Northern Translation Brief: “The Next Generation”

Our Dear Partners,

When the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering was held at Prince Albert in 2014, there were several projects that were prioritized, including work on Oji-Cree, Cree and Naskapi Bible translation projects, along with activities focused on building the capacity of the local communities to accomplish these translation goals. At the second Gathering at Toronto in 2016 these priorities were repeated and expanded to include other First Nations language communities with Bible translation needs.

This “Translation Brief” talks about a key component that God is using to help address these needs: the Next Generation of Bible translation facilitators and team members!TranslationNextGeneration2


“Jesus told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ ” –Luke 10:2


Is there a linguist in the house?RecruitingPosterpicture

More and more around the world, the speakers of minority languages themselves are gaining the skills they need to translate the Bible into their own mother tongue. But communities still need someone to walk with them and help them to gain confidence in those skills, and to assist in the many technical and academic ways that are needed when a community chooses to begin a Bible Translation project.

In our experience there are many things that can happen at once, and having trained Bible translation facilitator team working on site for an extended period is essential for training, coordination, mentoring and helping, and building a network of relationships that is vital to the success of the project. Even in situations where there is a mature mother tongue translation team like in the Naskapi community, there are a myriad of ongoing tasks that a facilitator with linguistics and language development training and experience can make easier.

Cree Map July 2014aWe want to highlight for you some of these new teams who are soon to be headed north to work alongside our First Nations friends who are committed to their own translation projects, so that you get to know them better as we are, and can pray for them.

Matthew and Caitlin Windsor

Cait & Matt Windsor

Cait & Matt Windsor

Matthew and Caitlin are from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. We met them while we were living in Aldergrove, BC and Norma Jean was following her graduate coursework from 2013-2015 at the Trinity Western University campus in Langley BC. Matthew was enrolled at CanIL, the Canadian Institute of Linguistics, also on the Trinity Western campus in Langley, in preparation for service in Bible Translation. During their time there, we shared with the students about the work that we do with the Naskapi translation project in Quebec, and the need for Bible Translation in other First Nations communities.

Caitlin and Matthew responded to God’s call on their lives and were accepted to Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada in December 2014, and in the spring of 2015 we received confirmation that they would work with First Nations communities in northern Canada.

Cait&Hazel

Hazel Windsor

They visited the Naskapi community with us during a working trip in support of the translation team in the fall of 2015, and are now trusting God to raise the financial and prayer support team that they will need before they move to northern Canada.

In January their first child was born, Hazel! She is a very precious blessing and she already brings much joy to their home!

Martin and Alice Reed

Martin and Alice

Martin & Alice Reed

Martin and Alice are newlyweds, just having been married on March 12, 2016. They met while training for Wycliffe Bible translation ministry at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) in Dallas, they are united by a shared passion for crossing language and culture barriers to make God’s Word accessible to all. They were both accepted into Wycliffe USA in the fall of 2015, and have been approved to join the translation teams working with First Nations communities in northern Canada.

Alice and Martin also must complete raising their support like Caitlin and Matt, but they have an additional hurdle to negotiate: as US citizens, they must satisfy Canadian immigration regulations before being allowed to work in northern Canada.

Martin and Alice will be joining us on our next working trip to Kawawachikamach to visit the translation team and get acquainted with the Naskapi community.

Linguistics Internships

The founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, William Cameron Townsend, had not only established a curriculum of linguistics training for new teams preparing to serve in minority language communities, but also a component called “Jungle Camp” in Chiapas, Mexico, where teams would be trained to live in remote, cross-cultural situations. Other versions of this orientation training were also established through the years to suit the region and the culture. We still see this as an important step for new Bible translation facilitation teams.

