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

Hand-Ground Coffee

This summer I completed my MA in linguistics, after 5 summers at the University of North Dakota SIL. I also had the privilege of serving on the SIL administrative staff with Rick Barnes, whom I have come to respect deeply and enjoyed working with. On the day of my thesis defense, he and his wife Linda presented me with a congratulatory gift of two large-size bags of Tim Horton’s coffee beans. IMG_5556He told me that he was a bit unsure of whether to purchase “fine” or “regular” grind, so his solution was to just get the whole beans. Rick was beginning to understand something of my attachment to Canadian culture and the connection to Tim Horton’s coffee during our time of service together, so his choice of a gift was particularly appropriate and appreciated.

After moving across-country to our rented cottage in Aldergrove, BC, we began to search through thrift-stores and second-hand shops for basic furnishings and appliances.

I found a small drip coffee maker at a thrift shop when we arrived here in BC. After that, I was on the lookout for a coffee grinder for my bags of beans. Our son Nicodemus had one, but I never could abide the loud whine and roar from a countertop electric coffee grinder, especially early in the morning. The Internet yielded lots of solutions–even suggesting a mortar and pestle. IMG_5557But then, at another thrift shop I found this little wooden hand-cranked grinder. I think that it was meant to be a kitchen knick-knack–just ornamental. But it does indeed contain the required bean-grinding mechanism.

It is nice to fill it with a little quarter-cup of beans in the morning, spend a few (quiet) minutes of grinding and enjoying the aroma of fresh ground coffee. Then after five minutes of brewing and I’m enjoying a fresh cup of coffee and remembering Rick and Linda’s kind gift, and what it represents (congratulations for a successful Master’s thesis defense).


One of the added benefits of the extra time grinding my own beans is that it gives me a few minutes of time out of a day of distractions to think about the people we care about. Can grinding coffee be a devotional exercise? I think it can when the time is spent in gratitude and prayer.

Besides–“grinding your own coffee by hand” should be one of the criteria on the “Man Card“, but maybe to qualify you’d have to use a hammer. The idea of hand-grinding your own coffee beans suits me, and adds to the serenity and routine of our day.

We are working hard at Trinity Western and enjoying getting to know some of the CanIL staff. Norma Jean’s MA program is a full load, but I am also auditing a linguistics field methods class so that I can become better acquainted with some of the new linguistic software tools that help with language development work.

Time for a coffee. Have one with me?