Northern Translation Brief 14Aug2015

Our Dear Partners,

We would like to ask your prayers for our upcoming trip to the Naskapi community in Kawawachikamach. We have plans to be traveling to northern Quebec starting from the Toronto, Ontario area beginning on Sunday, 23 August 2015. to Schefferville 2015We are traveling by car this time because we will be bringing our daughter Elizabeth with us: she is coming along to make a visit to the place where she grew up and to reconnect with her Naskapi friends. This past year, she has completed the illustrations for the third book in a series of traditional Naskapi legends that we have helped the Naskapi Development Corporation to publish. Achan promo card-horiz-aWe are very excited to have her come along with us again, and we are looking forward to seeing more of her work in Naskapi publications and literacy materials.

First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative

Ever since the Naskapi have started to read their New Testament (pubished in 2007) in their own language, many of them have expressed a new interest in reading the Bible in their own language, and they have taken on the translation of the Old Testament as a long-term project. First Nations Capacity Building Map1aThey have also been helping people in other First Nations communities to begin engaging with the Scriptures themselves. As we responded to this growing desire to have God’s Word in their own languages, we realized that it’s going to take a larger team of people to help facilitate several projects at once. We invite you to continue to pray that God will send more workers to help us.

Matt & Cait Windsor

Matt & Cait Windsor

We are very pleased to introduce you to the first new team to join us in this Initiative, Matthew and Caitlin Windsor.

Matthew and Caitlin

Matt & Cait are from the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. They came to the Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) in Langley, BC two years ago because they felt God’s call to help facilitate Bible translation into minority languages. During their time at CanIL, they were also led to seek to serve First Nations communities in Canada as part of Wycliffe Bible Translators. The Naskapi Bible translation team at Kawawachikamach has agreed to help them to learn about their language and culture, as Matt and Cait preprare themselves for service in one of the other First Nations language communities in Canada that is still waiting to have God Word in their own language.

So, on this trip to Kawawa, as usual will be mentoring and training the Naskapi Language Specialists who are working their way through the Naskapi Old Testament, and also conducting a workshop with the Naskapi language teachers at the school to help them Naskapi literacy, grammar, and bilingual education.

Naskapi Language Specialists at work

Naskapi Language Specialists at work

Naskapi Language educators' workshop

Naskapi Language educators’ workshop

But we will also be introducing Matt and Cait to our Naskapi friends who will be helping them to get accustomed their language and culture, and living in an isolated northern First Nations community. This time it is just a visit, and Lord willing after they have raised their financial support they will be able to move to the Naskapi community sometime in 2016 for their internship with them. While they are there, they will help facilitate some of the Naskapi language development projects and work alongside the Naskapi translators as they gain the skills and insight they will need to do this in one of the other language communities they may be invited to serve.

Hard News and Grief

This past week has been a difficult one for the Naskapi community, as we have heard that two of our dear friends have departed this life. Simon Einish, son of the late Tommy and Annie Einish and a loving husband and father, died suddenly and unexpectedly on the weekend (Tommy Einish is the Naskapi elder teaching Bill in the title picture at the top of this website). And Sylvester Tooma, a venerable Naskapi elder also passed away after an illness.

Norma Jean with Sylvester Tooma, 2014

Norma Jean with Sylvester Tooma, 2014

We appreciate your prayers for their families and their community, and that God would be the comforter to those who experience this loss the hardest.

Please also pray for our trip: the five of us, Matt & Cait, Bill & Norma Jean, and our daughter Elizabeth, will drive up along the Lower North Shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec to Sept-Îles starting on Sunday afternoon, August 23. We take the 13-hour train to Schefferville on Thursday, August 27 and spend the next eleven days working in the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach.

Bill & Norma Jean, Elizabeth, Cait & Matt

Bill & Norma Jean, Elizabeth, Cait & Matt

We’ll be on the train back south on September 8, and then drive back to southern Ontario where Matt & Cait will fly back home to Comox to continue their preparations and partnership development.

Pray for our time with the Naskapi Language Specialists and Teachers, that we would be a help and encouragement to them and that they will become even better equipped to continue their own translation and language development work.

Pray for safety and good health, for God’s protection and provision, and for kindness, gentleness and God’s leading in all our doings.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief: First Nations in Canada

Our Dear Partners,

As you are all aware, the Naskapi Bible translation project is just one of dozens of languages across Canada still spoken by First Nations people. Some are so closely related to Naskapi that we understand them and they understand us very well–such as the Mushuau Innu in Natuashish, Labrador or the Northern East Cree at Whapmagoostui on Hudson Bay. Still, there are many other communities across the north part of Canada clear west over to the Rocky Mountains where there are people who speak related dialects that are like each other but less and less like Naskapi.

Some of these languages have had a long history of Bible translation work in them, like Plains Cree, Moose Cree, Montagnais, Atikamekw, Algonquin, and Southern East Cree, with translated New Testaments or whole Bibles in those languages.

Some of these languages have work going on by our contemporaries and colleagues even now, and people who have waited for many years are just hearing the gospel in their own mother tongue for the first time.

Yet still some speakers of these languages are still waiting for translations in their own mother tongue.

C-N-M Communities mapThis week, we have an opportunity to meet and discover how God is at work in many of these communities across Canada, and how we might be used to help all of the First Nations language speakers in Canada to have adequate access to God’s Word. Representatives from the Canadian Bible Society, our own field director, and other interested parties will be meeting together with us all day on Thursday at CanIL (the Canadian Institute of Linguistics) here in British Columbia to:

  • Pray together
  • Share how God has been at work in the existing projects we have all been involved in
  • Look at the big picture of how God is at work in all the other language communities in Canada
  • Discuss how we may be used by God in our partnerships together with the Bible Society, SIL/Wycliffe, and the First Nations communities that are still waiting for God’s word in their mother tongue, and continue to help the Naskapi with their goals

On Friday, Bill and Norma Jean will be meeting with our field director to pray and discuss our ways we can work to best meet the language development needs of many communities including and beyond Naskapi.

On that same day, Bill and Norma Jean will be celebrating the work that God has done in the Naskapi project with a presentation to the entire staff and student body at CanIL, and challenging them to consider how they might be involved in the work that remains in Canada in the future.

Later that day, we will join our field director meeting with some of the linguistics students who have expressed an interest in First Nations language work in Canada. Maybe God will use some of them to join us in the work.

You can pray with us,

  • that we will be sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit as we meet together this week,
  • that God will continue to work in the hearts of First Nations communities who we would partner with to do translation work,
  • that God would open our eyes so that we can see where the fields are ripe,
  • that He might send more workers into His harvest field here among the First Nations languages of Canada that are still waiting to hear the Good News in their heart language.

Serving with you,
Bill and Norma Jean