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Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada

Spring 2013

No Longer Settled in a community
of their own, the Naskapi
people of Quebec deepen
their spiritual roots with
help from the translated

Bible Translation Milestone Reached + Scriptures for 31 Languages + Catching Our Breath for the Final Sprint
Spring 2013 Volume 31 Number 1
Word Alive, which takes its name from Hebrews 4:12a,
is the official publication of Wycliffe Bible Translators
of Canada. Its mission is to inform, inspire and involve
the Christian public as partners in the worldwide
Bible translation movement. Unusual Firsts
Editor: Dwayne Janke
Designer: Cindy Buckshon Dwayne Janke
Senior Staff Writer: Doug Lockhart
Staff Writers: Janet Seever

Staff Photographers: Alan Hood, Natasha Schmale
athering stories for this issue of Word Alive was an unusual
Word Alive is published four times annually by
Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada, 4316 10 St NE, assignment filled with firsts for senior staff writer Doug
Calgary AB T2E 6K3. Copyright 2013 by Wycliffe Lockhart. For starters, Doug (with photographer Alan
Bible Translators of Canada. Permission to reprint Hood) travelled on assignment to Eastern Canada. Secondly, he
articles and other magazine contents may be visited a First Nations communityanother thing he had never
obtained by written request to the editor. A done before for Word Alive. Thirdly, the story took him to a remote
donation of $20 annually is suggested to cover
the cost of printing and mailing the magazine. community in Quebec, a province he had never visited.
(Donate online or use the reply form in this issue.) In other ways, though, Dougs visit to the town of
Printed in Canada by McCallum Printing Group, Kawawachikamach [KA-wa-wa-CHIK-ah-match] was similar
Edmonton. to previous assignments he has been on with Word Alive
Member: The Canadian Church Press, Evangelical photographers over the years.
Press Association.
For additional copies: Like people in Africa, South America and many other regions of
To contact the editor: the world, the Naskapis are discovering Gods Word in their mother
For address updates: tongue, with the involvement of Wycliffe personnelin this case,
Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz.
And like many other language groups where Bible translation
is underway, or completed, theyre learning how to read their
language and apply the translated Scriptures to their everyday lives.
Over and over again, Doug says, Naskapi people told us, This
(Scripture in their language) is important to us as a people. Our
language is part of who we are, part of our identity.
The more we learned about their past, the more we appreciated
Wycliffe serves minority language groups worldwide how much they have suffered, he adds. There were times they
by fostering an understanding of Gods Word through nearly perished as a people, but today you can see and hear the
Bible translation, while nurturing literacy, education pride they have in their language and culture, and the renewed
and stronger communities. hope theyve found through Bible translation and
language development.
Canadian Head Office: 4316 10 St NE, Calgary AB T2E
6K3. Phone: (403) 250-5411 or toll free 1-800-463-1143,
From Quebec to It was a real privilege to spend a week in their
community, and to see what God is doing among them.
8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. mountain time. Fax: (403) 250-
2623. Email: French speakers: Call toll
the far reaches of Of course, God is advancing His Kingdom among
free 1-877-747-2622 or email the world, God language groups everywhere. Read Janet Seevers
Cover: Naskapi parishioners make their way home Translation Update story (see pg. 30). It gives a more
following a Sunday morning service at St. Johns is advancing His global perspective of Scripture completions this past
Anglican Church in Kawawachikamach, Quebec.
Now more than ever, the Naskapis expressions Kingdom among year that involved Wycliffe personnel. Janet works
hard all year tracking the progress of Bible translation
of faith are being shaped and strengthened by
Scripture in their mother tongue..
language groups projects, highlighting Canadian involvement and
everywhere. giving a summary and statistical overview of finished
work in the far reaches of the world.
And speaking of global progress, dont miss reading
about an important imminent Bible translation milestone in the
lead news item of our Watchword section on page 4. Spoiler alert:
For the first time ever, the number of languages in the world with
In Others Words Bible translation underway is greater than the number of known
languages that still need work to begin in them!
I shall give myself no rest until my people
Now that is an unusual first thats difficult to top. But given
have the whole of the Word of God in
that our God is smack in the middle of giving His Word to Bibleless
their hands.
peoples, Im sure there will be other heaven-sent, surpassing firsts
Bishop John Horden (1828-1893), first Anglican coming our way.
Bishop of Moosonee, Ont.; Bible translator of
Moose Cree Scriptures, also used by the Naskapi Lord willing, we here at Word Alive will be ready to report
people until recently (see stories, pgs. 6-29) on them.
2 Word Alive Spring 2013

Articles by Doug Lockhart Photographs by Alan Hood

6 Nomads No Longer Settled in a community of

their own, the Naskapi people of Quebec deepen their
spiritual roots with help from the translated Scriptures.

18 Northern Composure After a rough start, a

Wycliffe Canada couple persevered to help a remote First
Nations community receive Gods Word in their language.

26 A Prized Opportunity An internship with
Wycliffe helped one Ontario student understand the
impact of Bible translation on a First Nations community.

30 Singing in Celebration The Sabaot Bible was

one of 31 New Testaments and Bibles dedicated for more
than 14 million people, with Canadian involvement, this
past year.
By Janet Seever


2 Foreword Unusual Firsts

By Dwayne Janke

4 Watchword Bible Translation Reaches Key Milestone

32 Beyond Words Translating the Gospel, Parts 5 & 6

By Hart Wiens

26 34 A Thousand Words Devotion in Motion

35 Last Word Catching Our Breath for the Final Sprint

By Roy Eyre

30 Word Alive Spring 2013 3


B.T. Projects
in Progress
Bible Translation GILLBT Marks Golden Anniversary

Reaches Key Milestone
(by region) ycliife Global Alliances member organization in Ghana,

or the first time ever, languages in the
world with active Bible translation
projects actually outnumber those that
Africa, has wrapped up a year-long celebration of its
50 years of service. The Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and
Bible Translation (GILLBT) held a two-day conference in Accra this
Africa still need work to begin in them. past September, on the state of Bible translation and use. It was a
Pacific 34% time of reflection on the past, present and future of Bible translation
According to new statistics from the
17% Wycliffe Global Alliance, Bible translation is in the languages of Ghana and all of Africa.
currently underway in 2,075 languages, while GILLBT was established in 1962, with the participation and help of
32% only 1,967 languages still need translation SIL International (Wycliffes main field partner). Since then GILLBT has
to start. A year ago, the figures were 1,976 been doing Bible translation, language work and mother-tongue lit-
in progress and 2,040 in need respectively. eracy promotion in many of Ghanas nearly 80 language communities.
B.T. Projects The milestone in the global Bible translation Through GILLBTs efforts, the CHINA
New Testament has been translated
still needed BHUTAN
into 28 languages, and the Old Testament into five. GILLBT currently
(by region) effort reflects the ongoing acceleration that
4% has resulted since Vision 2025 was adopted has four New Testament and 11 Old Testament projects in progress.
4% by Wycliffe and others in 1999. It aims to see
Bible translation in progress in every language Traditional dancers celebrate gillbts golden anniversary.
needing it by the year 2025. In 1999, 3,000
languages still needed translation to begin.

region Africa Breaking down the current 2,075 MYANMAR LAOS

21% 40% in-progress figure, 717 Bible translation
projects are in Africa; 672 in Asia; 350 in
Asia the Pacific region; 282 in the Americas; THAILAND
31% and 54 in Europe. About three-quarters
of the Bible translation projects
underway involve Wycliffe personnel. VIETNAM TURKMENISTAN
Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance,
Of those languages still needing TURKEY

September, 2012 Bible translation to begin, 790 are GREECE

spoken in Africa; 616 are in Asia; 404 CYPRUS SYRIA

are in the Pacific area; 81 are in the Americas; and 76 are in Europe. LEBANON

For all of the 2012 Bible translation statistics, visit <> From Torture to Triumph IRAQ IRAN


and click Statistics. See also the related Last Word column on page 35. thiopias Gamo people arrived by the thousands
KUWAIT at Chencha
town square this past June to celebrate the launch of the New
Former Wycliffe Testament EGYPT
in their language. BRUNEI OMAN

The celebration was a far cry from the years before andQATAR
Canada Director Dies the communist regime in the African country. Many GamoU. A. E.

R ay Nicholson, a former director of Wycliffe Bible

Translators of Canada, passed away this past October.
He was 82.
Christians were brought to the same square thenMALAYSIA
tortured and martyred for their faith in Christ.
to be beaten, OMAN

Nicholson (pictured at left) led Wycliffe Canada from YEMEN

1972-74. That post was part of a career of service with SUDAN


Wycliffe that spanned 56 years.

Nicholson and his wife Ruth began their work with
Courtesy of Ray Nicholson family
Wycliffe in 1957 in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Ray was ETHIOPIA
Addis Ababa SOMALIA
involved in translation and literacy among the Fore people and spent six years
as director of the PNG field orientation program. He later served the branch in CENTRAL AFRICAN
relating to the PNG government (1974-76) and held the position of regional area
director in PNG (1980-89). Most recently (from 1990 to 2012), the Nicholsons
worked as Wycliffe representatives in the Mount Forest, Ont., area. The Gamo are UGANDA
located in the southwestern part of Ethiopia, home
Nicholson was known as a gentle man who loved Jesus and had a heart to 88 languages. Personnel with six organizations, including Wycliffe,
for Bibleless people. He is survived by his wife Ruth, five adult children, are
ZAIREpart of a joint venture to translate the Scriptures into the nearly

19 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 30 languages that still need them.



4 Word Alive Spring 2013

Software Prepared for
Sign Language Translation
Tool in Works for
Translation Among A n important manual is
being prepared to help
Bible translation efforts for the
W ycliffe personnel are creating dictionary software for use
in Bible translation among the worlds estimated 400 sign
languages used by the Deaf.
500 Bantu Languages 500 Bantu languages of eastern
and southern Africa, where work is ongoing or yet to start.
The manual is one of the tools of the so-called Comparative Bantu
The computer software is designed so Deaf people will be able Narrative Discourse Project. It will explain to translation teams and
to record their sign languages, learn how to write what they can consultants how Bantu languages typically differ from the biblical
sign (using several different options) and create dictionaries. languages of Greek and Hebrew in their grammar structure.
Hearing people will also be able to use the software to learn and Steve Nicolle, translation/linguistics consultant with Wycliffes
analyze sign languages. partner, SIL International, in Africa hopes the manual is completed
Because the Deaf are very visual, the program uses icons with few by years end. It will be based on 15 Bantu languages spoken in
written menu items. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya.
The software is set for field testing in Deaf translation projects in Bantu languages of sub-Saharan Africa share many similarities.
Asia and the Pacific. Developers are hoping this will yield plenty of Developing tools and materials for Bible translation and literacy
helpful feedback for improving the tool and releasing it more widely. will make the work more efficient.

PNG Bible Storytellers Get Rigorous Training Before

We Die M ozambiques Takwane Bible
translation team has completed a

T he Bible Translation Association of Papua New Guinea (BTA)

is rejoicing that it now has a core group of trained personnel
to expand the Bible storytelling movement in their Pacific nation.
three-year project recording the Genesis
Film in their language.
In addition, The Takwane mini-Bible (the books of
A Wycliffe Global Alliance member, BTA held the final part Genesis, Exodus, Mark, Luke, Acts, Ephesians, 1 Timothy
three-year Oral Bible Storytelling training project this past and Hebrews) has been prepared and is in use among the
September. The 28 graduates (such as the one pictured at right) languages 180,000 speakers.
were from nine language groups. But the team in the East African nation is not resting on
Graduates demonstrated they can learn a Bible story thoroughly its laurels: it is now translating in Matthew and Revelation.
in English (one of PNGs official languages); tell it in their own Everyone has been healthy and we have had few
language; test the story with other speakers of the languages; and interruptions so we have enjoyed good progress, reports
check the revised story with a person with good Bible knowledge. a team leader. As one of our colleagues said today, We
SIL PNG/Tim Scott
The storytellers will go through this rigorous process for each Bible want to finish this before we die!
story because they dont yet have Gods Word translated into their We are all feeling the momentum build as chapters
own languages. slide into the done column fairly regularly these days.
Bible storytelling is a growing strategy in Wycliffe to
systematically present the Bibles message in oral form so people
in oral cultures, like many of PNGs 860 language groups, can
understand it effectively.
Word Count
Origin of the nearly 10,000 personnel
serving with Wycliffe and partner SIL
International around the world (besides
the 6,550 from North & South America):

1,442 Europe
855 Asia
Port Moresby 840 Pacific region
295 Africa
AUSTRALIA Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance, Sept. 2011

Word Alive Spring 2013 5

Settled in a community of their own, the Naskapi people
of Quebec deepen their spiritual roots with help from
the translated Scriptures.
Stories by Doug Lockhart Photographs by Alan Hood
ong before European explorers and traders began arriving
in northern Quebec and Labrador, the Naskapi people
followed their main food source, the caribou, across the
barren tundra from Hudson Bay in the west to Labradors
east coast. Then in 1831, the Naskapis pitched their tents near
the Hudsons Bay Company (HBC) trading post at Fort Chimo
beginning a long trading relationship with the then storied
British company. But over time, the Naskapis grew increasingly
dependent on the HBC for food and supplies.
Ironically, the HBCs role in providing physical food for the
hardy northern band led to the Naskapis first taste of milk
from Gods Word. Anglican clergy attached to the HBC posts
introduced the Naskapis to the gospel, teaching some of them
to read and write from a Cree translation of the New Testament.
Eventually, the band embraced Anglican forms of worship, using
Cree Scriptures, prayer books and hymns. For more than 100
years, the Naskapis relied on literate elders to read aloud from
the Cree texts and interpret on the fly whenever they gathered
to worship.
Then in the late 1960s, a Wycliffe-initiated language survey of
northern Quebec identified the need for a Naskapi translation of
the Bible. The survey opened the door for a long-term language
project that resulted in the publication of the Naskapi New
Testament in 2007 (see Word Alive, Spring 2008). Furthermore,
the project has helped spark renewed interest among the
Naskapis in their own history and culture, as well as mother

No Longer
tongue literacy.

(Left) Flanked by photos of their nomadic ancestors hanging in the Naskapi Development
Corporation office, two young girls do some texting while perusing the Naskapi New Testament.
In their rapidly-changing world, Naskapi youth have an advantage their ancestors never enjoyed
the ability to read and write their own language. Vernacular literacy, a byproduct of a Bible
translation project in this community, is helping a new generation of Naskapisand their elders
(top, right)get their hands on biblical and cultural materials written in their heart language.

Word Alive Spring 2013 7

Turbulent History
Today, more than 1,100 Naskapis live in the
community of Kawawachikamach [KA-wa-
wa-CHIK-ah-match] (abbreviated Kawawa),
a 15-km drive northeast of Schefferville,
Que. A mining town built in the mid-50s
by the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC),
Schefferville is accessible only by air or a
550-kilometre train ride from Sept-Iles.
Kawawas name means by a winding lake,
but the picturesque community, surrounded
by verdant forests and endless muskeg, has only
been the Naskapis home for the past 30 years.
After Fort Chimo closed in 1842, the
Naskapis trekked southwards to be near
another HBC trading post, Fort Nascopie.
Thus began a long and turbulent history that
included three more major upheavals, until
23 families left Fort Chimo by canoe in the
summer of 1956 and headed for Schefferville.
While details are disputed, it was
reported that officials in Schefferville had
no idea the Naskapis were coming and
had to scramble to find a suitable place
for them to settle. In any case, for the first
time in their history, the Naskapis began
living in houses, at nearby John Lake.
They endured one more forced relocation
until finally, after negotiating agreements in
the 1970s with both the federal and provincial
governments, they moved for the last time
in 1983 to their own community of Kawawa.


Current location
Former range

More than 1,100 Naskapis now live in

Kawawachikamach (or Kawawa, for short),
near the mining town of Schefferville, Que.
The Naskapis, who once roamed throughout
northern Quebec and Labrador following vast
herds of caribou, numbered fewer than 400
when they began settling here in 1983.

8 Word Alive Spring 2013

Word Alive Spring 2013 9
Called By God (Above) A Kawawa street sign reflects the linguistic diversity found
In 1987, God was preparing a young couple from Connecticut, in this region of Quebec. The Naskapis speak their mother tongue
and English primarily, while French is commonly spoken by a neigh-
Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz [yan-SEH-vitch], to work among
bouring band, the Montagnais.
the Naskapis (see Northern Composure, pg. 18). Bill had just (Left) Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz began working among the
completed a linguistics course taught by SIL, Wycliffes main Naskapis in 1988, learning their language and helping them to devel-
partner organization, but expected that hed be serving in a op a writing system in preparation for Bible translation. Many local
support role like graphic design or running a print shop. people, including George Guanish (below) helped them translate the
We had been praying, Lord, what do you want us to do? Bill New Testament, published in 2007.
says. We had thought about serving in Canada or Alaska, so we
were kind of leaning that way.
Bill visited Kawawa that year with Wycliffes Don Hekman, who
had done language survey in the area. They met with members of
the band council, who invited Bill to return with his family and live
in the community of 300-plus.
Sensing that God was calling them to help translate Scripture
for the Naskapis, Bill and Norma Jean moved with their two
young children to Kawawa in 1988. The familys transition into
community life was aided by the use of English as the second
language in Kawawa and also in nearby Schefferville (along with
French). As Norma Jean cared for their children and got to know
their neighbours, Bill concentrated on learning the Naskapi
language. Fortunately for him, Wycliffes Lana Martens and Carol
Chase had done some foundational language analysis during
the 70s and linguists affiliated with Memorial University of
Newfoundland were working on a Naskapi dictionary.
In the early 90s, the Naskapi Development Corporation
(NDC) invited Bill to help edit, check and transcribe words for
the dictionary. A typographic font he designed to format and
print Naskapi syllabic characters using computers, called BJCree,
was used for the three-volume lexicon, published in 1994, and
for subsequent publicationsincluding the New Testament (see
sidebar, One Big Language Family, pg. 11).

10 Word Alive Spring 2013

One Big Language Family

inguists classify the Cree-Innu-Naskapi (formerly
referred to as Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi) languages
as part of a larger family of languages known as
Speakers of Algonquian languages stretch from the east
coast of North America all the way to the Rocky Mountains. In
Canada, First Nations within this language family reside in the
Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario and the Prairie provinces.
The syllabic writing system now used by the Naskapis has
its roots in the script developed in the 1830s by Methodist
missionary James Evans.
Working among the Cree who lived near the north end of
Lake Winnipeg, Evans taught some local Cree hunters how
to read the syllabics; they in turn spread that knowledge to
other Cree groups they encountered in their vast hunting
and fishing territories.
Beginning in the mid- to late-19th century, missionaries
A Naskapi lay leader serves communion
arriving in remote northern communities sometimes found
during an Anglican church service
people who already knew how to read and write using in Kawawa.
syllabics. Such was the case for Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz.
When we came to Kawawa in the 80s, says Bill, most older
Naskapis could read and write their own language in syllabics.
Several of the elders were also very fluent reading Moose Cree
and James Bay Cree syllabic literature.
However, it was not being taught to schoolchildren in
a systematic way, and in church services, the Cree New
Testament was not easy for many Naskapis to read and
understand. Elders like Joe Guanish had to interpret
passages as they read them, and provide oral translations
for their audience.
In the late 1960s, a Wycliffe language survey determined
that the Naskapi language differed enough from surrounding
Cree languages to warrant its own Bible translation program.
Using the Cree syllabic characters as a starting point and in Handcrafted caribou-hide moccasins.
consultation with Naskapi readers and writers, Bill developed
a new syllabic typeface for the Naskapi language called BJCree,
which has also been used by other related languages across
Canada. This font was used to produce the Naskapi New The lighting of candles is one of many
church traditions adopted by the Naskapis
Testament and other publications. With its keyboard input
since they were first introduced to
method, it is also being taught to local schoolchildren, adults Christianity in the 1830s.
enrolled in literacy classes
and Naskapi students
studying by extension
through McGill University.
To view a sample of the
Naskapi script, see Joes
Prayer, pg. 17.
Nourished by the Word
Many Naskapis contributed to the translation of the Naskapi
New Testament, which was published and dedicated in 2007.
While Bill facilitated the project, several Naskapis served as
mother tongue translators and various Naskapi elders checked
their translations for accuracy, clarity and naturalness.
During church services, Naskapi Scripture is read aloud from a
Naskapi-English lectionary, which contains systematic Scripture
readings used widely by the Anglican Church. Available in book
form since 2011, the lectionary provides a three-year pattern for
Sunday readingsincluding significant Old Testament passages.
The congregation also uses a
More on the Web: Read about a
Naskapi prayer book and sings church music specialists visit to
from a book of hymns in their Kawawa at <>.
Other Scripture publications include Walking with Jesus, an
illustrated series on the life of Christ adapted by permission from
the Canadian Bible Society, and the book of Genesis, which has
been checked by readers in the community and was published
earlier this year.
Satellite TV Like other First Nations in Canada, the Naskapis
are fighting to preserve their mother tongue.
and the Internet Many Naskapi people never learned to read their
influences their language, because it was not taught systematically
until after the language project was underway
vocabulary. in the 90s. And while the local school began
teaching Naskapi children to read and write their language about
a dozen years ago, the Naskapi spoken by the young generation is
being shaped by modern culture and other factors.
When I came here, I noticed that most of the kids are speaking
(Above) On a warm Sunday after-
Naskapi, says Kawawa school principal, Curtis Tootoosis, a Cree
noon this past September, family
man originally from Saskatchewan. But when I spoke to some of
members and friends of a Naskapi
the adults about it, they said theyre not speaking pure Naskapi. man who disappeared in the bush
They said its kind of a watered down version. more than 30 years ago gather at
Satellite TV and the Internet influences their vocabulary, he a roadside shrine commemorating
adds. And its often diluted with a mix of English, French and his life. Beyond them in the forest,
Innu (formerly known as Montagnais, spoken by another First others searchunsuccessfullyfor
Nation in the area). the missing mans remains after
For those reasons and others, its clear to see that the one elder dreamed where they
availability of vernacular Scripture is making a difference for might be found.
people in their homes and in church. Ruby Sandy Robinson, an (Right) At the Jimmy Sandy
Memorial School in Kawawa,
NDC administrator and grandmother who is just beginning
teacher Lynn Einish drills her sec-
to read her own language, says having the New Testament in
ond grade students in the Naskapi
Naskapi is a blessing. alphabet. Naskapi children are
Its very important to me, and I think to my nation, my taught in their mother tongue
community, that theres finally a bookGods Wordin our from kindergarten through Grade
everyday language. 2, before switching to English
instruction in third grade.

12 Word Alive Spring 2013

Former chief Joe Guanish has been a strong advocate for Bible translation in Kawawa and his voice is still being heard through
daily recorded New Testament readings on the community radio station. Now retired, Guanish puts his knowledge of Naskapi
language and culture to good use, volunteering a few days a week in the curriculum development office at the local school.

Growing Influence around and said, what did you say? He was reading . . . so I said,
The Bible was part of Rubys everyday life growing up. Her Can you read it again?
late father, Joseph Sandy, was a devout man who loved Sure enough, he did. He said he learned it at school. . . . I
Gods Word. In their home, he read the Cree Scriptures couldnt believe itI was so dumbfounded. But also it really
and interpreted them for his wife and children. touched meI cried. Im a grandmother and I didnt know how
Others, like former chief Joe Guanish, have also valued to read Naskapi, yet this little boy of six years old could read it
the Word of God. Back in the 80s, Guanish helped pave just like that.
the way for Bible translation to begin in Kawawa and
later became involved in checking translated Scriptures.
He also became the voice for Scripture readings that
are played daily on the community radio station.
Guanish, now 82, loves his people and wants to see them
follow Gods ways. Several years ago, after waking from a vivid
dream, he penned a prayer for his people (see Joes Prayer,
pg. 17). Highly respected by the Naskapis, he
Im a grandmother is generally regarded as the senior adviser for
and I didnt know all language-related questions. If translators
how to read Nas- struggle to find the right Naskapi words or
arent quite sure of their meanings, the usual
kapi, yet this little recourse is to ask Joe.
boy of six years old If Ruby could read Naskapi like Joe, shed
be thrilled. But when she attended school
could read it just as a child, the Naskapi language was not
like that. taught in school. For now, she struggles along
with some of her co-workers in the Naskapi
Development Corporation (NDC), who gather regularly
to practise reading from the Naskapi New Testament.
In this, she has found inspiration from her grandson, Kyle.
He was six, in Grade 1. I was keeping him one night, and when
we were passing by a poster on my door . . . I heard him mumble Ruby Sandy Robinson is just beginning to read and write her language.
something. It sounded like he was reading it . . . and I turned She regularly practises reading from the Naskapi New Testament with
co-workers in the Naskapi Development Corporation office.

14 Word Alive Spring 2013

Preserving Language and Culture A growing library of Naskapi literature is fuelling this growing
Kyle learned to read Naskapi at the Jimmy Sandy Memorial interest in literacy. Publications so far include childrens stories
School in Kawawa, where about 200 students attend classes like Little Lost Caribou (illustrated by the Jancewicz daughter,
from kindergarten through Grade 11. From kindergarten Beth), and another illustrated by Bill, titled Ill Take You Goose
through Grade 2, students are taught in the Naskapi Hunting Next Spring. Also in the works is the Naskapi Wolverine
language before transitioning to English instruction in Stories, a series of traditional Naskapi legends and stories
third grade. By learning their mother tongue first, they are commissioned by the NDC.
more likely to become literate in Naskapi and be more Michael Sandy, Rubys brother and a candidate for chief in a
successful in all their other English-language classes. recent election, is pleased to see Naskapi children learning how
Adults in the community are taking advantage of literacy to read their language.
classes, which Bill Jancewicz teaches using the New Testament Language is one of the most beautiful gifts the Creator has
as a textbook. And 12 Naskapi young people are enrolled in given us, says Michael, who is currently studying at the First
an advanced Naskapi-language extension course taught by Nations University of Canada campus in Saskatoon, Sask. When
Bill, as part of a McGill University teacher-training program. you use the language, the community will function better. . . .
A few of Bills students have received training as mother- Everythings linked to the language when it comes to culture.
tongue translators; one is currently working on the book of I just hope that other First Nations realize this; thats how we
Exodus, and another is working on the book of Esther. survived for thousands of years. When the language goes, a lot of
things disappear.

Returning to university classes in Saskatoon, Michael Sandy (left) enjoys a chat with fellow traveller Kathleen Tooma during the 13-hour train
ride from Schefferville to Sept-Iles. Tshiuetin Rail Transportation Inc., owned by the Naskapis and two other First Nations in Quebec, is the
chief mode of transportation for most Naskapis travelling to and from Schefferville.

Word Alive Spring 2013 15

On First Ground Through a previous land claim settlement (The
Thirty years ago, when more than 300 Naskapis established their Northeastern Quebec Agreement) signed with the
tiny community of Kawawa, some may have wondered if the provincial and federal governments, the Naskapis lay
group was in danger of disappearing. claim to nearly 4,200 hectares of land and live with
Better yet, Gods Word Since then, their population has nearly few restrictions on hunting, fishing and trapping.
Their days of wandering long behind them, the Naskapis
in their heart language quadrupled and they now control
their own future. have put down roots. Better yet, Gods Word in their
is helping them build In 1984, Naskapi leaders were heart language is helping them build even stronger
spiritual foundations for future generations.
even stronger spiritual signatories to the Cree-Naskapi
(of Quebec) Act, Canadas first
foundations for future Aboriginal self-government
generations. legislation. As a result, the Naskapi
Nation of Kawawachikamach
enjoys greater autonomy than other
bands still under the Indian Act.

Naskapi chief Isaac Pien looks for a suitable place to set his fishing nets in Iron Arm, part of Attikamagen
Lake, northeast of Kawawa. Surrounded by numerous lakes and forests abounding with wildlife, the
Naskapis no longer need to depend on the rapidly-declining caribou herds for their survival.

16 Word Alive Spring 2013

Joes Prayer
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Joe Guanish was chief of the Naskapis and a key advocate
for Bible translation among his people. After a dream one night several years ago, Guanish
composed a prayer for his people and wrote it down using the Naskapi script.

Almighty and everlasting God, who created everything and who created us and who
supplied everything for us to use, we thank You for treating us well, especially for giving us
Your Son to die for us so that we should not perish. Help us to do Your will, for we want to
do what You ask of us and the way we should live our lives. Help every nation of this world
and people of all ages.
Help all who suffer and who are sick. Heal those who need healing and renew their minds.
Forgive all their sins and purify their minds to serve You only all their lives.
Also help our grandchildren, children and our great-grandchildren and also our friends.
Help them to have healthy bodies and spirit.
. . . Also help us all who are elders, forgive us also of all our sins we have committed
against You all our lives and deliver us from evil. Help us to serve You for the rest of our lives.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,


Word Alive Spring 2013 17

After a rough start, a Wycliffe
Canada couple persevered to
help a remote First Nations
community receive Gods
Word in their language.
onditions were less than ideal when Bill and Norma toilet either, she says, laughing.
Jean Jancewicz [yan-SEH-vitch] arrived in northeastern But the next morning, a young Naskapi man arrived to install
Quebec in 1988 to launch Bible translation for the a brand new toilet.
Naskapi people. And then a dump truck pulls up, and theres a washer, and a
With a baby girl and a five-year-old son in tow, and no place dryer and a stove in the back. And the Naskapi guys come right
to rent or buy in the village of Kawawachikamach [KA-wa-wa- in carrying the appliances, and put them in place. And then that
CHIK-ah-match] (abbreviated Kawawa), they shared a three- afternoon, a refrigerator arrives.
bedroom house with an older Naskapi man named Noah. So in one day, it all worked out according to Gods plan
It snowed, too. For four straight daysin June. and timing.
Inside Noahs house, the young family faced further challenges. The Jancewicz family lived with Noah for nearly a yearand
There was no fridge or stove, no washer and no dryer, says with three other Naskapi hosts before the birth of their third
Norma Jean. So I started to praybut the prayer went child, Nick, in 1990. After he arrived, there was no longer any
unanswered for a couple of weeks. housing available at Kawawa, so Bill and Norma Jean rented a
To get by, the couple kept their perishables in a neighbours house in Schefferville, 15 km away.
refrigerator. While praying about the situation one night before Despite such trials, and other hardships they endured while
bedtime, Norma Jean remembers thinking that things couldnt living in the rugged borderland between northeastern Quebec
get much worse. and Labrador, they have persevered for more than 24 years so
However, Noah came in that night . . . and slipped in the the Naskapis could receive the life-changing Word of God in
bathroom, breaking the toilet. So after that, we didnt have a their language.
A camera-shy Naskapi girl hides behind her friend as the pair
travel the muddy streets of Kawawa on an all-terrain vehicle.
The regions cool, wet conditions in spring and fall, and heavy
snowfall in winter, can create challenging travelling conditions
throughout much of the year.

I cant say I was hooked on linguistics.

But I thought, this isnt so hard.

A Shared Path for service with SIL, Wycliffes main partner organization,
Bill and Norma Jean first met while both were in high school, by enrolling in courses at the University of Washington in
through their hometown church youth group in Connecticut. Seattle. There, Bill excelled in linguistics, earning straight As.
They dated for a short time, but when they both went off to I cant say I was hooked on linguistics, says Bill. But I thought,
college, their relationship cooled. this isnt so hard.
Then a few years later, during spring break, they saw each other I found it hard, Norma Jean adds with a chuckle.
again and Bill asked Norma Jean if he could write to her. Their But he didnt.
courtship revived, they began seeing each other during holidays When the time came to consider whereand howthey
and summer vacation. would serve in Bible translation, they talked with Roger Gilstrap,
Ironically, both had begun exploring service with Wycliffe Bible director of SILs North America Branch and more recently
Translators, independently. Norma Jean was thinking of serving director of Wycliffe Canada. Aware of Bills proficiency in
as a teacher, while Bill was leaning more towards graphic design. linguistics, Gilstrap encouraged the couple to consider leading a
Following their marriage in 1981, the couple prepared Bible translation project in northern Canada.

As autumn approaches in northeastern Quebec, the setting sun casts

a glorious palette of soft colours and shadows across waters called
Sunset Lake by locals. Serene at times, the area can be buffeted by
fierce blizzards and plummeting temperatures once winter arrives
creating challenging and sometimes life-threatening conditions for
the hardy residents of nearby Schefferville and Kawawa.

Word Alive Spring 2013 21

Slow Start felt that we kind of took over, says Norma Jean. So he would
Although neither Bill nor Norma Jean had felt a strong sometimes just retreat to his room.
calling to native ministry when they started their path Initially Bill concentrated on learning the language and
with Wycliffe, Gilstraps advice didnt catch them by building relationships, but some of their Naskapi friends still
surprise. They had already given some thought to serving werent real clear on what he was trying to accomplish.
in Alaska or Canada, among a First Nations group. People would say funny things, Norma Jean says. Like, You
The Lord has often provided guidance to us through our know, I could get Bill a job here, they need a construction worker
leaders, says Bill, so we thought, Lets have a look at the Naskapi on the houses. Because during the language-learning phase we
situation, and pray about it, and see what the Naskapi people would go and talk to people . . . and visit all the timeso they
themselves think about it. must have thought, maybe it would help them if Bill had a real job.
That openness to God led Bill to visit Kawawa in 1987 with Then in the early 90s, a team of linguists from the Memorial
Don Hekman. Don and his wife Martha had spent 14 years in University of Newfoundland, who were working on a Naskapi
a Bible translation project for the Innu (formerly Montagnais) dictionary project, asked Bill for his help. He readily agreed and
people of northeastern Quebec and more recently, Don served his work on the three-volume dictionary, published in 1994,
as president of Wycliffe Canada. helped to establish his credibility along with his role among the
A year later, Bill and Norma Jean arrived in Kawawa with five- Naskapis. Shortly after, the Naskapi Development Corporation
year-old Ben and their one-year-old daughter, Elizabeth (Beth). offered him some office space and made sure he had the
After overcoming their initial trials with missing appliances computers, software and other supplies he needed to move
and a broken toilet, they focused on getting to know their ahead in Bible translation.
neighboursand Noah, who could often be heard singing along As much as possible, Bill sought to facilitate translation
to his favourite country music on the Naskapi radio station. by training the Naskapis themselves. Then-chief Joe Guanish
The five of them managed to live together amicably, but provided invaluable insights into the Naskapi language and
frequently Noah would seek refuge in his bedroom. customs, while three mother tongue translators (MTTs) worked
With a family of four moving into his house, he must have with Bill on translating Scripture.

They must have thought, maybe it would help them if Bill had a real job.

22 Word Alive Spring 2013

Gods Word is alive and its going to move you. And thats what
I feel is happening with the Naskapis. Its changing their lives.
Family Needs Mama Jean and Mr. Bill
In 2004, the Jancewicz family had to return to Connecticut so With their own kids now grown up and living in the U.S., Norma
Bill and Norma Jean could care for his elderly father. While Jean works at the Kawawa school, helping to develop mother
in the U.S., Bill stayed engaged with the language project tongue curriculum.
and the three MTTs kept translation moving along. Bill oversees ongoing work on Old Testament translation,
For the Naskapis, says Bill, it was a wonderful thing for including the book of Genesis, while finishing translation of
them to understand that we went away to take care of my dad, a Naskapi lectionary, teaching literacy classes, and facilitating
because that is a high value in the culture. publication of various Naskapi-language materials.
But it was also a good opportunity for our children to go to And thats just at the office. At home, the couple continue to
high school outside the community, he adds. Our daughter serve as foster parents, toosomething theyve been doing for
Beth went to high school in Connecticut, and Nick finished high years. Whether they lived in Kawawa or Schefferville, their home
school there too. was always filled with Naskapi or Innu children.
During their five years in the U.S., Bill worked on the Bible Mama Jean and Mr. Billas theyre affectionately known by
translation in Connecticut and would return to Kawawa two or dozens of youngstersestimate they have cared for more than
three times a year to keep the project on track and support the 25 kids over the years. Some were repeat visitors who stayed for
mother tongue translators. only a few weeks or months; the longest stayed for three years.
More on the Web: For details on the
dedication, see Word Alive, Spring 2008
In 2007, he and Norma Jean The three Jancewicz kids agreed early on to share their rooms
issue at <>. attended the dedication of with friends and classmates who needed some support, often at
the Naskapi New Testament. a moments notice.
And though they had been considered for a change of Now, our youngest son Nick is considering a career as a
assignment, after Bills dad passed away in 2009 they decided to social worker, says Norma Jean. Hes witnessed what its like
return to Kawawa. for children not to have the security that comes from a home
Every home had a New Testament, says Norma Jean. More to come to after school, or not to know when the next meal will
and more people were learning to read and using the Bible as be provided.
their text for reading the language. Its great . . . because reading All three of the Jancewiczs kids still maintain strong ties to the
Gods Word changes your life. Naskapi community and Beth, an artist, sometimes returns to
Which is why we came back, adds Bill. People here need her northern home to teach art in Kawawas school.
to learn how to read the Scriptures, and now, more than ever,
they want to.

(Left) In her home pottery

studio in Schefferville, Norma
Jean adds decorative touches
to a small pitcher while listen-
ing to her favourite music.
Such times of creative solitude
have helped her cope with the
stresses of life in a sometimes
harsh, remote area of Quebec.
(Right) Looking every inch
the hardy northerner, Bill jots
down a few notes in his office
in the Naskapi Development
Corporation. A gifted artist, he
once thought of becoming a
graphic designer. But God had
other plansplans that included
using Bill and Norma Jean to
give His life-giving Word to the
Naskapi people.

Word Alive Spring 2013 23

Domino Effect
With so much invested, Bill and Norma Jean arent
eager to leave Kawawa. But they also want to remain
open to God, should He call them somewhere else.
In the meantime, theyre excited by recent developments in
Natuashish [Nat-TWA-shish], the Naskapis sister community in
Labrador. Its home to more than 1,000 Mushuau Innu [MOO-
shoo-aw IN-new] people. They were relocated from Davis Inlet in
2002, in a much-publicized effort by the federal government to
help them overcome crippling social problems.
People from both communities originally came from the same
group of nomadic caribou hunters, Bill wrote to financial and
prayer supporters this past fall. But their histories that diverged
around the beginning of the 20th century resulted in two very
different writing systems and some dialect differences that we
are just learning about.
Last September, Bill and Norma Jean travelled to Natuashish
for the second time in two years, to hold a translation workshop
with help from the three Naskapi MTTs. Norma Jean conducted (Above) A lighted cross overlooks the mining town of Schefferville,
workshops for Innu-speaking classroom assistants interested in where Bill and Norma Jean live in a small house they purchased for
improving mother tongue education in the local school. $500 in the early 90s, after a major downturn in the mining industry.
Over the years their home has been a refuge for dozens of Naskapi
The couple are hopeful that the Mushuau Innu people, who
youngsters (below, left) who know them as Mama Jean and Mr. Bill.
are predominantly Catholic, will choose to follow the lead
(Below, right) Chief Isaac Pien and Bill prepare for a fishing trip on
of their Naskapi cousins by initiating a language project and Attikamagen Lake this past September. Friendships Bill and Norma
translating the Scriptures. Jean have forged with their Naskapi hosts have gone a long way to
If they do, that could well lead to transformed livesnow and endear them to the community and to win acceptance for their work
for eternity. in Bible translation.
Word Wrestling

s in any translation project, translators We had to do a lot of explaining, says Bill. The
working on the Naskapi Scriptures had word firmament, for example, translates as, sky skin
to wrestle with innumerable words and like a caribou skin.
concepts that didnt translate easily. Garden was another term that had no Naskapi
Because the Naskapis were used to hearing the Cree equivalent.
translation, they were familiar with biblical terms like There are no gardens here, Bill explains. So what
righteousness, peace, humility, and sanctification, says word do you use for Garden of Eden, and have it
Bill. Now that they have the entire New Testament, communicate something logical in Naskapi? We finally
theyre learning more about what those words mean . . . came up with a word that means a place for things to
now its a word in the context of a whole sentence. grow, like a park.
With the translation of Genesis now finished, the For camel, we just used the Cree word. When
MTTs have struggled at times to translate words Naskapis read that word, they know its an animal with
theyre encountering in the Old Testament. a big hump on its back.

Bible Translation for First Nations in Canada

Wycliffe personnel serving with partner organization, SIL (Americas Area), have had significant involvement in
translating Gods Word into the languages of First Nations people in Canada. The Canadian Bible Society has
partnered with SIL in many of the programs listed below.

Current Programs
Project Location Status
*Mikmaq N.S. Lectionary readings, oral stories and childrens Bible storybooks.
New Testament nearing completion; partnership with Canadian Bible
Atikamekw Que.
Society (CBS)
NT 2007; Old Testament in progress. Dictionary, lectionary, various
Naskapi Que.
cultural stories
James Bay Cree, Northern Que. New Testament nearing completion; to be published by CBS.
Stoney Alta. Scripture videos and oral translation of numerous other NT books
Programs Completed
Project Location Scriptures published
Algonquin Western Quebec NT & OT portions published in 1998
Beaver East Central B.C. NT portions
Blackfoot Central Alberta NT portions
Carrier Central B.C. OT portions, NT 1995
Carrier, Southern Central B.C. OT portions, NT 2002 Genesis 2006
Chilcotin South-central B.C. Genesis and Marks Gospel
Dogrib N.W.T. NT 2003 Genesis 2006
James Bay Cree, Southeastward from NT 2001
Southern James Bay, Que.
Gwichin Old Crow Yukon New Testament 2011
Inupiatun, North Alaskan NWT, Yukon NT 1968
Mikmaq Quebec NT 1999, OT portions
Montagnais St. Lawrence River, Que. NT portions
Sekani Central B.C. NT portions
South Slavey Alberta, N.W.T. OT portions & NT portions
Tlingit Northern B.C.,Yukon OT portions & NT portions

*Wycliffe Canada is helping to support the Mikmaq project. For more information and how to donate
to the effort, see the enclosed reply form.

Word Alive Spring 2013 25

A Prized
Opportunity An internship with Wycliffe helped one
Ontario student understand the impact of
Bible translation on a First Nations community.

fter Andrew Langaert won two cash prizes in last winters Race to
2025 adventure fundraising event, he had some decisions to make.
The 23-year-old Newmarket, Ont. resident won a $2,000 individual
prize towards a short-term mission trip with Wycliffe, after his three
teammates nominated him for the draw.
Then Andrews teammates elected to share their portions of a $2,000 group
prize with him. But when it came time to
More on the Web: For details about
decide what to do with the prize money,
Wycliffe Canadas Race to 2025, see
Word Alive, Spring 2010 issue at the McMaster University engineering student
<>. didnt see a good match for his interests
and abilities.
I always wanted to do native ministry, says Andrew, but Wycliffe had all these
other organized trips that sounded like theyd be greatgood opportunities to
learn and to servebut they werent really what I wanted to do long term.
So instead, Wycliffe Canada staffer Sarah Barnes began exploring internships
in a First Nations language project. A few months later, Bill and Norma Jean
Jancewicz [yan-SEH-vitch] invited Andrew to help out in the Naskapi language
project near Schefferville, Que.
I want to do native ministry in the north, says Andrew, so I thought this
sounded perfect.

A Heart for the Hinterland

Andrew has been interested in Canadas First Nations for as long as he can
remember. And although he struggled with shyness while growing up, it
didnt hold him back from serving others or leaving his comfort zone.
In his teens, Andrew spent a week with his church youth group on the
Sagamok reserve near Sudbury, Ont., helping run a Vacation Bible School for
Ojibwa children.
I was the youngest person who had ever gone on this annual trip to a reserve,
says Andrew. It was my first exposure to any native group, because there werent
many near where I lived, where I grew up. And
I want to do native seeing the social problems on that reserve, I
ministry in the north, had a lot of compassion for all the things that
so I thought this were happening.
sounded perfect. For Andrew, the idea of spending a month
in northeastern Quebec among the Naskapis
seemed intriguing.
Ive always had a fascination with the north; I dont know why, but Ive had
this fascination since I was a kid. I love the outdoors. I always try to do a few
backcountry trips every summer, and the Naskapis have lived in the bush for

26 Word Alive Spring 2013

During last Februarys Race to 2025 near Nordegg, Alta., Andrew sets the pace for fellow contestants as they press on towards
the next challenge in the grueling course. Andrews teammates nominated him for prizes that led to his four-week internship in
the Naskapi community of Kawawa. Although he didnt see any caribou thereexcept the one hanging in the Jancewiczs kitchen
(opposite)he enjoyed learning from the Naskapis and witnessing how Bible translation is impacting their community.

Word Alive Spring 2013 27

Modest Goals water heater in their home and chopping firewood. At the
Last August, Andrew left Sept-Iles, Que. by train, travelling 13 translation office in Kawawa, he helped out where needed,
hours through terrain that included forests, lakes and muskeg cleaning floors or doing office work.
to reach the mining community of Schefferville. Lodging Bill and Norma Jean are very busy, Andrew says, so I was glad to
with Bill and Norma Jean in their Schefferville home, Andrew be able to help in those ways.
drove with Bill and/or Norma Jean almost daily to the Naskapi At the same time, he worked on learning some
reserve at Kawawachikamachor Kawawasome 15 km Naskapi words and building relationships. He was even
away over winding gravel roads. Knowing that four weeks able to help out in an election, when the people of
would pass quickly, he had a few modest goals in mind. Kawawa voted in a new chief and council.
Not having a linguistic background, I was just expecting to Helping with the election was a good way to meet more
help out wherever I could, says Andrew. people, says Andrew, and see the way people in the community
In Schefferville, that included helping Bill to replace a hot interact as a whole.

Most weekdays, Andrew accompanied Bill to his office in Kawawa at the Naskapi
Development Corporation. Besides working on some computer-related tasks, Andrew
assisted with the band election and even helped Bill replace the water heater in his home.

28 Word Alive Spring 2013

Andrew picks wild blueberries in the forest, during a Sunday afternoon outing with Bill
and Norma Jean. In early September, the ground is blanketed with the berries as well as
the light-coloured caribou moss (inset, above) that has fed the regions caribou herds
for untold generations.

Course Confirmed The staff would sit together in the meeting room and read
Andrew has since returned to his engineering studies at Bible passages in Naskapi. They were using materials produced
McMasterbut he has some specific ministry goals in mind. as part of the translation project, reading Gods Word, and
Doing my engineering degree, more than anything else, was a improving their literacy skills all at once.
way to potentially be able to support myself doing ministry in a Although his time in Kawawa was short, Andrew feels the
remote community. internship provided some valuable cross-cultural experience as
The way Andrew sees it, he would then need to get his well as some good insights into missionary life in northern Canada.
engineering licence, and possibly attend seminary to prepare for I really enjoyed seeing the culture and I gained a better
long-term ministry in the north. Serving in the Naskapi language understanding of the struggles these communities face, says
project has stirred him to consider some training in linguistics, too. Andrew. I learned that Bible translation is a huge task that can
I really like what Wycliffe does with linguistic ministry, and I take a very long time to finish. I learned that the work can often
enjoy linguistics too, so I might look into some kind of degree be mundane, but I also saw that the completed work meant a
along those lines. great deal to the Naskapi people.
Looking back at his month in Kawawa, Andrew says he had It was great to hear . . . how people are growing in their
the chance to see and better understand some of the challenges, faith and how lives are being changed. The internship has
joys and practical everyday confirmed for me that I want to continue my involvement with
I really like what work involved in native ministry in First Nations communities . . . and to consider future
Wycliffe does with ministry. A highlight of his time involvement in Bible translation.
linguistic ministry . . . there was participating in some
so I might look into reading sessions held in the
some kind of degree Naskapi development office.
along those lines.

Word Alive Spring 2013 29

Sing in Celebrati o n
The Sabaot Bible was one of 31 New Testaments
and Bibles dedicated for more than 14 million
people, with Canadian involvement, this past year.
By Janet Seever

ongs and shouts of celebration rang out across the slopes New Testaments for the Bagh* people
of Mt. Elgon in Kenya, Africa, as a huge crowdup to The Sabaot Bible, launched in Kenya, was one of 31 New
8,000 peoplegathered for the launch of the translated Testaments and Bibles dedicated for 14.5 million people, with
Sabaot Bible on Sunday, June 10th. Canadian involvement, this past year (see sidebar, opposite page).
The participants were jubilant, as they anticipated the sight of Another group that had a Scripture launch ceremony recently
the new Bibles, and they were not disappointed. They received was the Bagh people of South Asia, who number 25,000.
their Sabaot New Testament in 1997, but now they have the Living in villages nestled in a rugged mountain range, these
entire Book in their mother tongue. After a long afternoon people lead very isolated and difficult lives. Most families subsist
of speakers at the celebration, a number of Sabaot people, on small plots of land where they grow rice, corn or wheat.
including a girl of about 10 and a teenage boy, read from the Travelling outside of the community is a challenge for the Bagh
Bible. This Book is now available to 150,000 Sabaot people. people, so accessing basic health care and education is difficult.
Tribal conflict has been part of the lives of Sabaot people for Most children do not complete their formal education; instead,
generations, prompting a prayer for peace by the BTL (Bible they follow their parents into a life of deep poverty. With no
Translation and Literacy) general secretary, Peter Munguti. hope for the future, many young people are leaving Bagh villages.
[I pray] that many of you Sabaot people, who have not known
peace for years, will read these Scriptures in your language *Pseudonym used due to sensitivity of the religious and political context in the area
and know the Lord of peace, prayed Munguti. May this book
become a uniting tool between [one] neighbour and another.
May it bring healing to those that are hurting, restore hope to
those that have been devastated by the tribal clashes that have
dominated this community for years.

If only we had the Bible

Although the Sabaot people speak Kiswahili as a second
language, it was never sufficient for their understanding of Gods
Word. During the festivities, the story was told of one frustrated
Sabaot man struggling to share the gospel in Kiswahili with his
people in years past. In his frustration he called out to God,
Oh, if only we had the Bible in the Sabaot language!
The Sabaot people have great thirst, but the water they have
to drink has many impurities, he went on to tell God. They
need clean water so that their thirst will be quenched. . . . If
the message was in the Sabaot language, the people would
understand it and their thirst would be quenched.
The completion of this Bible was the result of a number of
partnerships. OneBook, a close partner of Wycliffe Canada,
raised funds through Canadian partners across Canada to assist
the national translation organization within Kenya, BTL, to do
the translation. A new partner, The Gideons Canada, paid for
the printing of this Bible. Two representatives from The Gideons
Canada as well as two OneBook staff members from Canada
attended this very special event.
Because of many years of work and several key partnerships,
the thirst of the Sabaot people has now been quenched.
Rachel Gammell

30 Word Alive Spring 2013

The church among the Bagh is small and dispersed. Although The Nawuri project has undergone many challenges and
by law, Christians are free to worship, they face much hostility and difficulties since it began, often caused by tensions between
strong community pressure to conform to traditional practices. various ethnic groups. This OneBook project, begun in 2000, has
Eager for their families and neighbours to read the Bible for made Gods Word available for 14,000 Nawuri speakers.
themselves, a group from 10 local churches ventured to the At the grand finale celebration of GILLBTs 50th year, the
nations capital 10 years ago to ask for help in translating the paramount chief of the Nawuri people of northern Ghana
New Testament into Bagh. Now their dream has become received the first copy of the New Testament in Nawuri.
a reality with the dedication of the New Testament. This, too, When we go to politicians, we are not known, he said. But
was a project sponsored by OneBook with funding from when we go to God, we are known. With tears in his eyes, he
interested Canadians. exclaimed, We have now been counted among Gods people.
Believers are now excited to have Gods Word in their heart
language. They can use it as a tool to introduce other Bagh Other Canadian involvement
people to God and help believers grow strong in their faith. Bagh In Chad, Africa, the Kenga and Dangaleat New Testaments,
believers know firsthand the freedom Gods Word can bring. dedicated in late November 2012 (as this issue of Word
Alive was being designed), brought Gods translated Word
Gods Translated Word for the Nawuri to groups numbering 40,000 and 45,000 respectively.
Under the supervision of GILLBT (Ghana Institute of Linguistics, These New Testaments represented years of hard work
Literacy and Bible Translation), team leader John Adinyah and perseverance by many people. Canadian linguist Jackie
pulled together a team of assistants to translate Gods Word Hainault (see Word Alive, Spring 2007) worked as a consultant
and bring literacy to the Nawuri community of Ghana, Africa. for both New Testaments, and checked about one-quarter of
The team oversaw the work that has now been completed and the Kenga New Testament and one-third of the Dangeleat
the use of the Word in Nawuri in church services is increasing. New Testament.
In fact, non-Christian Nawuri sent their children to Sunday
school to hear Gods Word and learn to read. However, pastors
still need to be trained to use Nawuri texts in church services
and Bible studies.

World New Testaments*

Translation Location Number of Groups Combined Total Populations

Summary Africa 14 2,434,184

Scriptures translated with Asia 6 10,051,200
Wycliffe involvement were
dedicated for 31 languages, Pacific 3 6,280
spoken by more than 14
Americas 4 98,250
million people, since we
prepared our last Translation Total 27 12,589,914
Update in the Summer
2012 issue of Word Alive. Whole Bibles
This table gives a regional
global breakdown of the
Location Number of Groups Combined Total Populations
affected language groups Africa 1 279,000
with their populations.
Asia** 3 1,590,000
Total 4 1,869,000
Combined Totals 31 14,458,914
*Three New Testaments in Asia, Pacific and Africa had, in addition to the New Testament: Genesis,
Genesis and Exodus, and Old Testament portions, respectively.
**The complete Bible in one language in Asia combined the vernacular New Testament with the
previously completed Old Testament in the national language.

Word Alive Spring 2013 31

Beyond Words

Translating the Gospel

By Hart Wiens

Part 5
Primary and Secondary Senses
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish
but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

he worldthis phrase is challenging for Bible translators because
the Greek word kosmon () is used with at least five
Editors Note:
different shades of meanings in the New Testament. Depending
This is the third in
on the context, it may mean the universe, the earth, the
a series of articles
inhabitants of the earth, the way people live in the world, or everyone and
reflecting on the
everything that is alienated from God. John 1:10 illustrates three of these
verse John 3:16
meanings in one verse.
word by word.
When translating words used in a variety of ways, we must distinguish between
The series illustrates
primary and secondary senses. For example, the English word run has the
some of the
primary meaning of motion with quick steps on alternate feet.It also has literally
challenges Bible
dozens of secondary senses. When used with nose, motor or stocking, it has
translators face as
three very different meaningsnone of which would be translated by the word
they seek to present
for run in French, Spanish or most other languages. It is the secondary senses
Gods Good News
of words that create the most challenges for translators, because they are rarely
in every language
transferable from one language to another.
spoken on earth.
In Scripture, words are commonly used in such a way that the whole stands for
one of its parts.For example Luke uses Moses to stand for what Moses wrote
(Luke 16:29), and in Acts 2:4 tongues represent the languages spoken with the
tongue. The technical name for this rhetorical device
is metonymy.
It is the secondary The Greek word kosmon () as used in
Cindy Buckshon

senses of words John 3:16 is a clear example of metonymy. Here the

that create the universe stands for the people who live in it. Gods Depending on the
love is focused on people rather than on the universe
most challenges for as a whole. The book of Genesis pictures the Creator context, the Greek
translators, because expressing pleasure with all of creation (it was good), word kosmon may
they are rarely but not expressing love. The agape love in Johns
Gospel focuses on people, the only beings capable of mean the universe,
transferable from responding to God in faith.
one language to Translators who fail to consider the secondary sense the earth, the
another. of the Greek word kosmon () used here may
end up with a rendering that represents Gods love inhabitants of the
as focused on the earth, a lifeless lump of clay, rather
than on the people with whom he identified supremely in his incarnation.The earth, the way
Contemporary English Version, for example, ensures that the intended meaning of
the original is conveyed clearly with the rendering, God loved the people of this people live in the
world so much that. . . . Although the people are not stated in the literal Greek
text of the original, they are clearly the intended objects of Gods great love.
world, or everyone
Translations of the Bible that carefully consider primary and secondary sense and everything that is
meanings help the reader to understand more clearly what the original authors
wanted to communicate. alienated from God.

32 Word Alive Spring 2013

Part 6
Collocation Clashes
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish
but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

ere we concentrate on the sixth element in this fabulous message,
he gave. The verb to give in its primary sense, has to do with
transferring possession or ownership and normally implies material
objects. In contexts such as the abhorrent institution of slavery, people
can also be objects of possession and transference. In English, his only Son
as the direct object of he gave is not incomprehensible. However, in
many other languages it would constitute a serious collocational
clashtwo elements that do not naturally go together.
The unusual nature of this collocation highlights and
draws attention to the statement. To readers steeped in
Bible knowledge, it helps to evoke images of Jesus birth
and His death as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Readers familiar with Old Testament Jewish history are
reminded of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice
his only son Isaac. Most contemporary readers may
need an explanation such as those offered in study Bibles.
In other languages, the clash between he gave and his only Son may be
even more pronounced. In the Kalinga language of the Philippines, there is no
context for readers to understand the concept of giving ones son. In this case it
was decided to borrow the verb sent from John 3:17, while not retaining the rich
imagery of the original, is necessary to help readers who
have very little biblical background.
Perfect Perfect translation is not possible, and even very good
translation is translation requires difficult choices. Sometimes the
not possible, choice is between two or more possible renderings, each
of which provide only an imperfect representation of the
and even very originally intended meaning. At other times the choice
good translation may be between a rendering that is not quite accurate
requires difficult and one that would convey no meaning at all.
As Bible translators, we need the prayer support of
choices. Gods people so that the choices we make will help
people understand the message in a way that will draw
them to JesusGods communication wrapped in
humanity (John 1:14).

Reprinted with permission from the Canadian Bible Societys Translating the Gospel article series, written
by Hart Wiens, CBS director of Scripture translation. Hart and his wife Ginny served with Wycliffe Canada
in a Bible translation project among the Kalinga people in the Philippines for 19 years. More recently, Hart
has been a Wycliffe Canada board member.

Word Alive Spring 2013 33

A Thousand Words

Devotion in Motion

Each morning before leaving for

his office in Kawawa, Bill reads
from his Bible while working out
on the treadmill. With desk jobs
and few opportunities to exercise
outdoors during the bitter winter
months, he and Norma Jean find
the machine helps them keep their
hearts in tuneas do the daily
readings from Gods Word.

34 Word Alive Spring 2013

Last Word

Catching our Breath for the Final Sprint

By Roy Eyre

remember where I was when I first heard the would come. In a sense, its the peak before the rush
news. As a young graphic designer and relatively down the second half of Vision 2025.
new member of Wycliffe, I was full of optimism Heres where we catch our second wind. While the
but had been around long enough to be jaded by pace has tripled, we need to double it again. All of our
talk of new vision and radical change. We were the best efforts have gone into the progress weve seen, but
kind of organization that did great work, but we were its not enough. Our own effort wont see this vision
meticulous and careful. We were founded on pioneering happen. So, while were catching our breath for the final
and loved change and innovation, but on a small scale.
Yet here I was, sitting in a staff meeting and hearing how
the organizations leaders had just overwhelmingly voted
to change everything. Everything.
It was the summer of 1999, and our leaders had just
voted for Vision 2025, committing to do everything
we could to put Bible translation in motion in every
language in this generation (literally, by the year 2025).
That was the year I fell in love with Wycliffe all over again.
I wasnt in the room at our international conference
to cast my vote. I represent the next generation of
leaders, the ones who would carry out that vision
and be in positions of leadership at the year 2025.
But in 1999 I signed up for life. I wanted to be
around when Bible translation in the final language
was started. It meant everything to me, and I hear
the same thing from our applicants today.
Laird Salkeld

At the halfway mark of Vision 2025, weve seen

unfathomable changes. During
the past 13 years, projects have
sprint, we need to get on our knees and pray. Much of
At the halfway been started in more than
1,000 languages. The pace of the Bible translation still needing to begin is for languages
mark of Vision Bible translation has tripled. in many of the most closed and difficult spots. There will
Bible translation has become be pain and loss ahead. Satan is serious about protecting
2025, we need a movement rather than an his territory, and the battle will be fierce. Are we willing
to keep stirring organization. Perhaps wildfire to face that?
While the growth may have moved to other parts
is a better way to describe the 56
the Canadian organizations in South and Central of the world, Bible translation still needs the Canadian
Church. If the rest of the world is going to take its
Church to finish America that are now stirring
rightful place as leaders in the Bible translation
up prayer, people and funds for
the work. Bible translation. Almost all of the movement, lets not let it happen because we stopped.
growth in sending missionaries As the leader of Wycliffe Canada, I intend to do
is coming from organizations everything I can to help the Canadian Church build
outside North America, and without Wycliffe in their kingdom friendships with the minority language
names (though, like Wycliffe Canada, they are part of the communities we serve. I intend to stir this generation
Wycliffe Global Alliance). and the next to not only start work in every language,
Recently, Wycliffe tabulated that the number of but finish that work. And I intend to mobilize the
languages with translations in progress has exceeded the prayers and funds of Canadians to fuel the Bible
number of languages in which translation still needs to translation movement.
begin (see the Watchword item on page 4 for details). Wont you join me?
Think about that for a minute. We have reached an
absolutely incredible milestone. We knew that day Roy Eyre is the president of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada.

Word Alive Spring 2013 35

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