KawawaFall2012

Kawawachikamach

IMG_8002

some members of the Naskapi translation team

Both the Windsors and the Reeds will be spending an internship period in service to the Naskapi language project in their remote northern First Nations community of Kawawachikamach. The Naskapi language team and leadership has agreed to host this internship period and help the new teams to get a start on language and culture learning with them, while the new teams assist the mother tongue translation staff with their current translation and language program, all the while being supported and mentored by Bill and Norma Jean. This will provide these new teams with practical experience before they take on their long-term assignment in another First Nations language program somewhere else in the north. Both new teams hope to begin their respective internships sometime in 2017, first one team and then the other.

A day-to-day work routine with the Naskapi team will also help the Naskapi to be successful and accelerate in their own Old Testament translation goals, and in training new Naskapi language specialists as well.

Meg Billingsley

Meg Billingsley

Meg Billingsley

Meg is not a stranger to First Nations Bible Translation in Canada. She joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and was assigned to the Plains Cree translation project around 2002, working from Prince Albert Sasksatchewan. She took an assignment with the Mi’kmaq translation project at Sydney Nova Scotia around 2008, where she has served as facilitator until this year. This month she begins her training to become a translation consultant, and she will be moving to Ontario to begin applying those skills alongside First Nations mother tongue translators, beginning with the first draft translation being produced by the new Oji-Cree translation project.

A translation consultant is someone who works with translation teams in a variety of languages to support translators in their work and help them to produce a translation which clearly and accurately communicates the meaning of Scripture in ways that sound natural in the language.

As she gains experience, she will be mentored by senior translation consultants. We expect that she will do much of her work from a distance and make short term visits into the language communities for checking sessions. While she is part of the “Next Generation”, she comes to the work in Northern Canada with nearly 15 years of experience working with First Nations languages, and we are happy to have her along!

Ben Wukasch

Ben Wukasch

Ben Wukasch

Ben Wukasch has expressed his interest and hopes to be involved in what God is doing in bringing the Scriptures into the heart languages of First Nations people in Canada. He graduated from Princeton in the States, where he majored in Environmental Engineering and minored in Linguistics and Latin American Studies. He was involved in both mission work in Latin America and wrote his thesis on Appropriate Technology and Peru.

Ben was involved in a project where the Quechua speaking residents of a small village on the outskirts of a city problem-solved and decided on a project for their community. He then studied Biblical Greek and Hebrew at the University of Toronto, and later on completed a Master of Applied Linguistics and Exegesis (MLE) degree at Trinity Western with CanIL.

He looks forward to someday joining what God is already at work doing in Canada, among its most ancient citizens, and he appreciates your prayers as he seeks God’s will for his life.


The Canadian Bible Society has worked along side Wycliffe in several of the indigenous translation projects over the years. They too have recently recruited additional staff to serve in translation projects in the north:

Catherine Aldred-Shull

Catherine Aldred-Shull

Catherine Aldred-Shull

Catherine is the daughter of Ray Aldred (Th.D., Wycliffe College) a Cree from the Swan River Band in Alberta. Catherine received her BA in Biblical Studies from Columbia Bible College in 2010 and Masters in Religious Studies & Bible Translation from McGill University in 2013. Earlier this month she accepted a position in the Bible Society as “Translation Officer Trainee”.

She has a long association with the Canadian Bible Society, particularly with the Montreal District which supported her studies in linguistics at McGill University. She has also worked with the Society’s Translation Team on indigenous languages. She expects to be working with some of the Cree language communities in Saskatchewan.


Bible translation is the responsibility of the whole church. We certainly can’t do it alone. Nor can just Wycliffe, or the Bible Society, or the indigenous church or language community. We need each other and we certainly rejoice that God is calling a new generation of field workers, facilitators and specialists to work alongside the First Nations people that God is calling to Himself.

Prayer Requests:

Pray for Matthew and Caitlin Windsor and little Hazel:

  • that God would grant them patience and that they would stay rooted in Jesus as they wait and prepare in Comox
  • that God would continue to connect them with the people He has identified to contribute financially and prayerfully to the translation work
  • that they would be a blessing to their families and their church family during their time on Vancouver Island
  • Get current prayer requests and connect with the Windsors here: https://thewindsorsupnorth.com/

Pray for Martin and Alice Reed:

  • Washington Visit: They will be in the Seattle and Portland areas 7/27-8/2 to share about their Wycliffe ministry. Pray for strong connections and new partners.
  • Church Interview: The missions committee at Alice’s home church will interview them on 7/24. May God use it to form an even deeper partnership.
  • Immigration: Pray for the application process to continue smoothly.
  • Get current prayer requests and connect with the Reeds here: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/reed

Pray for Meg Billingsley:

  • for all the work to be done in finishing things up with the Mi’kmaq translation, with packing and moving, and with beginning her translation consultant training. Pray for the Lord’s peace and empowering in the midst of it all.
  • for favor with immigration workers and government officials as she travels to her training in South Asia later this month, for safety in travels and health and protection while she’s there. Most of all that the Lord would be at work in and through all her interactions and relationships wherever she goes.
  • that the Lord will lead her to the right apartment in southern Ontario, and that she will finish her work among the Mi’kmaq well.

Pray for Ben Wukasch:

  • that God would make His direction clear to Ben as he seeks to serve in First Nations Bible Translation ministry
  • that Ben would be faithful day-by-day in the ways God is using him now in ESL work and welcoming newcomers to Canada

Pray for Catherine Aldred-Shull

  • that her transition to her new position working with the Canadian Bible Society will go smoothly, including any moves and orientation
  • that God would guide her as she starts the 3-year United Bible Society (UBS) Translation Officer training cycle this September
  • that God would lead her to areas of engagement in the Bible translation task in Canada that would be fulfilling and effective

And finally, please pray for all of us, that our interactions and work would be a blessing to each other and to the First Nations and indigenous language communities that God has called us to serve.

Thank you for your prayers for us all.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

 

Rev. Stan Cuthand–Plains Cree Bible Translator

On May 23, 2016, Cree Bible translator The Rev. Stan Cuthand age 97, passed away in Saskatchewan after a hospital stay. His life work was the translation of the Bible into Plains Cree, his own mother-tongue. Read his obituary here.

plains cree review3After earning his Bachelors of Theology in 1944, Rev. Cuthand served as a priest in the Anglican Church. He also worked as assistant professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, and “retired” to Saskatchewan to work at First Nations University of Canada and Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre.

Around 1990, at 71 years of age, Rev. Cuthand was hired by the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) to draft a new translation of the New Testament in Plains Cree, plus 40% of the Old Testament, which included all the major stories and themes.

Plains Cree Bible Translation Project

Throughout the 1990s, the Plains Cree translation project was coordinated by Rev. Bob Bryce, working with CBS. He facilitated a routine of two to three translation and review workshops per year, usually held in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, to revise and approve with Stan’s first draft. Most of the Old Testament sections were reviewed during this period, but little was brought to publication or distribution.

In the late 1990s, Wycliffe / SIL-North America Branch assigned linguist Kimb Givens (Spender) to facilitate the project. She was based in Saskatoon until about 2003 when she married and moved to Maine. She continued to assist from time to time from her home in Maine.

In 2001 Bob Bryce retired from the Canadian Bible Society, and Ruth (Spielmann) Heeg was assigned as project coordinator, working from the Society’s translation office Kitchener, along with many other duties, fulfilling a joint assignment with SIL and CBS.

Around 2002, Wycliffe / SIL-North America Branch assigned Meg Billingsley to facilitate the project jointly with Ruth. She was based in Prince Albert, and her term of service overlapped with Kimb’s. Meg was reassigned to Mi’kmaq in 2008.

In 2004 Stan Cuthand completed his translation of the first draft of the 40% Old Testament and complete New Testament, and continued to assist at many of the workshops with Ruth, Kimb, and Meg.

From 2001 to 2013 Ruth continued to coordinate the program and to facilitate the translation checking workshops twice a year in North Battleford and Saskatoon. Often if there were too many participants at the workshops they could be very slow and cumbersome. There was often great participation but little progress. Eventually, it was decided to work with a smaller team of Cree translator-reviewers.

From 2014 – present Ruth mostly worked with just two Cree-speaking reviewers, Dolores Sand and Gayle Weenie. This team made much better progress.

The following sections of the Plains Cree translation have been published and distributed:

  • Luke chapters 22-24 (2004)
  • Ruth (2004)
  • Mark (2010)
  • Selections of the Psalms (2013)
  • James (2014)

In July 2015 the entire book of Luke was finalized and Bill and Norma Jean assisted Ruth in recording the entire book read by Dolores. It will be ready to publish once the final editing is accomplished on the audio files. Matthew is ready to be recorded next. The Gospel of John will be ready after a final check of chapters 20 and 21, and the book of Acts is currently being reviewed and revised by Ruth, Dolores and Gayle.

Please continue to pray for the translation team as they complete the work begun by Stan Cuthand, so that Plains Cree speakers across Canada will have God’s Word in their own language.

plains cree review4

Northern Translation Brief 28Jan2016

Our Dear Partners,

It has been good to settle into a routine of work and support for the translation projects since having our grandchildren with us for an extended visit over the holidays. Norma Jean is on the home stretch for her grad program assignments, and the translators in northern Quebec (Naskapi) northern Ontario (Oji-Cree) and  Saskatchewan (Plains Cree) are all back to work on their translation projects after the holidays. In fact, the Oji-Cree translators took advantage of their holiday “break” to get even more done on their Bible translation goals, and that was a real encouragement to us and to the other teams.

This is a picture of the report we see when progress is made on any of the Bible Translation projects and we support

This is a picture of the report we see when progress is made on any of the Bible Translation projects that we work with. You can see every member of the Oji-Cree team worked on their translation; on Matthew, Romans, Luke, John and 2 Corinthians, all during the week between Christmas and New Years! What an encouragement to us.

Naskapi

The big news for Naskapi is that Tshiueten has just finished the final verse on the first draft of the book of Exodus. This has been an active Naskapi project for several years, and over the past three years, Tshiueten has been the main translator. Now of course there is a lot of checking and review to do before it is approved for publication, but this is a tremendous milestone and he is to be congratulated.

Tshiueten Vachon, Naskapi translator working on Exodus

Tshiueten Vachon, Naskapi translator working on Exodus

Oji-Cree

The team is working very steadily on the Sunday “Epistle” and “Gospel” readings for the church in Kingfisher Lake. The translators, many of whom are also church lay-readers, report that the community has enjoyed hearing these church readings in the new translation, and some have also been looking closer at the old (Mason) Cree translation, giving God’s Word a closer look than they had previously.

Pictures of the Oji-Cree translation team that they took themselves and posted on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ismm2014/posts/1257611154281381

Pictures of the Oji-Cree translation team that they took themselves and posted on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ismm2014/posts/1257611154281381

Plains Cree

Gayle and Dolores have been making good progress on the checking and review of the New Testament, completing the back-translation through the book of Acts, and working with the Bible Society translation consultant Ruth nearly every day by Internet and Skype. Bill and Ruth have also been making progress editing the hours of recorded audio of the book of Luke in Plains Cree.

Dolores and Gayle working on Plains Cree checking and review

Dolores and Gayle working on Plains Cree checking and review

Legacy (Mason 1862) Cree Bible

This old translation is still in use and highly regarded in many northern communities and churches, even if it is not the way people speak today. The Bible Society will be producing an updated reprint and make it accessible electronically. The Plains Cree team, along with Ruth, the translation consultant, are also making steady progress toward that goal.

Old Cree Bible at St. Matthew's Church, Kingfisher Lake, ON

Old Cree Bible at St. Matthew’s Church, Kingfisher Lake, Ontario

Day by day we work with the teams on these projects from our desks here at our new “old” house in Windham Centre, Ontario. We are grateful to be a part of God’s plan to bring his message to the First Nations communities across northern Canada.

Norma Jean working on her research paper

Norma Jean working on her research paper

Bill listening to and editing the Gospel of Luke audio in Plains Cree

Bill listening to and editing the Gospel of Luke audio in Plains Cree

Prayer Requests:

As we rejoice over the completion of the Naskapi Exodus first draft, please join us in prayer as we try to connect with just the right translation consultant who will work with  Tshiueten and the team for quality assurance and accuracy.

Pray with us for the Oji-Cree team and the Kingfisher Lake church as many of them will hear these messages in their own language for the first time. Remember Ruth K, Ruth M, Theresa, Jessie and Zipporah.

Remember Gayle and Dolores, the Plains Cree team, working with Ruth, their translation consultant on both the book of Acts in the new Plains Cree translation, and the preparation and review of the old Legacy Cree Bible.

Keep us (Bill and Norma Jean) in prayer as we begin to set up our calendar for our working trips into the communities up north in the months to come, for our interactions with other missions and resource partners for these projects, and that we would stay centered on God’s word in our own lives.

And one more special prayer request: Our son, Nicodemus John, is attending Trinity Western University in Langley British Columbia. He is preparing to spend his Spring Break on a missions trip with dozens of other students from TWU, working on a “Habitat for Humanity” building project. He is in need of funds to support his participation in this missions trip.

You can read about the trip here: http://twu.ca/life/ministries/gps/sprinNick at school 2015g-trips/

He needs to raise nearly $2400 to go on this missions trip, and he just told us this week that he sold his car to a junkyard to help him with some of the costs (he got $140.00 for his car)! If you feel that God would have you support Nicodemus to go on this missions trip, you can get a tax-deductible receipt for your gift if you write your donations payable to “Trinity Western University”, and mail them to:

Allan Kotanen
Student Life Director
Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Road
Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1 CANADA

Be sure to include a note saying it is for:
Nicodemus Jancewicz
Spring Break Missions

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief 03Jul2015

Our Dear Partners,

Since we last connected in a Translation Brief (last month), we have journeyed from the west coast of Canada to the east coast of the US. We have been enjoying connections with family, friends and partners, and we are about to travel again to support First Nations Bible Translation work in Canada.

Plains Cree Translation

From July 7-17, we have been asked to help with the audio recording of the book of Luke in Plains Cree. Dolores and Gayle, the Cree translators, have completed their translation and review of the Luke’s Gospel, and the Canadian Bible Society is facilitating a recording session in Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario. I (Bill) will work with the Bible Society translation consultant and assist with the recording procedure, as Dolores reads through the book. When the recording is made, edited and approved, it will accompany the printed text of the book of Luke, and also be available for Plains Cree speakers to listen to and hear the new translation of this portion of scripture in their own language.

Please pray that God will be in the details for the whole 10 days, helping us with travel, technical details and good relationships for this project.

You can read more about the Plains Cree translation project here:

http://bill.jancewicz.com/2014/12/11/northern-translation-brief-cuthand-plains-cree-translation/

Oji-Cree Translation

From July 20-30, we will be traveling up to the Oji-Cree Kingfisher Lake community in northern Ontario.

During our days in Kingfisher, we will be meeting with the translation team leadership to discuss their vision and plans for the work of the Oji-Cree translators, and their local translation committee.

We will also be working each day with the translators themselves, to help them gain capacity, learn about how and to move ahead on their translation project work, set intermediate and long-term goals, help them with the technical skills they need, and engage in more practice and training.

Please pray for our trip north to Kingfisher, for the Oji-Cree translation team and committee, and all the details, goals and relationships

You can read more about the Oji-Cree translation project here:

http://bill.jancewicz.com/2015/01/24/northern-translation-brief-kingfisher-lake-oji-cree/

Looking for a “home base”

As many of you may remember from a previous post, we are in the process of relocating to the greater Toronto region to better serve the various First Nations Bible Translation projects that we partner with across northern Canada. During the days of our work this month with the Plains Cree and the Oji-Cree, we will also be meeting with real estate representatives, visiting houses, looking online and listening for God’s leading as to our next new address.

Home to First Nations MapPlease pray for wisdom, direction and provision as we look for a new place to work from and call “home” when we are not in one of the host First Nations communities.

Later in August, we have plans to travel to northern Quebec to continue to support the Naskapi language project in Kawawachikamach. More details about that work in another post.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

 

 

Northern Translation Brief 06Apr2015

Our Dear Partners,

When the speakers of the First Nations languages that are still waiting for adequate access to the Bible in their mother tongue met with us last year in Prince Albert <click here>, one of the things that they requested was training and learning opportunities for speakers of these languages to gain translation skills of their own. This training became a central component of the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative. This month, we are conducting a Mother-Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshop at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre in Guelph, Ontario.

WorkshopMap2015We have invited First Nations language speakers from across Canada who are interested or already engaged in working in their own languages for translation and language development. An intentional component of this workshop is integrating experienced mother tongue translators with beginners, and bringing together those who are already engaging with the scriptures in their own language with those who still have no such access.

The response has been encouraging, and we have been working hard at preparing the program of study and learning modules for the week of the workshop. Our ministry and technical partner, the Canadian Bible Society, is sponsoring the workshop and we will share the facilitation of the workshop sessions with them. IMG_8869The Oji-Cree Bible Translation committee from Kingfisher Lake <link> has identified and recruited five Oji-Cree speakers from their community, Ruth K, Ruth M, Zipporah, Theresa, and Jessie, who will come and be trained at this workshop. The Bible Society has also helped to meet some of the practical needs of this group by providing five new laptop computers, a printer and a projector for the day-to-day use of their translation team. We will give them the initial training they need to get started, and they will bring their computers back to their community to continue their translation work in the months to come. Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, one of the catalysts for the Kingfisher Lake project, hopes to also come to address the group.gayle1

Gayle, one of the Plains Cree speakers who has worked for many years on the (Cuthand) Plains Cree <link> translation project will be with us for the workshop, and will be working on some of the consultant checking and review of these scriptures.

The “Fantastic Four“, (Amanda, Kissandra, Kabimbetas, and Medora) the new team of Naskapi Language Specialists, working on four different books of the Naskapi Old Testament <link> in Kawawachikamach are all coming to continue their language development and translation training, and also to be introduced to the new software programs that they need to master to become better at their translation work. IMG_5044They are joined by two more experienced members of the Naskapi translation team, Silas and Tshiueten who have worked most recently on the books of Genesis <link> and Exodus, respectively. Also from the Naskapi community we will welcome George who is not only a community leader but also an experienced translator who has been involved in bringing the Naskapi scriptures to his people for the past 20 years. He will be joined by Cheyenne, a church lay-reader and educator who leads a Naskapi Bible study, and Seasi and Jessica who work at the Naskapi school in Naskapi language literacy and teaching.

The schedule includes translation principles and basics, courses in the use of specialized translation software, commentaries and reference works, as well as times for discussion of “best practices” and resources for Bible translation teams that are managed and directed by their own local community and church members. There will also be devotional Bible studies and time to sing hymns (in Cree, Naskapi and Oji-Cree) and sharing and fellowship.

Bill and Norma Jean will be arriving in the Guelph, Ontario area from British Columbia on April 15, IMG_8762the Wednesday before the workshop to spend time with the rest of the workshop facilitation team at the Bible Society offices for the final preparations and configuring the new computers for the Oji-Cree translators. The participants will begin traveling to the workshop from their home communities on Friday, April 17–it will take most of them two or three days to travel to the workshop location. The workshop itself will be Monday to Friday, the week of April 20-24, all day long each day. On Friday afternoon, most of the participants will begin their long journeys back to their home language communities to apply the new things that they have learned and to continue working on their communities’ Bible translation and language development projects.

We have listed all the names of the participants so that you can pray for them by name–we would also request that you pray for the workshop and all the participants and the facilitators each day of the workshop, and for travel mercies and safety before and after. Some of the younger women participants are expectant mothers, and long travels and a busy workshop can be especially difficult for them–we know that they would appreciate your prayers as well.

Thank you once again for your interest and for sharing our vision for the First Nations Bible translation movement.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Partners in the USA can connect through Wycliffe USA:
https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

Partners in Canada can connect through Wycliffe Canada’s website:
https://www.wycliffe.ca/wycliffe/m?Jancewicz

Kingfisher Lake

Our Dear Partners,

Kingfisher Lake is one of a dozen Oji-Cree speaking First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. We spent the first week of September here meeting with church and community leadership, educators, elders, and other residents about the possibilities of helping them set up their own Bible translation program. They reminded us once again that for decades their church and people have had to get by with translations used by the surrounding languages (Moose Cree, Plains Cree, and Ojibwe) but they don’t yet have adequate access to the Scriptures in their own language. They were gracious, and we listened to them tell us about their desire to begin their own language project to address some of these needs.IMG_7831 IMG_7830 IMG_7829

On the last day of our visit, they met with us to say that they would be forming their own translation committee, and invited us to come back again to begin training them to start their own Bible translation project. We made plans to go back to see them in mid-winter.

We drove down through Thunder Bay and Michigan and we are now at the Bible Society offices in Kitchener, Ontario, where we will be meeting with them over the next few days to talk about progress with the Oji-Cree, Naskapi, Innu and Cree translation programs.

Thank you for your prayers for our travels and meetings. We went another 2000 miles by car since we last checked in with you all last week.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 10May2014

Our Dear Partners and Friends,

More Answered Prayer!

The Anglican Healing Fund (Anglican Church of Canada) has agreed to fund the Naskapi participation at the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity Building Gathering to be held this June in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

This means that the tickets that were purchased last week for Cheyenne and Marianne to come to the meeting have been fully paid for.

One purpose of this meeting is to hear from the First Nations language speakers who still do not have access to God’s Word in their language, so we can listen to their need and respond appropriately.

It is also an opportunity for the Naskapi to share how God’s Word in their language continues to help them, and how they might participate in showing their Cree brothers and sisters how they might do the same thing.

The gathering is scheduled for June 9 and 10 at the Anglican diocesan office in Prince Albert. Church leaders from Anglican, Catholic, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Pentecostal Assemblies and other denominations that serve First Nations people are invited to meet with the Bible Society and Wycliffe Bible Translators at this two-day gathering. We are expecting about 20 persons, lay-persons and clergy, First-Nations language speakers and linguistics resource persons to listen and share and plan for the future.

Our prayer is that God will continue to work out the details of this meeting in a way that all the other First Nations languages that still need His message in their mother tongues can begin to participate themselves for their communities as well, and that Norma Jean and I will see and respond to the opportunities we may have to work along side the Cree, Naskapi and Innu people in the languages that speak to their hearts.

Thank you for your prayers. God is hearing and answering!

We look forward to sharing more news of how God is at work in our lives and the lives of those we serve and will be serving in the months and years to come.

Love, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 09Apr2014

Our Dear Partners,

Even though we are still living here in Aldergrove, BC where Norma Jean is working hard on her MA studies, we are still working with the Naskapi translation team in Kawawachikamach.

The celebration of resurrection day is nearly here, and this year marks a special Easter for WWJ6-front coverthe Naskapi community. We have completed the final book in the Walking With Jesus series, ᒋᓴᔅ ᑲ  ᐅᓂᔅᑲᑦ The Resurrection of Jesus, printed and delivered in time for Easter at Kawawachikamach.

The Walking With Jesus series was a literature promotion and scripture translation initiative sponsored by the Bible Society in the early 1990s, that consisted of a series of six booklets containing scripture portions from the Gospels that could be translated “shell-book” style for multiple languages and produced at lower cost because of the volume printed. The Walking With Jesus series played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Naskapi language project for Bible translation in 1993, and books 1, 2, 5 and 6 were completed at that time. These were the first books ever published in the Naskapi language.

22a

George Guanish working on the Walking With Jesus books in Bill’s office in 1993

For various budgetary and human-resource reasons, in the middle 1990s the project was set aside by the Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC), in order to focus on pursuing other language development projects. Still, the booklets that were produced found a niche readership within the Naskapi community, and were distributed through the NDC, the church, the school and the local store. Meanwhile, as we slowly moved ahead with other language development and translation projects locally, the Bible Society discontinued the production of more booklets in the series. Consequently, books 3 and 4 were not completed.

Fast-forward to 2007, and the dedication of the Naskapi New Testament: The Bible Society partnered with the Naskapi Development Corporation for the wwjprompublication of this truly significant book. You were there to share the excitement with the community on September 16, 2007, when the Naskapi population at large was introduced to a book that they valued greatly, and were just starting to appreciate just how much it meant to them. This marked the beginning of a period of deepening community interest in Naskapi literacy, language development, education and literature. Several NDC projects in partnership with the Naskapi school, daycare, and church were initiated at this time that resulted in the acceleration of the release of book titles being produced and read in Naskapi in the community. The Naskapi community needed books, and they needed good books, and right away, too.

So the Translation and Linguistics Services Department at NDC revived the “Walking With Jesus” project, and entered into a special agreement with the Bible Society to produce the “missing volumes” in the series: Books 3 and 4, the “Parables” and “Teachings” of Jesus.

Walking With Jesus Books 3 and 4 finished in 2010

Books 3 and 4 finished in 2010

In June of 2010, we signed an agreement with the Bible Society for the use of the Illustrations in the Walking With Jesus Series, and work begun on completing the series that was begun 17 years earlier.

Thanks to the advent of “print-on-demand” publishing services, our tiny department now had the resources it needed to produce bookstore-quality resources in small quantities needed for the Naskapi community. Also at this time, Norma Jean Jancewicz completed a literacy course at SIL at the University of North Dakota, and immediately applied what she learned to the production of quality literacy materials for Naskapi children at the Naskapi childcare centre and at the school. Also, now that the New Testament was completed, our department could focus on Old Testament readings and work towards the completion of the complete set of Sunday lectionary readings with the local Naskapi Anglican church.

But it was the inspiration that was directly related to the Walking With Jesus series that had one of the most significant impacts in our community. Kyle, the young grandson of Ruby Sandy-Robinson, the Administrative Director of the Naskapi Development Corporation, was heard at home reading from Book 3 of the Walking With Jesus series in Naskapi. Ruby was so moved and inspired by the fact that her grandson could read the story of Jesus in his own language (having learned to read through the result of the

Kyle Shecanapish reading "The Good Samaritan" in Naskapi

Kyle Shecanapish reading “The Good Samaritan” in Naskapi

Naskapi curriculum program at the school) that she also was encouraged to increase her own efforts to learn to read her own mother tongue better. She says that her own desire and subsequent ability to read the scriptures had their foundation in her late father, Deacon Joseph Sandy, reading the Cree scriptures to the family when she was a girl–but it was her own grandson reading in Naskapi to her that helped her realize that being able to read the scriptures herself in her own language were indeed a blessed possibility. She actively encouraged the Translation and Linguistics Services Department at NDC to not only complete the two “missing” Walking With Jesus books, but to also complete a revision and re-issuing of the entire Walking With Jesus series in Naskapi. Here is a video of Kyle reading, which has been such an inspiration to his grandmother Ruby (and others) in the Naskapi community:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vimqT144lg

So over the past three years, we have made steady progress on the publication and review of the complete set of the Walking With Jesus books in Naskapi. These books have become a centerpiece of literacy education in the Naskapi language, being used at home and in the school, and have also been used in several adult-literacy initiatives over the past several years.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

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