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

 

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 26May2015

Our Dear Partners,

By the time you are reading this we will have disconnected and turned in our home Internet box to the service provider, along with our land-line telephone, as we prepare to finish cleaning and packing to leave our little rented cottage in Aldergrove, BC. We have made this our home for the past two years as Norma Jean worked on courses for her graduate program at Trinity Western University.

cottage-card-600-colourWe are starting our drive across the continent on Friday, May 29, towing a rented trailer containing some of our belongings that we acquired during our two years here–at least those items that remain after giving a lot away to others.

Moving to Ontario screenAlong the way we will be attending the NAIITS (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies) Symposium at Wheaton College, in Illinois on June 4-6, where we are connecting with some old friends and networking with new partners in our First Nations Bible Translation work.

Screen shot 2015-05-26 at 2.43.55 PMThen we continue on towards the greater Toronto area where we will continue to look for a new place to call “home”. Why southern Ontario? Mainly because this puts us in a region that makes it convenient to travel to the First Nations communities that we are connecting with to assist with language development that will help them gain better access to the Scriptures in their mother tongues. Also, some of our significant partner organizations, such as the Bible Society, educational institutions and the First Nations church have their headquarters in this region as well.

Home to First Nations MapBut so far, we do not yet have a mailing address in Ontario. And, as of this Thursday we will no longer get mail at 25133 0 Avenue in Aldergrove, BC, so please cross that address off your address book. You can also cross out our old home phone number (604) 381-4440 too, because that won’t work either. You can still follow Norma Jean on Facebook, and news will still be posted here on this website–and our email addresses are still remain the best way to stay in touch with us. We did get an android-based “smart” phone, and if you email Norma Jean she might give you the number so that you can send us a text (and we will try to remember to keep the phone charged up so that we can answer you!)

Bill’s email: bill_jancewicz@sil.org

Norma Jean’s email: normajean_jancewicz@sil.org

We plan to drop off our belongings in a storage facility in the Kitchener, Ontario area in June, and continue our search for a new home somewhere around there, and as soon as we know where that is, we will let you know.

Later on in June we plan to visit family, friends, and supporting churches in New England and parts of the northeastern United States while we continue looking for the house that God has for us.

During the second half of the summer we will be going back to northern Ontario and northern Quebec to continue to support the First Nations Bible Translation projects there in the Oji-Cree and Naskapi languages.

We are grateful for your prayers for God’s continued guidance and safety as we follow Him into this new phase of His work in our lives and in the lives and languages of the First Nations people of Canada.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean

Partner with us in prayer or sharing in our financial support by visiting these websites: http://bill.jancewicz.com/ (personal)
In Canada: http://www.wycliffe.ca/m?Jancewicz
In USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

Summer 2014 Newsletter (Part 3)

In the previous post, we described a strategy for meeting the remaining translation needs in Canada by multiplying the work begun with Naskapi–building Bible translation capacity in the First Nations communities in Canada, and tells of our plans for a trip across the country to visit First Nations communities and work with the Naskapi team. This post completes our summer newsletter with personal notes and contact information.

Living on the “west coast”

While Norma Jean is completing her MA program course work in British Columbia, we expect to remain based here to be close to Trinity Western University through the first half of 2015. We are able to support the ongoing Naskapi work by e-mail and Skype, while deepening our linguistics and academics through networking with CanIL staff and students.

Family Mattersfamilypix2014

Our son Nick is continues his studies in social work, and continues his enrolment in the undergraduate program at Trinity Western University. He will again be living on-campus in the dorm here. This summer, he’s pleased to be working full-time as a technician at a local sporting-goods retail outlet. It has been great to have him nearby.
Elizabeth and Eric are living in Connecticut, pursuing their musical and artistic endeavors. We are so proud of their accomplishments. Elizabeth continues to be involved in First Nations work by beautifully illustrating some of our literacy books.
Ben and Tamika live with their two children in Baltimore, and have been out to BC several times this year to see us. It is great to connect with them and especially our grandchildren Nya and Arion.

Thank you for your prayers for our ongoing work and school, as we continue to serve and look with anticipation toward the expanded roles God has given us in First Nations Bible Translation across Canada.

Serving with you,
Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz / 25133 0 Ave / Aldergrove, BC / V4W 2H4 CANADA
home phone 604-381-4440 (still no cell phone… yet!)
e-mail:         bill_jancewicz@sil.org        normajean_jancewicz@sil.org

If you are not yet receiving our newsletter by e-mail and you would like to, or if you would like to begin partnering with us with prayers or financial support, please contact us.
website:     bill.jancewicz.com

WBT addressesYou may connect with, pray for, and provide financial support to us directly through these Wycliffe websites (just point and click):

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

Wycliffe USA: https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/Jancewicz

Our 2013 Christmas Card

Dear Readers,

Ever since 1975, I have made our own Christmas Cards. This year you can be in on some of the creative process. Each year, we try to focus on the significance of the birth of Christ, and for the past 32 years or so we have also included a reference to our current location (on the back–usually a picture of our chikadee-ahouse or apartment, but for a few years it was a picture of a VW mini bus). For the past 25 years or so we have also included a reference to Naskapi, too. So with some of these traditions to follow, we are provided with a kind of template.

chicadee-peg1a

“Peg” the one-legged Chickadee

Still, one needs an idea. While considering several ideas, we were being visited by Chickadees at our window bird feeder. What’s could be cuter than little birds? It wouldn’t be the first time we had a bird on our cards, and I was already thinking of a connection to a Scripture verse and the birth of the Saviour. But then something cuter still did show up: Besides the dozen or so Chickadees and other birds frequenting our feeder, we started to be visited by a sweet little Chickadee with only one leg. She was a little more timid than the other cheeky birds; she would wait on the wire much longer than the others until she was sure to have a safe landing on the feeder, and then she would come, get her sunflower seed, and fly off.chikadee-peg2a

She was also special to us in that we could tell her apart from the others. She had to lean over to one side to keep her balance, but that did not stop her from coming for the meal provided. So several times a day “Peg” (Norma Jean named her) would visit, linger on the wire, come down to get her single seed and then fly off. We have seen her come every day now for weeks since we started taking notice. Once I got a good picture of her, I got to work on a pencil portrait (Norma Jean replenishes the sunflower seeds each day).

peg-chickadee-aWe do indeed put candles in the window–we like to do that at Christmas time, so I added a candle to the sketch, and then “Merry Christmas” in the “Christmas Card” font (inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life”), and so the front of the card was done.

Christmas2013front-a

I already had considered the connection to the Saviour born on Christmas day: In the Sermon on the Mount He talked about how our heavenly Father cares for birds, and encourages us not to worry about what we need–because He cares for us too. So I Christmas2013 insidequoted Matthew 6:26 in Naskapi and in English, formatted them in the top of the card, and summed up the Christmas message in the bottom of the card. Jesus saves us from many things: and the birds are a reminder that knowing Him we need not worry about things, either.

Like I mentioned earlier, it is our tradition to put a picture of our home on the back of the card, along with our contact information. Since I already sketched the cottage we are renting in Aldergrove BC (featured in an earlier blog post here), I simply re-used that picture and added the address and our e-mails for the card back.

We had the cards printed at a “Staples” outlet, I did the folding, stuffing and labeling, and then had them in the mail to the USA and overseas on Monday, 9 December 2013 (down in nearby Lynden, WA) and mailed out to our Canadian friends on Tuesday from the post office at the Co-op in Aldergrove, BC.

Christmas2013back-aWe will be staying here at our little rented cottage for the holidays this year. Nicodemus will be staying with us until the next semester starts for him and Norma Jean at Trinity Western University in Langley, later in January. We (and “Peg” the one-legged Chickadee) hope that you and yours have a very merry (and worry-free) Christmas!

Love, Bill and Norma Jean

 

Translation Brief 11Nov2013 “FAQ”-2

Our dear partners,
This is the second follow-up to answer Frequently (F) Asked (A) Questions (Q). The response to “FAQ”-1 was so positive that we are thinking that this is the highlight of your week!

The question we get a LOT (especially once folks understand the answer to the first question) is:

(2) “So… what does Bill do […all day long…] ?”

The short answer is that he serves as Norma Jean’s “support staff” **.

But Bill also keeps pretty busy outside of those responsibilities as well. Trinity Western University (TWU), where Norma Jean is enrolled, is also the home of CanIL, a training partner of Wycliffe Bible Translators and the center for SIL training in Canada. Besides the opportunity to connect with and serve along side the staff at CanIL, Bill is also upgrading his skills by taking a class to use current computer software for applied linguistics–language documentation, dictionary-making, grammar writing and preparing literacy materials. So at least two days a week Bill goes to the campus with Norma Jean to attend his classes there.

at our desks4aBill is also involved in a Consultant Development program as part of Language Program Services for the Americas Area. He is completing assignments related to “Field Linguistics Specialist Certification”. In short, he is continuing to upgrade his linguistics skills to better serve the Bible translation needs of the minority language groups we serve, including Naskapi, Mushuau Innu, Cree and other related languages.
There are also the Old Testament Bible Translation projects that the Naskapi team is working on, which he facilitates from a distance by internet communication with the Naskapi language specialists in the Naskapi community in Quebec. Several projects are just beginning and some are about to come to completion: We’ll be sharing about these Naskapi publications in particular in the weeks to come.
Finally, and related to all of these, Bill is working on needed revisions to the Naskapi dictionary, moving the database to the current language documentation software, working on Naskapi literacy books, and training (via Skype) the Naskapi language specialists to use the translation tools.

As usual, if you have any further questions, feel free to send them to us. Maybe yours will be chosen for another “Frequently Asked Question” answered soon!
Thank you for sharing our vision for everyone to have access to God’s Word in the language of their hearts.

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

** “administrative assistant, driver, bodyguard, personal chef, APA guidelines resource, critic, editor, encourager”

at our desks7aat our desks1

Translation Brief 04Nov2013 “FAQ”-1

Our dear partners,

A few weeks back we sent out a newsletter [link] to everyone, and from the responses we got from many, it seemed to raise more questions than answers!

So I thought that it would be good to send out some answers to those questions most frequently asked. “FAQ” has become a regular feature on many websites, in an attempt to anticipate those questions (Q) that are most frequently (F) asked (A). Unlike such websites, we had not anticipated the many questions that were raised, but we will take this opportunity to answer those which occurred most frequently since that newsletter.

(1) “Why did you move to British Columbia?”map of 2013 travels west

Most questions like this one were expressions of surprise that we had moved at all! We apologize that we had not made this clearer in earlier messages. Last January [link] we mentioned Norma Jean’s plans to pursue graduate studies of her own to in mother-tongue and multi-lingual education, building on her experience and work with Naskapi and Innu. At that time, she had not yet been accepted into the program at Trinity Western University here in BC, so we were still waiting ourselves for that direction.

At the same time, our son Nicodemus was considering his own transfer to Trinity Western University after having completed two years at Three Rivers Community College in Connecticut. When both Norma Jean and Nicodemus were accepted, our plans started to become more clear.

In order to better serve the Bible translation and language development needs of Naskapi, Innu and other First Nations people groups across Canada, we have been encouraged by our Wycliffe field administration to continue our professional development which includes completing our graduate degrees. Bill accomplished this during five summers at SIL-UND, and earned his MA in linguistics. Norma Jean started her MA program in August here in British Columbia. The program Norma Jean is taking has components that help broaden her insight into language education for First Nations people, which she has already been involved in for several mother-tongue communities [link], [link]

It has also been a great opportunity to be here where we can connect with Nicodemus and encourage him in his own undergrad program.

Another answer to a “Frequently Asked Question” coming soon!

Serving with you, Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

Canadian Thanksgiving 2013

Chex in the Cottage Kitchen

Chex in the Cottage Kitchen

We love this time of year, not the least reason are the two holidays: Canadian Thanksgiving (on US “Columbus Day”) is this weekend and it is also the “peak” of the autumn colours here in Aldergrove BC. We would have snow on the ground by now in Schefferville. One benefit of being citizens of two countries that celebrate the same holiday on two different days is that we can celebrate twice: we will also celebrate US Thanksgiving in November the same way. One of the treats that I put off until these holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) is “TV Snack”, also known as “Chex Mix” to others.

I went to my Fall 2011 post and put the computer in the kitchen so that I could follow my Chex Mix recipe. Click here for everything you need to know about my recipe. The Chex cereals are now available in stores in Canada, so I did not have to plan so far ahead this year. I am still getting used to the stove here in our little cottage, so I burned some of the mix near the bottom. Oh well, live and learn.

IMG_5570We are thankful for our home and God’s blessing on our work and our projects here. We will be having Nicodemus over for Thanksgiving Day, and some of his and Norma Jean’s fellow-students from Trinity Western University. Turkey, stuffing and the traditional foods, and looking forward to time together with family and friends. This year, we will visit some of them by Skype. May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, this month or next. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, this month or next (or both!). Blessings, Bill and Norma Jean

PS: Don’t pick out (only) the peanuts.

Northern Translation Summer 2013 Newsletter

Our dear partners,
Thank you for your prayers for us during the past few hectic months of work on Naskapi language projects and our service to others as part of our Wycliffe assignment. During the first four months of 2013, we were working mainly in northeast  Canada at our home in Schefferville near the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach (Kawawa). Norma Jean has served the past few years in the Naskapi school in the Naskapi language curriculum department, in support of teachers who teach in the Naskapi language in elementary school. The curriculum department is responsible for providing the Naskapi language materials that are used to help Naskapi children learn to read and write their own language.PastedGraphic-1
Over in Labrador on the coast about 240 miles east of Kawawa is the Mushuau Innu community of Natuashish, close relatives of the Naskapi. We were invited to conduct training workshops there and at the other Labrador Innu community of Sheshatshiu for Innu-speaking classroom assistants, and to help them to begin setting up their own curriculum department at their schools there in March. Norma Jean conducted education and material production classes, while Bill provided computer training and also began to explore adapting the Naskapi scriptures to the Mushuau Innu language by audio.
Naskapi Language Specialists
The first few months of the year had Bill also very busy with a remarkable opportunity to recruit and train four new Naskapi language specialists to work full-time in the Naskapi community on translation and other language development work. IMG_5040aThe four that were selected and hired by the Naskapi Development Corporation were Amanda, Kissandra, Kabimbetas and Jimmy. These four were trained in using computers to do Naskapi translation work, and in daily reading and writing practice, with a view to working more and more independently on translation projects of their own. Also, in April Bill taught another section of the McGill University teacher-training class, a dozen Naskapi adults who are  working towards their Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) in order to teach and/or prepare Naskapi materials at the Naskapi school. This four-year program started in 2010 includes undergraduate-level university courses provided for the most part right in the community. Bill has been teaching adult literacy principles (reading and writing in Naskapi) along with Naskapi grammar to enhance their reading success. The four Naskapi language specialists-in-training also joined the McGill students since what they needed to learn was pretty much the same thing that Bill was teaching there.
Professional Development and Academics
Since beginning to work with Wycliffe we have always been strongly encouraged to keep our education and linguistics skills current, but that was not always easy to do, with the full-time work on the language project and raising a family. But since the publication of the Naskapi New Testament in 2007, our Wycliffe administration has urged us to follow through by working towards advanced degrees in our fields of service. So, back in 2009, we enrolled in studies at the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) at the University of North Dakota (UND).

English: Merrifield Hall on the campus of the ...

English: Merrifield Hall on the campus of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bill began his studies towards a Master of Arts (MA) in linguistics, and Norma Jean took the “Mega-Literacy” courses there that summer. This was also the summer that we moved back to the Naskapi community to focus on Naskapi literacy training and Old Testament translation. For the next five summers, we would return to the University of North Dakota SIL where Bill continued his graduate-level course-work in linguistics. We decided that it would be best for everyone if only one of us were enrolled in graduate school at a time, so Norma Jean served as director for childcare services at SIL for the past four summers, rather than course-work. Bill completed his MA course-work and successfully defended his thesis this summer in North Dakota, and graduated with his MA in linguistics from UND on August 2. The title of his thesis is “Grammar Enhanced Biliteracy: Naskapi Language Structures for Facilitating Reading in Naskapi”, which researches how teaching Naskapi grammar might assist those who are learning to read in Naskapi.map of 2013 travels color
As already mentioned above, Norma Jean’s expertise and service to the language communities focuses on the area of education and curriculum, and, like Bill, wants her academic studies to contribute to her service in a significant way. She found course-work that focuses on multi-lingual education theory and practice in the MA-TESOL program that is offered by Trinity Western University, in Langley, British Columbia. She applied for and was accepted into this program, which is a 12-month, full-time course beginning in September of 2013. Besides the course-work, she will also be doing practical projects and internships, which may include periods of service in the Naskapi or Innu communities to apply the principles she will be learning.
While TESOL generally refers to “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages”, Norma Jean’s focus will actually include methods of teaching literacy skills in the mother-tongue; such as teaching Naskapi speakers to read and write Naskapi better, or teaching Innu speakers to read and write Innu better, which will also result in their overall success in their language skills in other languages. The educational principles and strategies for these goals are similar, and can be applied to our ongoing language development work in these and other minority-languages.
…to be continued tomorrow (on page 2)