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: 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: 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: 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

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

Northern Translation Brief: 07Oct2017

Our Dear Partners,

So many of you have shared with us that you would be praying about my trip to Split Lake Manitoba. We are so excited to tell you about how your prayers have been answered in wonderful ways.

The church and community leaders have invited us to send Alice & Martin Reed, one of the new Next Generation language development teams that has been serving their internship with the Naskapi translation project, to help them begin their own Swampy Cree translation project at Split Lake.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers!
Serving with you,
Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief: 07Oct2017

Our Dear Partners,

Thanks to all of you who prayed for me (Bill) as I have been preparing for the October 6-7 trip to Thompson Manitoba. I had been invited to meet with Anglican First Nations clergy there at their Northern Manitoba General Assembly. But over the past few days the organizers found it necessary to cancel their meeting until after the new year.

But they urged me to make alternate plans to travel there anyway to meet with some of the Swampy Cree speakers and church leaders about Bible translation as soon as possible, in particular, the Rev. Larry Beardy in Split Lake.

Last week I was able to speak with Larry, who suggested that I come to visit him in his Swampy Cree community at Split Lake Manitoba (Tataskweyak) at the school where he teaches Cree during the week of October 15th. He said that he would like me to make a presentation to his Cree class about First Nations Bible Translation, and it would also be an opportunity for me to speak with him about how we might be of assistance in helping him and his people take steps toward having a Bible translation program started for his language community.

So, I contacted the airlines and learned that I could make a change in my tickets for a fee, which I have done. Now I leave for northern Manitoba on Saturday October 14th.

Plans are slightly different now, but clearly God is at work refining the details, keeping us dependent upon Him.

Thanks for your continued prayers!
Serving with you,
Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief: 30Sep2017

Our Dear Partners,

On October 6 Bill leaves for a trip to Thompson Manitoba. He has been invited to meet with Anglican First Nations clergy there at their Northern Manitoba General Assembly.
Their leaders have asked Bill to come share about how God has used Bible Translation in other First Nations languages like Naskapi and Oji-Cree to communicate His message of hope and healing.

Speakers of the Swampy Cree language have been using an old translation of the scriptures in the Plains Cree language for generations, and are interested in learning how they may start a translation program of their own into contemporary Swampy Cree, just as several other language communities have done in recent years. Bill will be sharing about the opportunities and resources available to help them gain capacity to have God’s Word in their own mother tongue, including the First Nations Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop series.

We value your prayers for travel safety, good relationships and God’s leading and direction in our lives and theirs.

Serving with you,
Bill and Norma Jean