Bill & Norma Jean have a NEW phone number, 226-567-4440!

Even though we are pretty tech-savvy when it comes to education, linguistics, computers–I mean, you are reading this in an email sent out on the Internet–we must admit that we feel somewhat bewildered with “smart phones”.

We got our first cell phone when Norma Jean was going to University in BC, and went with what we thought was a reasonable service provider and have been slowly getting used to using a phone that is not physically wired to the wall ever since.

When we moved to Ontario, we decided against having a “landline” (a wired-in home phone), and just use our cell phone for all voice calls. When we set up housekeeping at our home in Windham Centre, Ontario, we requested our cell phone provider to change our number to a “local” number.

But we discovered that through some administrative slip-up, they provided us with a number for “Wingham, Ontario”, which is actually a “toll call” for most of our new friends who live near us in southern Ontario.

Finally, after spending some frustrating hours with a customer service representative who could not understand why we should even care that our local friends and acquaintances would have to pay long-distance charges just to talk with us calling from the next village over (“after all,” they told us, “you’re not paying any extra charges, the ones who make the call have to pay that.”)we decided to change service providers, and get a new local number.

So yesterday we went to one of those “cell-phone kiosks” that you see all over the place in every shopping mall, and brought our current HTC Android smart phone and a copy of our old phone bill. Of course we had to learn about “unlocking” our phone, and then get it done, and then negotiate a new “phone plan” with our new provider. It still took an hour and a half to get through the whole process.

It looks like our new monthly bill will be less than half of what we were paying for the past three years, with the promise of hundreds of “more minutes” to use each month.

We selected a very basic plan, with “no data” (only voice, and unlimited international “texting”). We are somewhat old fashioned in that we like to use our computers to go on the Internet, not our phone.

So now it’s your turn: Right now, go update your “Contacts” or your “Address Book” or your “Rolodex” or your “Little Black Book”, and DELETE or cross out our OLD number: (519-357-5163) and put in our NEW number 226-567-4440 instead.

Our mailing address and email addresses are still the same. The only thing that’s new is our phone number:


Blessings, Bill & Norma Jean

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

Christmas 2017

Our dear friends and family,

As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus this year, we are especially grateful for your prayers and kindness to us after Bill’s accident with the tree, ladder and chainsaw on November 7th. We have a renewed dependence in God’s blessing and His sovereignty, and assurance of His love.

We want to remind you all of how God continues to lead us in our work in Canada: As you know, it’s 30 years ago now that we first moved to Canada to work with the Naskapi community at Kawawachikamach in Northern Quebec. We raised our family there and served the community as a linguist and as a teacher. We worked alongside community members in language development, literacy, and Bible translation. It was 10 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 capacity to accomplish the work themselves.

‘Well done, my good servant!
Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter,
take charge of ten cities.’
–Luke 19:17.


God is at work multiplying and establishing the work of our hands.
–Psalm 90:17

Moreover, the Naskapi inspire and motivate other First Nations communitiesthat do not yet have access to scriptures in their own languages. In 2014, after much reflection and prayer, we believed that God would multiply His work by raising up a team of younger Bible Translation facilitators. They would work as we have in several other communities, while increasing the number and capacity of First Nations translators 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, James Bay Creein Quebec 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 will be completing their internship with the Naskapi and then moving to become full-time language project facilitators with the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree community in the spring of 2018, while Alice & Martin Reed have already moved up to the Western Swampy Cree area near Thompson, Manitoba.
Our own continuing role is to mentor and support these new teams and projects. Bill’s accident and recovery period has given us time to reflect 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 load working in the local communities.

The Naskapi work also continues in Northern Quebec, which we still support at a significant level. In addition, with our team members we are planning the next First Nations Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) training workshops in April 2018.

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 and provides us a place from which we can travel when our own help is needed 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

One Hundred Nineteen unread email messages

I apologize for ignoring all my email messages for most of the week, but I was not answering any messages because of a serious tree-and-chainsaw accident that I was having last Tuesday, November 7th. I was in the hospital, my computer (and all of your emails) were on my desk at home. Thanks for understanding!

I decided to write this message for several reasons. My main motivation is to put your minds at ease and thank you for your many, many prayers for me during the past several days. I am so grateful to God that he has spared my family a serious loss–we realize more and more that God still has His work for us to do on earth together, and that thanks to His grace I am alive at all.

Our big Black Walnut tree between the garage and the barn

It all started on Tuesday when I decided I needed to cut a nice dead branch off our Black Walnut tree in the back yard. This big “two-trunk” tree had a nice, big and very dead branch on the left-hand (forward) trunk, which would make a good collection of seasoned, ready to split firewood. The entire branch was already dead, with no leaves growing on it this year, and most of the bark already peeling back for most of the length of the branch.

I set up our aluminum ladder on the right-hand trunk, so that I could reach the branch that I was after with the chain saw, and got to work–I made a cut to the bottom side of the branch and then the top… but then the branch let go of its trunk with a very sudden snap, and the butt of the branch swung sideways and hit me on the left side of my head.

You can see from this picture how the branch landed far to the right of the right-hand trunk and the ladder (which I was standing on)–It’s all physics, I’m sure–centre of gravity and all that, but as soon as the branch was suddenly no longer supported by the left hand trunk, it snapped to the right, hit me in the head and knocked me off the ladder. I am re-constructing this, because I don’t remember anything from the time I made the top cut–until I woke in the hospital some time later. Here’s what happened in between:

Norma Jean was right nearby in the chicken coop at the time, and she ran over to find me on the ground under the butt of the branch, which somehow had landed on top of me after bringing the ladder down. She got the branch off me and says that I was bleeding from where the branch had hit me in the head, and while she thought of calling “911” right away, instead she decided to run to the house, get the phone and the car keys and get me to the hospital right away herself. She drove the car over to where I was on the ground, and got me in the car (with my “help”, but I can’t remember any of this part of the day).

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).

Norma Jean said that I talked to her on the car-ride to the hospital (it’s about 20 minutes), but as far as we can tell it was all incoherent: for example, I asked her several times if she had “found my glasses” (she had–they were bent); and when I was in the hospital I said to her, “You have grey hair?” (as if I didn’t realize this before today…)
She got us to the emergency room at the Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe, Ontario and the staff there helped get me taken care of, stabilized and stopped the bleeding. Since it was a serious head trauma, any scans or needed operations would have to take place at a hospital better equipped for physical trauma cases. The Norfolk General staff decided then to transfer me by ambulance to Hamilton General Hospital trauma unit, about an hour away.

Several of you were praying by now; Norma Jean messaged some people from our church in Simcoe, and a few came to see me at Norfolk General Hospital. We left Norfolk General at about 7:30 PM, and it was about then that I was “awake” and answering “neurological questions” (like, what’s my name, what day is it, etc.) I answered lots of these questions every day for the next few days in the hospital.

I was admitted right away to the Hamilton General Hospital physical trauma unit, and several tests (besides the questions they asked) were taken: blood tests, CT scans and regular “vitals” (temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate). The various “teams” at the physical trauma unit assessed my neurological, skeletal, and internal condition from the accident.
It turns out I had (still have) a depressed fracture of the skull with very little internal bleeding, somewhere above my left eye and ear. I received this skull fracture from the branch, I expect. Further CT scans confirmed this and also concluded that I have three cracked vertebra as well. I was dosed up with some pretty strong IV pain medication on the first night, but then the staff started to give me regular medications by mouth starting on Wednesday to manage the pain.

How do I feel? My head still hurts the worst, most of the time. Then my back and chest, then “all over” like I was hit by a truck. It comes and goes, depending on the timing and effectiveness of the pain medications.

By Thursday at the trauma unit, various departments were “signing off” on me–I was “out of danger” neurologically, I could have the neck brace removed when the spine team agreed, and then the Occupational and Physical Therapy people could start to do their work. It hurt to move, hurt to roll out of bed, even with help. They started me on a “walker” and then I graduated to using a “cane” (which I still use). A couple hours of this practice around the ward became my routine on Thursday and Friday, as I waited for final clearance to go home (and waited to take some more pain medications).

Meanwhile, Norma Jean checked into a housing unit that was available for family members of patients in care at the hospital. She stayed with me through the hospitalization except for a quick trip home to pick up personal effects and be sure that the animals were cared for. Thanks to our friends from our Simcoe church who helped us with all these details! Thanks to all of you who were praying us through these days of “trauma”, both the physical and the emotional.

Friday, and I am almost ready to go home from the hospital: I am released just after lunch. Our daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Eric came up to Canada from Connecticut to spend a week with us and help to look after me here at home. They converted the “living room” into my own home “hospital ward”, where I now stay. They are carefully caring for me, monitoring my diet and medications, and seeing that I don’t hurt myself hobbling over to the bathroom.

We have prescriptions to take now, and several return appointments to medical professionals who will be monitoring my long recovery period. We are taking a hard look at our upcoming plans over the next few months.

“Raccoon Eyes”

It hurts more on the inside than on the outside. Only the Lord knows what the recovery period may be like, but we have been learning some lessons:
  • Healing takes time
  • I will get “someone else” when chainsaws and ladders are both in the plans
  • We will be quietly cancelling or postponing many of our current plans and activities, until we know how I am doing
  • God is very, very good to us, and certainly not surprised by this
Thank you all for your prayers.
By the way, I have known for some time in logging culture that such branches and trees that can fall in sudden, dangerous and unexpected ways have been called “widowmakers“. I am so grateful that this one didn’t.
Eventually, I will be getting caught up with my correspondence. Thank you for your patience. One Hundred Eighteen to go.
With our thanks for God’s care and your prayers.

Bill & Norma Jean

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

Off to Labrador

Our Dear Partners,

Like last year, we are about to take another trip to visit the Mushuau Innu community of Natuashish on the Labrador coast to help them with language development work and to encourage them about having a translation project in their own language. Once again, we are bringing three Naskapi mother-tongue translators who have worked on the Naskapi Bible translation and school curriculum in Naskapi with us, to help the Mushuau Innu to understand what this can mean to their community. Most of you will remember that the Mushuau Innu community is the Naskapi’s nearest relative linguistically, and Naskapis and Mushuau Innu can understand each other pretty well when they speak to each other.
As usual, to get to Natuashish is not an easy trip: three separate airlines: (1) Air Inuit to fly south to Wabush, Labrador; (2) Provincial Airlines to fly east to Goose Bay, Labrador; (3) Innu Mikun Airlines to fly north to Natuashish. The bookings and schedules also require three days to get there as well–so we will get to spend some time in Goose Bay too, en route.

In fact for this trip, Norma Jean has been invited by the Innu school board to conduct workshops for the Innu-speaking classroom assistants in both the Sheshatshiu school (near Goose Bay) and the Natuashish school on the coast. So Norma Jean and I will spend a week in each community. The workshops will include making and using native language materials in the school setting so that children can learn to read their mother-tongue better.

The Naskapis will join us for the second week, when we go to Natuashish. The Naskapi like to call Natuashish their “sister community”, since the people from both communities originally came from the same group of nomadic caribou hunters from northern Labrador and the Ungava Bay area. But their histories that diverged around the beginning of the 20th century resulted in two very different writing systems and some dialect differences that we are just learning about:
Besides the classroom literacy work that Norma Jean will be doing, the Naskapis are also going to assist with a beginning translation principles workshop to help the Mushuau Innu see that they too could participate in a translation project for their church and community.

Our hope is that we could help support the Mushuau Innu in establishing their own language development project that would also include work on the scriptures in their mother tongue, just as we have for the Naskapi community. The participation and enthusiasm of our Naskapi co-workers a key part of this visit.

Norma Jean and I leave for the Sheshatshiu community near Goose Bay this Friday, and spend a week there. The Naskapi will meet us there the following Friday (Sept 21) and accompany us to Natuashish for the second week. Then we will all return to Schefferville on Sept 30.

Please remember all of us in prayer as we travel and work together, and for us to be sensitive to all that God has for us during these next two weeks.

Remember our friend Andrew Laengert too as he returns home from his four weeks as a Wycliffe Canada intern with us. We know that God has used his time together with us too in his own life and in ours. Here’s that link to his blog about his time here: 

Thank you all for your interest in and support for our work here in the north.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Naskapi Elections 2012

Our dear partners,

Those of you in the US are following the Democrats and Republicans, and those of you in Quebec are watching the PQ, CAQ and Liberals in their provincial debates, but here at Kawawachikamach there is an election that is much closer to home for us.

The 3-year term for the Chief and Council is up for the Naskapi Nation, and the elections for Chief and Council is today. All day, from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM people will be coming to the community center to vote on paper ballots: The current chief, Louis Einish, is running for another term, and he has two opponents, Isaac Pien and Michael Sandy. And among the 5 open positions for council, there are 15 candidates running.

I will assist in the vote-counting this evening between 8:00 and midnight. Pray for wisdom, peace and calm, (and stamina!) along with God’s guidance for the right choice of leadership in the Naskapi community and nation.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

PS, back in Kawawa we are working on finishing up the read-through of the proof copy of the book of Genesis, along with several other Naskapi literacy, literature and education projects.