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: 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 22Jan2014

Pray for Silas

Our dear partners,

SilasBillNJMost of you are familiar with Silas, our friend and Naskapi translator that we have worked so closely with over the years. We continue to work with him from a distance on translation projects that we exchange by Internet and email. He has also been serving as an ordained deacon at the Naskapi church, a busy Naskapi Nations councillor, and the lead translator at the Naskapi Development Corporation. But recently we received a message from him that he is very discouraged, long term and painful health issues have got him down, and he recently shared with us that he is thinking about resigning.

All we are asking you to do is to pray for him. Pray that God will help him, encourage him, and remind him that He loves him, and that with God’s help Silas will make good choices.

07HOMEWe have appreciated his friendship and partnership in helping to make God’s word accessible to his people. Right now he just needs to be lifted up in prayer. Would you do that for him?

Blessings, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 09 March 2010

Our dear partners,

We have been blessed with a new young Naskapi co-worker who we have hired to work part time on translation projects. His name is Tshiueten Vachon (pronounced “Chee-wa-tin”, which is the Naskapi word for “north wind”.) He started working along side Bill on February 23 and has been learning to use the computer to type in Naskapi, and is just beginning to learn about translation into his Mother-tongue.

Our other co-worker, Silas, has been out of work on a medical leave for about a month, and may be out for another month, as he recovers from a back injury. Bill has been doing training with Tshiuetin and some of Silas’ work himself and with the help of others at the office.

We have another window of opportunity to visit the Naskapi’s closest neighboring dialect community again, the Mushuau Innu speakers at the Natuashish community in Labrador. You may remember that we attempted a language survey trip there in 2008 but were hindered by bad weather on the Labrador coast. We are planning to attempt a visit at the end of this month, so see what interest there is in that community for work on local language projects, including Bible translation. Bill and some Naskapi co-workers are planning to leave Schefferville on Friday, March 26 for a week-long visit.

We have known for a long time that the languages of the two communities are very close, but among the questions that need to be answered are “how close?” and to what degree that materials we have produced for Naskapi may be useful for the Mushuau Innu, what adjustments are necessary, and the feasibility of making those adjustments.

Norma Jean is about to begin a weekly sewing group with the Naskapi women in the community; they have also asked her if she could incorporate a Bible study at the same meeting.

So praise God with us for these opportunities and pray with us as we seek to follow God’s guidance in them all.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean