Northern Translation Brief: Bill’s head injury after two years

Our Dear Partners

Most of you will remember that a couple years ago I had a serious accident with a tree, a ladder and a chainsaw that almost took me from you. By God’s grace I am still here to live and serve Him in our lives and Bible Translation ministry for First Nations.

From time to time people have asked me about my recovery and so we thought that the two-year mark would be a good time to take stock and take the opportunity to thank you for your prayers.

Briefly it happened like this: On November 7th, 2017, I was about 12 feet up a ladder against a large tree, holding a chainsaw, cutting off a large dead branch next to me. The branch broke suddenly and hit me in the skull knocking me and the ladder to the ground. I woke up hours later in a hospital, with Norma Jean anxiously waiting by my side.

Here’s the butt of the branch that hit me in the head. Somehow, I was underneath this (and, somehow, Norma Jean lifted it off me).

You can read the full account of what happened here:

http://billjancewicz.com/2017/11/11/one-hundred-nineteen-unread-email-messages/

God is Good, All the Time

During these past two years, Norma Jean and I have counted each day together as a precious gift. We both know that God protected me from more serious injury or death, even though the actual recovery period has taken many months. As I noted, the only broken bones were my skull, which received a half-inch depressed fracture at my temple between my left eye and ear, and three cracked vertebrae in my upper back between my shoulders. I also suffered a severe concussion that resulted in dizzyness and disorientation for several months. I was on strong Oxycodone-based prescription pain medication for the first several weeks, but recognizing the dangers of addiction to this medication I chose to voluntarily reduce the prescribed dosage. I was no longer taking this medication by the beginning of January 2018. The severe back and head pain could be reduced considerably by changing to a more reclining position. So I took my desk work to the living room and spent many of my days (and some nights) in a reclining chair. This went on for months.

Because of my dizzyness and disorientation, Norma Jean took over most of the driving. We also had good friends helping to drive us to appointments, and I walked with a cane well into the spring of 2018. The doctors had cautioned us that a brain injury like mine made me vulnerable to much more severe injury should I bump my head again. The fractures of my vertebrae would heal in time, but the displaced bone in the skull fracture would remain that way indefintely.

Gradually, over the full year of 2018, the constant headaches reduced considerably, and I was able to regain some stamina. I started walking without a cane. Indeed by the end of 2018 I had begun to do some physical work, such as operating the log splitter or carrying out minor home repairs. But I did find that I was only able to work a relatively short amount of time, an hour or so, before having to head back to the recliner and do some “other” kinds of work.

Other kinds of work

We are so grateful to God for the privilege of joining Him in His work of bringing His Word to First Nations languages, mainly the Algonquian languages of Naskapi, Cree and Innu. During the weeks prior to the accident, I had begun to work with Rev. Fred Evans as he read and recorded the Cree scriptures in the legacy 1862 Western Cree Bible. Fred, a Cree elder and pastor, lives with his wife in Swan River, Manitoba. He started to read and record the Cree New Testament in November of 2017. By phone and internet connection, I was able to guide Fred through the recording of each chapter of the Bible from Matthew to Revelation. I received his audio files via internet and spent my days (in my La-Z-Boy) carefully editing the audio files, following along in the Cree Bible and listening to Fred’s clear and faithful reading of the text. In general, for each hour of Fred’s recording, it would take five hours of listening and audio-editing on the computer to prepare the files for others to listen to. Our ministry partners, the Canadian Bible Society, SIL International, and Faith Comes By Hearing provided the technical support for this task–but God provided just the right kind of work to suit my physical limitations at the time, as I carried all the editing work for the first six months of the project, which were the first six months of my recovery.

Rev. Fred Evans working at his home during the recording stage for the CreeTalker Bible

Later, I trained our friend Ben Wukasch at the Bible Society to share the audio editing task with me, and so together we had the audio for the entire New Testament in Cree complete by March of 2019.

Read more about the CreeTalker Bible recording project” here:

http://billjancewicz.com/2019/02/03/northern-translation-brief-creetalker-bible/

We continued to supervise, mentor and support the other “Next Generation” translation teams during my recovery. It has been so gratifying and encouraging to see that God in His wisdom was preparing these younger folks to carry on His work as we had to slow down a little during these past couple of years.

http://billjancewicz.com/2018/07/02/northern-translation-brief-the-next-generation-update/

How do I feel right now?

