Northern Translation Brief: Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree VBS

Our Dear Partners,

Thank you for your prayers for the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree Vacation Bible School (VBS) that was held this summer the week of July 17-21, 2017. This “Scripture Engagement” event got its start when the Oji-Cree Bible Translation team in Kingfisher Lake expressed their hearts desire for the children of their community, their next generation, to hear the message of the Gospel in their own language. The planning for this began back last January, during the first “consultant check” of their translated scriptures. Read about that here if you forgot: <Click Here>

Travel to the North

Kingfisher Lake is an isolated First Nations community in northern Ontario, where the Oji-Cree language is spoken. On Friday morning, July 14th, ten travelers met with loved-ones and members of the Simcoe, Ontario Immanuel CRC church congregation for prayers and farewells before we drove to the Toronto Pearson airport for the first leg of the trip, a 2-hour flight to Thunder Bay.

Left to Right: Caitlin & Matthew Windsor with Hazel, Ashley Booth, Amy Lewis, Elly Vandermeer; Bill & Norma Jean with Elizabeth Jancewicz, and Ann Rauwerda.

Prayers and farewells at the church parking lot

Immanuel church had been praying and fundraising so that they could send three of their youth, Amy Lewis, Elly Vandermeer and Ashley Booth, along with Ann Rauwerda, a Sunday School worker, who would assist with the VBS program. Our daughter Elizabeth Jancewicz had been working for months helping with the plans and creating the culturally-appropriate visual images and crafts for the program. Norma Jean was the overall VBS coordinator and liaison with the Oji-Cree team. We were also accompanied by Matthew & Caitlin Windsor, a new Wycliffe Bible Translation facilitator team who have just completed their training and partnership development and are currently spending time with us as part of their final preparation for moving to the community. Matt & Caitlin also had their one-year-old baby girl Hazel along.

From security to the gate at Toronto Pearson airport

Hazel entertains the fight attendant

Because of flight connections to the northern communities, we spent the night in Thunder Bay at a hotel and got up bright and early to take the morning flight to Sioux Lookout on Wasaya Airlines, a First Nations-owned airline that services the northern communities in Ontario and Manitoba.

We have our boarding passes!

After Sioux Lookout, we change to an even smaller plane, and make some stops in other First Nations communities.

Everyone gets a window seat

On the runway at Kingfisher Lake

So, after three planes, six airports, 1100 miles, 14 hours, two time zones, and one sleep all in one and the same Canadian province, we made it to the Kingfisher Lake community in northern Ontario.

Vacation Bible School

The first little adjustment was when we found out that the Vacation Bible School program was going to be held in a different venue: The “Mission House”, where we were staying, was also occupied by construction workers who were working on new housing in the community and the power station, so there was no room to hold a Vacation Bible School program there as originally planned. So our Oji-Cree hosts made arrangements for us to use the Kingfisher Lake Community Centre, across town. This was fine–a bright big space to use for crafts, teaching and games.

Meeting with the VBS staff and Sunday School teachers

Planning the week

We met with the local leaders and Oji-Cree Sunday School teachers, and even though they had just finished their annual summer Bible Camp program for adults, and many of them had been very busy the week before, they still wanted to participate as much as possible with the VBS. So they were on hand to work the schedule and divide up the workload to ensure that their Vacation Bible School had adequate Oji-Cree speaking staff available for each session of the week-long Vacation Bible School program.

Elizabeth demonstrating the crafts to the team. Additional help from the Mennonite girls.

The program was planned for each of the five days–with the younger children, from kindergarten age to grade 3 coming in the morning, and then the older children through grade 8 coming in the afternoons. The lessons planned were from the “seven days of creation” Bible passages in Genesis, with the text coming from their new translation into Oji-Cree of the first chapters of Genesis.

A team of Mennonite missionaries were also there, spending the summer at Kingfisher Lake, serving the community in any way they could. So they also helped on the staff of VBS during the week that we were there.

Moving the supplies (and staff!) by pick-up truck from Mission House to the Community Centre

Each lesson was also planned so as to be connected to a facet of the Gospel: that God loves us, and Jesus died for us and that we can know this. This was reflected in the memory verses used each day. For example “God Created the World” and “God so Loved the World“.

Memory verse theme song

Setting up on Day One

Setting up at the Community Centre on Day 1

Preparing snacks!

Oji-Cree kids start to stream in on Day 1

Name Tags and taking attendance

Story, lesson and Bible reading for Day 1

During each day’s Story Telling and Oji-Cree Bible Reading, our daughter Elizabeth, provided a live chalk drawing mural that illustrated all the days of creation, especially prepared for this northern First Nations audience. The images in the mural were complemented by especially crafted colouring pages for each day of the program.

The children enjoyed making a special handcrafts each day that went along with the story, playing games, and eating snacks. This was repeated twice a day, once for the younger children and once for the older ones.

So once we got the VBS program set up and got through Day One, we figured that the hard work was done, and the rest of the week would be a breeze. ( ! )

Challenges to Overcome (God is Good!)

During our first day of VBS, the construction workers at Kingfisher Lake were having some challenges of their own, when a water pipe was accidentally broken, which shut down the water supply for the whole community. At first we thought the fix meant that we simply had to boil the water that came through the tap. But eventually the water we got had to be carried up from the lake in buckets and pails and boiled on the stove. Our hosts tried to keep us supplied with bottled water, but it quickly became scarce in the community. Washing and cooking suddenly became somewhat less convenient to say the least!

Toilets could be used, but we flushed them with a bucket.

During the second day, the community sewer system backed up into the local grocery store, so the store was forced to close. This cut off the main food supply to the whole community (and to us as well, since we had counted on providing the VBS staff with meals from the store). Our hosts brought “country food” from their freezers and we had a community cook-out behind the Mission House. So we were well-supplied with meals in spite of having little choice as to the menu!

Helping with the community cook-out

The water crisis caused the construction workers to evacuate and so they left to go to their home communities.

During the third day, we were given the good news that emergency provisions were being brought into the community–but the bad news was that they needed to set up the distribution of food at the Community Centre, so VBS had to move. After the morning VBS session on Wednesday, we took down the VBS materials and cleared the community centre, hauling everything (crafts, games, snacks and all) back to the Mission House. Since the construction workers had evacuated, we were able to use the lower level of the Mission House to set up the VBS program for that afternoon, and we did not miss even one session!

But we also learned that we could not use even the toilets with a bucket (the bucket was put to “other uses”, along with a shovel).

During the fourth day, we were relieved to hear that both the water and the drains were back in service, and the grocery store was now operating out of it’s temporary quarters in the Community Centre. We continued with Vacation Bible School at the Mission House, and the kids continued to come and play and learn.

VBS resumes at the Mission House basement

Elizabeth moved her mural illustrating the days of Creation, and continued working on it to completion at the end of the week

A Moose and a Beaver puppets help the children remember the day’s Bible Story

By Friday, the fifth day, Vacation Bible School was almost over. All the Bible Stories for the seven days of Creation were told, and children recited the Bible verses that they had memorized. All told, fifty-three children attended at least some of the sessions throughout the week, more than half of the children of the community.

We left all the remaining crafts, game supplies and teaching materials with the local Oji-Cree Sunday School department so that they could continue to use these things for their Christian Education and Scripture Engagement activities. We also left the completed mural by Elizabeth: Here follows the progress on the mural that was worked on during Story Time and Bible Reading each session of the week:

Sky and Water

Land and Plants

Sun and Moon …

… and Stars!

Birds and Fish

Animals and Man

Thank you all for your interest and support for Bible translation in First Nations languages, and for your prayers for the Oji-Cree VBS program this summer! Lord willing, He will allow us to do this again.

After the VBS team went back south and home, Matthew Windsor and Bill stayed behind to work with the Oji-Cree translators. We helped them to upgrade and learn the software that they use for Bible Translation work: Paratext Version 8. They also put it to work right away as they team-checked some passages from 1 Corinthians and Luke.

Naskapi in Northern Quebec: August 24-September 8

Just next week, Norma Jean & Bill will bring Matthew & Caitlin and their little Hazel up to the Naskapi community of Kawawachikamach. The Naskapi have been hosting the new Wycliffe teams for their internships in preparation for serving in new First Nations Bible Translation projects in other areas of Canada. Alice & Martin Reed have been with the Naskapi now since March of this year, and plan to stay through November. Matthew & Caitlin plan to work with the Naskapi during their 8 month internship through next Spring.

Alice & Martin Reed, Matthew & Caitlin Windsor

While we are there, we will all be working with the Naskapi team on Naskapi Exodus and Psalms, and the next Naskapi language storybook and revisions & additions to the Naskapi Dictionary.

Please follow the work of this Next Generation of Bible Translation teams working in First Nations languages here:

Matthew & Caitlin Windsor https://thewindsorsupnorth.com/

Martin & Alice Reed https://www.facebook.com/ReedsKaleidoscope

Thank God for these new teams and pray that the Lord of the Harvest will bring more workers into His harvest field.

Thank you so much for your interest in God’s work among the First Nations of Canada and Bible Translation, and for praying for us and following our part in His call on our lives.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

We ask that you 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 20Jun2017

Our Dear Partners,

In less than 4 weeks the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree community begins their 2017 Vacation Bible School (VBS) program to help connect the children of their community with the truths of the Gospel in the Oji-Cree language. By teaching through the days of God’s Creation as told in the first chapters of Genesis the children will learn how great God is, the wonderful world He has created, and that He loves them very much.

Immanuel CRC Church and St. Matthew’s Anglican Church

God has also been building a bridge between our partner churches in the south and the First Nations church in the north. The Sunday School staff of St. Matthew’s Church, Kingfisher Lake is presenting this summer’s Vacation Bible School with the help and support of many of you who read these messages and pray for us, and especially Immanuel Church in Simcoe, Ontario which is sending a team to work alongside the indigenous teaching staff, helping with the various details of conducting the Bible School activities, games, snacks and teaching sessions.

Ashley Booth, Amy Lewis, and Elly Vandermeer

Ashley Booth (age 14), Amy Lewis (age 15) and Elly Vandermeer (age 13), three teens from Immanuel Church’s youth group will be accompanied by Ann Rauwerda. The church and the other teens in the youth group have joined together to help to raise the travel funds and purchase needed materials for this outreach to their new First Nations friends in Kingfisher Lake. Because of the remoteness of this isolated northern Ontario First Nation, the air-travel costs are challenging: each person’s airfare alone was nearly $1800 for the round-trip from Toronto. But the church and other funding partners have been generously supporting this ministry and we are confident that God will provide all that is needed.

Ann Rauwerda (standing) with Bill & Norma Jean and the girls at the Mothers’ Day Breakfast

To help raise funds, the church has conducted a “hire-a-teen” campaign, served “Mothers’ Day” and “Fathers’ Day” breakfasts at the church, and ran a church-wide “yard sale” of donated items which has raised a good portion of the funds needed to purchase and to ship the Bible School materials. But more funds are still needed in the coming weeks.

Ashley and Amy taking donations at the Mothers’ Day Breakfast

Busy kitchen crew at the Fathers’ Day Breakfast

Hungry men at the Fathers’ Day Breakfast

Our lovely and talented daughter Elizabeth has been also raising funds to accompany the team on this trip to Kingfisher Lake, and has already applied her artistic talents towards illustrating the days of God’s Creation for the new, locally and culturally appropriate teaching materials that are being developed by Norma Jean and and team.

Elizabeth at work

Creation Day Five: Birds and Fish–each species in Elizabeth’s illustration are found in the Kingfisher Lake region.

Also coming on this trip are Bible Translation facilitators-in-training Matthew and Caitlin Windsor, with their small daughter Hazel (ᐘᐱᑯᔑᐡ – waapikoshiihsh). Matthew and Caitlin have just completed their pre-field requirements and are spending time with us at our home in Ontario before beginning their in-field internship period with the Naskapi First Nation Bible Translation program.

Caitlin, Matthew & Hazel Windsor

So including little Hazel, there are ten of us traveling to Kingfisher Lake for this ministry event. We leave from the Toronto Pearson airport on Friday, July 14th and stay overnight in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Saturday, July 15th we travel on to Kingfisher Lake. We will meet with the Oji-Cree teaching team over the weekend on July 15 and 16, and the Vacation Bible School program will start Monday morning at the Mission House in Kingfisher Lake.

Oji-Cree children at Sunday School craft time

The younger children (Kindergarten through grade 3) will come each morning to the Vacation Bible School program, and the older ones (grade 4 through 8) will come to their own program presented in the afternoons by the same team.

The VBS team will stay in rooms at the Mission House and will prepare their own meals and eat together at the mission house between the VBS sessions all week long, Monday through Friday. As much as possible, the Bible lessons and Gospel message will be presented by the Oji-Cree staff to the children in their own language, while the visiting team will present in English, having their part interpreted when necessary by the Oji-Cree staff. Teaching materials are being prepared that include Elizabeth’s original artwork along with recently-translated passages from Genesis in Oji-Cree.

Day Four of Creation: Plants and Trees

11 ᑭᔐᒪᓂᑐ ᑭᐃᐦᑭᑐ, “ᐋᐦᑎ ᐊᐦᑭ ᑕᓂᑖᐃᐧᑭᒋᑫᒪᑲᐣ ᑳᓇᓈᑲᐃᐧᓈᑲᐧᑭᐣ ᑭᐦᑎᑳᓇᐣ, ᒦᓇ ᒦᓂᔖᑎᑰᐣ ᐁᑲᐧ ᑲᔦ ᒥᐦᑎᑰᐣ ᐊᐦᑮᐣᐠ ᑳᐊᔮᑭᐣ ᑳᓂᐦᑖᐃᐧᑭᒋᑫᒪᑲᑮᐣ ᒦᓂᔕᐣ, ᐃᐦᐃᒫ ᓇᓈᐣᑐᐠ ᑳᐃᔑᓈᑲᐧᐦᑭᐣ ᒥᓂᔖᑎᑰᐣ.” ᒦᑕᓑ ᑲᐃᓯᓭᐠ.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

After the program finishes on Friday, July 21st, all the “girls” on the visiting team will pack up and depart to go back south on Saturday, July 22nd, leaving Bill and Matthew to continue on at Kingfisher Lake for a few more days, so that they can work with the new Oji-Cree translation team there after the VBS program.

On Wednesday, July 26th Bill and Matthew will depart to rejoin the others back home in southern Ontario.

As you realize there are many details that must be attended to in order to accomplish this vision that began with St. Matthew’s Church Oji-Cree Sunday School class at Kingfisher Lake. Please be in prayer for the entire “away” team flying up from the south:

  • Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz
  • Elizabeth Jancewicz
  • Matthew & Caitlin Windsor and little Hazel
  • Ann Rauwerda
  • Elly Vandermeer
  • Ashley Booth
  • Amy Lewis

Also, please remember to pray for the Oji-Cree “home” team at Kingfisher Lake:

  • Ruth Kitchekesik
  • Jessie Atlookan
  • Theresa Sainnawap
  • Zipporah Mamakwa
  • Saloma Sainnawap
  • Ruth Morris
  • Naomi Beaver

Pray for the transforming work of God in the lives of all the children and the teaching teams as well, for His provision, protection, and grace as we come together in His name and with His message.

Thank you for your part in God’s mission.

Serving with you,

Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz

PS:

There are still three ways that you can support this project:

1) You can sponsor the VBS workers from our church by sending a cash donation to:

Immanuel CRC Church
95 Oak Street
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
N3Y 3K1

You can also donate online here:
https://www.imaginegod.ca/index.php/donate,
and click the “donate now” button.
Be sure to indicate that the donation is for: “Summer VBS missions trip”

2) You can help sponsor our daughter Elizabeth to work on the project and join the trip:
Visit her Etsy web page for information on how you can support her and for the creative ways that she will thank you!
https://www.etsy.com/listing/528242497/summer-camp-fundraiser

https://www.facebook.com/donate/905338069094/911912169544/

3) You can pray every day for our team by name, and walk with us on our journey.
normajean_jancewicz@sil.org

bill_jancewicz@sil.org

 

 

Northern Translation Brief 15May2017

July 2017 Scripture Engagement Project
Kingfisher Lake Vacation Bible School

Our Dear Partners,

During our visit to the Kingfisher Lake Oji-Cree community in January, the translators shared their vision and desire to bring the Word of God and the Gospel to the younger generation of Oji-Cree speakers. They had already started a weekly Sunday School program in their community, and they asked for our assistance to help them learn to conduct a summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) event of their own.

Norma Jean met with the Oji-Cree speaking Sunday School staff, and one priority they described was the need for culturally appropriate Oji-Cree children’s Bible School materials. In the discussion that followed, the Oji-Cree staff decided to begin “in the beginning”, and start their planning with the theme of “Creation Week” (Genesis 1:1 through 2:3). The Oji-Cree translators and their Bishop also stressed the importance of weaving the Gospel message through their teaching about God’s creation.

One way to make the VBS materials relevant and appropriate to Oji-Cree children was to ensure that the things God creates on each day of Creation Week are illustrated with the plants, animals, birds and fish that the children of Kingfisher Lake in northern Canada would be familiar with, rather than the “zoo animals” that are commonly found in illustrated children’s Bible story materials.

Our daughter, Elizabeth is not only a professional artist with experience illustrating children’s books and educational materials, but she also grew up in the Naskapi First Nation community in northern Quebec. The culture, land, and animals familiar to Naskapi children would also be familiar to the Oji-Cree. Indeed, some of them even have the same names!

  • ᐘᐳᐢ waapoos (Oji-Cree), and ᐛᐳᔅ waapus (Naskapi) both mean ‘rabbit’;
  • ᔑᑲᐠ shikaak (Oji-Cree), and ᓯᑲᒄ sikaakw (Naskapi) both mean ‘skunk’.

We are so blessed to have Elizabeth’s help creating this new VBS material with the Oji-Cree team, and for her commitment to join the team for the VBS trip, to both participate in the Bible School and to also provide art classes to the Oji-Cree young people.

Genesis 1:6-8 “Sea & Sky”

Finally, the church we attend in southern Ontario, Immanuel Church in Simcoe, has joined with us in partnership to help make the Word of God more accessible to First Nations languages, and they want to be more closely connected with the Oji-Cree church at Kingfisher Lake, St. Matthew’s Church. They are helping to pray, raise funds, and send teenage and adult VBS workers to assist the Oji-Cree team with their VBS program.


We know that many of you too will want to join us in prayer for this project, and some of you will be moved to sponsor it with your financial gifts. There are three ways that you can support this project:

1) You can sponsor the VBS workers from our church by sending a donation to:

Immanuel CRC Church
95 Oak Street
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
N3Y 3K1

You can also donate online here:
https://www.imaginegod.ca/index.php/donate,
and click the “donate now” button.
Be sure to indicate that the donation is for: “Summer VBS missions trip”

2) You can help sponsor our daughter Elizabeth to work on the project and join the trip:
Visit her Etsy web page for information on how you can support her and for the creative ways that she will thank you!
https://www.etsy.com/listing/528242497/summer-camp-fundraiser

3) If you are in the Norfolk County area of southern Ontario, you can participate in some of the support and preparation activities with Immanuel Church. Send Norma Jean an email for more information:
normajean_jancewicz@sil.org

Serving with you,

Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz