Joyce has returned from her time in Asia-Pacific with a full heart. Over and over it was obvious that God was leading, encouraging, giving health, wisdom and protection each step of the way. (And thanks for asking… I survived as a bachelor, although we have no plans of being separated again in the near future!)
On the trip over Joyce and Kyla met up with another missionary lady in Singapore who was also on her way to attend the literacy workshop. As the three were beginning the boarding process they said, “Too bad we didn’t think earlier of trying to get our seats together for this last leg of the trip.” Looking down at their seat numbers –they had to just laugh out loud. They were all together in one row, seats A, B, and C! With over 200 people on the flight, that was certainly God’s work.
The whole time was just like that, knowing that it was God’s workshop and that He was calling the shots! The first two days were spent just with a group of six consultant trainees. Then two missionary teams joined and work began on processing the language data and writing the primers and other materials necessary for the literacy programs. Each person on the team had their part – using the computer to choose the next letters to be taught and words that could be made with those letters, writing stories only using the letters previously taught, drawing illustrations or finding graphics for the stories, filling in the charts of letters and words used, checking the stories and pictures with native speakers of the language, formatting the rough draft on the computer, and then beginning the process to find the next letter to teach which makes the most usable words for the next stories.
Working long hours and 6 days each week the teams were able to complete the primer series for both languages. For a picture story of the process, check out our webpage through the links at the top of the page. Pictures of this are in the 3rd album, our last trip.
One of the steps in the writing of primers in the languages is settling on the best orthography (alphabet) and spelling of words. There’s no Webster’s for us to consult! Much of this work is done with linguistic consultants before we begin working on primers. But so often the writing of primers brings out new questions about the orthography, syllable breaks and spelling. That brings us to the subject of this letter: to “b” or not to “v.” One of the teams writing primers at this workshop has words with a clear “b,” but when the b occurs syllable final it takes on the sound of a “v” (b-fricative for you linguists). So the question is do you spell it with a “b” keeping with the root form of the word, write it as a “v” following pronunciation, or use a “p” giving it a totally different symbol the special sound? The deciding factor is what is going to be easiest to learn to read and make for the best comprehension. The Bible translation, lessons, songs, etc. will be written using the decisions that are made at this point!
Next on our horizon is Panama for the annual Kuna leadership conference and then the literacy teachers’ training. This is an important step in preparing for the coming of the whole Old Testament translation in Kuna the end of next year. Please pray that God will be glorified in each detail and plan of the training. Oh that the literacy materials and trained teachers will go out through the Kuna villages, teaching people to read in preparation for the whole Bible in Kuna! Soon they will have verses like Psalm 119:162, “I rejoice in Your Word like one who discovers a great treasure.” Literacy is a key that unlocks this Greatest Treasure of all to the people of the world.