Another mustache has come and gone. I may not have mentioned it in any previous updates, but during most of my trips away from home I cut down on my shaving and let my mustache grow. Then, at Debbie’s request, on the last day before returning to the US I become clean-shaved again!
This trip consisted of travel to only one province of the Asia-Pacific region, so I didn’t spend as much time in the air as is the case on some of my other trips. We did have one tricky landing in the small mission plane when we had to land with a strong crosswind during a rainstorm. The nose of the plane was blown about 30 degrees off course for almost the entire approach as the pilot tried to line up on the center marks of the runway. Thankfully by the time the landing gear touched the pavement, we were almost pointing the right way! It is certainly reassuring to know that the Lord is always watching over us, even in anxious moments that are beyond our control.
The bulk of my time was spent in the Semandang tribe where our ‘team’ was made up of thirteen Semandang believers, translator Darcy Berglund, her parents, and myself. Over the course of three weeks we completed a verse-by-verse ‘final’ check of four New Testament books: the Gospel of Luke and Paul’s epistles of 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Colossians – a total of 1,651 verses. With those four books now being approved for printing and distribution among the Semandang people, their New Testament is 64% complete. Once again the Lord gave me good health throughout my time there, and very little jet lag to deal with.
It was a joy to work with the Semandang believers and interact with them as they heard the reading of these books in their language for the first time. We had three or four of them on any given day to help us as we determined what changes, if any, were necessary in the tribal wording in order for the translation to communicate accurately and clearly to the Semandang church. Many of them had also helped us on previous checks, generously giving their time to this important job rather than their normal work of processing rubber from their rubber trees or working in their gardens. Most have never attended school beyond the 5th grade, yet they proved that when a translation is done well, a person who is considered ‘uneducated’ can still understand the complexities of the Apostle Paul’s logical arguments and exhortations.
After finishing up in Semandang, I flew back out to the city, where I worked with a missionary couple who work among a different people group. They are just reaching the fluency level in the Kendawangan language that is required in order to begin translating the Scriptures. So we spent a few days together reviewing translation principles and procedures, as well as discussing what steps should be taken in preparation for their first translation check in a couple of months. Their first assignment will be translating the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis.
As always, we appreciate the part that each of you play in helping God’s Word become more accessible for the remote people groups of Asia-Pacific. We want to thank you specifically for making it possible for us to continue this ministry through your prayers and gifts on our behalf.
Because of Calvary,
Bob & Debbie Clark