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

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

Northern Translation Brief 13Sep2017

Our Dear Partners,

Norma Jean and I returned from our fall trip to the Naskapi Translation Project at Schefferville and Kawawachikamach late in the day Monday 11 Sept 2017. This trip had multiple purposes—mainly to connect with Alice & Martin Reed, who have been serving their 8-month internship there with the Naskapi translation project since March, and to bring Matt & Caitlin Windsor with Hazel there to begin their own internship with the Naskapi.

Caitlin, Matthew & Hazel Windsor ready for their trip to Northern Quebec

Why are we all with the Naskapi?

You may recall reading about the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative on these pages. God is at work bringing his message of hope and love into First Nations communities across Canada. The Naskapi community continues to be an inspiration and example to other First Nations language communities to have the Word of God in their own mother tongue too. These language communities have asked for help doing this–and God has blessed us by growing our team with the Next Generation of Language Program Facilitators, like the Reeds and the Windsors. They have been invited to serve in the Naskapi language program as “Linguistics Interns”, as they learn to live in an isolated northern First Nations community and work along side the Naskapi translators in their language program.

The trip went well, and we feel that Alice & Martin have been doing very well serving the Naskapi project since their arrival there last March. They have been helping the Naskapi team and administration to focus and prioritize their Bible translation projects and to move them along with manageable and concrete goals. Several more chapters of Exodus have been team-checked for consistency and naturalness under Alice’s guidance, and a publication of the book of Psalms in Naskapi is underway. At the same time, they have made remarkable progress in language learning, integrating their lives into Naskapi community and culture, and building deep relationships. They will be ready to move on to their own assignment by the first week of November. More about that below.

Alice & Martin Reed taking part in local activities at Kawawachikamach

Matthew & Caitlin survived the long, long road trip with us starting on August 20, and then the train trip to Kawawa on August 24, arriving around midnight. They moved into Ruby Sandy-Robinson’s house which had been vacated (and cleaned and prepared) by Alice & Martin a couple days before. Alice & Martin were offered to house-sit at another Naskapi house in the community a few doors away from Ruby’s house where they were staying. This allowed the Windsors to have more space which they needed at Ruby’s house. Ruby remains very happy to host the interns in her home.

Cait & Hazel in the “soup” aisle (ᓱᐸᐳᔾ), Matt & Cait at the translation office

Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, a linguist from Memorial University in Newfoundland, also came to work at the Naskapi Development Corporation offices on the review and editing of more Naskapi stories and legends, as she has done for the past several years in the month of September. Recently Bill coordinated the production of the next Naskapi story book ᐃᔅᒂᒋᐛᑎᓂᓱᐅᒡCaught in a Blizzard, which, like many of the recent Naskapi books was illustrated by our daughter Elizabeth. The new print copies arrived at Kawawa during this trip.

We were very encouraged by the way that both new Wycliffe teams, the Reeds and the Windsors, worked together and with their Naskapi hosts. We ask that you remember to pray for them during the next few weeks of “overlap” between the two teams, as the Reeds complete their internship in November and the Windsors stay on with the Naskapi until April of next year.

Serge & Minna

Norma Jean and I stayed in our old house in town in Schefferville, and came to Kawawa to work with the Naskapi language staff and community each day. We were also working on the house getting it ready to rent or sell: we met with one couple who came up from Parole de DieuInstitute Biblique Bethel  (Word of Life–Bethel Bible Institute) in Sherbrooke. This couple is listening for God’s call in their own lives for ministry among the Naskapi and Innu people in Quebec: their names are Serge & Minna Lauzon. We are waiting and praying with them for direction concerning our house in Schefferville: they may be in a position to rent or eventually buy the house, depending on how God leads them in the weeks to come. They spent four days at our house there with us during the two weeks we were there ourselves. Won’t you pray for them with us?

Before Norma Jean cut the grass…

The Naskapi translation team continues to work on the team-checking and review of the book of Exodus. There are still some style and naturalness (and consistency and acceptability) issues that the team is working through. The linguistics intern teams will be guiding the translation team toward the completion and publication of this book in the weeks to come. They also are helping the Naskapi develop a long term translation and scripture engagement plan that provides the Naskapi community with an Old Testament panorama that can be achieved by focusing their efforts on chronological selections from the remaining Old Testament. And this with continued work on the Naskapi dictionary, grammar and literacy.

The Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree translation committee has invited Matthew & Caitlin to come live with them at their community in Northern Ontario very soon after their internship is completed in April of next year.

Matt & Bill with the Kingfisher Lake Translation Committee in July 2017

And there are several Swampy Cree communities to the northwest of the Oji-Cree in northern Manitoba that have indicated an interest in having Alice & Martin come to work with them there. Bill will be visiting Swampy Cree speakers and church leaders at a clergy conference at Thompson, Manitoba in October. Please pray that God will make His plan and His will clear to all concerned, so that this language and all the other First Nations language groups in Canada that have been waiting for the scriptures in their mother tongues won’t have to wait too much longer.

