Northern Translation Brief 13Sep2017

Our Dear Partners,

Norma Jean and I returned from our fall trip to the Naskapi Translation Project at Schefferville and Kawawachikamach late in the day Monday 11 Sept 2017. This trip had multiple purposes—mainly to connect with Alice & Martin Reed, who have been serving their 8-month internship there with the Naskapi translation project since March, and to bring Matt & Caitlin Windsor with Hazel there to begin their own internship with the Naskapi.

Caitlin, Matthew & Hazel Windsor ready for their trip to Northern Quebec

Why are we all with the Naskapi?

You may recall reading about the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative on these pages. God is at work bringing his message of hope and love into First Nations communities across Canada. The Naskapi community continues to be an inspiration and example to other First Nations language communities to have the Word of God in their own mother tongue too. These language communities have asked for help doing this–and God has blessed us by growing our team with the Next Generation of Language Program Facilitators, like the Reeds and the Windsors. They have been invited to serve in the Naskapi language program as “Linguistics Interns”, as they learn to live in an isolated northern First Nations community and work along side the Naskapi translators in their language program.

The trip went well, and we feel that Alice & Martin have been doing very well serving the Naskapi project since their arrival there last March. They have been helping the Naskapi team and administration to focus and prioritize their Bible translation projects and to move them along with manageable and concrete goals. Several more chapters of Exodus have been team-checked for consistency and naturalness under Alice’s guidance, and a publication of the book of Psalms in Naskapi is underway. At the same time, they have made remarkable progress in language learning, integrating their lives into Naskapi community and culture, and building deep relationships. They will be ready to move on to their own assignment by the first week of November. More about that below.

Alice & Martin Reed taking part in local activities at Kawawachikamach

Matthew & Caitlin survived the long, long road trip with us starting on August 20, and then the train trip to Kawawa on August 24, arriving around midnight. They moved into Ruby Sandy-Robinson’s house which had been vacated (and cleaned and prepared) by Alice & Martin a couple days before. Alice & Martin were offered to house-sit at another Naskapi house in the community a few doors away from Ruby’s house where they were staying. This allowed the Windsors to have more space which they needed at Ruby’s house. Ruby remains very happy to host the interns in her home.

Cait & Hazel in the “soup” aisle (ᓱᐸᐳᔾ), Matt & Cait at the translation office

Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, a linguist from Memorial University in Newfoundland, also came to work at the Naskapi Development Corporation offices on the review and editing of more Naskapi stories and legends, as she has done for the past several years in the month of September. Recently Bill coordinated the production of the next Naskapi story book ᐃᔅᒂᒋᐛᑎᓂᓱᐅᒡCaught in a Blizzard, which, like many of the recent Naskapi books was illustrated by our daughter Elizabeth. The new print copies arrived at Kawawa during this trip.

We were very encouraged by the way that both new Wycliffe teams, the Reeds and the Windsors, worked together and with their Naskapi hosts. We ask that you remember to pray for them during the next few weeks of “overlap” between the two teams, as the Reeds complete their internship in November and the Windsors stay on with the Naskapi until April of next year.

Serge & Minna

Norma Jean and I stayed in our old house in town in Schefferville, and came to Kawawa to work with the Naskapi language staff and community each day. We were also working on the house getting it ready to rent or sell: we met with one couple who came up from Parole de DieuInstitute Biblique Bethel  (Word of Life–Bethel Bible Institute) in Sherbrooke. This couple is listening for God’s call in their own lives for ministry among the Naskapi and Innu people in Quebec: their names are Serge & Minna Lauzon. We are waiting and praying with them for direction concerning our house in Schefferville: they may be in a position to rent or eventually buy the house, depending on how God leads them in the weeks to come. They spent four days at our house there with us during the two weeks we were there ourselves. Won’t you pray for them with us?

Before Norma Jean cut the grass…

The Naskapi translation team continues to work on the team-checking and review of the book of Exodus. There are still some style and naturalness (and consistency and acceptability) issues that the team is working through. The linguistics intern teams will be guiding the translation team toward the completion and publication of this book in the weeks to come. They also are helping the Naskapi develop a long term translation and scripture engagement plan that provides the Naskapi community with an Old Testament panorama that can be achieved by focusing their efforts on chronological selections from the remaining Old Testament. And this with continued work on the Naskapi dictionary, grammar and literacy.

The Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree translation committee has invited Matthew & Caitlin to come live with them at their community in Northern Ontario very soon after their internship is completed in April of next year.

Matt & Bill with the Kingfisher Lake Translation Committee in July 2017

And there are several Swampy Cree communities to the northwest of the Oji-Cree in northern Manitoba that have indicated an interest in having Alice & Martin come to work with them there. Bill will be visiting Swampy Cree speakers and church leaders at a clergy conference at Thompson, Manitoba in October. Please pray that God will make His plan and His will clear to all concerned, so that this language and all the other First Nations language groups in Canada that have been waiting for the scriptures in their mother tongues won’t have to wait too much longer.

Thank you for your prayers for us over the many miles and days of this trip, and for your continued prayers for the Naskapi, Cree, Innu and Oji-Cree; and for the Windsors and the Reeds and others who are being called to join in what God is doing in the north.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

PS: as a reminder, please take the time to visit the websites of the Next Generation as they serve the Naskapi and continue to walk in obedience and faith, and as they prepare themselves to help other language groups experience the joy of hearing and knowing God’s Word in their own languages.

Alice & Martin

https://www.facebook.com/ReedsKaleidoscope/

Matthew & Caitlin

https://thewindsorsupnorth.com/

…and scroll down to see more pictures of our time with the Naskapi community!

11:00 pm and STILL not sleepy!

Jaiden at church

Community gathering at the ballfield

Alice in her “Pow-wow” dress

Martin with the drummers

Mr Bill & Mama Jean hanging out with Jaiden

Bill and David Swappie–he reads the Naskapi Bible every day.

Norma Jean with Suzan Swappie–…so does she.

Jaiden came for dinner

School cook-out

Norma Jean pitches in

Back home on the train

Northern Translation Brief: 2017 Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshop

Our Dear Partners,

Ever since First Nations representatives and church leaders met with us in Prince Albert in June of 2014, we have been responding to their priorities identified for the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative. One of these priorities was to coordinate a series of Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshops to help the speakers of First Nations languages acquire the skills that they need to take the lead in their own Bible Translation and community language development projects.

We planned and coordinated the 2017 Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshop at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre from April 9th to the 14th. Speakers of First Nations languages from three different language communities were able to come to the workshop this year.

Travel Delays and Challenges

In the weeks leading up to the workshop, we had also planned an additional translation checking session for the Oji-Cree translation team: They were to come to southern Ontario the week before the workshop and gather at our home in Windham Centre with the translation consultant (Meg Billingsley) and one of the new Bible Translation facilitation teams (Matthew & Caitlin Windsor). However, a relative of one of the Oji-Cree translators passed away that week, so they were unable to come down early.

With Matthew & Caitlin at Simcoe Immanuel CRC church before the workshop

We are grateful for all the offers of food, lodging and assistance that we received from our church family in preparation for this checking session, and even though it did not work out–we are happy that the Oji-Cree team was able to come to the workshop itself anyway. The translation team and the consultant are making alternate arrangements so that they can work through the scripture checking that they had planned.

Most of the Naskapi team had hoped to leave their community of Kawawachikamach by plane the Friday before the workshop–but a snowstorm on April 7th cancelled their flight. They were eventually able to rebook on Monday, the first day of the workshop, and arrived safe and sound (but tired!) a 1:30 AM Tuesday morning!

Silas Nabinicaboo

Silas, the senior translator for the Naskapi team, had to cancel his attendance at the workshop this year–while he was en-route, his mother Susie had heart problems and was flown out of the community to the hospital in Quebec City, where she eventually underwent an operation for a pacemaker. Silas stayed by her side rather than coming to the workshop.

So, of the 15 registered First Nations participants, 14 were finally able to come.

Participants

Coming for the first time were two experienced James Bay Cree translators from the Mistissini Lake Quebec community, Mary-Jane Petawabano and Juliette Neeposh. They had worked on the translation of the New Testament in their language and came to find out about starting to translate the Old Testament too.

Mary Jane Petawabano and Juliette Neeposh, from Mistissini Lake, Quebec

The Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree community sent five of their Bible translators, who continue to work on their new translation of the Gospels and Epistles for the Sunday Lectionary readings. Four of their translators, Ruth Kitcheksik, Jessie Atlookan, Zipporah Mamakwa, and Dominick Beardy had already been to previous workshops. They brought with them a new member of their team, Saloma Sainnawap, who came to this translator workshop for the first time. Two other members of the Oji-Cree translation team who had attended previously had to stay behind at Kingfisher Lake: Ruth Morris and Theresa Sainnawap.

Jessie Atlookan, Saloma Sainnawap, Zipporah Mamakwa, Ruth Kitchekesik and Dominick Beardy from Kingfisher Lake, Ontario

The Naskapi language community of Kawawachikamach sent translators and language personnel from three of their community organizations: The Naskapi School sent Naskapi language teacher Seasi Swappie, and the Naskapi Nation sent their lead translator George Guanish and the editor of the Naskapi newspaper “Naskapi Tipachimoon”, Isaac Einish. This was Isaac’s first time at a translator workshop outside his community.

Isaac Einish, Seasi Swappie & George Guanish from Kawawachikamach Quebec

The Naskapi Development Corporation (NDC), which is continuing work on the Naskapi Old Testament translation, sent four participants: Tshiueten Vachon, Amanda Swappie, Kabimbetas Noah Mokoush and the NDC administrative director, Ruby Sandy-Robinson. As noted earlier, their senior translator Silas Nabinicaboo was unable to attend.

Naskapi team working together

Program

Like in previous years, the program of the workshop was crafted to meet Bible translation training needs of the First Nations translators. Since this was the third workshop, and many of the participants had been to similar workshops in the past, just a brief time on the first day was spent doing review, so that all the new participants could find their way alongside the more experienced ones.

“Bible Translation Principles” and “Bible Translation Basics”

The core curriculum was from the translation textbook “Bible Translation Basics: Communicating Scripture in a Relevant Way” by Harriet Hill. We have used this book since 2015, and we are slowly working through it with plenty of review at a pace that can be followed by the translators. We are also using more conventional translation training materials, such as “Bible Translation: an introductory course in translation principles” by Katy Barnwell, and other materials. We also featured a special topic again this year taught by Steve Kempf, an international translation consultant, on “Translating in the book of Proverbs”.

Steve Kempf on Proverbs

We also focused on a range of other practical topics, including the use of cell-phone technology for scripture engagement, participatory methods for domains of language use in a community, and the important role of oral story telling in presenting the message of the Bible, and teaching skills to use computer and software tools to help with understanding the Bible’s message better, and to help with the translation work.

Staff

Besides Bill and Norma Jean who coordinated the workshop and taught some of the lesson modules, we were privileged to have many other teaching staff on hand this year from a wide range of experience and background.

As noted above Steve Kempf was with us on Tuesday and Thursday for the focus on translating Proverbs. We were also assisted by translation consultant Ruth Heeg, Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) professor Jeff Green from Tyndale University College, and Canadian Bible Society (CBS) director of scripture translations Myles Leitch, all of whom taught lessons in sequence from Bible Translation Basics.

Jeff Green with Ruth Kitchekesik and Dominick Beardy from Kingfisher Lake

We were also very pleased to have the following “Next Generation” members of the team on the teaching staff this year: Alice & Martin Reed, currently serving their in-field internship with the Naskapi translation project; Matthew & Caitlin Windsor, also preparing to serve as Bible translation facilitators to First Nations communities, and Meg Billingsley, translation consultant-in-training working in Cree projects.

Meg Billingsley’s teaching module

Alice Reed (standing, right) with the Naskapi translation team

Matt Windsor’s teaching module

Catherine Aldred-Shull’s presentation

Canadian Bible Society translation officer-in-training Catherine Aldred-Shull was also on hand to demonstrate a Cree Bible reading cell phone app and present her research on oral storytelling as it relates to Bible translation.

Terri Scruggs, Ruth Heeg, Liesel Bartlett

Wycliffe Canada projects manager Terri Scruggs was with us for the entire week and presented a compelling module to the translators on the importance of sharing how the translated scriptures are having a positive influence in their own First Nations language communities, and Wycliffe translation facilitators Rod & Liesel Bartlett guided the participants in learning to craft chronological Bible stories in their own language. Rod & Liesel have served for many years working with the James Bay Cree First Nations communities in Quebec, helping guide two separate New Testament translations to completion–one in James Bay Cree (southern or inland dialect, 2001) and one in the northern dialect of James Bay Cree, just published by the Bible Society at the end of 2016. The staff and participants took time to praise God and celebrate His faithfulness to the James Bay Cree communities during the workshop.

Juliette Neeposh, Rod & Liesel Bartlett, Mary Jane Petawabano, Ruth Heeg

Guests

We were pleased and honoured again this year to have a visit from the National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, Mark MacDonald. He came to address the participants and to encourage them in their work of bringing the message of the scriptures to their own language communities. He reminded us again that the message of the Gospel is the one thing that the more it is translated, the more we as the Body of Christ gain and know of the love of God.

Mark MacDonald encouraging the translation teams

Esther Wesley, the coordinator of the Anglican Healing Fund along with Nancy Hurn, the archivist of the Anglican Church of Canada were also on hand to meet and encourage the First Nations participants.

Elaine Bombay, a member of the Wycliffe News Network photojournalism team, served the workshop by being on hand Monday and Thursday to interact with participants, hear their stories and take wonderful photographs, many of which are featured here in this article. Thank you for these pictures, Elaine!

Colin & Dot Suggett, Wycliffe Canada team currently serving in Burkina Faso, was on hand to observe and get to know the First Nations participants–they are seeking the Lord’s direction for how they might contribute to the Bible translation movement among First Nations. Also on hand was Ben Wukasch, Wycliffe Canada candidate, Jeff Westlake, and Jack & Joann Koetsier, Wycliffe Canada partners.

Colin & Dot Suggett, Ben Wukasch

Also again this year Wycliffe Canada Korean Diaspora Church Connections 한인 디아스포라 교회 협력 team brought a group representing the Korean church, who continue to pray for, encourage and assist their First Nations brothers and sisters to have better access to the scriptures in their own languages. This year the First Nations participants were invited to pray for the needs of the Korean church. Many of the First Nations participants shared how blessed they were to reconnect with their Korean friends. Having guests attend the workshop is a good way for relationships to develop within the Body of Christ, since Bible translation remains the responsibility of the whole church (Kirk Franklin 2008)

Visitors from the Korean Diaspora Church Connections Team

Participant Evaluations

On Friday, the last day of the workshop, we took some time to reflect and evaluate the
workshop program, and all the participants provided feedback for the organizers to consider for the next workshop. Here is a sampling of some of the participants’ comments:

What was something new that you learned during this workshop?

“…Translating Proverbs.”
“…How to make my translation relevant to my community.”
“…How to record and edit audio using my laptop–really neat!”
“…Implicit and Explicit information in translation.”

What did you particularly like about this workshop?

“…The hands-on activities on language use within our communities.”
“…All the facilitators.”
“…I liked participating in small groups.”
“…Talking about Jesus.”
“…Teamwork, involvement in tasks.”
“…The sense of community and fellowship with other First Nations and ethnicities.”

What were the best aspects of the workshop?

“…When we got to work together.”
“…Hearing testimonies from experienced First Nations translators”
“…Hearing reading and singing in our languages.”
“…I felt like I fit in and that people were eager to help us, and that we were listened to.”
“…how everything was connected in the way the workshop was taught.”
“…being encouraged by one another.”

God continues to be at work bringing His message to His people in their own languages. We are so grateful that you can be a part of this work with us. Thank you for your prayers and support for this workshop and for the wonderful things God continues to do in the lives of our First Nations friends.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

Alice & Martin Reed, Matthew & Caitlin Windsor

Consider becoming more involved and supporting this work by visiting these websites:

In the USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz

 

 

 

Northern Translation Brief 03Apr2017

Our Dear Partners,

We were counting the months and then counting the weeks and now we are counting the DAYS until the 2017 First Nations Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshop that is being held in Guelph Ontario, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, April 9-14, 2017.

This Translation Brief invites you to pray for this event, by focusing on the staff, the participants, and the guests; and also on the vision, the program and the effects.

Vision

The First Nations church leaders and speakers of these Algonquian languages identified capacity-building and training for their own translators as one of their priorities at the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering in Prince Albert back in June of 2014. They were inspired by how God’s Word translated by and used by the Naskapi community was having a growing positive influence on their lives and creating a hunger to know God in their own language. They had a vision for workshops that bring together people from different related language communities, creating a safe environment for mutual encouragement, and equipping them to more adequately handle the complex task of Bible translation.

First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Initiative

Participants

Again this year, the Naskapi community is sending both experienced and newer language workers involved in Bible translation and language development work. You are invited to pray for each of these participants by name:

Naskapi Bible translation project, Naskapi Development Corporation:

  • Silas Nabinicaboo
  • Ruby Sandy-Robinson
  • Tshiueten Vachon
  • Kabimbetas Mokoush
  • Amanda Swappie

Naskapi translation services, Naskapi Nation:

  • George Guanish, translator
  • Isaac Einish, editor of the Naskapi Newspaper

Naskapi language education, Jimmy Sandy Memorial School:

  • Seasi Swappie, Naskapi language teacher

Oji-Cree Bible translation project, Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh:

  • Jessie Atlookan
  • Ruth Kitchekesik
  • Dominick Beardy (going in place of Theresa Sainnawap this time)
  • Zipporah Mamakwa
  • Saloma Sainnawap

Council of the Cree Nation of Mistissini:

  • Mary-Jane Petawabono
  • Juliette Neeposh

Pray that these who come will experience God’s peace, protection and provision as they travel so far from their home communities.

First Nations Mother Tongue Translators at the 2015 workshop

Program

The special sessions this year are on the topic of translating Proverbs by Steve Kempf. Catherine Aldred-Shull has offered to present a session on Orality, Literacy and The Bible. Also Norma Jean will be leading the language groups in an activity on Domains of Language Use applying Participatory Methods, and Terri Scruggs is preparing a module about Translation Project Management for mother tongue translators. Rod & Liesel Bartlett will talk about Chronological Bible Storying.

Staff teaching at the 2016 workshop

Staff

The rest of the staff on the roster are continuing to teach the participants from the textbook we began in previous years, Bible Translation Basics: Communicating Scripture in a Relevant Way, by Harriet Hill. The new Wycliffe teams assigned to First Nations projects–Matthew & Caitlin Windsor and Alice & Martin Reed–will be on hand for the entire workshop and presenting lessons from this book. Also, Ruth Heeg, Meg Billingsley and Bill will lead some sessions using this book and other materials as well. Further, Jeff Green, an Wycliffe member teaching linguistics and translation at Tyndale, and Myles Leitch from the Canadian Bible Society will also each be teaching lessons from the book.

I know that we will all be grateful if you remember to pray for the staff members by name:

  • Bill & Norma Jean–First Nations Bible translation workshop coordinators
  • Matthew & Caitlin Windsor–new Wycliffe Bible translation facilitators
  • Alice & Martin Reed–new Wycliffe Bible translation facilitators and interns serving the Naskapi language project
  • Terri Scruggs–Wycliffe Canada project administrator
  • Meg Billingsley–Translation consultant-in-training
  • Catherine Aldred-Shull–Canadian Bible Society translation officer-in-training
  • Myles Leitch–Canadian Bible Society director of scripture translations
  • Ruth Heeg–Translation consultant mentor
  • Steve Kempf–SIL International translation consultant
  • Jeff Green–CanIL instructor of linguistics
  • Rod & Liesel Bartlett–Wycliffe Bible translation facilitators

Pray that these who are giving their time and expertise will experience God’s empowering, protection and provision as they come to serve the First Nations Bible translators.

Guests

Like at previous workshops, a number of people who are interested in or supporters of the First Nations Bible Translation movement have asked to come to observe or visit the staff and participants during the workshop. We are happy to accommodate them, and found that their presence and encounter with the First Nations Bible translators has been a mutual encouragement and a blessing. Pray with us that this will also be so this year. The guests we are expecting are:

  • Elaine Bombay–Wycliffe Global Alliance  photojournalist
  • Colin & Dot Suggett–Wycliffe members interested in First Nations translation projects
  • Daniel Yoon–Wycliffe Canada Church Connections team
  • Gyoojun Lee–Wycliffe Canada Church Connections team
  • Ben Wukasch–Wycliffe Canada project facilitator candidate
  • Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald–National Indigenous Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada
  • Esther Wesley–coordinator of the Anglican Healing Fund, Anglican Church of Canada
  • Nancy Hurn–archivist, Anglican Church of Canada
  • Jack & Joanne Koetsier–partner/supporter of Bible translation projects
  • Jeff Westlake–Senior Development Officer, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Guests at the 2016 workshop

Tshiueten, Kabimbetas and Cheyenne at mealtime at the 2015 workshop

Pray that these who are investing their time and interest will sense God’s wisdom and direction in their lives as they come to interact with the First Nations Bible translators.

Effects

In previous years, the participants expresssed their appreciation for the opportunity to take part in this training, but also were grateful for:

“…Learning from patient facilitators who were patient with me.”
“…Learning new things about translating the Bible.”
“…Sharing of other teams’ experiences.”
“…I enjoyed the visitors and all they offered for us in their prayers, and the direction of the facilitators.”
“…The singing and devotions and great workshop presenters, and the explanations about the basics of translation.”

Please pray with us for the ongoing positive effects that the participants can bring back to their Bible Translation projects in their home communities.

Next Generation Bible Translation Team

This is the first workshop where all of the current Next Generation personnel are coming to interact with the participants. Please pray for God’s provision, deepening relationships and clear guidance and wisdom for these who have been called to serve First Nations Bible translation.

Staff: Meg Billingsley, Matt & Caitlin Windsor, and baby Hazel (ᐊᐱᑯᓯᔅ)

Staff: Martin and Alice Reed

Thank you for remembering this upcoming Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) workshop in your prayers between now and Easter, and may God bless you as you celebrate His victory over death and the grave.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

Northern Translation Brief: Kingfisher Lake Translation Checking

Our Dear Partners,

In the complex task of translating the Bible, it is helpful for a translation team to break the process down into manageable and measurable steps. The new Oji-Cree translation team is working on the project chosen by their church and community–that is, the scripture verses contained in the weekly (Epistle and Gospel) lectionary readings used in Sunday Services.

For each passage, the translation team work through steps in order to ensure that the translation in their mother tongue is clear, accurate, natural and acceptable.

  • The first step is the “First Draft“, which includes learning what the original passage means and then expressing that meaning in the translator’s own words.
  • The second step is a “Team Check“, during which the translator reads her First Draft to the other Oji-Cree translators in the translation team, and the team offers suggestions, corrections, or advice. The translator then makes appropriate revisions.
  • The third step is a “Community Check“. The text is printed and distributed in a preliminary form that other members of the community can read (or be read to), and the translator receives feedback and suggestions from Oji-Cree speakers of different ages in the community. The translator again makes appropriate revisions.
  • The fourth step is a “Back Translation“. A team member who did not work on the translation reads the text without referring to the original source, and makes a translation back into English. This English language back translation can now be used to verify whether the translation is complete and accurate.

You can see a progress chart showing these steps at one of our previous posts Northern Translation Brief 05Oct2016.

After the team accomplishes these four steps, the passage is ready for step five, a checking session with a Translation Consultant. A translation consultant is a person trained in linguistics, cross-cultural studies, Biblical languages and content, along with in-depth experience working in minority-language translation programs in the field.

In January 2017, the New Oji-Cree Bible translation team had their first “Consultant Check”.

Travel to Kingfisher Lake

On Monday Morning, January 23, Norma Jean and I drove to Ruth Heeg’s house in Waterloo, Ontario, and her husband Dick drove us to the airport in Toronto. Ruth brings extensive translation experience in a lifetime career of Bible translation in Wycliffe and also as a translation consultant with the Bible Society.

We met up with Meg Billingsley at the airport. Meg is a “translation consultant-in-training” and is being mentored by Ruth. Meg also has had several years of field experience in translation projects for Plains Cree in Saskatchewan and Mik’maq in Nova Scotia. We all checked in at the airport and flew together to Thunder Bay, Ontario, and spent the night there.

Ruth Heeg and Meg Billingsley

On Tuesday Morning, January 24, we got a message from the airline that serves the remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario (Wasaya) that there were weather delays, and that our plane would not leave Thunder Bay until mid afternoon. So we had breakfast and lunch together. We had planned to arrive in Kingfisher by 10:00 in the morning on Tuesday. That was not going to happen now.

Waiting in Sioux Lookout

After flying to Sioux Lookout in the afternoon, we got on the late plane to Kingfisher, but it was still snowing and foggy, and so after flying up and “over” Kingfisher, the pilot turned the plane around and we went back to Sioux. By now it was 8:30 PM. So we spent one extra night en-route at Sioux Lookout.

STILL WAITING

On Wednesday Morning, January 25, we got up early to go to the airport, and we were put on the “waiting list” for the morning flight up north, which was also cancelled by weather. Finally, they put us on the late flight in a bigger plane (a Dash-8) so all the folks who could not get north in the past few days could all go together. The only hitch was that we were told that our bags would follow later. We finally got in to Kingfisher Lake at about 8:30 PM on Wednesday night after spending both Tuesday and Wednesday at the airports.

Translation Checking

The translation team was all ready to work on Thursday morning, and so we all sat down, had our greetings, our prayers and we got started. The translation team agreed to also work on Saturday afternoon because of our time in travel. We let the translation team and Bishop Lydia set the schedule.

Planning the workshop

Working on the text

Ruth K, Zipporah and Jessie

Each day we would begin with devotions and a Bible reading in the Oji-Cree language, prayers and a (Cree) hymn, and then I would turn over the workshop session to Ruth and Meg. I first briefed the team on the purpose of a consultant check, and then Meg got right into it with the passages that she had prepared. The entire team worked together, with one team member (Jessie) handling the updates and revisions to the text and another (Zipporah) updating the back-translation. All of the team participated and answered Meg (and Ruth’s) questions.

Other Scripture Engagement Activities

Their former Bishop of the Keewatin Diocese, Rt. Rev. David Ashdown, came for the weekend for services in the community. He preached in all the services, and they were well attended. One of the major Sunday services (the “English” service, held in the afternoon) was held in the school gym, being larger, and it accommodated the “blessing of the school”. At this service, the new Oji-Cree translation of the Epistle and the Gospel was read in the local language, and the translation was well-received by the large Oji-Cree speaking congregation in attendance.

Bishop Ashdown and Bishop Lydia also performed a consecration service for the new chapel in the lower level of the Mission House. It was named the “Chapel of the Holy Elders”, being named in honour of the Oji-Cree elders who were instrumental in the early Christian life and self-determination of the diocese of Mishamikoweesh.

Mission House Chapel

Service of consecration

Reading the scriptures

Bishop Ashdown signing the new vestry book

Norma Jean and I then participated in the new Sunday School that the translation team from Mission House has set up, in anticipation of the trip that we have planned to work with the Oji-Cree Christian Education team on Vacation Bible School this July. We are hoping to bring some people from our home church in Simcoe, ON to assist at this, Lord willing.

Kingfisher Lake Sunday School

Parents helping their children

Sunday School crafts

God made colourful caterpillars

Norma Jean also led the translation team in the production of a scripture engagement project, a church banner with “Love One Another” (ᓵᑭᐦᐃᑎᔪᐠ in Oji-Cree) on it, from John 13:34. The team participated in the design and some of the sewing, but somewhat less than usual, so that they could give more time to the consultant checking with the translation consultants.

Planning the Future

On Friday, Norma Jean met with the translation team and the Sunday School team to talk about a summer youth activity, “Vacation Bible School”. The Oji-Cree team suggested that the topic could be the story of Creation from Genesis. Norma Jean would be working with the translation team in the months to come to prepare culturally-appropriate Sunday School and Christian Education curriculum that more closely corresponds to indigenous life in the north.

The team told us that they wanted to be sure that the Gospel was clearly presented throughout the week, so that the children had an opportunity to hear and respond to the good news about Jesus. The Oji-Cree team also said that any helpers from outside the community should not simply come up and conduct the Vacation Bible School themselves–but rather that the activity be used to train the Oji-Cree Sunday School teachers and staff to learn how to conduct and present a Vacation Bible School program. With this in mind, each of the activities would be presented in both the Oji-Cree language and English, with the Oji-Cree Sunday School teachers fully involved in all activities with the Kingfisher Lake children.

The dates that they proposed for this summer’s Vacation Bible School activity in Kingfisher Lake are July 17th to the 21st, just after the Dr. William Winter School.

On Saturday, we met to talk with Bishop Lydia who shared her ongoing vision for the Oji-Cree translation project, future plans, and the kinds of support and help that they would like from us. She said that she will be meeting with some of the church leaders in the area of her diocese (in northern Manitoba) that speak the Swampy Cree language about the possibility of having a similar translation project started in one of the Swampy Cree communities that she has spiritual leadership over. She suggested that “Split Lake” or one of the other communities near there might be a possibility.

Bishop Lydia asked Bill to help her with her diocesan website, and also help to expand the Oji-Cree translation project so that so that the team can work on the translation of other Bible- and worship-related materials (such as Prayer Books, Christian Education Materials and Hymnals) into the Oji-Cree language.

ISMM Diocese Website “under construction”

When we discussed the future, which included having Meg continue to check scripture as it becomes ready, the question of regular communication with the translation team came up. The team suggested setting up a private Oji-Cree Bible Translators “Facebook Group” to do this. This way Meg or any other member of the team may be able to call them all together using a Facebook message to the group, and then ask consultant questions either on Facebook Chat or Skype.

Oji-Cree Bible Translator’s Facebook Group

Wrapping up the Workshop

The weather cleared on Monday, January 30, and we continued to work all day as before, with Meg doing most of the checking sessions. Bill also presented a training module about key Biblical terms (we accumulated a number of new ones in Oji-Cree during the checking) and how to use the Paratext computer program to keep track of these.

Bill also set up a new work computer for their newest team member Saloma Sainnawap, and he did general computer maintenance and software upgrades on all the other team computers. He also looked after equipment and “technical details” in general while Meg (and Ruth) ran the checking sessions.

Ruth K, Zipporah, Jessie and Saloma

As a new translation consultant, Meg handled herself very well with the Oji-Cree team, being sensitive to their needs and their level of ability. They said that they would be eager to have her come back to continue work with them as the need arises, and we feel the same way!

Coming back home on Thursday February 2 we were delayed by about an hour at the Kingfisher Lake airstrip waiting for the plane to arrive, but they made up the time by transferring us quickly between planes in Sioux. The flight back to Toronto was fine, but Norma Jean’s bag was lost in the Pearson baggage handling area. It was delivered to our house the next day. Ruth’s husband Dick picked us up. We had a late supper, Meg got a ride home from the airport by a friend, and we got home to Windham Centre late at night on Thursday, after picking up our car at Ruth’s.

All in all, it went well, even after missing two days of work because of flight delays.
Thank you for your prayers and especially thanks to God for His work and word in the lives of the Oji-Cree people.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 09Jan2017

Our Dear Partners,

Happy New Year to you all!

Over the past year, the Wycliffe Canada Word Alive team has been interviewing, photographing, and editing the January-April 2017 edition (volume 35 number 1) of Word Alive magazine, the “…the official publication of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada, informing, inspiring and involving the Christian public as partners in the worldwide Bible translation movement.”

Natasha Ramírez and Dwayne Janke at the MTT Workshop

Natasha Ramírez and Dwayne Janke at the MTT Workshop

Editor Dwayne Janke was on hand to interview participants and observe at the 2016 Mother Tongue Translator (MTT) Workshop that was held last April in Guelph, Ontario. Along with him to help document the action in images was staff photographer Natasha Ramírez. All the participants were encouraged by their interest in the several First Nations Bible translation projects that were represented there.

Natasha had accompanied us on our working trip to the Oji-Cree translation project last Easter, and visited the community again in September to collect more material for the magazine.

Word Alive Jan-Apr 2017 Volume 35 Number 1

Word Alive Jan-Apr 2017 Volume 35 Number 1

Print copies of the magazine are being sent to Wycliffe Canada subscribers and constituency, and we will also be making special requests for copies to be sent to partners as well. You may download a PDF version of the magazine to read right now at this link:

https://www.wycliffe.ca/wycliffe/ck_assets/admin/files/wam/wam_2017_jan-apr.pdf

You may also view the web version of that issue, especially designed for viewing on your computer or handheld:

http://wordalive.wycliffe.ca/stories/a-cree-initiative

It also has a lot more content than the print version, including additional photographs and videos. We hope that you have a moment to check it out.

Thank you for your prayers for us as we respond to God’s enabling to help build the capacity of First Nations translators to meet their communities’ needs that they have expressed to us regarding Bible translation in their own languages.

Please remember these First Nations translators who are already engaged in their own projects (or are hoping to be soon):

Oji-Cree: (Kingfisher Lake) Zipporah, Ruth M, Ruth K, Theresa, Jessie, and Dominick

Naskapi: (Kawawachikamach) Silas, Tshiueten, Amanda and Kissandra

Plains Cree: Dolores and Gayle

Woods Cree: Adam and Sam

And pray with us for those other communities and individuals that God will use to bring His Word into other First Nations languages that have been waiting long enough.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

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Northern Translation Brief: Fall 2016 Partnership Tour

Our Dear Partners,

“Bible Translation is the mission of the whole church”. This is not a new idea–it was stated as a principle in 2008 by Kirk Franklin, the former executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators International (now Wycliffe Global Alliance).

http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/perspectives-php/921/04-2008

As many of you know, God has been at work in the hearts and communities of First Nations communities in Canada, and we have been privileged to be involved with several language communities who are translating the Bible into their own mother tongues. First Nations speakers of their own indigenous languages are engaged in translating the Bible for their own communities, in Cree, Oji-Cree and Naskapi.

http://bill.jancewicz.com/2016/05/10/northern-translation-brief-2016-mother-tongue-translator-mtt-workshop/

Several “majority-language-speaking” (that’s English) churches and many individuals across Canada and the USA have partnered with us since we first set out in 1987. Many of you who read this blog have shared in our work since then.

By means of messages like this one, you have been invited to connect with us in your thoughts and prayers, and also with and for the First Nations language speakers who we serve. Sometimes we also travel to visit many ministry partners in person. This November we are about to set off on another trip to do that, making stops and appointments in:

  • Preston, Connecticut (Nov 4-5) two home visits
  • Sutton, Vermont (Sunday, Nov 6) church visit-Sutton Freewill Baptist Church
  • Bozrah, Connecticut (Monday-Tuesday, Nov 7-8) two home visits
  • Norwich, Connecticut (Wednesday, Nov 9) men’s morning prayer, Norwich Alliance Church
  • Derry, New Hampshire (Wednesday evening, Nov 9) church visit-Central Congregational Church
  • Waterford, Connecticut (Thursday evening, Nov 10) church visit-First Baptist Church of Waterford
  • Wynnewood, Pennsylvania (Sunday, Nov 13) church visit-All Saints Church
  • Baltimore, Maryland (Sunday evening, Nov 13) home visit
  • La Plata, Maryland (Monday evening, Nov 14) home visit
  • Clayton, North Carolina (Tuesday evening, Nov 15) home visit
  • Bluffton, South Carolina (Wednesday-Friday, Nov 16-18) campsite visit
  • Clearwater, Florida (Saturday-Tuesday, Nov 19-21) home visit
  • Chattsworth, Georgia (Wednesday-Friday, Nov 22-25) home visit
  • Westerville, Ohio (Saturday evening, Nov 26) home visit

fall-2016-trip2We will be on the road from Thursday, November 3 until nearly the end of the month, and we desire your prayers for safety, guidance and provision–and also for God’s leading as we meet with and minister to many of you who have stood with us in this work.

A good way to contact us this month (and all the time) is my email: bill_jancewicz@sil.org

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean

Northern Translation Brief 05Oct2016

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers for us during the past several days: Norma Jean and I have been in Kingfisher Lake, northern Ontario with the Oji-Cree Bible Translation team, conducting an on-site workshop there. Since translating the very first verse of their translation project less than 18 months ago (read about that here: <link>), the team has completed 2478 verses of the Bible in first draft. Of these, 464 verses have been checked and reviewed by their entire team, and 404 verses are back-translated and ready for a consultant-check.

progress-chart-sept2016We began each day singing a hymn from the Cree hymnal together, and reading a devotional on the Oji-Cree scripture text that they would be “team-checking” or “back-translating” that day.

dscn2168The team learned and practiced preparing and formatting the printed Sunday scripture readings that are used in their church each week. They learned some more advanced skills in translating names, flora & fauna of the Bible and major Biblical terms using the computer database tools designed for Bible translators.

In a nutshell, we taught and practiced translation procedures that the Oji-Cree team asked us to teach and practice–giving them what they needed as they needed it.

Our travels up north here from down south was delayed by a day because the little plane could not land on the gravel strip at Kingfisher Lake last Tuesday morning in the fog. So after an unplanned stopover in Sioux Lookout, we came back and landed last Wednesday. But we thank God for His help and grace to accomplish all He wanted to do with the team during the days we had together.

windham-to-kingfisherLord willing we fly all the way back home to southern Ontario on Thursday, October 6 (three planes, six airports, 1100 miles, 12 hours, two time zones, one Canadian province).

Thank you for being an essential part of this work, and helping the Oji-Cree to have better access to God’s Word in their own language.

Blessings, Bill and Norma Jean

Fall moose hunting harvest, Kingfisher Lake 2016

Fall moose hunting harvest, Kingfisher Lake 2016

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Northern Translation Brief: Linguistics Intern Visit to Naskapi

Our Dear Partners,

After the First Nations Bible Translation Capacity-Building Gathering that was held at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan 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. One necessary part of capacity-building includes the recruitment and training of new Bible Translation facilitator teams to work alongside language speakers in their communities in the north.

unlabeled CNM mapA key part of the preparation for these Bible Translation facilitator teams is a period of in-field training and language service with the Naskapi translation project. During this time of gaining experience living in an isolated northern First Nations community, the new teams will serve the Naskapi as Linguistics Interns, taking part in the facilitation of a real ongoing language program there.

cimg8834To help the new teams with a smoother transition to their in-field training period, they accompany us on one of our working trips to the Naskapi community. In August of 2016, Martin and Alice Reed came with us to visit the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach, as their part of their introduction to the situation in Canadian First Nations, as well as a chance for us to get to know them better.

img_1587You may remember that last year at this time, Matthew and Caitlin Windsor accompanied us to Kawawachikamach on a similar visit. You can read about that trip at this link here <link>.

On this year’s trip, beginning August 21, we picked up Alice and Martin at the Buffalo, NY airport, and from there we drove for the next three days together up through southern Ontario along the north shore of the St. Lawrence in Quebec to Sept-Iles, were we boarded the train to Schefferville. The train ride this time was 16 hours, arriving at Schefferville near midnight. We arrived at the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach in the wee hours of Friday morning, August 26.

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We celebrate Alice's birthday along the way

We celebrate Alice’s birthday along the way

cimg8876dscn1743Naskapi Exodus Checking

We were met there in Kawawachikamach by translation consultant Watson Williams and his wife Linda. Watson had already been there in the Naskapi community working with the Naskapi translators on the exegetical checking for the book of Exodus for the previous two weeks.

img_0261The book of Exodus: the story of Moses, the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt and the establishment of the covenant with God’s people is 40 chapters long and contains more than 1200 verses. It has been one of the major projects in the Naskapi translation program since the publication of the Naskapi New Testament in 2007. Naskapi translator Tshiueten Vachon completed the first draft of this book earlier this year. When Watson heard that the book needed to be checked, he volunteered to come out of “retirement” and return to the Naskapi community again to help them accomplish this check. Watson had been the main consultant who helped the Naskapi team with their New Testament checking a decade ago, and also checked the Old Testament Lectionary lessons in 2010. He works very well with the Naskapi translators, and is well-loved by the Naskapi people, and we are all very grateful that he was able to come with Linda to work with the team.

img_0011img_0010We were there with Martin and Alice to observe the last day of checking, and they were able to see first-hand Watson’s procedure of working with the translators, asking questions, verifying the accuracy of the translation, and making suggestions for improvements. On that last day, the translation team completed the checking through the end of chapter 30 of Exodus, about 73% of the book. Watson then provided the translators with a detailed series of steps that they can follow so that in the weeks to come they can finish checking the remaining 325 verses with Watson “off-site”, communicating their questions and answers by internet.

Watson with his wife Linda, and Ruby Sandy-Robinison administrator of the Naskapi Development Corporation

Watson with his wife Linda, and Ruby Sandy-Robinison administrator of the Naskapi Development Corporation

It was an excellent opportunity for Martin and Alice to see Watson at work with team.

Naskapi Literature Production

If you can read the Bible yourself, it’s because you can read. If you can read (thank a teacher!) it’s because you can and have read many, many other books in your own language. Naskapi reading and writing is now taught at the Naskapi school in the early years as the language of instruction, and while there is a growing collection of children’s books in Naskapi, it is also important to have good quality Naskapi language literature by Naskapi authors, suitable for all ages. One project we have been helping to coordinate with the Naskapi translators is the production of a book series of traditional stories and legends. cimg9096We work with the Naskapi translation team and a consultant linguist, Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, professor emeritus from Memorial University of Newfoundland. We arrived the same week that the fourth volume in this series “The Giant Eagle and other stories” was released in the community and online, and also took part in the transcription and linguistic analysis of the next set of stories for the next volumes.

cimg9240cimg9093img_0024Again, having Martin and Alice participate in the day-to-day work by the Naskapi translators working with the consultant linguists gave them another excellent opportunity to experience another facet of language development work.

eagle-promo-card-horizThe Giant Eagle and other stories book in Naskapi also contains a literary English translation, linguistic and cultural notes, and beautiful illustrations by our daughter Elizabeth. They are now available with all the other Naskapi language materials online at this website: <link>

Language, Culture and Relationships

dscn1819Along with our work activities that Alice and Martin eagerly participated in, they also had excellent opportunities to get to know about the people and the place where God has called us to serve and begin to get accustomed to what it’s like to work in a remote northern First Nations community. We all attended Naskapi church services, a baby christening celebration, and several community cultural events that were taking place during the days we were in Kawawachikamach. Alice and Martin began to learn to speak a few Naskapi phrases, started to think about Algonquian grammatical structure, learn about gathering and processing traditional Naskapi medications, and participate in a community fishing derby.

dscn1826dscn1833cimg9079cimg9203cimg9209cimg9218The relationship-building went in both directions too, as the Naskapi welcomed them into their lives and activities, and clearly let them know that the Naskapi themselves are looking forward to the days when Alice and Martin will be able to spend a longer period of service and getting to know the people at Kawawachikamach better.

img_0067Linguistics Internships

cimg8957Some have asked if the new teams that God is sending to work with us are our “replacements”. Well, not exactly. It became clear that God is at work in many First Nations communities across Northern Canada, and that for us to simply move on to another language project after Naskapi would not nearly begin to meet the need, besides the fact that the Naskapi team still needs continued support. So in answer to your prayers God has called additional Bible Translation facilitation teams Matt and Caitlin Windsor and Alice and Martin Reed to serve in some of these other First Nations Bible Translation projects.

img_1768They are both working on building up a team of partners who will pray for and support their work through Wycliffe Bible Translators, and they are completing their final preparations to leave home to work in an isolated northern community to do this. Since the languages are all closely related, and the values and culture of these language communities share a lot in common, their planned in-field training period serving in a linguistics internship with Naskapi for several months will continue to support the Naskapi project in significimg_1771ant ways, moving the Naskapi team closer to a sustainable level of capacity, while also giving the new teams the practical skills and experience that they will need to work in the language communities that are still waiting for God’s Word in their mother tongues.

This will also enable us to leverage our own experience so that we can support these new teams as mentors, while God continues to use us to assist the other language projects where we have the privilege to serve.

dscn1700Both the Windsors and the Reeds hope to begin their Linguistics Internships with the Naskapi project sometime in 2017, and be ready to move on to another language community, such as Cree, Oji-Cree, or Innu, who even now are still waiting for the scriptures in their language.

Prayer Requests

Please continue to pray for Alice and Martin Reed, and for Matthew and Caitin Windsor, as they continue to prepare themselves and seek adequate support so that they may move to the north and begin their internships.

Pray for us that we will be sensitive to God’s leading and faithful to His call as we provide guidance to these new teams.

Pray for the First Nations language communities that we have already begun to work alongside of, and for those who are still waiting to have the message of God’s love and hope in their own languages.

Pray for the Naskapi team as they finish the book of Exodus and learn to work on their language program with more and more confidence and ability.

Thank you for your own interest, support and encouragement for this work that God is doing in minority First Nations language communities in Canada.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

dscn1850dscn1752Consider becoming more involved and supporting this work by visiting these websites:

In the USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz

 

 

Northern Translation Brief 06Aug2016

Our Dear Partners

We just got home from another working trip the Oji-Cree community of Kingfisher Lake in Northern Ontario. They started their own Bible translation project in Oji-Cree last year, and have asked for more training from us.

The Dr. William Winter School of Ministry

Dr. William Winter

Dr. William Winter

The Kingfisher Lake community was the home of the late Dr. William Winter, a respected Oji-Cree elder and church leader who had a dream many years ago of establishing a program for training indigenous people for ministry. The Dr. William Winter School of Ministry was established in 2003 and since then, many men and women have taken courses for ministry in northern Ontario and Manitoba.

We were invited to take part in the second week of this year’s School of Ministry. It is held at the Big Beaver Bible Camp, in the bush near one of the traditional settlements of the Oji-Cree people who now live on the Kingfisher Lake reserve. The day after arriving at Kingfisher Lake, we were brought by pick-up truck to the boat landing on Misamikwash Lake opposite Big Beaver Bible Camp.

map to Bible CampA small fleet of outboard motorboats serve as transportation to the camp, and after a 15 minute boat ride we were walking up the dock at the camp.

DSCN1237 DSCN1246 DSCN1247 DSCN1256 DSCN1259 DSCN1260The School of Ministry features courses in Bible history, theology, and other topics useful for indigenous clergy and lay-persons involved in ministry in their own First Nations communities. It is a great hardship for non-stipendary (unpaid) indigenous clergy to take ministry courses offered at seminaries and universities so far from their homes. The School of Ministry removes most of those hurdles by providing quality education right in their territory at an affordable cost, and presented in their own mother tongue. Most of the sessions are translated directly into Oji-Cree on the spot by interpreters as they are delivered by instructors in English. Some sessions are taught by experienced First Nations clergy and/or elders right in their own language.

DSCN1268 DSCN1287This summer’s two-week session included teaching sessions that were led by the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, the National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, and also by a team of Maori clergy from New Zealand: Bishop Rahu and Rev. Robert Kereopa.

maorisThey also feature such practical classes as music and hymnody, planning worship services, and Oji-Cree language. Zipporah Mamakwa, one of the Oji-Cree translators, invited Bill to assist her in two of the language sessions. During those sessions they made a presentation to the students about the beginnings of the new local Bible translation project, and also shared hands-on teaching methods for Oji-Cree syllabics and an introduction to Algonquian grammar for literacy.

DSCN1359 DSCN1360 DSCN1361 DSCN1365The two-week session culminated in a beautiful outdoor Eucharist service conducted by Bishop Lydia Mamakwa and all the visiting indigenous clergy and lay persons, and the recognition of all the participants.

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Bishop Rahu from New Zealand preaching from a boat “Like Jesus Did”

DSCN1344Oji-Cree Translator Workshop

Over the weekend, the visiting participants for the Dr. William Winter School made their way back to their home communities and places of service, while the Oji-Cree translators prepared for have a Bible Translation training workshop with Bill and Norma Jean back at Mission House in Kingfisher Lake.

DSCN1404 DSCN1407 DSCN1410There, the they discussed and evaluated their progress toward the translation team’s goals on the various translation stages: First Draft, Team Checking and Review, Community Checking, and Back Translation.

DSCN1398Bill conducted classes in the use of a computer-based tool that is used to assist the translators to choose consistent spelling of key Biblical terms. The computer program that we use to help us translate the Bible can also access a database of key Biblical terms that includes all the names of persons and places in the Bible, along with encyclopedic information and the proper pronunciation and usage of those terms. The translators can then discuss and approve their own spelling of those terms in their own language. The database guides them to help them to ensure that every occurrence of each approved term is spelled consistently in their language.

Using the Biblical Terms Tool

Using the Biblical Terms Tool

The translation team practiced using the tool, working through their translation and making decisions on terms such as “Moses”, “Jerusalem” and “disciple”, and Bill provided them with a written guide to the Tool so that they could continue to do this on their own in the weeks to come.

DSCN1421 DSCN1425DSCN1422 Too soon, our time was up and we were brought to the airport for the (several) long flights home, and by late Thursday night August 4 we were back in our own bed at Windham Centre.

Please remember to pray for the new Oji-Cree translation team by name:

Theresa, Ruth M, Zipporah, Bill & Norma Jean, Jessie, Ruth K.

Theresa, Ruth M, Zipporah, Bill & Norma Jean, Jessie, Ruth K.

  • Theresa Sainnawap
  • Ruth Morris
  • Zipporah Mamakwa
  • Jessie Atlookan
  • Dominick Beardy (not pictured–could not attend)
  • Rev. Ruth Kitchekesik–Ruth also serves as a deacon in St. Matthew’s Church, Kingfisher Lake, and also as the coordinator of the Bible translation team, along with all of her other duties.
  • Rt. Rev. Lydia Mamakwa–Lydia provides much of the vision and leadership for the project, as well as serving as the diocesan Bishop over several First Nations parishes in northern Ontario and Manitoba in the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh (ISMM).

Pray for their families, for their work and their lives, and for God’s continued guidance, provision and blessing on their work.

DSCN1476Norma Jean and I are preparing to go to work with the Naskapi translation team in just a couple weeks. Another Translation Brief will come out with prayer requests for that trip soon.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma JeanDSCN1491

DSCN1471 DSCN1472

DSCN1495 DSCN1482   DSCN1499Have you thought about becoming more involved and supporting this work by visiting these websites?

In the USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz

 

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

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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