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

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 02Apr2018

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for praying for the upcoming Mother Tongue Translator Workshop participants last week. Please keep them in your prayers through the next few weeks. We’ll send you another reminder.
This week we are also asking you to remember the staff for the upcoming workshop:

The next Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop for First Nations Bible translators will be held this April 15-20 in Guelph, Ontario.
First Nations church leaders are seeing their vision for workshops that bring together people from different related language communities realized: creating a safe environment for mutual encouragement, and equipping speakers of their languages to more adequately handle the complex task of Bible translation.

Staff (Jeff Green) works with the participants at the 2017 MTT Workshop

We are blessed, especially this year, to have a large staff to share the teaching and facilitation tasks for the workshop sessions. We hope that you will find the time to pray for each of these staff members by name:

Cree Initiative “Next Generation” teams:
Alice & Martin Reed
Matthew & Caitlin Windsor
Meg Billingsley
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz
Senior Translation Consultants and Bible Translation Facilitators with SIL/Wycliffe BIble Translators and the Canadian Bible Society (both active and ‘retired’)
Steve Kempf
Ruth Heeg
Jeff Green
Rod & Liesel Bartlett
Colin & Dot Suggett
Scripture Access team leader for SIL Americas “North Region”
Carletta Lahn
Other participating SIL & Wycliffe Staff
Beat Kunz
Colleen Boyd
Tom Woodward
Brandie Green
Special guests
Bishop Mark MacDonald
Dr. Cindy Westfall
Tom & Bethany Scott

There is still the possibility of a few more staff and/or guests. We will keep you posted.

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 Bible Translators.

Translation consultant staff (Steve Kempf) presenting to participants in 2017

Thank you for your prayers for the staff and participants at the upcoming 2018 workshop.

Serving with you,
Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief 26Mar2018

Our Dear Partners,

We are so grateful for your prayers for Bill as he continues to recover from his accident with the tree, chainsaw and ladder last November. The ongoing challenges include a dull headache and back pain. We appreciate your continued prayers, but with God’s help we have been turning our attention to something else.

Over the past few months we have been anticipating, planning and coordinating the next Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop that will be held this April 15-20 in Guelph, Ontario.

Our next few Translation Briefs will be inviting you to pray for this event, by focusing on the participants, the staff, and the guests; and also on the vision, the program and the effects.

The First Nations church leaders and speakers of these related Algonquian languages identified capacity-building and training for their own translators as one of their priorities at the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering in Prince Albert back in June of 2014. They were inspired by how God’s Word translated by and used by the Naskapi community was having a growing positive influence on their lives and creating a hunger to know God in their own language.

They had a vision for workshops that bring together people from different related language communities, creating a safe environment for mutual encouragement, and equipping them to more adequately handle the complex task of Bible translation.

Participants work with the staff at the 2017 MTT Workshop

Again this year, the Naskapi community is sending both experienced and newer language workers involved in Bible translation and language development work. You are invited to pray for each of these participants by name:

Naskapi Bible translation project, Naskapi Development Corporation:
Silas Nabinicaboo
Ruby Sandy-Robinson
Amanda Swappie
Kissandra Sandy-Dominique
Naskapi translation services, Naskapi Nation Quebec:
George Guanish, translator
St. John’s Church (Naskapi) Kawawachikamach, Quebec:
Susan Nabinicaboo, Naskapi lay reader
Cheyenne Vachon (possibly)
Oji-Cree Bible translation project, Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, Ontario:
Jessie Atlookan
Ruth Kitchekesik
Saloma Sainnawap
St. John’s Church (Swampy Cree) Tataskweyak Cree Nation Manitoba:
Larry Beardy
Elizabeth Beardy

There is still the possibility of a few more participants. We will keep you posted.

Pray that these who come will experience God’s peace, protection and provision as they travel so far from their home communities.

Workshop Participants in 2017 working on domains of language use

Thank you for your prayers for the participants for the 2018 workshop.

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