God continues to amaze me every day for His care and healing for me. I am still “aware” each day and every day of ongoing symptoms from the skull fracture and concussion. Real severe “headaches” are much less frequent now, and I treat them with Tylenol. I still have them about four or five times per month. But they usually don’t “stop” me. On good days I can still feel a sensation of discomfort at the damaged area of my skull–not really very painful as far as that goes, just an awareness of some uncomfortable pressure; like the feeling you would get when you are wearing a hat… that’s too small… all day long.

My back pain can act up if I “push” physical activity too much–such as if I am up and doing things, walking, home repairs or maintenance; splitting wood. These days, sometimes I do go beyond a couple hours or so of that kind of activity, and I am sorry I did, afterwards.

I was almost 62 years old when I had the accident. Next week, I’ll be 64, Lord willing. So I feel pretty good and I am so grateful for all of God’s blessings on my life and His work.

Gratitude

Our family members, our friends and supporters, and the church have all been used by God in mighty ways to remind us of His care, and to deliver his care. Many meals were brought in to us during the early weeks of my convalescence, prepared by the women of Simcoe Immanuel church. The men of the church have repeatedly pitched in to help cut, split and haul firewood. We are deeply grateful for these expressions of love and care.

I know that many, many prayers were offered to God for my health and recovery by most of you. God has answered your prayers wonderfully, and He continues to do so. We are very grateful for all He has done and continues to do through you. We praise His Name and once again express our thanks. Thank you for being along side of us during this journey over the past two years.

Serving with you,

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz

Canadian Thanksgiving 2013

Chex in the Cottage Kitchen

Chex in the Cottage Kitchen

We love this time of year, not the least reason are the two holidays: Canadian Thanksgiving (on US “Columbus Day”) is this weekend and it is also the “peak” of the autumn colours here in Aldergrove BC. We would have snow on the ground by now in Schefferville. One benefit of being citizens of two countries that celebrate the same holiday on two different days is that we can celebrate twice: we will also celebrate US Thanksgiving in November the same way. One of the treats that I put off until these holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) is “TV Snack”, also known as “Chex Mix” to others.

I went to my Fall 2011 post and put the computer in the kitchen so that I could follow my Chex Mix recipe. Click here for everything you need to know about my recipe. The Chex cereals are now available in stores in Canada, so I did not have to plan so far ahead this year. I am still getting used to the stove here in our little cottage, so I burned some of the mix near the bottom. Oh well, live and learn.

IMG_5570We are thankful for our home and God’s blessing on our work and our projects here. We will be having Nicodemus over for Thanksgiving Day, and some of his and Norma Jean’s fellow-students from Trinity Western University. Turkey, stuffing and the traditional foods, and looking forward to time together with family and friends. This year, we will visit some of them by Skype. May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, this month or next. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, this month or next (or both!). Blessings, Bill and Norma Jean

PS: Don’t pick out (only) the peanuts.

Northern Translation Brief (23Nov09)

Our dear Partners,

We are winding down a very busy multi-layered trip outside the Naskapi community that started when we took the train out on October 26. We left Beth in Schefferville, where she had just been offered a full-time job as a substitute high-school teacher. That last sentence should be all the information you need to come up with meaningful prayers for her (being a high-school teacher is difficult enough. Being a substitute high-school teacher in a Native school is a special challenge).

Norma Jean and I (Bill) drove from the train to Montreal, where we attended the Algonquian Conference: Norma Jean took part in the anthropology sections, and I took in the linguistics talks, and also made a presentation about Naskapi Verbs and “Role and Reference Grammar”.

After this we drove to Connecticut where we spent some time with Nick, and enjoyed a visit from Ben and Tamika and our grandchildren Arion and Nya, and visited with Bill’s mom.

Then we went out to help the Mi’kmaq translation team at the Eskasoni community on Cape Breton with creating a DVD of the Christmas Story in their own language, and also assist the Mi’kmaq language department at the University with their dictionary-making class. It was a great privilege and encouragement to us to work with these good people.

Norma Jean had been planning to attend a Native healing workshop in Winnipeg right after our time in Nova Scotia, but the presenters were quarantined for medical reasons and the workshop was cancelled. But this allows us time in Connecticut for American Thanksgiving before we return to our home in Schefferville and our continuing work with the Naskapi translation project there.

Thank you for your interest, your support and prayers for our safe travels and return to the Naskapi community next week. We have much to be thankful for, but especially for God’s gift of His Son.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean