Our First Translator Training Workshop
Thank you for praying! In our last newsletter we asked for prayer concerning Caitlin’s health and energy during our travels in Ontario and God certainly answered your prayers! Even though our schedule was packed and we were traveling with 3-month old Hazel, we actually came back feeling rejuvenated.
First Nations Translator Workshop
During April we traveled to Guelph to help with a Translation Workshop for First Nations Translators. We got to meet the Oji-Cree, Plains Cree and Woods Cree translators for the first time, and reconnect with the Naskapi translators we met last summer. Each day we started by singing a hymn in Naskapi, Oji-Cree or Plains Cree. We explored topics like theory of communication, translating the names for God, translation software, how to plan out the steps of translation, and much more.
But one of the most important aspects of the workshop was that it allowed the translators from isolated communities to hear each others stories. Throughout the week each person shared about why they are translating the Bible, about the encouragements they receive from their community and about the struggles they face. Some of them even took the time to read out letters they wrote about why Bible translation is important for their community.
The 13 translators with their workshop certifcates
Our time at the workshop was also time we had to develop our relationships with the Naskapi team. Hazel made many friends, and acquired many new sets of clothes! She quickly became known as ᐊᐱᑯᓯᔅᓯᔅ “apikusisis” (Naskapi for “little mouse,” which is what we sometimes call her in English because of her little squeaks.) The Naskapi translators are very good at what they do. They took time to teach us Naskapi phrases, encouraged us to come soon, and even offered us a place to live (which was an answered prayer).
This is part of the reason we feel a new sense of urgency as we raise our prayer and financial support. Typically it takes a while for new members of Wycliffe to raise the first part of their support, but they gain momentum as more people join. In order to meet our goal of leaving in the fall we would have to reach 100% by the end of June. This is looking ambitious at this point, but we’ll work toward this goal and leave the rest in God’s hands. He will direct the timing of our move to Kawawa.
From the translators: Why is it important to translate the Bible into your language?
“We can have a deeper understanding of God”
“Our language is a gift from God”
“We are lost without our language. Our children are confused.”
“[Because] God’s word is alive”
“For the benefit of future generations”
“When we pray [in Naskapi] we can speak from the heart”
The Vision Grows
Zipporah, an Oji-Cree translator shared a story about an elder who gave her a message to take to the other translators. The elder said he had a dream in the middle of the night, a dream that “God is doing something powerful and wonderful in this land.” Her prayer is that the Oji-Cree Bible translation will be a blessing to the rest of the communities in northwest Ontario. After hearing about it on the radio, people from neighbouring communities have already called Zipporah asking about the translation. They are waiting for more scripture in their own language.
God is continuing to answer these prayers in even bigger ways as more First Nations churches hear about what the Oji-Cree and Naskapi are doing. Sam Halkett is a priest and speaker of Woods Cree from Montreal Lake Cree Nation, SK. This workshop was his first time connecting with the rest of the “Cree Initiative” and now he is exploring how to begin translating the Bible for his own people.
A Tale of Two Ducks
Pray for Us:
that God would grant us patience and that we would stay rooted in Jesus as we wait and prepare in Comox
that God would continue to connect us with the people He has identified to contribute financially and prayerfully to our translation work
that we would be a blessing to our families and our church family during our time here
Pray for the Translators and their Communities:
The Naskapi Nation of Kawawa, QU (Naskapi)
Kingfisher Lake First Nation, ON (Oji-Cree)
Muskeg Lake First Nation, SK (Plains Cree)
Montreal Lake First Nation, SK (Woods Cree)
The translators expressed that there is a spiritual battle going on in their communities, and each of them is making sacrifices to work on the translation. Each of them have young family members who are separated from their community, dealing with intense grief, addictions, or in city hospitals. They have asked for prayer specifically:
for their young people (their grandchildren, children, nieces and nephews), that Jesus would bring them healing and restoration, that they would be fulfilled in their need for Jesus and that they would grow in spiritual maturity.
for unity in their communities and families
for more individuals from their communities to step forward to be translators
Sleeping after a long day of sessions