Christmas 2018

Our dear friends and family,

We have been looking forward with gratefulness to celebrating the birth of Jesus this year. It has been an especially challenging year, as we continue to recover strength, wellness and stamina after Bill’s accident with the tree, ladder and chainsaw on November 7th 2017. Even though the time required can be discouraging, we rejoice in your prayers for us with a dependence in God’s blessing and His sovereignty, and assurance of His love.

We wanted to remind you all of how God continues to lead us in our work in Canada: As you know, it’s been more than 30 years now since we first moved to Canada to work with the Naskapi community at Kawawachikamach in Northern Quebec. We raised our family there and we both served the community as a linguist and as a teacher. We worked alongside community members in language development, literacy, and Bible translation. It was 11 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 own capacity to accomplish the ongoing work on the Old Testament themselves.

‘He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

–Isaiah 40:29.

Moreover, the Naskapi have inspired and motivated other First Nations communities that do not yet have scriptures in their own languages. For the past 5 years, after much reflection and prayer, our vision that God would multiply His work by raising up a team of younger Bible Translation facilitators is being realized. Two teams now serve as we have in several other communities, while increasing the number and capacity of First Nations translators themselves 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, Plains Cree in Saskatchewan, 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 are now working full-time as language project facilitators with the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree community. Alice & Martin Reed are now living and working among the Western Swampy Cree communities in Northern Manitoba. Tom & Bethany Scott have just completed their internship with the Oji-Cree translation team this fall, and David & Avery Standley have just joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in November, and are preparing for service in one of the communities still waiting for access to the Scriptures in their own language.

Our continuing role is to mentor and support these new teams and projects. Bill’s accident and recovery period has shown us 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 on-site tasks, working in the local language communities.

The Naskapi work also continues in Northern Quebec, which we still support at a significant level. We are helping them with the final stages of typesetting and layout for the books of Exodus and Psalms in Naskapi. In addition, we are planning with our team members the next First Nations Translator training workshops in April 2019.

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 provides us a place from which we can travel to assist 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

Our 2013 Christmas Card

Dear Readers,

Ever since 1975, I have made our own Christmas Cards. This year you can be in on some of the creative process. Each year, we try to focus on the significance of the birth of Christ, and for the past 32 years or so we have also included a reference to our current location (on the back–usually a picture of our chikadee-ahouse or apartment, but for a few years it was a picture of a VW mini bus). For the past 25 years or so we have also included a reference to Naskapi, too. So with some of these traditions to follow, we are provided with a kind of template.


“Peg” the one-legged Chickadee

Still, one needs an idea. While considering several ideas, we were being visited by Chickadees at our window bird feeder. What’s could be cuter than little birds? It wouldn’t be the first time we had a bird on our cards, and I was already thinking of a connection to a Scripture verse and the birth of the Saviour. But then something cuter still did show up: Besides the dozen or so Chickadees and other birds frequenting our feeder, we started to be visited by a sweet little Chickadee with only one leg. She was a little more timid than the other cheeky birds; she would wait on the wire much longer than the others until she was sure to have a safe landing on the feeder, and then she would come, get her sunflower seed, and fly off.chikadee-peg2a

She was also special to us in that we could tell her apart from the others. She had to lean over to one side to keep her balance, but that did not stop her from coming for the meal provided. So several times a day “Peg” (Norma Jean named her) would visit, linger on the wire, come down to get her single seed and then fly off. We have seen her come every day now for weeks since we started taking notice. Once I got a good picture of her, I got to work on a pencil portrait (Norma Jean replenishes the sunflower seeds each day).

peg-chickadee-aWe do indeed put candles in the window–we like to do that at Christmas time, so I added a candle to the sketch, and then “Merry Christmas” in the “Christmas Card” font (inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life”), and so the front of the card was done.


I already had considered the connection to the Saviour born on Christmas day: In the Sermon on the Mount He talked about how our heavenly Father cares for birds, and encourages us not to worry about what we need–because He cares for us too. So I Christmas2013 insidequoted Matthew 6:26 in Naskapi and in English, formatted them in the top of the card, and summed up the Christmas message in the bottom of the card. Jesus saves us from many things: and the birds are a reminder that knowing Him we need not worry about things, either.

Like I mentioned earlier, it is our tradition to put a picture of our home on the back of the card, along with our contact information. Since I already sketched the cottage we are renting in Aldergrove BC (featured in an earlier blog post here), I simply re-used that picture and added the address and our e-mails for the card back.

We had the cards printed at a “Staples” outlet, I did the folding, stuffing and labeling, and then had them in the mail to the USA and overseas on Monday, 9 December 2013 (down in nearby Lynden, WA) and mailed out to our Canadian friends on Tuesday from the post office at the Co-op in Aldergrove, BC.

Christmas2013back-aWe will be staying here at our little rented cottage for the holidays this year. Nicodemus will be staying with us until the next semester starts for him and Norma Jean at Trinity Western University in Langley, later in January. We (and “Peg” the one-legged Chickadee) hope that you and yours have a very merry (and worry-free) Christmas!

Love, Bill and Norma Jean