council) is as follows:

The Diocesan Executive Council, gave its formal and unanimous approval to making St. John’s church, Kawawachikamach, a region of its own. This means that the Naskapi parish will have guaranteed representation at both our diocesan Synod and the Diocesan Executive Council. This does not address all of the issues surrounding the fuller participation of Naskapi Anglicans in the decision-making bodies of our diocese, but they believe it is an important step along the way, and is in keeping with the Anglican Church of Canada’s wider efforts to support Indigenous self-determination within their church’s structures.”

The Bishop (Bishop Bruce Myers) also extended his personal invitation to us so that we might present the story of Naskapi Bible Translation at that celebration. He said that this would help to raise awareness of the Bible translation project in the life of the diocese and to highlight the evident growth in the Naskapi church and lives of the Naskapi people because of receiving the Scriptures in their own language.

It was a special treat for us to see and speak with a number of our Naskapi friends who were on hand for the service and reception. We are so grateful to God for the work that He continues to do among them.

The weekend of October 25-29 we are off to the 50th Algonquian Conference in Edmonton, an academic conference where we will be presenting a paper about translation.

Thank you for your prayers for us!

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief: Linguistics Intern Visit to Naskapi 2018

Our Dear Partners,

After the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering that was held at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 2014, there were several projects that were prioritized, including work on Oji-Cree, Cree and Naskapi Bible translation projects, along with activities focused on building the capacity of the local communities to accomplish these translation goals. One necessary part of capacity-building includes the recruitment and training of new Bible Translation facilitator teams to work alongside language speakers in their communities in the north.

A key part of the preparation for these Bible Translation facilitator teams is a period of in-field training and language service with the Naskapi translation project. During this time of gaining experience living in an isolated northern First Nations community, the new teams will serve the Naskapi as Linguistics Interns, taking part in the facilitation of a real ongoing language program there.

To help the new teams with a smoother transition to their in-field training period, they accompany us on one of our working trips to the Naskapi community. In August of 2018, David & Avery Standley (and baby Azariah) came with us to visit the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach, as their part of their introduction to the situation in Canadian First Nations, as well as a chance for us to get to know them better.

You may remember that in 2015, Matthew & Caitlin Windsor accompanied us to Kawawachikamach on a similar visit. You can read about that trip at this link here <link>.

And then in 2016, Martin & Alice Reed came with us to Kawawachikamach on their first visit there. You can read about that trip at this link here <link>.

Martin & Alice are now serving speakers of the Western Swampy Cree language in northern Manitoba, and Matthew & Caitlin are serving speakers of the Oji-Cree language at Kingfisher Lake in northern Ontario.

On this year’s trip, beginning last August 18, we picked up David, Avery & Azariah at the Buffalo, NY airport, and from there we drove for the next four days together up through southern Ontario and along the north shore of the St. Lawrence in Quebec to Sept-Iles, were we boarded the train to Schefferville. The train ride this time was 16-1/2 hours, arriving at Schefferville near midnight. We were met at the train by Naskapi translator Silas, who brought David & Avery to the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach in the wee hours of Friday morning, August 24.

Naskapi Translation Team Capacity-Building Workshop

Each workday we met with the Naskapi translation team to work through the various stages of translation for the current active Naskapi Old Testament translation projects, moving them closer to their goals. The team is now working on the books of Deuteronomy (Tshiueten), Joshua (Silas), Judges (Amanda), and Esther (Ruby). They have also just started work on the book of Job as a team project.

We also worked with other speakers and elders on revisions to the Naskapi dictionary, descriptions of the Naskapi grammar and books of Naskapi stories. Retired consultant linguist Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie from Memorial University in Newfoundland was on hand to provide her help and guidance with these projects.

Avery observes Dr. MacKenzie working on the Naskapi dictionary with elder Alma Chemaganish

Silas Nabinicaboo has been working on the first draft of the book of Judges in Naskapi

Tshiueten Vachon has recently begun the first draft of the book of Deuteronomy

Amanda Swappie has been translating the first draft of the book of Joshua in Naskapi

The newest member of the Naskapi team, Ruby Nabinicaboo, is working on the back-translation for the book of Esther

The Naskapi translation team learned more skills in how to use the computer-based translation resources that are available to them, along with reminders of the importance of the several other stages of Bible translation that come after the (1) “First Draft” is made, such as: (2) “Team Checking” of the passage with other members of the translation team to ensure accuracy, (3) “Community Checking” with elders and other members of the community to ensure clarity and naturalness, (4) “Back Translation” so that the text can be reviewed by exegetical consultants, ensuring that the entire meaning of the text is communicated.

David & Avery not only got to be a part of the workshops during the day, but also enjoyed connecting with the Naskapi people in the community outside the office, in recreational sports and community activities.

Avery is a welcome member on the volleyball team!

Azariah got to know some new Naskapi friends as well.

Jaiden, who used to stay with us when he was small, is doing well. He’s 11 years old now and enjoying school.

Linguistics Internships

Some have asked if the new teams that God is sending to work with us are our “replacements”. Well, not exactly. It became clear that God is at work in many First Nations language communities across Northern Canada, and that for us to simply move on to just one other language project after Naskapi would not nearly begin to meet the need,

Tshiueten getting to know Azariah

besides the fact that the Naskapi team still requires continued support. So in answer to your prayers God has called additional Bible Translation facilitation teams like the Windsors, the Reeds, the Scotts and the Standleys to help serve in some of these other First Nations Bible Translation projects. And these are not all, either. See this post for more about these “Next Generation” Bible translation teams: <link>

Since the languages are all closely related, and the values and culture of these language communities share a lot in common, their planned in-field training period serving in a linguistics internship with Naskapi for several months will continue to support the Naskapi project in significant ways, moving the Naskapi team closer to a sustainable level of capacity, while also giving the new teams the practical skills and experience that they will need to work in the language communities that are still waiting for God’s Word in their mother tongues.

This will also enable us to leverage our own experience so that we can support these new teams as mentors, while God continues to use us to assist the other language projects where we still have the privilege to serve.

The Standleys hope to begin their Linguistics Internship with the Naskapi project sometime in the next year or so, and be ready to move on to another related language community, such as Innu, or Cree, who even now are still waiting for the scriptures in their own language.

Prayer Requests

Please continue to pray for David & Avery (and little Azariah) as they continue their steps of preparation and seek adequate support so that they may move to the north and begin their internship.

Pray for us that we will be sensitive to God’s leading and faithful to His call as we provide guidance to these new teams.

Pray for the First Nations language communities that we have already begun to work alongside of, and for those who are still waiting to have the message of God’s love and hope in their own languages.

Pray for the Naskapi team as they work toward their Old Testament project goals and learn to work in their own language program with more and more confidence and ability.

Thank you for your own interest, support and encouragement for this work that God is doing in minority First Nations language communities in Canada.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

 

Northern Translation Brief: 15Aug2018

Our Dear Partners,

In just a few short days we will be journeying north again to the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach outside Schefferville, Quebec. We return to work with the Naskapi translation team there on their Old Testament translation, Scripture engagement and literacy projects.

As many of you know from our previous Translation Briefs, the Naskapi Bible Translation project has been not only the inspiration and motivation for other First Nations communities to begin their own translation projects, but the Naskapi project is also a place where Next Generation Bible translation facilitators can gain practical experience serving a project as Linguistics Interns. Two new young teams recently starting their service to other First Nations translation projects, the Reeds and the Windsors, have completed their internships at Kawawachikamach with the Naskapi.

This August we will be bringing still another young couple interested in serving in First Nations Bible translation with us to visit the Naskapi project. David & Avery Standley, and their son Azariah.

A “Skype” call with David & Avery last week

David & Avery are from Olympia, Washington, on the west coast of the United States. They both completed their undergraduate degrees in linguistics, and have also taken the field linguistics courses at CanIL (the Canadian Institute of Linguistics) at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC.

They will be traveling with us and their new little baby boy, Azariah, who is just 3 months old. They are flying here from the west coast to meet us for the first time this Saturday August 18, and we will be driving with them up to Sept-Iles, Quebec, to take the Thursday, August 23 train to Schefferville.

David & Avery are just visiting the Naskapi community with us this time, but if things work out, they are hoping to do an 8-month internship at Kawawa with the translation team eventually.

Besides Bible translation, we are also working with the Naskapi translation team on literacy projects, and are just in the checking and review stage of a new children’s book based on a traditional Naskapi story about Kachimayichasuw, mysterious mischievious beings that are said to throw rocks at Naskapi tents and steal supplies.

We will work with the Naskapi team until the first week of September, and return home around September 9, Lord willing.

Checking copy of “The Sneaks who Stole the Sugar” in Naskapi, illustrated by our daughter Elizabeth

Please remember us in prayer for safety and travel mercies during the long days on the road, for productive and instructive times with the Naskapi translation team, and for God’s continued leading and guidance in our lives, the lives of the Naskapi translators, and David & Avery.

Serving with you, Bill & Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief: Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree VBS 2018

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers for the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree Vacation Bible School (VBS) that was held this summer the week of July 23-37, 2018. This “Scripture Engagement” event is the second in a series that got its start when the Oji-Cree Bible Translation team in Kingfisher Lake expressed their hearts desire for the children of their community, their next generation, to hear the message of the Gospel in their own language. This year, the Oji-Cree leaders met with us in March to confirm their desire to have us come and help them again this summer. The topic chosen for this summer’s VBS was the life and teachings of Jesus, with the two greatest commandments as their focus ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:28-34) and “Love One Another” as the theme for the week.

Travel to the North

Kingfisher Lake is an isolated First Nations community in northern Ontario, where the Oji-Cree language is spoken. On Friday morning, July 20th, the six travelers met with loved-ones and members of the Simcoe, Ontario Immanuel Church for prayers and farewells before we drove to the Toronto Pearson Airport for the first leg of the trip, a 2-hour flight to Thunder Bay.

Eric Stevenson, Amy Lewis, Bill & Norma Jean, Elizabeth Jancewicz, Jacco DeBruin

Immanuel church has been praying and fundraising so that they could send two of their youth, Amy Lewis, and Jacco DeBruin. Our daughter Elizabeth Jancewicz has been working for months helping with the plans and creating the culturally-appropriate visual images and crafts for the program. This year we were so happy that her husband Eric Stevenson could come to provide help with games and music. Norma Jean was the overall VBS coordinator and liaison with the Oji-Cree team.

Amy and Jacco wait for their first flight from Toronto to Thunder Bay

Because of flight connections to the northern communities, we spent the night in Thunder Bay at a hotel and got up bright and early to take the morning flight to Sioux Lookout on Wasaya Airlines, a First Nations-owned airline that services the northern communities in Ontario and Manitoba.

Elizabeth & Eric

Amy and Jacco

Due to weight limitations on the smaller plans to Kingfisher Lake, Jacco volunteered to surrender his bag as “low priority”, which meant that most of our priority VBS supplies could arrive on time. Jacco’s bag did arrive in Kingfisher lake two days later.

The weather was fine for all the flights from Toronto to Thunder Bay, to Sioux Lookout, to the little Oji-Cree communities of Summer Beaver and Wunnumin Lake, and finally to Kingfisher Lake by Saturday afternoon.

Bringing welcome treats to Kingfisher Lake

 

So, after three planes, six airports, 1100 miles, 14 hours, two time zones, and one sleep all in one and the same Canadian province, we made it to the Kingfisher Lake community in northern Ontario.

Vacation Bible School

We were met there at the airport by our good friends from the Oji-Cree community along with Matthew and Caitlin Windsor and their family, the Wycliffe team newly assigned to assist the Oji-Cree Bible translation project. They brought us to our rooms at Mission House, where we all began to sort and organize the VBS materials, and plan the week with the local translation team.

100 Hoodies!’

On Sunday, the team had an opportunity to do a “dry run” of the VBS program when the local church leaders invited Norma Jean and the team to teach Sunday School at the Mission House. We were able to meet some of the children who would be attending the VBS program during the week.

The team planned the VBS program for two different age groups each day: Kindergarten through grade 3 in the mornings, and grade 4 through grade 8 in the afternoon. Each group had an age-appropriate song time, Bible story, crafts time, snack time and game time during their session every day. Besides help from the Oji-Cree translators and the Windsor family, we also had assistance from ministry workers with Northern Youth Programs (Ann & Lynnette) as well, who were in the Kingfisher Lake community for several weeks of service.

Registration

Every day we met the children at the door, learned their names, and gave them name-tags in the shape of a heart.

back row: Eric, Norma Jean, Bill, Caitlin, Hazel, Ann
front row: Elizabeth, Amy, Jacco, Lynette

Song time

Eric led a fun singing time as the children gathered each day.

Bible story

Norma Jean told a Bible story while Elizabeth drew an extra-large “colouring poster” that illustrated the story. During crafts time, colouring the poster was one of the options.

Crafts time

There were different crafts prepared each day that the children could do that were related to the topic or the VBS theme.

One of the major crafts was for the children to screen-print their own “hoodie” sweatshirt, with help from Elizabeth and all of you who contributed to the hoodie fundraiser. These were appreciated by all the children and leaders.

Snack time

To keep everyone’s energy up for all these activities, snacks were prepared and served to the children each day. Everyone pitched in with the crafts and snacks.

Game time

Eric was a wonderful game leader and the children had a good time playing old games (musical chairs) and learning new ones (blob tag).

Story Review

After game time, everyone sat down to hear Norma Jean re-tell the story, asking for the children to fill in the details with the help of Mr. Beaver and Mr. Moose (Eric and Elizabeth).

Answered Prayers

All our travels went reasonably well. More children came every day, and really seemed to enjoy all the parts of the program. The VBS staff from outside worked together well with the local VBS staff, and along with the ministry workers from Northern Youth Programs as well, who were in the community for several weeks of service. It was wonderful serving along side Matthew & Caitlin Windsor and their family, now living at Kingfisher Lake and beginning their service there as Bible Translation facilitators.

When we met with the Oji-Cree translation team leaders, they said that they were pleased with the program and asked us to consider having another program like it in the summer of 2019.

Prayer Requests

Matthew & Caitlin are still looking for permanent lodgings in Kingfisher Lake. Please pray that God would meet this need soon.

The Oji-Cree translation team would like your prayers as they seek to grow their team in numbers and capacity.

Pray for us as we think about how God would have us meet the needs and requests of the Kingfisher Lake community in years to come, and as we begin to plan our next trip north, to the Naskapi community in Northern Quebec at the end of this month (stay tuned!)

Serving with you,

Bill & Norma Jean for the entire Kingfisher Lake VBS team

 

 

 

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