Thank you for your prayers for us over the many miles and days of this trip, and for your continued prayers for the Naskapi, Cree, Innu and Oji-Cree; and for the Windsors and the Reeds and others who are being called to join in what God is doing in the north.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

PS: as a reminder, please take the time to visit the websites of the Next Generation as they serve the Naskapi and continue to walk in obedience and faith, and as they prepare themselves to help other language groups experience the joy of hearing and knowing God’s Word in their own languages.

Alice & Martin

https://www.facebook.com/ReedsKaleidoscope/

Matthew & Caitlin

https://thewindsorsupnorth.com/

…and scroll down to see more pictures of our time with the Naskapi community!

11:00 pm and STILL not sleepy!

Jaiden at church

Community gathering at the ballfield

Alice in her “Pow-wow” dress

Martin with the drummers

Mr Bill & Mama Jean hanging out with Jaiden

Bill and David Swappie–he reads the Naskapi Bible every day.

Norma Jean with Suzan Swappie–…so does she.

Jaiden came for dinner

School cook-out

Norma Jean pitches in

Back home on the train

Northern Translation Brief: Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree VBS

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 17-21, 2017. This “Scripture Engagement” event 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. The planning for this began back last January, during the first “consultant check” of their translated scriptures. Read about that here if you forgot: <Click Here>

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 14th, ten travelers met with loved-ones and members of the Simcoe, Ontario Immanuel CRC church congregation 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.

Left to Right: Caitlin & Matthew Windsor with Hazel, Ashley Booth, Amy Lewis, Elly Vandermeer; Bill & Norma Jean with Elizabeth Jancewicz, and Ann Rauwerda.

Prayers and farewells at the church parking lot

Immanuel church had been praying and fundraising so that they could send three of their youth, Amy Lewis, Elly Vandermeer and Ashley Booth, along with Ann Rauwerda, a Sunday School worker, who would assist with the VBS program. Our daughter Elizabeth Jancewicz had been working for months helping with the plans and creating the culturally-appropriate visual images and crafts for the program. Norma Jean was the overall VBS coordinator and liaison with the Oji-Cree team. We were also accompanied by Matthew & Caitlin Windsor, a new Wycliffe Bible Translation facilitator team who have just completed their training and partnership development and are currently spending time with us as part of their final preparation for moving to the community. Matt & Caitlin also had their one-year-old baby girl Hazel along.

From security to the gate at Toronto Pearson airport

Hazel entertains the fight attendant

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.

We have our boarding passes!

After Sioux Lookout, we change to an even smaller plane, and make some stops in other First Nations communities.

Everyone gets a window seat

On the runway at 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

The first little adjustment was when we found out that the Vacation Bible School program was going to be held in a different venue: The “Mission House”, where we were staying, was also occupied by construction workers who were working on new housing in the community and the power station, so there was no room to hold a Vacation Bible School program there as originally planned. So our Oji-Cree hosts made arrangements for us to use the Kingfisher Lake Community Centre, across town. This was fine–a bright big space to use for crafts, teaching and games.

Meeting with the VBS staff and Sunday School teachers

Planning the week

We met with the local leaders and Oji-Cree Sunday School teachers, and even though they had just finished their annual summer Bible Camp program for adults, and many of them had been very busy the week before, they still wanted to participate as much as possible with the VBS. So they were on hand to work the schedule and divide up the workload to ensure that their Vacation Bible School had adequate Oji-Cree speaking staff available for each session of the week-long Vacation Bible School program.

Elizabeth demonstrating the crafts to the team. Additional help from the Mennonite girls.

The program was planned for each of the five days–with the younger children, from kindergarten age to grade 3 coming in the morning, and then the older children through grade 8 coming in the afternoons. The lessons planned were from the “seven days of creation” Bible passages in Genesis, with the text coming from their new translation into Oji-Cree of the first chapters of Genesis.

A team of Mennonite missionaries were also there, spending the summer at Kingfisher Lake, serving the community in any way they could. So they also helped on the staff of VBS during the week that we were there.

Moving the supplies (and staff!) by pick-up truck from Mission House to the Community Centre

Each lesson was also planned so as to be connected to a facet of the Gospel: that God loves us, and Jesus died for us and that we can know this. This was reflected in the memory verses used each day. For example “God Created the World” and “God so Loved the World“.

Memory verse theme song

Setting up on Day One

Setting up at the Community Centre on Day 1

Preparing snacks!

Oji-Cree kids start to stream in on Day 1

Name Tags and taking attendance

Story, lesson and Bible reading for Day 1

During each day’s Story Telling and Oji-Cree Bible Reading, our daughter Elizabeth, provided a live chalk drawing mural that illustrated all the days of creation, especially prepared for this northern First Nations audience. The images in the mural were complemented by especially crafted colouring pages for each day of the program.

The children enjoyed making a special handcrafts each day that went along with the story, playing games, and eating snacks. This was repeated twice a day, once for the younger children and once for the older ones.

So once we got the VBS program set up and got through Day One, we figured that the hard work was done, and the rest of the week would be a breeze. ( ! )

Challenges to Overcome (God is Good!)

During our first day of VBS, the construction workers at Kingfisher Lake were having some challenges of their own, when a water pipe was accidentally broken, which shut down the water supply for the whole community. At first we thought the fix meant that we simply had to boil the water that came through the tap. But eventually the water we got had to be carried up from the lake in buckets and pails and boiled on the stove. Our hosts tried to keep us supplied with bottled water, but it quickly became scarce in the community. Washing and cooking suddenly became somewhat less convenient to say the least!

Toilets could be used, but we flushed them with a bucket.

During the second day, the community sewer system backed up into the local grocery store, so the store was forced to close. This cut off the main food supply to the whole community (and to us as well, since we had counted on providing the VBS staff with meals from the store). Our hosts brought “country food” from their freezers and we had a community cook-out behind the Mission House. So we were well-supplied with meals in spite of having little choice as to the menu!

Helping with the community cook-out

The water crisis caused the construction workers to evacuate and so they left to go to their home communities.

During the third day, we were given the good news that emergency provisions were being brought into the community–but the bad news was that they needed to set up the distribution of food at the Community Centre, so VBS had to move. After the morning VBS session on Wednesday, we took down the VBS materials and cleared the community centre, hauling everything (crafts, games, snacks and all) back to the Mission House. Since the construction workers had evacuated, we were able to use the lower level of the Mission House to set up the VBS program for that afternoon, and we did not miss even one session!

But we also learned that we could not use even the toilets with a bucket (the bucket was put to “other uses”, along with a shovel).

During the fourth day, we were relieved to hear that both the water and the drains were back in service, and the grocery store was now operating out of it’s temporary quarters in the Community Centre. We continued with Vacation Bible School at the Mission House, and the kids continued to come and play and learn.

VBS resumes at the Mission House basement

Elizabeth moved her mural illustrating the days of Creation, and continued working on it to completion at the end of the week

A Moose and a Beaver puppets help the children remember the day’s Bible Story

By Friday, the fifth day, Vacation Bible School was almost over. All the Bible Stories for the seven days of Creation were told, and children recited the Bible verses that they had memorized. All told, fifty-three children attended at least some of the sessions throughout the week, more than half of the children of the community.

We left all the remaining crafts, game supplies and teaching materials with the local Oji-Cree Sunday School department so that they could continue to use these things for their Christian Education and Scripture Engagement activities. We also left the completed mural by Elizabeth: Here follows the progress on the mural that was worked on during Story Time and Bible Reading each session of the week:

Sky and Water

Land and Plants

Sun and Moon …

… and Stars!

Birds and Fish

Animals and Man

Thank you all for your interest and support for Bible translation in First Nations languages, and for your prayers for the Oji-Cree VBS program this summer! Lord willing, He will allow us to do this again.

After the VBS team went back south and home, Matthew Windsor and Bill stayed behind to work with the Oji-Cree translators. We helped them to upgrade and learn the software that they use for Bible Translation work: Paratext Version 8. They also put it to work right away as they team-checked some passages from 1 Corinthians and Luke.

Naskapi in Northern Quebec: August 24-September 8

Just next week, Norma Jean & Bill will bring Matthew & Caitlin and their little Hazel up to the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach. The Naskapi have been hosting the new Wycliffe teams for their internships in preparation for serving in new First Nations Bible Translation projects in other areas of Canada. Alice & Martin Reed have been with the Naskapi now since March of this year, and plan to stay through November. Matthew & Caitlin plan to work with the Naskapi during their 8 month internship through next Spring.

Alice & Martin Reed, Matthew & Caitlin Windsor

While we are there, we will all be working with the Naskapi team on Naskapi Exodus and Psalms, and the next Naskapi language storybook and revisions & additions to the Naskapi Dictionary.

Please follow the work of this Next Generation of Bible Translation teams working in First Nations languages here:

Matthew & Caitlin Windsor https://thewindsorsupnorth.com/

Martin & Alice Reed https://www.facebook.com/ReedsKaleidoscope

Thank God for these new teams and pray that the Lord of the Harvest will bring more workers into His harvest field.

Thank you so much for your interest in God’s work among the First Nations of Canada and Bible Translation, and for praying for us and following our part in His call on our lives.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

We ask that you consider becoming more involved and supporting this work by visiting these websites…

In the USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz