Fall Update – 50%
Dear friends and partners,
Thanks for following our progress and helping us start work with the Naskapi and Oji-Cree Bible translation projects. So far we’ve raised about 50% of the pledged donations we need to make this our long-term ministry, and we’re aiming to be able to leave in the new year.
At the beginning of August we visited Victoria and got an enthusiastic response from the people and churches we contacted there. We had 3-4 meetings per day and still didn’t have time to see everyone who responded. Our next visit to Victoria will be from Friday Sept 16 to Monday Sept 19. Let us know if you’d like to catch up and learn more about Bible translation! We’ll be meeting with pastors from several churches in the next couple of weeks – please pray that God would bring us together with people who have a passion for his word and the same desire to serve indigenous communities in Canada.
We’ll also be giving a quick intro to Bible translation in Canada Sunday Oct 9th at Living Hope Church in Courtenay (10am at Queneesh Elementary School) if you want to catch us there.
The last couple weeks of summer have had a different feel to them – people have been on holiday and churches are taking weekends to rest and celebrate before heading into the structure of the fall. One of the ways we fill gaps in our schedule is with learning Naskapi (more on that below). We also got to spend a weekend of quality time with our church family at Camp Selah (below), and Hazel has been starting to walk with assistance.
As fall comes around again we’d like to start a regular prayer group to intentionally pray for the Bible translation work in Canada and the indigenous communities involved (but not limited to this of course). These will happen Tuesday mornings 10:30am at our place in Courtenay.
Bible translation and Scottish Gaelic One of the highlights for us at our church’s camping weekend was seeing the Mitchell family speak after their first year in Scotland. Dave Mitchell was the pastor at Bay Community Church until a year ago when God prompted him and his wife Agnes to move their family to Scotland to study and help build up local church leaders there (check out their page at Into All the World if you want to support them).
Update on the Cree Initiative
Kingfisher Lake recently held the two-week William Winter School for Ministry, where they annually provide training for local church leaders from surrounding communities in northwestern Ontario. The school features courses in Bible history, theology, and other practical subjects. This year Wycliffe linguists Bill & Norma Jean Jancewicz were invited to help present methods for teaching Oji-Cree syllabics and basic grammar, and to share about the new Oji-Cree Bible translation project.
The William Winter School for ministry – Big Beaver Camp near Kingfisher Lake
The Naskapi translation team just finished checking the first 30 chapters of Exodus with a Wycliffe translation consultant, Watson Williams, who flew up to Kawawa for a couple weeks to work with Tshiuetin and Silas (below left). The remaining 10 chapters will be completed by distance, making Exodus one step closer to publication. Continue to pray for Tshiuetin and Silas, who have many demands on their time.
The next volume of the Naskapi Legends series was recently published ᒥᔅᑎ ᒥᒋᓱᐤ The Giant Eagle and other stories – this is the one Caitlin and I assisted with last summer during our time in Kawawa (pictured above right).
Martin & Alice Reed are new Wycliffe linguists (like us) who just visited Kawawa for the first time (with Bill and Norma Jean). Pray that God would continue to give them vision for their role in the community.
FAQ: So do you guys speak the language yet?
Nope! Thank goodness the Naskapi and Oji-Cree translators do. But of course, the more fluent we can become the better. Learning a language is much easier when you can talk to speakers, but for now we work on learning what we can before we arrive in Kawawa and later Kingfisher Lake. Here are some of the things we do to study Naskapi:
Memorize phrases from the Naskapi Conversation Manual
Listen to the Naskapi audio New Testament
Read some preliminary descriptions of Naskapi grammar that have been put together and make plans for how to organize language lessons when we get there
Familiarize ourselves with the body of technical books and articles linguists have written about the structure of other Algonquian languages
If you want to get a feel for how Naskapi words are put together, check out the Naskapi online dictionary and search anything you want.
We’re excited to see how God is bringing his word to the Naskapi and Oji-Cree in their own languages . Thanks for joining with us as we follow His direction.
Love Matt & Caitlin