Going Down Under!
Despite living in the Asia-Pacific region for a couple of decades, Debbie and I had never made it to Australia. Well, in mid-January we finally had a good reason to make our first trip ‘down under,’ since the Translation Committee and other mission leaders and consultants were gathering there to discuss Bible translation principles and guidelines.
Before the meetings started we spent two days touring around the picturesque city of Sydney, learning some Australian history and seeing the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge among many other sights! We also had a great visit with some former co-workers from the Tugutil missionary team – it was wonderful to catch up with them after so many years.
Enjoying Port Macquarie Beach
From Sydney we travelled several hours north to the campus where our translation meetings were held. The biggest surprise to us during our nearly two weeks of discussions was the local lawn care specialists that would show up each afternoon to nibble on the grass – wild kangaroos!
Since the kangaroos were fairly tame, we could get relatively close to them. At the end of our meetings, Debbie and I spent half a day at the local zoo, where we were able to literally have young kangaroos and wallabies eat right out of our hands! That, plus being able to pet a koala bear, were once in a lifetime experiences for us, and we had a great time there.
After our two weeks of translation meetings, Debbie and I parted ways – she returned home to Indiana to go back to her physical therapy job, and I flew off to meet with another translation consultant and three Tugutil men in order to have more of our Tugutil New Testament checked.
Tugutil Translation Check
In 14 days of checking our team completed the last five chapters of Romans, all of the Gospel of Matthew, and half of 2 Corinthians, a total of 1,321 verses. So the only remaining unchecked parts of the Tugutil New Testament are Luke, Acts, and the last half of 2 Corinthians. As always, it was great to work with our fellow believers and see their response to hearing God’s Word in their own language.
Translation Checking Team
Our team found several passages in the translation to improve upon as we worked through those 1300 verses, so the necessary revisions were made to the text and then re-checked. Now that the material has been checked and approved, we can have confidence that the translation is communicating well to its audience. Please pray that the Lord would continue to use his Word in the lives of the Tugutil people to strengthen, mature, and expand the body of believers among the many locations around their island.
On a related note, for the first time in history we have two Tugutil people in the US, although the circumstances are far from ideal. In December a 6-year-old girl was badly burned in her village, and soon a plan was made to try to save her life by transporting her to a medical facility in California which specializes in treating severe burns. After navigating through a lot of ‘red tape,’ little Sheila and her father Gileli were given authorization to be flown to the US with a Christian medical worker from a local clinic on their island. They arrived in California about the time we were starting our translation check, over a month ago. In the weeks since, Sheila has undergone several surgeries and multiple skin grafts, and seems to be healing remarkably well. We are very thankful to all the specialists and staff at the burn center as well as to the Great Physician for enabling her body to heal!
As always, we sincerely thank you for your interest in and support of our ministry to those people groups whose knowledge of our Lord and his Word is still incomplete.
Because of Calvary,
Bob & Debbie Clark
NTM USA Home Office:
312 West First Street
Sanford FL 32771
(Please note the new address)