You are on page 1of 32

Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada

Fall 2014

Translating Gods Word in
Bougainville gains momentum
after a brutal civil war.

Canadians Declining Bible Engagement Concerns Wycliffe + Translating the Gospel + Its Life to Me
Fall 2014 Volume 34 Number 3
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. Words of Peace for a War-torn Island
Editor: Dwayne Janke
Designer: Cindy Buckshon Dwayne Janke
Senior Staff Writer: Doug Lockhart
Staff Writer: Janet Seever

Staff Photographers: Alan Hood, Natasha Schmale
hen Word Alive writer Doug Lockhart visited
Word Alive is published four times annually by
Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada, 4316 10 St NE, Bougainville this past fall with photographer Alan
Calgary AB T2E 6K3. Copyright 2014 by Wycliffe Hood, he gained a clearer understanding of the
Bible Translators of Canada. Permission to reprint decade-long Bougainville Conflict. He also learned how the
articles and other magazine contents may be turmoil affected the islands residents and the current progress of
obtained by written request to the editor. A Bible translation there.
donation of $20 annually is suggested to cover
the cost of printing and mailing the magazine. To visit translators working in the Sibe (SEE-bay) region, Doug
(Donate online or use the reply form in this issue.) and Alan had to pass by the former site of a giant copper and
Printed in Canada by McCallum Printing Group, gold mine. It figured prominently in the conflict on Bougainville,
Edmonton. which is now an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.
Member: The Canadian Church Press, Evangelical It was eerie to see enormous burned-out buildings, as well
Press Association.
For additional copies: as mangled electrical towers and charred vehicles littering
To contact the editor: the landscape, says Doug. But even more disturbing was the
For address updates: reminder that 20,000 people died during the war.
In the Sibe village Doug and Alan visited, translators Mark
Sipaala and Samson Sukina told of how they survived those
dark days by hiding from independence fighters in the dense
rainforest (see Advance Notice, pg. 6.) Most of Sipaalas work on
New Testament translation was lost at that time, and both men
nearly died.
Although the war ended about 16 years ago, progress in Bible
translation has been slow. Many of the first wave of expat
Wycliffe serves minority language groups worldwide
by fostering an understanding of Gods Word through
linguists and translators who helped launch translation projects
Bible translation, while nurturing literacy, education have since retired or returned home. So the focus has shifted to
and stronger communities. training Bougainvilleans themselves to carry on.
Its a grand vision, reports Doug, but one fraught
Canadian Head Office: 4316 10 St NE, Calgary AB T2E with challenges.
6K3. Phone: (403) 250-5411 or toll free 1-800-463-1143,
One thing is clearBougainville needs the prayers and
8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. mountain time. Fax: (403) 250-
2623. Email: French speakers: Call toll It was eerie to see financial assistance of Canadians to help local translators
free 1-877-747-2622 or email
enormous burned- provide mother-tongue Scriptures for people speaking
nearly 40 languages and dialects. That is why Wycliffe
Cover: Near Torotsian Island in Bougainville, Papua New
Guinea, a fisherman and his young companions begin out buildings, as Canada is helping to sponsor the Bible translation project
their daily search for fresh food. As for spiritual suste-
nance, their language groupSaposahas had the New
well as mangled there as one of its Focus Regions around the world (see
back cover).
Testament in their mother tongue since 2001. However,
more work needs to be done to promote literacy and
electrical towers Jesus warned us that in this world we will have
Scripture engagement among the Saposa and dozens of and charred trouble, but He also promised that in Him, we could have
peace because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
other language communities in this South Pacific region.
Photo by Alan Hood. vehicles littering For those in Bougainville, who have known the
the landscape. ravages of war firsthand, this truth from God and so
many others, needs to come in Scriptures that clearly
speak to their hearts.
May it be soand soon.
In Others Words
The Christians who have turned the
world upside down have been men and
women with a vision in their hearts and
the Bible in their hands.

Thomas Buford Maston (1897-1988),

Christian ethicist and writer

2 Word Alive Fall 2014


Stories by Doug Lockhart Photographs by Alan Hood

Advance Notice
In the South Pacific, Bible translation in Bougainville gains
momentum after a brutal civil war.

16 Bulletproof Grace
During the deadly Bougainville Conflict, many local Bible
translation staff experienced Gods amazing protection
and deliverance.

22 Game Changers
A couple who left promising careers in Sin City now fill
critical support roles in Bible translation.

16 Departments
2 Foreword Words of Peace for a War-torn Island

By Dwayne Janke

4 Watchword Canadians Declining Engagement

with the Bible Concerns Wycliffe

28 Beyond Words Translating the Gospel

30 A Thousand Words Rain Re-leaf

31 Last Word Its Life to Me

By Roy Eyre

Word Alive Fall 2014 3

Canadians Declining Engagement

with the Bible Concerns Wycliffe

A new study that shows declining Bible reading and application

among Canadians, including evangelical Christians, has
Wycliffe Bible Translators concerned.
Wycliffe Canada President Roy Eyre says the results of the study,
called Confidence, Conversation and Community: Bible Engagement
in Canada, 2013, matter to the health of the Church in Canada, but
also to its involvement as a partner with Wycliffe in translation of
Gods Word for Bibleless people groups worldwide.
If Canadians dont value Gods Word themselves, says Eyre,
how can they ever see its value for those language groups who
have no access to the Bible?
Evangelical Christians, which make up the vast majority of
Wycliffe Canadas partner constituency, rank significantly higher
in the study than Canadians in general and also other Christians,
who in the study include French and English Catholics, as well as
mainline churchgoers. But I wouldnt call this good news, says
Eyre. Evangelicals confidence in and engagement with the Bible is
not as high as it should be.
Eyre says while Wycliffe Canadas focus is on Bible translation
Courtesy of Danny Foster
and related ministries among minority languages worldwide, it will
also be joining the conversation about how to encourage Bible
CanIL Changes Presidents
engagement in this country, especially in the Church.
The study concludes that the Canadian Church needs to
facilitate and promote conversations between Christians about the
W ycliffe Canadas major training partner, the Canada Institute
of Linguistics (CanIL) in Langley, B.C., has a new president.
Danny Foster (left in photo) was handed the baton to lead the
meaning of the Bible because the survey points to this as the key to school from Mike Walrod (right in photo) this past March in a
deepen Bible engagement. transition event and fundraiser at Trinity Western University.
For more details on the study, visit <>. See also More than 200 people celebrated with CanIL, including special
Last Word, pg. 31. guests from Wycliffe Canada, SIL International, Trinity Western
University and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.
Canadian Evangelicals and the Bible Foster, an Ontario native, takes the reins of CanIL after working
with Wycliffe in Tanzania with his wife Ranette since 2004. He
70% strongly agree that the Bible is the Word of God
helped implement a new cluster approach for Bible translation
that saw two projects serve 19 language groups (see Word Alive,

61% say Scripture is relevant to modern life

Spring 2009) and more recently was director for training and
development for Ugandan and Tanzanian Bible translation efforts.
Foster returns to CanIL, where he was trained, with a passion for
51% read the Bible at least once a week
equipping the next generation of Bible translation field workers.
The students that come into our community believe that they
will change entire societies with Gods Word, Foster says about
36% seldom or never read the Bible
those CanIL equips. This is where I received my training and I got
to go out and live beyond my wildest dreams.
If even in just some small way, I get to facilitate that in hundreds
36% talk to others about the Bible at least once a week
of others, then not only am I living a life full of purpose, but I
am actually playing a huge role in bringing Gods Word and its
outside of religious services message of truth to millions of people.
38% think the scriptures of all major world religions
Walrod stepped down after serving as president of the school
for 27 years. Under his leadership, CanIL significantly expanded
teach essentially the same things its courses, degree programs and student enrolment. Before that,
27% believe the Bible has irreconcilable differences
Walrod and his wife Verna worked 18 years in Bible translation
among the Gadang people of the Philippines.

4 Word Alive Fall 2014

Sea of Okhotsk

Archiving for Education in the Philippines Word Alive Wins Eight Awards

S IL Philippines, a key field partner of Wycliffe, is digitizing

language and culture materials in the nation, making them
available as resources for important community consultations by
W ycliffe Canadas magazine, Word Alive, has received eight
awards for photography, writing, artwork and theme
content for its issues published in 2013.
the federal government. The Canadian Church Press (CCP) recognized the magazine
The Philippine department of education is holding the in two categories. Word Alive also received six awards from the
gatherings where participants can make decisions about writing
Sea of Japan Evangelical Press Association (EPA).
(East Sea)
i a and spelling the minority languages, Japan
North so that more children can For details, visit <>.

be taught in their first language in the early gradesPacific of school.

SIL InternationalYellow
learned in its field
that youngsters Getting it in Writing

who learn first in their mother tongue are more successful IL International, Wycliffes key partner agency, has released a
in their studies and can progress to classes in the national new resource to help those working in unwritten languages
languages of their nations.East China Sea develop writing systems (orthographies).
SIL Philippines has done language work in many of the Entitled Developing Orthographies for Unwritten Languages,
Philippines 180 languages over the past five decades. the book includes 11 papers with insights into the basic
principles of designing a writing system and case studies from
Sea several language communities.
The book is edited by SILs Dr. Michael Cahill and
Vietnam Dr. Karen Rice, who served previously in unwritten
Philippines languages: the Konni language of Ghana and the
Palau Slavey language in Canada, respectively.
Thailand This resource will be useful because creating a writing system
South China
Cambodia Sea is much more complex than simply assigning a symbol to
represent each sound in a language. Social and political issues, in
Gulf of
addition to linguistic factors, also come into play.

Bible Nearly Translated for Crimean Tatar

A translation of the Bible for the 475,000 ICrimean

Singapore n d o n Tatar
Banda Sea
people, half of whom live in the Ukraine, is nearing
e s i a
Word Count
Arafura Sea Top four years with the largest
completion. Java Sea Gulf of
Timor Leste Carpentaria number of languages in which
The translation team is aiming to have the translation
I n d o n e s i a (East Timor)

Bible translation projects have

ready for typesetting this fall with hopes it willSea be Australia started (by all organizations,
distributed in 2015. including Wycliffe) since the
Several Scripture-based resources are already available launch of Vision 2025:*
in Crimean Tatar, which is also spoken in Kyrgyzstan,
Uzbekistan, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
These include the JESUS film, and the translation of the
2013 143 languages
Gospels, Acts, and five Old Testament books. 2009 109
Most Crimean Tatar people are Muslims.
2004 107
2001 107
*Vision 2025 was adopted in 1999, with
KAZAKHSTAN the goal of seeing Bible translation
begun in every language that needs it by
the year 2025. Total number of projects
started since then: 1,077.

Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance



TURKEY Caspian Sea

an Sea

Word Alive Fall 2014 5

In the South Pacific, Bible translation in Bougainville
gains momentum after a brutal civil war.
Articles by Doug Lockhart | Photographs by Alan Hood

6 Word Alive Fall 2014

A s militants surrounded his home village in Bougainville,
Papua New Guinea (PNG), Bible translator Mark Sipaala
[si-PAL-ah] stuffed a pile of handwritten Scripture
translations into a rusty metal box and fled into the dense
rainforest, with his wife Esther and their two young daughters. It
was 1993 and independence fighters told villagers if they didnt
leave, they would be shot as suspected supporters of the Papua
New Guinea Defence Forcethe other side in the conflict that
became known as the Bougainville Conflict.
Sipaala and his familyminus their son, who had fled with
relatives to a refugee centrespent the next 2 years living
with other villagers in several makeshift jungle camps in the
mountainous Sibe (SEE-bay) region. At times, they had to
scramble for cover as the conflict escalated and mortar shells
peppered the area.
During that time, recalls the soft-spoken 63-year-old, we
spent about a week sleeping in a cave.
One day in the rainforest, Sipaala opened the metal box
containing his Sibe Scripture translations and gasped: the
pile of papers inside was a soggy mess. With the exception of
the Gospel of Mark, which had already been translated and
published, years of work on other New Testament books had
been erased by the jungles incessant rain and humidity.

Delayed but Determined

Sipaalas work came to a halt nearly four years into the
Bougainville Conflicta bloody civil war locals call The Crisis.
In the late 80s, complex social, political and economic issues
sparked a long-simmering independence movement that led to
the formation of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and
other factions. When PNG government troops were mobilized
to quell the rebellion, civil war erupted in 1989. By the time it
ended in late 1997, 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvilleans had died in
the fighting or because health care was not available.
Sipaalas work on the Sibe translation was not the only project
affected by the war. Expatriate staff and their families serving (OPPOSITE PAGE) Translator
with SIL, Wycliffes main partner organization, evacuated early in Mark Sipaala walks the short
the conflict. Local translators simply tried to survive, as violence path from his home to the
escalated and most government services, including education small building where he works
and health care, shut down. Some local translators nearly on translating the Sibe New
perished at the hands of independence fighters (see Bulletproof Testament. Sipaala lost his home
Grace, pg. 16). and most of his translated texts
For nearly a decade, thousands of young people were deprived at the outset of the islands civil
war, and had to start over after
of basic education and few Bougainvilleans survived without
peace was restored in the late
some degree of emotional or physical trauma. 90s. (ABOVE) Bougainville lies
Although this battered region of Papua New Guinea is slowly at the northernmost edge of the
recovering, many Christians there believe that mother-tongue Solomon Islands archipelago, but
Scripture is needed more than ever to bring complete spiritual politically it is an autonomous
and emotional healing to the islands. But so far, just nine of region of Papua New Guinea.

Word Alive Fall 2014 7

Bougainvilles estimated 39 languages and dialects have received
the New Testament (see Bougainville: At a Glance, pg. 10).
Several of these groups are now working on translation of the
Old Testament, and eight more languages have active Bible
translation projects at this time.
Volunteer translation teams still face many challenges to their
work, such as oppressive heat and humidity, heavy rainfall, risky
travel on rough roads or open seas, malaria and other tropical
diseasesas well as the time they must devote to subsistence
farming and other domestic duties.
Nevertheless, local believers have served notice that
they intend to press on. In fact, they are key players in a
comprehensive project known as the Bougainville Advance. This
focus project of Wycliffe Canada (see back cover) aims to hasten
the pace of translation and give all Bougainvilleans access to
Scripture in the language and media that serve them best.

Three-pronged Approach
Launched by SIL and local partners in 2006, the Bougainville
Advance Project employs three strategies: training, partnership
and prayer. The training component equips Bougainvilleans to
be translators as well as translation mentors and consultants to
other teams.
Furthermore, local team members are learning how to
encourage use of the translated Scriptures, conduct literacy
courses and grow in their ability to manage language projects.
Main partners in the project include the Bougainville Bible
Translators Organization (BBTO), the Papua New Guinea Bible
Translation Association (BTA) and SIL International (Wycliffes main
partner), as well as Wycliffe Associates, The Seed Company and
various local churches and communities throughout Bougainville.
Funding partners include Wycliffe Canada and Wycliffe
U.S.A., which channel donations to the project from interested
Christians in both countries.
Prayer is a vital part of all translation
More on the Web: projects and training courses, and
Learn more about the project staff work at developing prayer
Bougainville Advance Project groups in their particular region and
at <>.
beyond Bougainville and keeping them

Translation Central
To expedite training for the growing number of language
communities interested in Bible translation, SIL with the help of
Wycliffe Associates (U.S.A.) built a small training centre on Buka,
the smaller of Bougainvilles two main islands, in 2005. The centre is
equipped with a classroom and office space, as well as apartments
and dormitory-style sleeping quarters for up to 24 people.
The existence of a local training facility provides many strategic
and economic advantages. Formerly, local staff had to travel to
Ukarumpa, SILs main training centre on PNGs mainland, which
was both expensive and time-consuming. However, funding
is still needed to bring qualified trainers to Buka , to acquire
needed office equipment, vehicles, furnishings, and supplies
and to build a second training centre in the southern region
of Bougainville.

8 Word Alive Fall 2014

(TOP) At the training centre just outside Buka, translator Kathleen tion notes while working in a small office beneath his home. Sukina,
Takahu reads from Lukes Gospel in the Halia language as her hus- who survived several close encounters with independence fighters
band and fellow-translator Valentine records the reading for later during the crisis, now works alongside Mark Sipaala translating the
broadcast on a local radio station. The couple are revising an older Sibe New Testament. (OPPOSITE PAGE) A small but growing library
translation of the Halia New Testament because the language has of translated Scripture and other literature fills shelves in one office
changed significantly since the first translation was completed nearly at the training centre. Much work remains to provide Gods Word for
40 years ago. (ABOVE) Translator Samson Sukina adds to his transla- Bougainvilles estimated 39 languages and dialects.

Word Alive Fall 2014 9

Bougainville: At a Glance
Name: Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Named The centre offers courses in Bible translation, computers and
after French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville, software, literacy, Scripture engagement and more. They are held
who arrived in 1868 while circumnavigating the globe. at various times throughout the year and often, the facility is
filled to capacity.
Area: 9,600 sq. km, nearly twice the area of Prince Finding people to manage the centre has been a challenge
Edward Island. toobut for the past two years, Americans Michael and Cheryl
Location: East of Papua New Guineas New Britain McDaniels have filled the gap.
Island, in the Solomon Sea. Its two main landmasses Were the host and hostess, says Michael, whose role as
are the northernmost of the Solomon Islands chain. centre manager is a job he could never have imagined during his
lengthy career as a pit boss in Las Vegas casinos (see Game-
Geography: Two main adjacent islands, Bougainville
changers, pg. 22).
and Buka, with 200 smaller outlying islands. The main
Were in charge of maintenance, bookkeeping, arranging
islands are mountainous, with most regions covered in
accommodations, maintaining vehicles, managing the staff. . . .
thick tropical vegetation.
Whatever it takes, adds Cheryl, who often sets another place at
Population: 234,000 (2011 census). her dinner table for unexpected guests who arrive tired and hungry
Capital: Buka (temporary). Once damaged after a long journey to Buka from the interior or outlying islands.
infrastructure is restored, its expected that Arawa will For the local translators, the centre provides a well-equipped
again be designated as the capital. and comfortable place to connect with mentors and other
colleagues, and receive encouragement as they grapple with the
People: Primarily Melanesian; small minority of
many challenges confronting their work.
Polynesians. Ethnically, linguistically and culturally,
Bougainvilleans are related to their neighbours in the Towards Clearer Understanding
Solomon Islands and some consider themselves distinct
Bougainvilleans Valentine Takahu and his wife Kathleen are
from the rest of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
frequent visitors to the centre. For the past 10 years, they
Economy: Farming, fishing, cocoa and copra have been working with a small team to revise an older New
production, small-scale alluvial gold mining. The Testament translation for 25,000 Halia speakers.
islands are rich in copper, but mining at Panguna is We are trying to do a translation that is more appropriate for
still suspended. this generation, says Valentine, who also serves as vice-chairman
Religion: 80% Roman Catholic, 15% United Church of BBTO. When we look through the older translation, we see a
(conservative evangelical) and 5% Seventh Day lot of words which the younger generation cannot understand.
Adventist. Despite these affiliations, animism persists The 57-year-old lab technician-turned heavy equipment
at various levels in village society and the church. operator-turned translator began work on the revision in 2004,
working alongside veteran SIL linguist Jerry Allen. Allen had
Languages: About 39 distinct languages and returned that year to begin revising a translation of Lukes Gospel
dialects. English and Tok Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin) because the language had changed significantly since he helped
also spoken widely but not with deep understanding. complete a New Testament translation in the late 70s.
Bible Translation: Began in the 1960s. Currently The Takahus are working hard to finish the revision this year.
there are 15 active translation projects. Nine of Over the past decade, they have also helped produce vernacular
Bougainvilles estimated 39 languages and dialects have media materials, like the JESUS film and Scripture recordings
received the New Testament but several need revision for radio. These are especially helpful for Halia people who never
because of changes to the languages over time. Several learned to read and write their language, like those who couldnt
language groups are translating the Old Testament. attend school during the Crisis.
The couple believe that mother tongue Scripture will help
their predominantly Catholic Halia people grow in their
Sources: SIL International, Wikipedia,
understanding of God and His Word. The Roman Catholic
Australian National University website,, Diocese of Bougainville shares that view, and has officially
sanctioned the use of mother tongue Scripture.
Parishioners listen to it being read and they understand it
clearly, says Philip Tukana, a Bible teacher and lay preacher at
Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on Buka Island.
However, only a few books of modern Halia Scripture have
been published and distributed so far. Even so, many Halia
people continue to read Bibles written in English or Tok Pisin

Port Moresby
Parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Buka Island translation of Lukes Gospel or Genesis, the Melanesian Pidgin
celebrate mass on a Sunday morning this past September. Halia translation is generally used so congregations can follow scheduled
translators Valentine and Kathleen Takahu long for the day when Scripture readings from the lectionary. Like most language groups
the full Halia New Testament and other Scriptures will be finished in Bougainville, many Halia people understand Pidgin and English
and usedby people in their predominantly-Catholic language giving them less incentive to read and write their own language.
group. Although Kathleen sometimes reads publicly from the Halia

Word Alive Fall 2014 11

12 Word Alive Fall 2014
Ready to Feel What They Feel

I f Ben Aringana has his way, hell be on the road whenever

possible, spending time with the local teams who are
working hard to translate Scripture for their own language groups
in Bougainville.
As the new regional director of the Bougainville region for SIL,
Wycliffes main partner organization, one of his main priorities is to
encourage and support local translators.
I want to go out and sit with them, says the native Bougainvillean,
and feel how they feel when they are doing this ministry among the
people they serve.
Aringana, a former pastor and Bible school administrator,
commenced his new role this past September. He is one of eight
regional directors in SILs Papua New Guinea (PNG) branch, which
oversees Bible translation and related programs among PNGs 800-
plus language groups.
Aringana (in photo below, left) empathizes with local translators
who must carry out their vital work with little support from their
Theres interest among the people, but we are not doing enough
to educate them about the work of Bible translation.

(ABOVE) Rebekah Drew, a Canadian linguist who served as a transla- Gentle Persuader
tion adviser for the Teop language group from 2010 to 2013, receives The Bougainville Advance, previously managed by Robin Rempel, is
advice in the finer points of basket-weaving from Joyce Maion, lead one of many regional projects Aringana oversees. Last year, he visited
translator for the Teop translation program. Although most of his own language group, Petats, which he says is a good example
the consultants and trainers currently serving in the Bougainville of what can be done to stir up interest in translation. During a
Advance project are expatriates, they aim to pass the baton to community awareness meeting and writers workshop, Aringana
a new generation of dedicated, well-trained Bougainvilleans.
gave a short talk to his people about the goals of the workshop, and
(OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP) Translator Valentine Takahu (at wheel) chats
how such activities contribute to Bible translation.
with Halia church leader Philip Tukana, after delivering copies of
Halia Scripture for distribution in the local parish. (OPPOSITE PAGE, After the workshop, it was reported that six additional people are
BELOW) At a schoolhouse in the Sibe village of Sinkodo, teacher John interested in taking up translation.
Gaunala reviews a students work. Bible translation among the Sibe Thats music to his ears, because hes keen to see the pace of
has encouraged educators to use their mother tongue as the lan- translation accelerate.
guage of instruction before transitioning to English in Grade 3. What I really want to see . . . is the respective language programs
in Bougainville moving faster than they are now. And I want to see
more Bibles being published.
(Melanesian Pidgin) because they struggle to read and write Aringana knows thats less likely to happen if hes tied to his desk.
their own language. Its a state of affairs Valentine would like to I want to take up the challenge to leave the training centre and go
address, with help from the Bougainville Advance project. to where the church leaders aretalk with them, and talk with the
We have adult literacy programs on a small scale, he explains, people, and try to rally the people who own the language to stand
but adds that he and Kathleen must keep their focus on with the translators.
completing the New Testament revision before they can devote By Gods grace, the gentle shepherd hopes that God will use
more time to literacy. such efforts to persuade believers throughout the islands to get
In future, Valentine and Kathleen hope to facilitate writers behind Bible translationand feel what God feels for those who
workshops for the Halia. Held in several language groups so still need His Word.
far, the workshops help participants develop the orthography,
or writing system, if their language has never been written.
Students also create reading primers and other materials, such as
cultural stories, Bible stories and Bible studies.
The workshops are part of a broader strategy to increase
mother tongue literacy and help ensure that translated
Scriptures will be used by individuals and churches.

Ripe Environment
Meanwhile, Bible translation programs still need to be launched
for nearly 25 language groups. Robin Rempel of SIL, who served
as project manager for the Bougainville Advance until May
2014, believes the best way to accelerate the have asked for her help to lay groundwork for
pace of Bible translation for these remaining mother-tongue education programs throughout
language groups is a cluster strategy, whereby Bougainville.
translators from several related languages share As for implementing cluster programs, she has
their knowledge and resources. seen it work in Africa and even elsewhere in PNG,
When I got out here and started getting and shes convinced it can work in Bougainville.
a feel for the situation, it seemed ideal for a Especially in the northern region, its like a
cluster approach to translation, she says. chain of languages and dialects. There are six
Rempel started her SIL career in PNG in the New Testament translations now that have been
80s before moving on to serve Bible translation finished or are in process of completion. Lets
efforts in Kenya and Uganda. In 2012, she felt get these remaining New Testaments finished,
God tugging at her heart to return to PNG because we can use the ones that have been
and Bougainville in particular. finished as resource texts, and just go, she says,
I was considering an invitation to Nigeria, snapping her fingers for emphasis.
but it seemed that Bougainville was just so . . . For that to happen, however, she recognizes the
ripe. urgency for more local people to get involved.
She cites the growing interest in many We need bigger teams. . . . This will be a
local communities to launch Bible translation never-ending project unless we finish faster than
programs. As well, she says, there is strong we have in the past.
support from key government ministers who Weve got to finish, and weve got to do
it faster and weve got to do it with younger to help finish Bible translation and promote
teams, so that we have more current language literacy. He was forced to start again, beginning
use going into the translations in the first place. in 2001, after his handwritten translations were
Rempels desire to speed up the pace of ruined during the Crisis.
translation is echoed by Bougainville native Though he was deeply discouraged, he wanted
Ben Aringana, the new regional director for SIL, to keep his promise to God that he would
Wycliffes main partner organization. translate the New Testament for his people. Now
What I really want to see . . . is language assisted by colleague Samson Sukina and at least
programs moving faster than they do now, three others, the team still has many years of
says Aringana, a former pastor and Bible college work ahead of them.
administrator who began serving as director in Sipaala believes the Sibe need Scripture in
September 2013 (see Ready to Feel What They their heart language to grow spiritually. He
Feel, pg. 13). also believes that mother tongue Scripture
That can only happen if they are successful is essential to restore the many thousands of
in attracting more staff from local churches people who experienced unthinkable suffering
and communities. during the Crisis.
They will find spiritual healingand
Patiently Persevering hopewhen they read Gods Word in their
In the Sibe region, veteran translator Mark own language.
Sipaala is asking God for additional workers

Like the faade of this Catholic church on Buka

Island, Bougainvilles people are a colourful blend
of ethnic and linguistic diversity. With speakers of
nearly 40 languages and dialects scattered across
two main conjoining islands and some 200 outlying
islands, the region presents a formidable challenge
to the work of Bible translation. But leaders of
the Bougainville Advance Project are hopeful that
more and more communities will get excited about
developing writing systems for their languages and
promoting mother-tongue literacy as they translate
Gods Word.
During the deadly Bougainville Conflict, many
local Bible translation staff experienced Gods
amazing protection and deliverance.

O n an early March morning in 1990, invaders arrived by

sea just as residents of Torotsian, a small island west of
Bougainville, were beginning to stir. Heavily armed and
menacing, the noisy squad of independence fighters spread out
across the small island, bellowing orders to the sleepy villagers to
assemble at the village church without delay.
John Wesley Gareitz [gar-ATES], a Bible translator for the
Saposa people and paramount chief of his island, knew why
they had come.
They knew that my brothers were with the other side, the
Papua New Guinea Defence Force, says Gareitz, now 64. One
was an air force pilot, the other an officer in the military.
The soldiers lingered throughout the morning and into
the afternoon. When all the villagers had gathered, the
commander approached Gareitz and demanded to know
where his brothers were hiding.
On my right was my colleague, Charles, Gareitz recalls. I
told him to answer the commanders questions while I did my
praying. I said, God, if this is the time you want to take me, Im

(LEFT) Surveying leftover debris from a razed hos-

pital in Arawa, the former capital of Bougainville,
translator Samson Sukina recalls his struggle for sur-
vival during a decade-long civil war. Both he and fel-
low translator John Wesley Gareitz (ABOVE) escaped
sure death when God miraculously intervened to
deliver them from gun-toting revolutionaries.

Word Alive Fall 2014 17

the Panguna copper mine on Bougainville Island,
little remains of the once-thriving operation that
became the epicentre of the civil war. Anything
of value was taken by the numerous factions
involved in the conflict and the rest was bombed
or set ablaze. (ABOVE, RIGHT) A man dressed as
a warrior takes aim at an imagined enemy, dur-
ing a traditional dance held in Sinkodo village in
honour of the visiting Word Alive team. Although
villagers frequently laughed during the mock
battle enacted in the dance, it was a reminder of
the war and bloodshed that has been part of the
islands history.

18 Word Alive Fall 2014

The bullet
OK. But if you want me to continue with the
ministry of Bible translation, then spare my life.
I didnt notice that the commander was
pointing a gun at us, myself and my colleague.
After my amen, the commander tried to shoot.
He was just about a metre apart from us.
flew away. . . .
As Gareitz continues with his story, he
struggles to find the precise words to explain
what happened next.
The bullet flew away. . . . Then a second time
. . . and a third, he tried to pull the triggerthe Then a second
same thing happened.
The commander was speechless.
Gareitz may not know the precise words to
describe what happened that morning; he only
knows that somehow, all three bullets fell to
the ground. The officer could only stare at him.
time .. . and a
Flustered, he picked up the errant bullets and
stormed off, barking orders to his men to grab
any valuables they could carry and take them to
the boat.
As the boat pulled away from the island,
third, he tried
Gareitz turned to his people and led them in
a prayer of forgiveness for the intruders.
They could all feel the presence of God and
they could see what the Lord had done.
to pull the
Miraculous Interventions
Gareitz has since shared his remarkable
testimony in mainland Papua New Guinea and
as far away as New Zealand, which he visited in
2010. He is aware that believers in that country,
as well as Australia and around the globe,
were interceding in prayer for the people of
Bougainville throughout the decade-long crisis.
Similar stories have been well-documented
in books like Sons of Thunder by Royree Jensen,
which chronicles the spiritual revival that swept same thing
through the islands as the conflict intensified.
Furthermore, retired SIL linguist Conrad Hurd
has compiled numerous testimonies of divine
intervention from people he and his wife Phyllis
knew and worked with during more than 40 years
in Bougainville.
happened. The
More on the Web:
Our own house in a Read some of their
rural area . . . was preserved inspiring stories at
along with all the other
buildings there, despite the
fact that helicopter gunships had strafed the area, commander
says Hurd. They didn't hit anything that we could
see. Our co-translator, not knowing what else to
do, went and stood out in an open garden area
near the church. He stood with hands raised to
heaven and prayed for God's protection. was speechless.
One lady said she saw the tracers from the

Word Alive Fall 2014 19

helicopters diverting off into the jungle, where they did On another occasion, Sukina says God warned him while he
no damage! was travelling in a PNG army truck with his Bible translation
Translator Valentine Takahu (see Advance Notice, pg. 6), mentor, Mark Sipaala, and several others.
who lost his brother during the civil war, says the only good I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me, saying, There is an
thing about the violence of those years is that it drove people ambush in front of you.
back to God. He recalls many prayer meetings in the Catholic Within minutes, they were ambushed by armed troops.
church, where frightened Halia people cried out to God for His They fired at us, says Sukina, but the bullet from the
protection and blessing. M-16 [rifle] just passed by my cheek and it fell down . . .
The Crisis turned us around . . . and we came back to Christ at it didnt penetrate.
that time, he says. Sipaala also escaped without injury, but others were wounded
and two young men died in the attack.
Strengthened by Strongpela Tok Looking back on his experiences during the Crisis, Sukina uses
In the Sibe region, deep in the interior of Bougainville Island, a Melanesian Pidgin expressionstrongpela tokto describe
translator Samson Sukina, 55, experienced Gods miraculous the encouragement he found from the powerful words in Psalm
protection on more than one occasion. However, his uncle, a 91. The passage is filled with promises of Gods protection and
cousin and one brother-in-law were all killed during the conflict. deliverance in times of trouble. He and other spiritual leaders
When the independence fighters forced Sibe villagers to leave like Mark Sipaala shared that encouragement with others in the
their villages, thousands of themincluding Sukina, his wife and camps, too.
four childrenfled into the rainforest where they built huts and We would go out on Sundays and in the middle of the week,
planted gardens. Then one day, a squad of soldiers came looking for and we would meet with groups of people to share Gods Word,
Sukina because, as a clan chief, he was a man of influence and they says Sukina. We would tell them, When youre in a crisis, you
suspected he was siding with the PNG government in the conflict. dont look to the problem and whats happening, but you need
When they found him, they told him he was going to die. to look beyond to heaven. Just look beyond the crisis to Jesus,
The cheerful, easy-going Sibe chief made eye contact with the who will provide for you and look after your needs and help you
leader of the ragtag band of soldiers and informed them he was in your time of trouble.
a man of God. The results of this were that people in the jungle camps didnt
I told them, In Jesus name, I tell you, you cant shoot us. get sick and they werent dying from diseases; it was like God was
When they tried to shoot, their guns didnt fire. looking after them. They werent even hungry in the bush. They
planted food and there was plenty to eat.
Mark Sipaala says the people who lived in the jungle stayed
healthier than those who lived in care centres established by the
PNG government.
The greatest need we had while we were in the bush was
clothing . . . I had only one pair of good shorts and two shirts
when we fled from our village.
As for their spiritual wellbeing, Sukina says, During the crisis,
the church played an important part, and most of the people
became Christians. They came to faith in Christ because they saw
Gods provision and the help He gave them.
For some of them, it was the evidence they needed to
believebecause they actually witnessed the supernatural
work of God.
But after the crisis many left the church, because they did not
have Gods Word in their language to help them grow strong.

(LEFT) Scarred by the violence of the Bougainville Conflict, this Sibe

man wanders aimlessly from village to village most days, draped in a
ragged, loose-fitting sheet and talking incoherently. As a youngster
during the civil war, he was wounded by gunfire and saw some of his
friends die at the hands of independence fighters. Other victims, like
the young men building a covered meeting hall in Sinkodo village
(RIGHT) escaped with their lives but emerged from the war with no
formal education and few marketable skills.

20 Word Alive Fall 2014

A couple who
owards the end of Michael McDaniels job as a pit manageroverseeing
the night-time casino operations of a major Las Vegas hotelhe noticed a

left promising Theyrecurring phrase cropping up when he confronted unruly customers.

would say, You dont belong here, Michael recalls.

careers in it upThetofirstthetime a gambler told him that, Michael thought it was odd but chalked
mans liberal use of alcohol.

Sin City now says,I was dressed in a suit and tieI was the manager, Michael explains. But he
No, no, you dont belong here. What are you doing here?

fill critical guyThree different times, adds Michaels wife Cheryl, he came home and said, This
came up to me tonight and said, You dont belong here! Why are you here?

support suspected:
For Michael, the strange remarks seemed to confirm something he already
that his 27-year career in the Las Vegas gaming industry was drawing

roles in Bible Himselfand that he and Cheryl would one day play a significant role in
to a close. What he couldnt foresee was that God was drawing him back to

translation. providing Gods Word for language groups in faraway Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Targets of Prayer
The McDaniels arrived in Bougainville, an autonomous region of PNG near the
Solomon Islands, in December 2012 to serve as managers of a training centre
dedicated to Bible translation. As centre managers, they oversee bookings, building
and vehicle maintenance, finances, food, lodging and numerous other duties.
Were painters, we do airport pick-ups, we do the sweeping and clean-up, says
Michael, now 62. Were pretty much the go-to people for the centre to run.
We meet a tremendous amount of people, adds Cheryl. Weve just been so
blessed. And I love to entertain so . . . we feed a lot of people.
The couple are an answer to prayer for expat staff especially, who previously
had to help manage the training centre while doing their language-related work.
Canadian Bonnie Moeckel, a translation consultant who serves at the centre with
her husband Barry, is thankful God sent the McDaniels.
They seem to really love the local people, she says, and they are doing a really
great job.

22 Word Alive Fall 2014

The McDaniels met in Las Vegas in 1994, when Cheryl, a realtor, sold Michael a Michael and Cheryl McDaniel enjoy a coffee break
condominium. Divorced and caring for her 13-year-old son, K.J., Cheryl says she together in their office at the training centre in
wasnt interested in starting a serious relationship. But her co-workers in the realty Hutjena, a small community near Buka town. They
met while both were working in Las Vegas, Nev.;
office encouraged her to date Michael, who lived next door and often dropped by
Michael as a pit boss in a casino and Cheryl as a
to chat with the realtors after his night shifts in the casino.
realtor. But God had other plans for their lives
On one of their first dates, Michael surprised Cheryl by asking her what she including key roles in facilitating Bible translation
believed about God. in Papua New Guinea.
I just shared about Jesus, Cheryl recalls, and that you need to know the Lord
as your personal Saviour.
He said, I believe that.
It was nothing new to Michael, who had received Christ as a 17-year-old at a
church revival meeting. But over time, his interest in following Jesus had faded as
he pursued a career in the Las Vegas gaming industry.
Cheryl, too, had lost her spiritual bearings. Although she had received Christ as
a child and attended church all through her formative years, as a single mom she
had her hands full caring for K.J. and selling real estate.
As the two began spending more time together, Cheryls parentsboth
committed Christiansbegan praying for their relationship and recruited people Were painters,
in their Florida Sunday school class to pray too.
My mom and dad desperately wanted us out of Las Vegas, says Cheryl. we do airport
The McDaniels married in 1995. Five years later, convinced God wanted them to
leave Sin City, they moved to Belleview, Florida to be closer to Cheryls parents. pick-ups, we do
The kids (Michael has two from a previous marriage) had all grown and pretty
much moved on, says Michael, and we had begun praying, incorporating that
the sweeping
into our relationship, and God just began to open doors for us. When we left
Vegas, we desired something different in our lives than what we were into.
and clean-up.
I really think it was the power of prayer through my parents, says Cheryl. God Were pretty
just moved our hearts to get away from the Las Vegas scene. Because its very hard
when youre making a lot of money, to give it all up and walk away and go to who- much the go-to
We didnt understand it all at that time, because we werent living for the Lord, people for the
but He was drawing us back to Himself.
centre to run.
Word Alive Fall 2014 23
Glimpses of PNG
After moving to Belleview in 2000, they both found work in sales and
I really think it management for a retirement community. They also got plugged into a local
was the power of church, where they helped lead prayer meetings, shared their musical talents,
taught Sunday school classes, and participated in evangelistic outreaches.
prayer through At the same time they were settling into life in the small Florida community
northwest of Orlando, Cheryls brother and his family moved to Papua New
my parents. God Guinea to work with New Tribes Mission (NTM).
We thought, Wow, thats way out there! says Cheryl. Why would you ever
just moved our go to PNG when youve got two young kids? Thats nuts!
However, the McDaniels began praying for them and supporting them
hearts to get financially. Then, in 2009, her brother invited them to PNG to help manage NTMs
away from the mission centre. While the idea intrigued them, they both had job commitments
that stood in the way.
Las Vegas scene. But God used that, says Cheryl. My brother said, We need people like you
people who like to host, who like to get things done.
The idea took root and eventually, Michael and Cheryl began thinking about
serving in missions somewhere overseas. That led them to contact several
mission agencies, participate in a short-term trip to Costa Rica, and attend a Bible
dedication at Wycliffes U.S. headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
We came back fired up, says Michael.

24 Word Alive Fall 2014

Shaken and Stirred (OPPOSITE PAGE) At the waterfront in Buka town,
the main community on Buka Island, Michael chats
During their visit to Wycliffe, the McDaniels learned about a wide variety of service
with local translator, John Wesley Gareitz, as he
opportunities for people with their skills and experience. However, they didnt want
waits for a boat to transport him back to his home
to rush into anythingthat is, until Michael collapsed one evening in church. on nearby Torotsian Island. As centre manager,
He dropped our Bibles and I saw him starting to fall Michael fills a variety of roles including taxi driver,
More on the Web:
Explore service
over, and I screamed, says Cheryl. A guy behind us . . . mail-fetcher (ABOVE), maintenance man, accom-
opportunities at caught him, and they got him on the ground. modations co-ordinator and much more.
<> When they turned him over, he looked like he
was dead.
The pastor came over and prayed for Michael, and a few minutes later, he opened
his eyes. He wasnt sure what all the commotion was about, because he felt fine.
To this day, he has no idea what happened to himbut he thinks he knows why it
God used that to wake us up to the fact that we can die at any time. We both
knew if the Lord calls us to go and do something specific, were going to say yes. . . .
Not long after, they were contacted by email with an invitation to serve as
centre managers in PNG.
We just started praying about it, says Cheryl, and the Lord opened the doors.
He provided the funding . . . all of our medical approvals went through, and we
raised our financial support in about four months.
Two Surprises
Since arriving in PNG at the end of 2012, the couple say their
lives have been enriched by the wonderful staff and translators
who live and/or come to receive training at the centre. But they
admit that it hasnt all been rosy.
Daily, I have to depend on the Lord for strength, says Cheryl.
Its not easy to be away from my family and . . . to not have the
church fellowship that we had. I mean, thats our family too;
thats our life back home, our culture.
But its also really great when the Lord fills that void . . . and
gives you back more than you ever expected.
Michael too has found it difficult to be separated from loved
ones, including the couples aging parents.
Recently, with their two-year commitment winding down,
they began seeking Gods direction for their future. The process
included some time away in Cairns, Australia, to pray together
and consider their options. At that point, they were gearing up
to return to the U.S. and see what God had in store for them
back home.
While in Cairns, they encountered the first of two surprises.
God laid on our hearts the importance of the work were
doing here in PNG, says Michael. He helped us understand why
encouraging Bible translators gave us a burning in our hearts,
and we found ourselves desiring to stay the course and return to
PNG after our furlough.
Encouraged and re-energized, they returned to the Buka
training centre with the intention of spending at least a few
more years there. Then they received an unexpected email from
Wycliffe Associates Pacific area director, urging them to consider
a different assignmentat a missionary guesthouse in PNGs
bustling capital, Port Moresby.
Although the invitation came out of the blue, both Michael (ABOVE) Michael chats with translator Samson Sukina, who has
and Cheryl sensed that God was behind the invitation to manage arrived at the training centre to accompany the Word Alive team
the guesthouse, which serves many Bible translation staff and to his home village in the Sibe region. The McDaniels say the most
other visitors who must frequently travel to and from the capital. rewarding aspect of their job is the friendships formed with co-work-
They now plan to move to Port Moresby next February, after ers and the guests they serve at the training centre. (RIGHT) On a
returning to Florida to reconnect with family, friends and church Sunday evening this past September, Michael (ON LEFT) joins several
partners. of the training centres staff for a time of prayer. Such times of prayer
Serving God begins when we surrender our hearts to Him, and fellowship have helped both Michael and Cheryl endure seasons
says Michael. He takes the pieces of our lives and like a mosaic of discouragement or homesickness, as they serve God far away from
their family and friends in the United States.
masterpiece, He makes something beautiful from all the
He and Cheryl are still amazed by the direction their lives took,
once they chose to leave Las Vegas 14 years ago.
God will use anyone who picks up their cross and follows
Him, adds Michael.
Sometimes in the most remarkable ways.
God will use
anyone who
picks up their
cross and
follows Him.
in the most
Word Alive Fall 2014 27
Beyond Words

Translating the Gospel

By Hart Wiens

Part 11
Grammatical Issues
By Hart Wiens

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)

Editors Note: This

is part of a series of
14 articles reflecting
on the verse John
The tiny word in following the verb believes is the preposition
(pronounced like ace or ice) in Greek. As with many grammatical terms,
this preposition carries little intrinsic meaning of its own. Its function
is grammatical rather than semantic. Its significance can vary considerably
depending on how it is used in context. Strongs Greek Dictionary gives it the
3:16 word by
word. The series primary glosses to or into, but then goes on to give an entire paragraph of other
illustrates some of glosses depending on how it is used. In combination with the verb believes the
the challenges Bible most natural rendering for this preposition in English is in.
translators face as What is really interesting in this verse is to observe how the addition of this tiny
they seek to present grammatical particle, with no real meaning of its own, impacts the meaning of
Gods Good News the verse. We could leave it out and still have a perfectly meaningful sentence, but
in every language its thrust would be quite different. To say everyone who believes him. is very
spoken on earth. different from saying everyone who believes in him. The first kind of belief is
merely mental assent and as James 2:19 points out, even the demons have that
kind of belief in God. The addition of the small preposition in transforms the
verb believes into something that involves a deep personal relationship with,
and trust in, the person on whom the belief is focusedin this case, Jesus.
Unlike many other languages, English has an
abundance of prepositions. For this reason teachers
Lack of understanding of English as a second or foreign language frequently
of differences in encounter serious problems when they try to teach the
grammatical structure English use of prepositions. For example, Spanish has
one preposition en that serves as the equivalent of
is one of the most three prepositions in English: in, on, and at. Then there
common reasons are many languages which do not use prepositions
for awkward and at all. Canadian Algonquian languages, for example,
attach directional or location markers to nouns where
unnatural renderings English uses prepositions. What English expresses
in translation. through the use of prepositions, many other languages
accomplish through the use of different cases which
are grammatical markers attached to nouns or verbs.
An example is Estonian; it has 14 different cases.
Because of such differences in the grammatical structures of languages, it is
important for translators to explore and understand the grammars of both the
source language from which they are translating and the receptor language
into which the translation is being made. Lack of understanding of differences
in grammatical structure is one of the most common reasons for awkward and
unnatural renderings in translation.

28 Word Alive Fall 2014

Part 12 the English pronoun
he was understood to
Pronominal Reference refer to a person of the With the right
masculine gender as translation tools,
For God so loved the world that he gave his only well as generically to any it is possible to
Son, so that everyone who believes in him may person whether male or
not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16) female. This is how the achieve higher
NIV intends to use it here. standards of

T he little pronoun him auton () However, in contemporary quality in Bible

in this verse profiles a particularly pesky English, people no longer
issue in translationthe proper use of understand the pronoun translation.
pronouns. Languages commonly substitute he as generic.
pronouns to take the place of nouns as a kind So most new versions
of communication shorthand. However, not all of the Bible avoid the use
languages have the same pronouns or use them of the third person singular pronoun and find
in the same way. a way to ensure that readers will interpret Jesus
For example, the Kalinga people in the invitation as including them, regardless of their
Philippines have three different forms of the gender. The CEV reads, If any of you want to
first person plural pronoun. So every time be my followers, you must forget about yourself.
the pronoun we or its Greek equivalent You must take up your cross and follow me.
occurs in Scripture, the Bible translator must Another kind of ambiguity occurs with the
determine for the Kalinga language whether use of pronouns when it is unclear what the
the communicator intends to include the antecedent is. In the statement, Peter went to
audience or not and if so, whether the audience John because he owed him money, it is not
consists of just one person or more than one. In clear who is meant by the pronouns he or
Matthew 8:25, Jesus is asleep during the storm him. Either pronoun could refer to Peter or to
and the disciples shout, Lord, save us! Were John. There is a similar ambiguity in the use of
going to drown! Here the Kalinga translator the pronoun him in John 3:16. It could refer
must decide whether the disciples are intending back to the Son or to God. The Translators
to imply that Jesus will drown along with them Handbook produced by the United Bible
or not. The Kalinga translator must make a Societies to alert translators to potential pitfalls,
choice where Greek and English do not. profiles this problem as follows: It is important
English, on the other hand, requires us to to indicate clearly that everyone who believes
make a choice about gender in our use of the in him refers to the Son, not to God.
third person singular pronouns he and she, With tools such as these it is possible
while many other languages, including Kalinga, to achieve higher standards of quality in
have only one generic third person singular Bible translation today. The Canadian Bible
pronoun. So the English language presents Society and Wycliffe Bible Translators are
a problem for translators in a verse such as deeply involved in making tools accessible
Matthew 16:24. The NIV quotes Jesus as saying, to translators worldwide through computer
If anyone would come after me, he must deny resources. These tools help ensure that the Bible
himself and take up his cross and follow me. can be translated into many more languages
Yet it is quite evident that Jesus invitation is at higher qualitybringing their speakers the
given to anyone, not just to males. In the past Word in the language of the heart.
Ethan Livingstone

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 Fall 2014 29

A Thousand Words

Rain Re-leaf

An unidentified woman covers herself with

Alan Hood
an enormous taro leaf, during a downpour
on Bougainville Island. As the civil war
raged throughout the 90s, people around
the world prayed for the islands people.
Many Bougainvilleans turned to Christ at
that time, but now some fear that spiritual
dryness has once again crept in
prompting those who love Bougainvilles
people to pray for refreshing rains from
Gods Spirit.
Last Word

Its Life to Me
By Roy Eyre

A couple of years ago, I had a memorable

conversation with someone during an airplane
flight. It didnt take long to get to the What
do you do? question. I talked about Wycliffes work to
translate the Bible into thousands of languages around
the world. But just as I began to think he was interested,
my fellow passenger stunned me with his next question:
What other books do you translate?
I quickly retorted, As soon as we finish with the Bible,
were going to translate Moby Dick into every language.
Im kiddingactually, I was speechless.
I know I shouldnt be surprised, because survey data
has suggested for years that Canadians think the Bible
is just another book. The recently-released Canadian
Bible Engagement Study (see pg. 4) confirms that only
18 per cent of Canadians strongly believe the Bible is
the Word of God, a number that has dropped by half in
two decades. Again, its not surprising, because of falling
trends in church attendance. It follows
that when Canadians set aside church,
their respect for and confidence in the
I have not gone Bible plummets.
a week without Sooner or later, these non-attenders
and non-readers begin to forget what the
reading my Bible actual message of the Bible is. They offer Cindy Buckshon
platitudes about it. Some say its a well-
since I was five. I written and compelling work, but they
cant tear myself cant point to specifics. Or they decide So what does this tell us? When were not reading
its full of contradictions without being something or hearing it discussed, our memories of it
away from it. able to point to any. grow foggy. We remember a feeling or a general sense of
As one who has read the Bible cover- the story that misses all the intricacies. Thats how I feel
to-cover on at least three occasions and about Moby Dick, Grapes of Wrath, The Odyssey and all
has spent months of my life studying it, those other books we could be translating.
I have a different view. I think its a fractured work, as But the Bible brings surprises, penetrates my defenses
any book would be if completed by a lot of different and resonates with my condition. Why? Because its text
authors over a period of centuries. I think it has a lot of is dynamic; it has a pulse: For the word of God is living
confusing passages that still baffle me. But I have not and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing
gone a week without reading my Bible since I was five. I to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of
cant tear myself away from it. The Bible is life to me. marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of
During the past two decades as Canadian church the heart (Heb. 4:12 ESV).
attendance numbers fell, there has been one constant: In the hours and days after that conversation with
rate of attendance equates to confidence in the Bible. my neighbour on the airplane, Ive thought of a
While the numbers in church each week have fallen number of great responses to his question. But the
precipitously, the confidence-in-Bible rates havent. Of straightforward answer is best: The only book everyone
those who attend church weekly, three out of four still needs is Gods Word.
strongly agree that the Bible is the Word of God. Of The Bible transcends cultures and eras, and its still
those who seldom attend, one out of four still strongly relevant today.
agree. These rates are the same today as they were in
1996. Remarkable! Roy Eyre is the president of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada.

Word Alive Fall 2014 31

4316 10 ST NE
Deliver to:

PM 40062756

Wycliffe Canada Featured Project

Invest in the
Bougainville Advance!

T hrough this project, you can help move Bible translation,

Scripture use and literacy forward in dozens of languages
on the islands of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Here are
details of this specific project (featured in this issue of Word Alive,
see pages 6-27), which Wycliffe Canada is helping to sponsor as
one of its Focus Regions.

Project Name: Bougainville Advance

Location: Bougainville, PNG
Language Groups: 39
Project Overview: The Bougainville Advance Project provides
access to Gods Word in the 39 languages and dialects spoken in
the region.
The project invests heavily in training local believers to
become Bible translators, translation mentors and translation
consultants. The project also equips local believers to conduct
related activities such as Scripture use, literacy and language
project management.
Partnership is another key strategy and the project works
closely with the interdenominational Bougainville Bible
Translators Organization (BBTO). Bougainvilles churches are also
being encouraged to take ownership of Bible translation in their
region and a good number of denominations are now providing
prayer support, volunteers and resources.
Bougainville Advance staff believe the Bible needs to
be accessible and truly understandable for the people of
Bougainville. This is a key ingredient for the continued growth
and maturity of the church, so it can avoid syncretism and be a
clear witness for Christ.
Timeline: 2006-2025
Project Funding Needed: $70,000
Donate to this important Bible translation-related
project today!
Use this magazines reply form (fill in the box
indicated for this project).
Give online at
Call 1-800-463-1143 and indicate your gift is
for Bougainville Advance.