After arriving in the Asia-Pacific region last month, Bob had the privilege of helping train a missionary couple as they start a new phase in their ministry, that of Bible translation. Their team has just recently taught foundational Bible lessons to the people group among whom they serve, and there are now a few believers who are hungry to hear more of God’s Word in their own language!
Native Speakers Helping with Translation
It was great to see how dedicated these missionaries were to find natural ways in the local language to express the truth of the Scriptures. The native speakers also enjoyed working with them on transferring the Lord’s teaching in Luke 15 into a clear and understandable translation in their own language.
The next phase of Bob’s trip involved checking four books of the Bible which had been translated into a language spoken by a large people group who live about a hundred miles away from the people group who participated in the workshop.
Translation Checking Team
Two translators and four native speakers gathered in the office as we checked through each paragraph of all four books to be sure that the translation was accurate, clear, and natural-sounding in the local language. If we ran into any comprehension problems, we would revise the wording until it communicated clearly, while being careful to ensure that it was still accurate to the original text.
After six full days of work, we had finished going through the Old Testament book of Ruth as well as the letters of Hebrews, James, & Jude. It is always a privilege to be present as the believers hear portions of Scripture for the very first time in their own language. All four of those books are now approved for printing and distribution among the local churches in that language group, and their New Testament is nearly complete!
The purpose of the final phase of Bob’s trip was to work with native speakers of the Tugutil people group on the translation of the Gospel of Matthew. So the beginning of May found him trying to make his way to the remote area where we used to live. Trying being the operative word. While he was still teaching the workshop he heard news from the pronvince where he would soon be headed, but it was not good news. One of the three passenger boats that make the 9-hour trip to the Tugutil area from the city had exploded and burned down to the keel. Fortunately there were no passengers aboard at the time.
Despite that accident, there were still two other boats running, so he made his way east – only to discover that the boat schedule had changed. As a result he had to wait three nights for the next boat to come in to the docks. Then he was finally able to board one of the boats bound for Tugutil land. However after talking with the crew, it soon became apparent that the schedule for returning to the city only offered two choices – go interior and work for just three days before coming back out, or stay interior longer and face the strong possibility of not being able to catch a boat that would get him back to the city in time for his return flight and all the connecting flights back to the USA!
After calling a co-worker and discussing these options, the decision was made to work with the handful of people from Tugutil who were out in the city for training or medical reasons. So Bob re-traced his steps back to the city.
Even though he didn’t make as much progress as planned on translation, it was good to catch up with and be a help to the Tugutil believers who were needing medical assistance. One of them, who was part of an outreach team to a gathering of Tugutil people in a different part of the island, had to have her arm amputated below the shoulder to remove a cancerous tumor. Please be praying for her and her husband as she continues to heal and as they adjust to the added challenge that brings to their daily routine.
Tugutil Believers – Healing and Translating
Thank you for your prayers and partnership in our ministry in the Asia-Pacific region!
Because of Calvary,
Bob & Debbie Clark