Northern Translation Brief 10Jul2020

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers and your interest in First Nations Bible Translation. Our indigenous partners in isolated northern communities have been under unusual stress and hardship since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the living conditions in these communities, the limited access and medical facilities, First Nations people are at particularly high risk from infection from this coronavirus disease.

Most communities across northern Canada have restricted all travel in and out.

Algonquian languages in the “Cree subgroup”

Naskapi translation

We had a half dozen Naskapi participants: translators, educators and church lay-readers signed up for our translator workshop this spring, but as we told you last time, it had to be cancelled, just like everything else in 2020.

The Naskapi translation office and school and church also closed for most of April and May, and opened in just a limited way in June.

We have just begun to work again with members of the team who have returned, connecting over video calls on the computer, but we are afraid that it will be a slow restart.

However, through the springtime and into the summer, Bill has been steadily working on formatting, compositing and proofreading some new Naskapi publications that we will be able to share about in the next Translation Brief. He is also coordinating the production of an exciting new Naskapi language education tool, an “online Naskapi language course”. We hope to have that ready by the end of the summer, and we will tell you all about it then.

New children in our care

Last time we wrote to you we had to say good bye to Emma and Joseph, a sibling group that was in our care until Bill returned across the border from the US. Because of Covid-19 quarantine regulations, they had to be placed in another foster home.

But in late May we were asked to look after Charlotte (age 5). She is part of a sibling group too, but her brother and sisters are in care in other foster homes.

Charlotte celebrating on Canada Day in the morning
(The children’s faces have been intentionally blurred to protect their privacy)

A week later the Children’s Aid Society called with an emergency request to take Bella (age 3) into our home. Both children have some special needs, and Bella has global developmental delays. But both girls have been gradually settling into a routine in our home and getting the care that they need. We can’t say how long either will be with us, but we are prepared to look after them as long as they need us.

Bella at breakfast

God has blessed us with the capacity to help these two children, and we feel privileged to be called to serve Him in this way.

Charlotte and Bella in their “happy place”, busy outside


Thank you again for your prayers with us for:

  1. Naskapi Bible Translation: restarting the team in Covid-19, good working relationships, and the delivery and distribution of the new Scripture products we have prepared. Remember team members Ruby and Silas.
  2. Bella and Charlotte: as we provide them with the special care that they need during this time of separation from their families.
  3. The other language teams we supervise: Matthew & Caitlin Windsor in the Oji-Cree project at Kingfisher Lake, Ontario; and Alice & Martin Reed in the Swampy Cree project near Thompson, Manitoba. Click on their names above to see their recent newsletters.

Gratefully serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean

PS: We may be able to give you more details on any of these requests if you ask us off-line (by email). You may email us in two places:
For Bill: bill_jancewicz@sil.org
For Norma Jean: normajean_jancewicz@sil.org

Northern Translation Brief 03Mar2020

Our Dear Partners,

Today we would value your prayers for three major concerns that we are carrying right now:

  1. First Nations Translator Workshop
  2. Bill’s mom’s heath
  3. New children in our care

    Last year’s First Nations Translator Workshop

    2020 First Nations Translator Workshop

    We have been working hard preparing for this year’s First Nations Translator Workshop to be held in Guelph Ontario, Canada, this March 29 to April 3. There are a dozen staff members serving with us, preparing workshop sessions and presentations for an expected 15 or so indigenous participants from three or four different First Nations languages all across Northern Canada.

    Pray that God will bring the right people together and guide us to provide better access to His Message in their languages.

    Bill’s mom, Martha Jancewicz, feeding the chickadees this past September at Nico & Brooklyn’s wedding in British Columbia

    Bill’s mom and her health

    Bill’s mom, Martha Jancewicz, is 93 years old and has been extremely active and healthy her entire life. Just a few weeks ago she was suffering from a sore throat due to what she thought was a stubborn cold. After a few visits to the doctors last month we were all saddened to learn that she has been diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer in her lungs and throat. Just yesterday she had emergency surgery at Yale-New Haven hospital in Connecticut for a tracheotomy to restore her breathing. She will be there for the next week and we are all waiting for an update after a biopsy.

    Pray for her comfort, her spirit and for God’s peace and wisdom for all of the family during these difficult and uncertain days.

    Joseph (9-years-old) and his sister Emma (10-years-old)
    (Their faces in this picture are blurred intentionally to protect their privacy)

    New children in our care

    While we were traveling last month, the local Children’s Aid Society asked us to take in two children who needed a family resource home. Joseph and Emma have moved in last week and are a part of our family now for as long as they need a loving and safe home to be in. We are making school lunches and reading stories at bedtime and doing all the things that they need to be secure, in partnership with Children’s Aid.

    Pray that we continue to look to God for his strength, grace and wisdom as we learn to parent Emma and Joseph together.


    Thank you again for your prayers with us for:

    1. The Workshop
    2. Bill’s mom
    3. Joseph & Emma

    Gratefully serving with you,
    Bill & Norma Jean

    PS: We may be able to give you more details on any of these requests if you ask us off-line (by email)