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Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada

May-August 2017

Educating more and more students
for Bible translation, a flourishing
Canada Institute of Linguistics is
expanding its training impact globally.

Canadian Wycliffe Veteran Dies + Will the Translation Be Acceptable? + Beyond Translating the Bible
Contents Foreword
Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada
On the cover: A Canada Institute
of Linguistics (CanIL) student
focuses on her work during a
May-August 2017

MAKING A class on the campus at Trinity

May-Aug 2017 • Volume 35 • Number 2 FOOTPRINT Western University in Langley, B.C.
CanIL offers a variety of programs
Educating more and more students
for Bible translation, a flourishing
Canada Institute of Linguistics is
expanding its training impact globally.

What Alan Was Watching For

to its students at several
Features campuses across the country.
Photo by Alan Hood.
Stories by Nathan Frank • Photos by Alan Hood
Dwayne Janke, Editor
6 Making a Kingdom Footprint

Canadian Wycliffe Veteran Dies + Will the Translation Be Acceptable? + Beyond Translating the Bible

Educating more and more students for Bible translation, hen Alan Hood CanIL’s current president, Danny Foster, was a student at
a flourishing Canada Institute of Linguistics is expanding In Every Issue begins a Word
Alive photography
CanIL when Alan served there nearly 20 years ago. Alan later
photographed Danny and his wife Ranette in Tanzania for Word
its training impact globally. assignment, he Alive, when Danny was involved in a Bible translation project
2 Foreword naturally keeps his eyes alert for good involving a cluster of related languages (see Spring 2009 issue).
13 Exciting Growth on the Horizon What Alan Was Watching For | By Dwayne Janke photo opportunities. This explains Like other staff at CanIL, Danny can offer future Bible
why he returns with hundreds upon translation and language workers a wealth of linguistic and
14 Linguistics 101 4 Watchword hundreds of images! practical experience in human relationships from a cross-
Canadian Wycliffe Veteran Passes Away However, as Alan shot photos for cultural environment. “He is passionate about seeing others
16 To Let Go and Let God 36 A Thousand Words this issue at the Canada Institute of
Linguistics (CanIL)—Wycliffe Canada’s training partner—he
have the same kind of impact on people’s lives,” says Alan.
CanIL staff continue to be spiritually in step with their
The importance of God’s Word inspires a A Desert Trot
was curiously watching for something else that his camera students, united in Christ both in the classroom, and as they
Trinidadian to leave home to attend CanIL. 37 Beyond Words couldn’t necessarily capture. pray and fellowship together.
Will It Be Acceptable? | By Danny Foster You see, Alan’s links to CanIL go back a few decades. Before “They know that something bigger and greater than
20 Into the Unknown 38 Last Word joining Wycliffe Canada’s communications staff, he used his themselves is going on,” says Alan. “They have tasted it, know
Surrounded by brokenness and chaos as a child, this construction experience to help CanIL in the pre-planning that it is good, and want others to be part of it.”
Beyond Translating the Bible | By Roy Eyre`
of its much-needed new headquarters at Trinity Western We trust that the following pages will encourage you
CanIL professor followed God down a path of hope.
University in Langley, B.C. to support the “home-front” work done by both CanIL
“During my time there from 1998 to 2000, there was and Wycliffe Canada. Whether it’s training Christians— or
24 Teaching is Ministry such a positive attitude of recruiting them in the first place—this pre-field effort is vital
encouragement and friendship for Bible translation to advance around the world.
28 Building Trust “They know that between staff and students
CanIL graduates from Vancouver Island, with a heart for Canada’s under the direction of Mike * * *
something bigger Walrod [past president of Dear Readers: We are looking for your feedback! To improve
First Nations people, prepare for their assignment.
and greater than CanIL],” Alan recalls. Word Alive and Canadians’ overall engagement with the Bible
“There was a desire for translation ministry, we have commissioned
themselves is students’ success, and staff a telephone survey. Over the next two
sought to promote the highest months, our research partners, Canadian
going on . . . and quality of linguistic work. Viewpoint, will be phoning to invite you
want others to be There was a strong desire to to participate in a 15-minute survey. As a
see people go and use their thank-you for your participation, we will enter
part of it.” linguistic skills for the sake of your name in a draw for Wycliffe gifts (one
Bibleless peoples.” winner for every 100 survey responses). We
As Alan spent a few days at value and appreciate your participation in
CanIL this past autumn with writer Nathan Frank, he was this survey. Thank you for considering this! If you have any
excited to see this passion is still strong and vibrant among questions, please contact our Director of Communications,
teachers and students. Sujatha Varghese, at 1-800- 463-1143, or email at

Wycliffe Canada is ending Bible poverty by facilitating

May-Aug 2017 • Volume 35 • Number 2
In Others’ Words
the translation of God's Word among minority language
Word Alive is the official publication of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada, communities worldwide. Canadian Head Office 4316 10
informing, inspiring and involving the Christian public as partners in the worldwide St NE, Calgary AB T2E 6K3. Phone (403) 250-5411 or
“The Bible gives me a deep, comforting Bible translation movement. Editor Dwayne Janke Designers Cindy Buckshon, toll free 1-800-463-1143, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. mountain
sense that ‘things seen are temporal, Laird Salkeld Senior Staff Writer Doug Lockhart Staff Writers Nathan Frank, Janet time. Email French speakers call toll free
Seever Staff Photographers Alan Hood, Natasha RamÍrez. Word Alive is published 1-877-747-2622 or email For
and things unseen are eternal.’ ” three times annually by Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada, copyright 2017. people with disabilities, Wycliffe will make written and non-written information
Printed by McCallum Printing Group, Edmonton, Alta. For permission to reprint accessible upon request, consulting with the requester
—Helen Keller (1880-1968), deaf-blind Correction: In our Jan-April 2017 issue, Word Alive incorrectly magazine content, email For additional copies, email to determine what format or communication support is
American author, political activist reported the number and populations of language groups that For address changes, email, suitable, and then providing this in a timely manner, at
and educator had translated Scriptures published for them in 2016, thanks or use the reply form. For Word Alive online, visit no additional cost.
to Wycliffe involvement. We should have reported that 20
languages, with a compiled total population of 28.7 million
2 Word Alive • May – Aug 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 3
speakers, received New Testaments or entire Bibles.
CANADIAN WYCLIFFE THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT WYCLIFFE GERMANY LAUNCHES As the recording work progressed, Dante was curious about
Jesus, eventually asking Him to come into his life. Understanding
S IL, Wycliffe’s main partner organization, has created REFUGEE-RELATED WEBSITE the message in his heart language had made all the difference to

r. George Cowan, holder of free computer software that helps speakers of minority urope’s large influx of refugees has prompted Wycliffe a young man named after a god of Hinduism.
Wycliffe Canada Archives

many Canadian “firsts” in languages build customized apps to display mother-tongue Germany to launch a Scripture resource website called *pseudonym used due to sensitivity
Wycliffe Bible Translators, died books on Android smartphones and tablets. new-neighbour-bible.​org.
in February at the age of 100 in Called Reading App Builder, it permitted Anabel, a speaker of Designed for Christians living in Europe, the website provides
Kissimmee, Fla. Me’phaa, a language of Mexico, to enter the text, pictures and information about Scripture resources in the languages spoken
Born in 1916 in Kelwood, Man., audio of a children’s story in her mother tongue. The resulting by the people arriving from other nations. Links to Bibles, Bible DEVELOPING COMMUNITY
interactive app reads the story out loud, highlighting each word
Cowan was the first Canadian to take linguistic training in the
U.S. offered by SIL, Wycliffe’s predecessor and key partner
organization. In 1942, he was among the first Canadians to join
as it is spoken, so a beginning reader can easily follow along.
Reading apps built with the software can be passed between
stories, videos and audio recordings are listed for the languages
of refugees coming from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Resources
for new neighbours from other countries will be added in the
he Lezgi-speaking people of the Caucasus Mountains have
developed a new website with the assistance of specialists
with SIL, Wycliffe’s main field partner organization.
the U.S.-based Wycliffe Bible Translators (before Wycliffe had an smartphones via Bluetooth, or uploaded to the Internet so coming months. Created to celebrate and share Lezgi language and culture,
official presence in Canada). others can download them. Wycliffe Germany is asking for prayer that churches and this website features Lezgi dictionaries, a Lezgi primer
In 1942 he moved to Mexico, where he met and then married Meanwhile, SIL has also created Dictionary App Builder, free Christian refugee networks will find out about and use their new for children, and pages about their art and literature. The
Florence Hansen, a fellow North American who shared his software for language communities to publish apps containing website, and that many refugees and displaced people will find website has helped stimulate other local efforts, such as a
passion for linguistics. They settled in Huautla de Jiménez, their dictionaries for Android smartphones and tablets. hope, help and comfort through these resources. local newspaper, a Lezgi radio station, a cultural journal and
Mexico, collaborating with Mazatec colleagues to translate the additional websites. New music ensembles, dance troupes, and
New Testament into their mother tongue. NEW ETHNOLOGUE RELEASED ON SD CARDS CARRY SCRIPTURE-BASED MEDIA a collective of mother-tongue poets have also formed.
In the mid-1940s, Cowan directed the first SIL training for
INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY The website has been a catalyst for healthy community
aspiring Bible translators in Canada, at what is now Briercrest
Bible College, near Moose Jaw, Sask. Many decades later, he
founded the Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL), Wycliffe T his past February, SIL (Wycliffe’s key partner organization)
celebrated UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day by
N ew technology is continuing to provide creative ways to development, enabling the Lezgi people to express their
distribute Scriptures translated for minority language groups, language, cultural heritage and distinct way of life in the
including those in sensitive parts of the world. Caucasus region. With renewed confidence, they are openly
Canada's key training program. Cowan also held several releasing Ethnologue, 20th Edition. The annual event focuses on In one language community in West Asia, a Wycliffe partner embracing their unique identity while also engaging in the wider
international leadership positions with SIL, Wycliffe and its our planet’s language diversity and variety. organization plans to distribute 250,000 SD cards, ultra-small information-connected world.
partner agencies. “Mother Language Day . . . reminds the world of the flash memory cards designed with large storage capacity. The
“No one exemplified Wycliffe and its commitment to reaching importance of the lesser-known languages of the world,” said cards will carry the Acts of the Apostles film and other Scripture
people with the good news in a language and form they relate to media in the local language.
best more than George Cowan,” says Bob Creson, president and Different organizations are working together to make this
CEO of Wycliffe U.S.A. “His passion and prayer life are legendary,
and he will be missed greatly by the whole Wycliffe family.”
strategy successful, so that many people will hear and respond
to the Scriptures in their heart language. WORD
For more details, visit

COUNT 1,500,000,000
NEW HEADQUARTERS SPEAK TO People without the complete
Bible in their first language.

SIL International
ycliffe Caribbean is praising God for providing new DANTE’S HEART
headquarters to help it promote and advance Bible
translation in the wider Caribbean area.
A 60-room hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, was purchased at I n Asia several
decades ago, a couple
named their son Dante* 3,223
below market value for Wycliffe Caribbean’s mobilization/training Dr. Gary Simons. He is an editor of the SIL book and database
centre and headquarters. (, which contains information about all of after a Hindu god. He
Languages spoken
For the months of work needed in the development, the known languages around the globe. grew up in a village that in the world.
considerable funding was required in each stage, including “Because knowledge about these languages has been a focus rejected Jesus and His Languages with some
payment for the work teams, security and the remodelling design. of the Ethnologue since its inception in 1951, we are happy to message of salvation. Scripture (i.e. New
But the Lord had Testament, portions, etc.)

be able to provide our most up-to-date information about the
languages of the world each year on this day.” other plans for Dante’s
The newest edition lists a total of 7,099 living languages life. An audio Scripture team was ready to record Bible stories 636
CUBA worldwide, a net increase of two living languages since the 19th
edition was published one year ago.
in the language of his people and searched for help. They found
Dante, one of the few readers in the largely illiterate community,
In France, Uganda and Mexico, SIL staff participated to narrate the script. The 22-year-old was hired to fill several Languages in the 1,800
in celebrations of International Mother Language Day. For reading roles in the recordings of the Open Bible, a series of 50 world that have a
complete Bible.
example, Dr. Barbara Trudell, SIL’s senior literacy and education stories spanning from Creation to the second coming of Christ.
Languages still needing
JAMAICA consultant, attended the UNESCO-hosted event in Paris (pictured The Scripture stories began to reach Dante’s heart, even when Bible translation to begin.
above). She presented an interactive session on “Sustainable he was just studying his script in preparation for the recording.
Kingston Futures through Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education: “This is amazing!” he said. “I am hearing such stories for the
Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance
Answering the Difficult Questions.” first time. I believe they are for me, too.”

4 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 5
CanIL professor Larry Hayashi holds the attention of his field methods class this past
Educating more and more students for Bible translation, a flourishing fall. In the class, students meet weekly with a speaker of another language from the
local community (Thai, Arabic, Indonesian and Tagalog are some of the languages they
Canada Institute of Linguistics is expanding its training impact globally. have studied over the years) to gather words, sentences and stories. They transcribe it,
much like they will in their future field work. They analyze the language by examining its
sound system, and parts of words and sentences. Hayashi says the students start with
Stories by Nathan Frank their transcriptions and their uncertainties, what he calls “their messy data.” They get
Photos by Alan Hood comfortable with the mess in the process of analysis, and by the end of the term have
created a beautiful small dictionary and draft grammar.

6 Word Alive • May – August 2017 •

he hum of chatter fills to join the global Bible translation movement. And that effort
continues to yield a growing enrolment.
a packed lunchroom at Although growth has been steady throughout CanIL’s history (see
sidebar, pg. 13), according to Danny Foster, CanIL’s energetic, candid
the Canada Institute of president, it’s never been about growth for the sake of growth.
Linguistics (CanIL) on the “Enrolment is important. The figures are important,” stresses
Foster, who has served as CanIL’s president since 2014. “But
Trinity Western University I came here because I believed and I realized . . . that God
was showing me that I could have a way bigger impact in the
campus in Langley, B.C. kingdom of God through CanIL than I could in Tanzania [where
Tables are jammed together wall-to-wall for the monthly he served for more than a decade], right there on the front lines.”
“M-files” (Missionary Files) gathering—a Friday lunch event where To illustrate his point, Foster draws boxes on his office
a visiting speaker (usually a CanIL graduate) shares about their whiteboard. One box represents the 19 languages he worked
experience doing language work on the field. On this autumn with in his role as a training co-ordinator for the Uganda-
day, Trish* stands in front of the group of mainly CanIL students Tanzania branch of SIL (Wycliffe’s key field partner). The second
and staff. Serving in Southeast Asia, she shares pictures and box Foster draws is larger, showing how his next role as the
stories from her work creating oral Bible story sets translated for director of training and development for the branch had an even
minority language groups. bigger impact, helping to build capacity among Tanzanians and
Trish is comfortable at the microphone, making dry jokes Ugandans for Bible translation efforts across 45 languages. Then
that draw laughter from the crowd. Much of the content of her Danny draws a third, larger box. He explains that as a school that
presentation is personal and relatable, but would be confusing to trains Bible translation, linguistic and literacy specialists who
those without a background in linguistics. work all around the world, CanIL has a far bigger impact than his
She shows the crowd an alphabet from a language group she former frontlines work.
worked with, and uses words like orthography, semantics, cultural “We are not a school for the sake of being a school. I’m not here
acquisition, and morphology (see sidebar, pg 14). It’s heady stuff. for CanIL. I’m here for that,” emphasizes Foster, as he points to the
There aren’t a lot of lunchrooms in Canada where words like large box on the whiteboard. He calls it CanIL’s “kingdom footprint.”
these would be understood by the majority of the room—but To track this footprint, CanIL leaders record how many grads
here Trish is talking shop. transition to the mission field each year. They call this “mission
However, it isn’t the science of language that ultimately unites fulfilment." Under Foster’s leadership, this number has been
the CanIL community. What sets this group apart is a united and increasing, with an estimated 59 grads joining the Bible translation
growing drive to advance the global Bible translation movement movement in the past three years. Last year was the best year yet
that helps provide God’s Word to every language group on the in CanIL history, with 35 grads making the move to the field.
planet that needs it. (continued on pg. 12)

This desire to end Bible poverty was in CanIL’s blueprint when
it opened its doors in 1985 on the Trinity Western campus,
under the name the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Originally
established by Wycliffe Canada (CanIL is still Wycliffe Canada’s
key training partner), the school incorporated as its own entity
in 2000. Through all the changes, CanIL’s main purpose hasn’t
changed. It has been—and still is—to recruit and train Canadians
*Surname not used due to sensitivity.

Enrolment is important. The figures are important.

But I came here because I believed and I realized . . .
that I could have a way bigger impact in the kingdom
(TOP) CanIL president Danny Foster illustrates on his office on God’s guidance and strength is important for CanIL faculty of God through CanIL.
white board how the school’s main purpose is to train and pour and staff. Before a meeting, Foster and CanIL’s leadership
experts in Bible translation and related disciplines into the team take time to pray. Seated left to right are: Danny Foster,
global Bible translation movement. Foster brings to his role more president of CanIL; Ken Creech, VP of administration; Larry
than six years of experience as a pastor and nine years serving Hayashi, assistant VP of administration; David Jeffery, VP of
language communities in Uganda and Tanzania. (ABOVE) Relying academic affairs.

8 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 9
To ensure
students are
prepared for their
future roles, CanIL
is staffed almost
entirely by faculty
with experience
serving in minority
language groups
around the globe.

The social life on the CanIL campus is vibrant. Each week the CanIL
community joins together for chapel, where they worship and share with
one another. (OPPOSITE PAGE, BOTTOM) Also, once a month staff, students
and friends gather for “M-files” (Missionary Files). After a delicious meal
is shared, a visiting speaker (often a CanIL graduate) shares about their
field experience. (ABOVE) Students and staff participate in a variety
of sports, including ultimate Frisbee (as seen above) and volleyball.
(OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP) Tyndale University College and Seminary students
enjoy a beautiful fall day on their Toronto campus. In 2015, CanIL signed a
formal agreement with Tyndale to run and staff Tyndale’s bachelor’s degree
in linguistics program. CanIL hopes the program meets the needs for
students in Canada’s largest population hub.

10 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 11
Exciting Growth
Is a renewed focus on recruitment or the great scholarships
“I’d like to find ways to serve on the Horizon
that CanIL offers responsible for the increase in mission national Bible translation

fulfilment? Foster admits that the reasons are hard to quantify.
“It’s God. It’s the obedience of the people in this building,” he organizations through training tarting modestly in 1985, CanIL initially offered a summer semester of
courses to 32 students in spare Trinity Western classrooms. Despite some
says. “If I honestly knew what that formula was I’d be a really,
really happy guy.”
and equipping people better.” early enrolment speed bumps, the student body grew throughout the ’90s,
never been studied before, and in a relatively short amount of averaging 50 students per year.
PREPARING STUDENTS time you are going to be able to have X,Y,Z figured out about Along with more students there was also an expansion in course offerings. By
To ensure students are prepared for their future roles, CanIL is the writing system, about the sound system and you will be able the late ’90s, CanIL was the official linguistics department for Trinity Western,
staffed almost entirely by faculty with experience serving in to start to sketch out the grammar.” offering a BA in linguistics, TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and
minority language groups around the globe. As a result, classes Take the example of American students Tom and Jen Kane*, master’s level linguistics degrees.
are hands-on and prepare students for actual situations they will who left for South Asia this past January. Unlike most CanIL “We were the fastest growing department on the Trinity Western campus for quite
face in their field work. students, these second-year MA of linguistics and exegesis a few years,” explains Dr. Mike Walrod (pictured at right), who served as CanIL’s
And with specialties offered in descriptive linguistics, language students plan to finish their program after gaining some field president from 1987-2013. “Virtually every program we implemented succeeded
survey, Bible translation, developing writing systems, promoting experience as language surveyors. beyond our expectations. A lot of young people came through here and the level
literacy and documenting languages, Foster believes students The Kanes' work will take them to remote language groups of commitment was phenomenal.”
will be prepared for basically anything. spread across a sensitive South Asian country to gather data, so
The most visible sign of growth came in 2004, with the opening of the Harvest
“I’d like to say we can drop you in the bush in a language that’s decisions can be made about the need for Bible translation.
Centre—CanIL’s very own, three-storey building on the Trinity Western campus.
The $3.7-million, donor-funded project was critical to the program’s future, which
in 2002 had an enrolment of more than 165 students, but was operating in a
crowded group of aging portable buildings.

Becoming a Global School

Firmly established on the Trinity Western campus, in recent years CanIL has
expanded beyond the west coast, developing working relationships with Christian
colleges across the globe. Today, students can take classes at CanIL’s Langley
campus for one or more semesters and then transfer those credits towards their
degree program elsewhere. Institutions that have partnerships with CanIL include
the Biblical Language Centre (BLC) in Jerusalem, along with a growing number of
Canadian and American Christian colleges and universities.
Going beyond simply a partnership, however, is CanIL’s relationship with Tyndale
University College and Seminary in Toronto (pictured below). In 2015, CanIL signed
a formal agreement with Tyndale to run and staff Tyndale’s bachelor’s degree in
linguistics program.
Paul Arsenault (pictured at right), a professor
of linguistics for the CanIL East program on
the Tyndale campus, believes that eastern
Canada and particularly Toronto—where
much of Canada’s population resides—has a
“tremendous untapped potential” to recruit for
linguistics and Bible translation.
“For CanIL, there’s often been a lot of recruits
that come from eastern Canada,” explains
Arsenault. “For a lot of those people the CanIL
West program on Trinity Western campus is a
long way to travel to.”

Courtesy of Tyndale University College & Seminary

Still in the early stages, this new agreement
with Tyndale—along with CanIL’s relationships
Students and staff enjoy a meal together at the monthly “M-files” with other schools across the globe—has
(Missionary Files) gathering this past fall. After eating, the students transitioned CanIL into a school that isn’t
heard from a CanIL graduate who is serving in Southeast Asia. Trish confined to just one campus. And with the
shared about her work creating oral Bible story sets translated for
minority language groups.
CanIL East program now in place, the potential
growth on the horizon is truly exciting.

12 Word Alive • May – August 2017 •

Linguistics 101
fter graduating, CanIL students serve the global Bible
translation movement as experts in several disciplines. The Prior to leaving for the field this past fall, the Kanes shared
subjects below are a sampling of what students learn in how CanIL classes would prepare them for their new roles.
classes to prepare them for their future roles as linguists, literacy Tom said the program gave them the proficiency needed to
workers, Bible translation consultants, language surveyors, and more. learn a language and be self-motivated. He admits, though,
that they can only be somewhat ready for the adventure.
Phonetics – how to say, describe and transcribe sounds found in
the world’s languages
“As the Bible translation
Morphology – the structure of words and relationships between
parts of words movement, in the past we
Phonology – how sounds affect one another and which sounds are
thought of it as the ‘West to
meaningful to native speakers and which are not the rest.’ Now it’s ‘everyone
Syntax – the way words are put together in a language to form to everywhere. . . .’ I still think
phrases, clauses or sentences
some of the best training is
Semantics – the meaning of words and phrases in language locked up here and not available
Discourse Analysis – aspects of language structure in larger to our national partners.”
sections of text (e.g. prominence, cohesion and genre)
“I feel prepared as far as knowledge and education are
concerned. But prepared? I can’t prepare for the change of pace
and change of culture and change of lifestyle.”

*Pseudonym used to protect the identities of the students

When Foster is asked what changes he sees in CanIL’s future, he
responds initially by describing a humble vision. He says CanIL
plans to remain an important partner in the Bible translation
movement. They will do this by being an attentive voice in the
conversation regarding Bible translation best practices and by
preparing students to serve well.
With more thought, however, Foster allows himself to dream
a little bit about the future—a future where CanIL can better
help local speakers in minority languages do Bible translation
and related tasks for their own people. Anita Lebold, CanIL’s director of strategic enrolment management
“I’d like to find ways to serve national Bible translation (right) chats with American student, Maria Stolen. Crucial in Lebold’s
organizations through training and equipping people better,” he position is developing new relationships, promoting linguistics in high
schools and colleges. Language pervades all of human experience. Her
Ethnography – the description and study of culture (for effective says. “As the Bible translation movement, in the past we thought department has capitalized on this, developing a series of modules
cross-cultural communication) of it as the ‘West to the rest.’ Now it’s ‘everyone to that present relevant Bible translation and linguistic principles to the
everywhere. . . .’ I still think some of the best training is locked up curriculum of particular courses. For example, one of her recruitment
Linguistic Field Methods – ways to gather and record words, here and not available to our national partners.” team members might share with a biology class how the human mouth
sentences and stories that are then analyzed using the disciplines With its focused ambition, CanIL is doing its part in an even works in speech, or with a psychology class, how language is processed,
above or in a Bible class, the process of translation. The goal is to raise the
bigger dream—that every person on the planet has the Bible in awareness of the field of linguistics and ultimately its application to
their heart language. Foster’s dream is that CanIL’s kingdom Bible translation, literacy and language development.
Data Management – using software to organize, manage and footprint covers the globe.
analyze the gathered language and culture data

Lexicography – dictionary-making theory and methods for

organizing words and their meanings to create dictionaries

Translation Principles – theory and skills for expressing meaning

from one language into another in the tasks of Bible translation

Exegesis –explaining and interpreting biblical text

Literacy Principles – introducing reading and writing to minority

language groups (e.g. alphabet making, literacy program
strategies, etc.)
Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 15
The importance of God’s Word
inspires a Trinidadian to leave
home to attend CanIL.

rittney Balfour was a CHURCH LIFE

Balfour’s passion for God’s Word was shaped in her childhood.
bit lost as she tried Raised in a single-parent home in the eastern Trinidad town of
to find her connecting Sangre Grande, Balfour was surrounded by people of strength
and faith in her local church. However, one of the most
gate at Toronto’s influential role models in her life was her mother.
“My mom worked very hard to provide food on the table, and
Pearson International put me through school.”
Airport in August 2015. It was her Balfour’s mother, though, wasn’t isolated in her community
as a single mom. Balfour says neighbours shared each other’s
first time in such a large terminal burdens and understood that struggle and hard work were part
of everyday life.
and one of the biggest moments “If you need help or some ingredient to make a dish, you can
of her life. She was moving away just ask your neighbour next door,” she explains. “It's a village
where everyone knows everyone.”
from Trinidad and Tobago, the only The biggest way Balfour’s mother shaped her daughter’s faith
was by consistently taking her to their home church next door.
country she’d ever called home. It was there Balfour heard the gospel at a young age and was
You couldn’t blame her for being taught the fear of the Lord by her pastor. She says it wasn’t a
difficult decision to follow Christ and despite “walking on the
a bit flustered. fence” at times, she continued to attend her home church and
The previous week was emotional for Balfour, as she said develop her faith.
goodbye to her friends and family. Now her move to Langley, “I knew God had a plan for my life,” she explains. “I never
B.C., to attend the Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL), was wanted to live a ‘normal’ Christian life.”
becoming a reality.
“In church I cried like a baby. I cried, having to leave my CHOOSING A DIFFERENT PATH
church family,” says the 25-year-old in her Trinidadian accent After graduating in her early 20s with her undergraduate degree,
while sitting in a CanIL office. “It was a big move for a small Balfour entered the workforce, taking a government job as a
Caribbean girl.” clerk. However, she wasn’t satisfied with the role. She wanted
Although there was some sadness for Balfour, there was also something more meaningful and fulfilling.
a deep sense of excitement and belief that she was about to While attending a missions camp, she found what she was
do something great. She was eager to soon gain the education looking for. As different presenters shared about the many
needed to provide God’s Word to minority language groups Bibleless people groups around the globe, she felt a burden on
who need it. her heart that all languages should have God’s Word. Having
“The Word of God is everything to me,” Balfour explains during already taken linguistics as her undergrad, it suddenly clicked
a break from studying. “So getting the Scriptures out and having that God could use her skill set.
people read it in their own language—it just becomes so much
richer and sweeter when somebody can understand the Word of
God in their own language. I think it’s really important.”

Trinidad native Brittney Balfour enrolled in CanIL’s Master of

Applied Linguistics program in 2015 with a burden to help provide
the Bible to every language group that needs it. Brittney says
God’s Word is everything to her and believes it becomes so much
16 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • richer and sweeter in the language that a person understands best. Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 17
easy. You might have challenges, especially in terms of family life.”
In her course work, Balfour is doing assignments that model the
tasks she will need to do in the field, like learning a local language
and entering language information into a software database.
And on top of classes, Balfour was also a teacher’s assistant for
Linguistics 101, an introductory class for first-year students.
“Just imagine if we didn’t have the Bible in English,” she “I think it helps you in terms of your confidence and being able
says about the burden she feels. “How terrible it would to teach,” Balfour says about the role. “Because when you go on
be. Sometimes I read The Message (a modern English Bible the field you have to teach the people there how to do Bible
paraphrase published in 2002) and it comes so alive.” translation. Basically you’re being a core teacher, helping them
Since enrolling in CanIL’s Master of Applied Linguistics through the process.”
and Exegesis (MLE) program in 2015, Balfour has had a truly
immersive experience. From attending classes taught by CROSS-CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
professors who have experience working with minority language Along with learning from assignments and classes, Balfour
groups around the world, she says she has learned practical points to the cross-cultural experience she’s had at CanIL as an
lessons that will prepare her for the future. Stories from important educational tool. Looking toward her future field role,
professors, both in class and during chapel times, have opened she describes CanIL as “a cross-cultural experience before her
her eyes to how challenging life can be as a missionary. actual cross-cultural experience.”
“Certainly that has been helpful in giving me a holistic view of However, her CanIL cultural exposure hasn’t been limited to
what it will be like in the field,” she says. “It won’t be completely its Langley, B.C. campus. During the summer of 2016, with the
help of a CanIL scholarship, Balfour travelled to Israel to take a
one-month intensive Hebrew course at the Biblical Language
Centre in Jerusalem. The only CanIL student who applied for the
scholarship, she was fully immersed in biblical Hebrew, while
gaining six transferable credits for her master’s degree. Perhaps
most amazing of all, she walked the same roads that Jesus did
more than 2,000 years ago.
“That was spectacular in every way.”
The classes were taught entirely in Hebrew, which forced
Balfour and the other students to learn by listening and practice.
“Pretty much I felt like a child being thrown into a new area
and just having to figure it out. A good seed was planted. I
learned quite a bit.”


While Balfour is looking to complete her studies in December
2017, her future plans have yet to be finalized. Like it was for
her when she first left Trinidad for CanIL in 2015, graduation
may bring with it mixed emotions. She’ll most likely feel both
excitement about being much closer to helping provide God’s
Word to those who need it, but also sadness that she’s leaving
her classmates.
And like it was when she was lost in the Toronto airport,
despite some fear, she doesn’t plan to turn back. She will follow
God’s calling for her life. And besides, she isn’t that scared

Courtesy of Brittany Balfour

“That’s pretty exciting to me,” Balfour says in her Trinidadian
accent about the possibility of moving to a remote village. “It’s
not that freaky. I get freaked out thinking about snakes. . . .
“The fearful thoughts will come when I think about my family
(LEFT) Brittney Balfour graduates this fall with a master’s in applied back home in Trinidad and what might happen to them and
linguistics and exegesis. The Trinidadian student says that the practicality of stuff like that. But it’s really for me just a learning curve to let go
CanIL’s classes have prepared her well for future work in Bible translation and let God.”
ministry. (ABOVE) Balfour stands in front of the garden tomb in Jerusalem,
Israel during her stay in the city while taking biblical Hebrew at the Biblical
Language Centre. The garden tomb is considered by some Christians to be the
site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus.

Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 19

Courtesy of Leigh Labrecque

(OPPOSITE PAGE, LEFT) Leigh and Barbara Labrecque

and their young family pose for a photo on the
picturesque South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. They
Surrounded by brokenness served for 15 years in Bible translation and literacy
work for two language groups. (ABOVE) Labrecque
and chaos as a child, this has loved being a professor since joining CanIL
CanIL professor followed in 2013. Here he is seen teaching a class on the
principles of literacy.
God down a path of hope.

Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 21

hile growing up across ISOLATING PATH
Searching for direction after high school in the late ’80s, Labrecque
the Alberta prairies, enrolled at Prairie Bible College in Three Hills, Alta. The first
Leigh Labrecque semester at Prairie was a whirlwind. He remembers studying the
Bible and late-night talks with his new friends, learning how each
heard Jesus Christ’s other became Christians. He had an amazing time.
However, Labrecque’s father and his stepmother didn’t share his
name a lot—usually as a enthusiasm for Bible college. Having joined a new denomination,
swearword. To him, Christ they had developed some strange beliefs, Labrecque says.
“They became suspicious of everyone and everything, having
was at best a man of legend. been told that demons lurked all around us. Because of that, they
were very suspicious of everything that I was learning at Bible
“I thought of Jesus kind of like a superhero figure, someone
college and all of my Christian activities.”
who could do amazing things, but was fictitious.”
At the Christmas break, Labrecque’s parents pulled him out
Sitting in his office on the second floor of the Canada Institute
of Prairie, believing he had “fallen away from the Lord and His
of Linguistics (CanIL) on the Trinity Western campus in Langley,
proper way.
B.C., Labrecque shares about his chaotic childhood and how he
“They told me that I had been contaminated by the world and
found Christ to be “real” in the midst of hardships.
that I was not fit to come home for Christmas. So they drove me
For most of Labrecque’s childhood, he didn’t live with his

Courtesy of Leigh Labrecque

to Edmonton, and dropped me off at the YMCA in the middle
mom and dad, who separated when he was five years old.
of downtown. I was also told that if I contacted any relatives
Instead, he was handed off to relatives or people who were
who lived in Edmonton, that would confirm to them that I was

Courtesy of Leigh
willing to take a boarder into their home. From ages five to 15,
choosing the things of this world over God. So, with $79 in my
he moved more than 20 times and attended 12 different schools.
bank account, and no friends or family, I felt very alone.”
In those years, he saw plenty of drug and alcohol abuse in his
family—and also broken relationships. Leigh and Barbara Labrecque
met each other at Prairie Bible ON HIS OWN Barbara Labrecque (on the right) and her children (from
Labrecque, who has been a professor at CanIL since 2013 Institute in Three Hills, Alta., left to right) Sharyna, Cassia and Anthony rest in a
Suddenly at 18 years old, Labrecque was entirely responsible for
after more than a decade serving in Bible translation in the which played a key role in Leigh’s dugout canoe on the beach of Southeast Ambrym in the
his wellbeing. This was his new normal. For the next 17 years
South Pacific island-nation of Vanuatu, admits that he found his spiritual growth and direction South Pacific. Once or twice a year, Leigh Labrecque
towards Bible translation. They he was estranged from his father. However, despite being on his brought the whole family from Paama Island (pictured
childhood experience to be “pretty unsettling.”
graduated together in 1994. own, Labrecque held on to the vision God gave him as teenager. in the background) to Southeast Ambrym so that he
However, when Labrecque was 15, the direction of his
He remembered that God promised him that if he followed Him, and Barbara could spend some extended time doing
life changed. He moved back in with his father and his new translation or training workshops together.
he’d be given hope.
stepmother. And through a series of providential circumstances,
“The Lord did teach me a lesson. What He taught me was that
they began attending church when Leigh was 17. At first,
He will provide a family for the lonely and provide a community
Labrecque was resistant to this new life direction, but his parents
for those that seek Him.”
challenged him to read the Bible.
“I was reading the Bible and it just came alive,” he says. “I realized “One road was clear but filled with Eager to return to the amazing community of Christians who
cared for him at Prairie, Labrecque found two part-time jobs
for the first time that the story of Jesus wasn’t a fictitious thing like
a comic book or a good fiction book. It was actually real.” pitfalls, pain and destruction. The to save money for tuition. Unfortunately, as hard as he tried,
he wasn’t able to save enough. After 18 months on his own,
A short time later, as Labrecque was considering whether to
commit his life to the Jesus he was reading about, he says God other road was covered in mist, Labrecque contacted Prairie to ask if they had a way he could
attend classes. Understanding his plight, the college’s leadership
gave him a mental picture of his future.
“In my mind, I could see two roads. One road was clear but stretching into the unknown. But allowed him to return. To help pay for classes, they offered him
a job painting in the summer and when he was short of finances
filled with pitfalls, pain and destruction. The other road was
covered in mist, stretching into the unknown. But I felt like it I felt like it held a promise of for tuition, generous donors would pay his fees.
“It seemed like every two months the Lord provided through
held a promise of hope and a new kind of life.”
Deeply familiar with the brokenness he saw all around him as hope and a new kind of life.” some miraculous means.”
The coming years at Prairie would be foundational in
a child—and having little understanding of what it looked like
Labrecque’s story. It was there that he found God’s distinct calling
to be a Christian or the loneliness he would face along the way—
for his life and God began to fulfil His promise of providing him a
Lebrecque choose to follow Christ down the misty path of hope.
He said to the Lord: “Whatever you want.”
“When my blood family abandoned me, God became my Father
and His people everywhere embraced me as family.”

22 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 23
Teaching is Ministry

eigh Labrecque has a theory. He believes every class he teaches at the
Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) should include a story from his
Even after all these years, tears roll down the now
time in Vanuatu, where he worked as a Bible translation and literacy
46-year-old Labrecque’s cheeks as he remembers
adviser for two language groups.
the moment God first tugged at his heart to
Take, for example, the principles-of-literacy class that Labrecque teaches. His
join the Bible translation movement. It was at
stories of how he developed a literacy program from scratch for the Southeast a missions conference in 1992 where a Wycliffe
Ambrym people (see Word Alive, Jan.-April 2017) gives students an understanding representative, along with a group of actors,
of the reality they will face in their future roles—and the breakthroughs that are illustrated how desperate the need was for Bible
possible. translation around the globe.
“I started trying to figure out ways that I could put literacy into everything,” Labrecque watched as actors dressed in
Labrecque explains regarding his time in Vanuatu. As islanders learned to read, different ethnic costumes pleaded with the
a group of men benefited from attending a Bible study and accountability group Wycliffe representative to send someone to help
that Labrecque started leading. them start Bible translations. The representative
As the men began applying God’s Word to their daily lives, it changed how they told them that they wouldn’t be able to send
treated their families and their neighbours. Women in the community said to anyone there for 120 years because there weren’t

Courtesy of Leigh Labrecque

the men: “What’s happening with your families? It’s amazing! Could you come enough linguists.
and talk to my husband?” “I’m still kind of emotional,” says Labrecque, as
Labrecque uses this story to illustrate the need for literacy within Bible he recalls the story. “I thought: I can be one of
translation ministry. He tells his class that all CanIL graduates who will work those people that go. I can answer the call to one
in Bible translation projects need to of those groups. I can get people God’s Word. The
have skills in promoting literacy and Holy Spirit can pour into their lives in the same way
engagement with translated Scriptures. that He has challenged me and poured into my life (ABOVE) When Leigh Lebrecque began working with the Paama and Southeast Ambrym
through His Word.” people in Vanuatu, he developed a translation training course containing 27 modules for
“If they don’t, the Bible is not going
After this experience, Labrecque became a local Bible translators. He then taught these one-to-four day modules to translators to
to get used.” give them initial skills needed for their work. (BELOW) After 16 years, May 2016 marked
kind of Bible translation evangelist, sharing the
When Labrecque started teaching the dedication of the New Testament and significant portions of the Old Testament in the
need with everyone around campus, hoping to
at CanIL in 2013, he didn’t see the convince them to join him. It was in this eager
Paama and Southeast Ambrym languages.
opportunity as a step down from his state that he learned of a student named Barbara,
fieldwork in Vanuatu. Instead, he saw an American who was also interested in Bible
teaching as a multiplication role. Where translation.
Labrecque could spend 15 years pouring I have to meet this girl, he told himself. Once he
into two language communities and met Barbara, it all clicked into place in his mind,
helping them translate God’s Word, now Labrecque recalls: “She’s cute, she’s smart and she’s
he has the ability each year to pour excited about Bible translation.”
into dozens of other Bible translation Focused on following the Lord and her studies,
communities through the young people Barbara, a Californian, initially didn’t see the same
he trains. potential in Labrecque that he saw in her. She
Labrecque’s goal as a teacher is to thought that their personalities were just too
excite the heart of students through different. However, as they got to know each other
Courtesy of Leigh Labrecque
hands-on classes and assignments that better, she realized that they were a great match.
prepare them for situations they will face in their future work. An example of this “I think we are a good team, because we balance
approach is an exercise that he developed. Students work with a fictitious Greek each other,” says Barbara, talking about their
Island language group, who speak Englegreek. They have asked for a literacy relationship in their Langley home. “Thankfully,
God usually works it out that way.”
team to create an alphabet using Greek symbols to preserve their folk tales and
Within a few years, Labrecque and Barbara
their language. For many of Labrecque’s students, when they begin working with
were married. United in their passion for Bible
a minority language group, developing an alphabet will be one of the first tasks.
translation ministry, the couple—with their
Labrecque says the students really enjoy the assignment, despite its difficulty. first child Sharyna in tow—enrolled at CanIL for
“The Greek letters are somewhat familiar [to most students] but there are graduate-level classes in 1996. By the time they
enough differences [from English] that it’s kind of challenging.” left for the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu (a
Beyond his desire that his students gain the practical problem-solving skills country consisting of 80 islands) in 2000 to begin
needed to fulfil whatever task is given them, Labrecque has a greater hope. He their Bible translation ministry (see sidebar at left),
wants each of his students to have a heart and love for the minority language the couple had welcomed two more children to
groups they will serve—just like he did in Vanuatu. their family: Anthony and Cassia.
It’s this great hope that fuels Labrecque with such enthusiasm as a teacher.
“It’s pretty exciting to be here now doing this at CanIL. I really feel like all of my
Casey Ellis Photo

years in the field have prepared me well for this task of passing on my knowledge.”
24 Word Alive • May – Aug 2017 •
With a young growing family, Labrecque’s faith in God’s promise of
“providing a family for the lonely” was fulfilled. However, the story
wasn’t finished. In October of 2002, God gave Labrecque another gift.
As he and Barbara were just getting their feet wet in Bible
translation ministry, Labrecque received a long-overdue email. It was

“During the difficult journey that we had

during the 17 years of separation, God took
us in our broken state and recreated us.”
from his father, apologizing for abandoning him and shutting him out
for so many years. Soon, Labrecque’s father scheduled a trip all the
way to Vanuatu, where he met Barbara and the kids for the first time.
“That first night of his visit in Vanuatu, we stayed up until 2 a.m.,”

Courtesy of Leigh Labrecque

explains Labrecque.
Face to face, Labrecque’s father apologized again. And in response,
despite everything he’d gone through, Labrecque shared that God
had helped him to forgive him many years before, but that it would
take some time to build trust between them.
“In many ways, our relationship became stronger than ever before,”
Labrecque says. “During the difficult journey that we had during the 17 After an estrangement of 17 years, Leigh Labreque’s
father met his grandchildren for the first time during
years of separation, God took us in our broken state and recreated us.”
his visit to Vanuatu in 2002. (BELOW) Labreque’s
Ultimately, God’s given Labrecque everything He promised him: sister Cynthia (on the left) also made the trip to visit
hope, purpose, community, family and even reconciliation. All God her brother and his family.
God promised Leigh Labreque a family when he faced rejection by
asked was for Labrecque to trust Him while following Him into the his father in his early 20s—and He delivered. Pictured is Labreque’s
unknown. family in the fall of 2016. Left to right: Anthony, Leigh, Barbara,
Sharyna (with her daughter Avalyn on her shoulders), and Cassia.

26 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 27
Building Trust CanIL graduates from
Vancouver Island, with a
heart for Canada’s First
Nations people, prepare
for their assignment.

Matt and Caitlin Windsor and their eight-month-old daughter Hazel walk
down a rainy path outside of their home congregation of Bay Community
Church, in Comox, B.C. The congregation supports the couple’s plan to serve
28 Word Alive • May – Aug 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 29
First Nations people in Canada through Bible translation ministry.
att Windsor doesn’t “Once you realize that it’s God who brings [financial support]
in and we just give people the opportunity and then He does
find it easy to get the work, that’s a huge relief.”
up in front of a FOUNDATIONS
crowd to speak Matt and Caitlin developed their trust and deep-rooted
relationship with Christ while attending the same youth group
publicly. By nature, as teenagers in the Comox Valley. However, despite being in the
same social circles, it wasn’t until they attended the University of
the recent Canada Institute Victoria that they became friends and started dating.
of Linguistics (CanIL) grad is “A lot of our spiritual upbringing was kind of the same,”
explains Matt. “So, that gave us a lot of common ground for our
reserved and analytical. Even in relationship.”
Soon after Matt and Caitlin started dating, they quickly
a small room of friends he says tackled some important questions regarding their future
he appreciates how his wife together. A month into their relationship, Caitlin had a mini-
stroke, caused by a medical condition called cerebral cavernous
Caitlin carries the conversation malformations. She couldn’t walk for six months.
“I won’t blame you if you choose to leave—I’m not going to
so he can “relax and think a bit.” think any less of you,” Caitlin told Matt after her stroke.
That way he can slowly add his Matt, though, didn’t want out: “She’s not any less deserving of
love because of something like that,” he reflects. “I thought that
ideas without focusing on the was the role that I could see myself doing okay in—that role of
working through recovery with someone.”
mechanics of carrying on The second question the couple answered was whether their
a conversation. future plans were in sync. Shortly after Matt became a Christian
when he was 16, he decided that he wanted to be a missionary.
On a Sunday this past October, however, Matt finds himself Desiring to help others reconcile themselves with God, Matt
standing in front of his home church in Comox, B.C. He is sharing at first assumed the only way to do this was by trying to make
about the long-term plans he and Caitlin have to work in Bible himself an outgoing street evangelist, but soon realized God had
translation ministry with the Oji-Cree people in the northern (TOP) Matt and Caitlin Windsor chat with
designed him with other gifts. Then his youth leader introduced Ruby Sandy-Robinson (director of the Naskapi
Ontario First Nations community of Kingfisher Lake. (This work him to Bible translation. He explained that Matt’s interest in Development Corporation) during a 2016 workshop
is a part of the Wycliffe Canada-sponsored Cree Initiative project. for mother-tongue translators in Guelph, Ont. After
See Word Alive, Jan-Apr 2017.) they finish raising financial support, the Windsors
Bobbing in the back of the Bay Community Church sanctuary
“I really took it to heart that you’re a missionary will be doing an internship with the Naskapi
with their 10-month-old daughter Hazel wrapped around her wherever you are. . . . When I met Matt and knew translation team in Kawawachikamach, Que. (LEFT)
waist, Caitlin listens to her introverted husband. Matt explains Bill and Norma Jean Jancewicz, facilitators of the
he was going into Wycliffe [I said], ‘Well that works. It Cree Initiative project, will supervise and mentor the
to the Vancouver Island congregation that he and his wife need Windsors in their future work in First Nations Bible
more long-term financial partners before they are able to start translation. The two couples connected while Matt
the first step of their life in ministry—an internship with the
doesn’t really change my life too much in terms of was studying at CanIL and Norma Jean was attending
Naskapi people, a First Nations language group in the northern my overall mission.’ ” a Teaching English to Speakers of Second Languages
Quebec community of Kawawachikamach. There, Matt tells (TESOL) program at Trinity Western University (whose
campus is where CanIL is located). Bill and Norma
the congregation, he will learn from veteran mother-tongue Jean served with Wycliffe among the Naskapi people
translators, preparing him to then advise a group of less- linguistics and science could be used in Bible translation ministry of Northern Quebec for more than 25 years.
experienced Oji-Cree translators in Kingfisher Lake. with Wycliffe. From there, Matt met other Wycliffe missionaries
Since Matt graduated from CanIL in the spring of 2015 with and became even more confident of his path forward.
a master's degree in linguistics and exegesis, both he and Caitlin “The Bible really captured my imagination in the way that God
say they have become more comfortable speaking in front of created all of humanity and that He chooses to communicate
churches and inviting people to support them. with them through this Book that He created over a couple
“As time has gone on, I’ve felt less insecure,” says Matt after church thousand years.”
in the living room of their nearby home. “It’s been really clear that it’s Caitlin, on the other hand, didn’t have a clear ministry path in
not about [us]. We’re not the main characters in God’s story here.” mind, but believed that God would lead her forward alongside
Caitlin agrees, adding that neither of them are natural Matt.
networkers, and at the beginning they felt like they weren’t cut “I really took it to heart that you’re a missionary wherever you
out for this kind of work. She admits, however, that fundraising are, so God could choose to plant you in your hometown or
is an act of trusting God.

30 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 31
across the world,” she says. “When I met Matt and knew he was going
into Wycliffe [I said], ‘Well that works. It doesn’t really change my life
too much in terms of my overall mission.’ ”


With parallel vision, in 2013 Matt and Caitlin made the move to
Langley, B.C., for Matt to attend CanIL. Matt says the Bible-centred
education he received provided him with the linguistics knowledge
he needed to serve minority communities and the marginalized in
“At CanIL everything is always connected to those kinds of goals,” he
explains. The end game is getting the powerful Word of God to those

The end game at CanIL is getting the powerful Word of God to

those who desperately need it. Every theory the Windsors were
taught will be applicable to real work they will do in the field.
who desperately need it. According to Matt, every theory they were
taught will be applicable to real work they will do in the field.
While Matt attended CanIL, however, something else amazing
happened. God directed Matt and Caitlin—independently from
one another—to work with First Nations people of Canada. For
Matt, God’s direction became evident when he attended a Truth
and Reconciliation Commission of Canada event. There he heard
heartbreaking stories from indigenous people who attended
residential schools and were abused and punished for speaking their
language (see related stories in Word Alive, Jan.-April 2017).
Returning home, Matt told Caitlin about what he learned. Caitlin
replied that she too had indigenous issues on her mind. Throughout
the next few weeks, it seemed repeatedly they were prompted by
God about First Nations people.
“Okay, what’s going on here?” Caitlin recalls asking herself. “This is
weird how often this is coming up and starting to really grow in my
Matt mentioned his interest in working with Canada's First Nations
to his CanIL professor Larry Hayashi. He directed Matt to talk to the
guy with the big beard, Bill Jancewicz, whose wife Norma Jean was
attending Trinity Western’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other
Languages (TESOL) program. The couple had spent more than 25
years working with the Naskapi people of Quebec (see Word Alive,
Spring 2013). Hayashi was pleased to see the Windsors listening to
God’s promptings.
“It was really exciting to see the Lord leading both Matt and Caitlin
toward serving here in Canada with First Nations ministry and
Matt Windsor stands in front of his home congregation of Bay Community language development,” says Hayashi. “Matt definitely has a gift for
Church in Comox, B.C. this past fall. Matt shared about the progress he
and his wife Caitlin had made raising financial support for their future
careers serving First Nations people in Bible translation ministry. Matt and Caitlin soon formed a relationship with the Jancewiczes—
who have become their friends and mentors, and will serve as their
supervisors in their future work. With their plans becoming clear,
Matt tailored his courses by doing assignments using language data
from Naskapi (which, like the Oji-Cree, is part of the Algonquian
language family).
In one course, for example, where Matt was tasked with analyzing
the discourse (conversation) of a language, Bill’s presence was
particularly beneficial.

32 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 33
“In a class like that I could go to Bill, grab a Naskapi legend,
internalize the whole text and spend the whole course basically going
through it and learning about discourse features of Naskapi.”

In August 2015, Matt and Caitlin’s education went beyond
book learning when they visited the Naskapi community
Kawawachikamach near the Quebec-Labrador border. The journey
consisted of two flights, four days of driving, a ferry trip and then
a 14-hour train ride. The couple remembers arriving at the simple,
no-frills train station near Kawawachikamach and seeing a big,
muddy parking lot full of trucks.
Matt and Caitlan began developing relationships with the Naskapi
people by visiting with them in their home, focusing on speaking as

“We all have a short time in life and we serve God

the best we can with the time that we have.”
best they could with the people in their own language. This went a
long way to building trust with the people, who see many outside
professionals such as police officers and nurses come and go.
For much of the visit, Matt sat in with Bill and local translators who
were editing a series of soon-to-be-published folktales, while Caitlin
joined Norma Jean as they led a professional development workshop
for Naskapi school teachers.
Reflecting on their Naskapi visit and a Cree mother-tongue
translators workshop that they joined in Guelph, Ont., this past April,
Matt says he learned a lot from the indigenous participants.
“We can learn from them and vice versa,” he explains. “They, as
indigenous Christians, have a whole lot of strengths: in ways of
looking at God in the Bible and things that stand out to them that
they understand better than us.”


As Matt and Caitlin continue to work toward building a team of prayer
and financial partners for their future ministry, they find themselves in
a strange space. They are ready, passionate and called to serve Canada’s
First Nations people. They look forward to learning from experienced
Naskapi translators during their internship. And they dream about
the day that the Oji-Cree—like the Naskapi—will also have a New
Testament in their own language.
“There’s that picture of the body of Christ worshipping Jesus around
the throne from all languages, tribes and nations,” says Matt, referring Matt and Caitlin Windsor, and their daughter Hazel, enjoy a moment of
to the prophetic image found in Revelation 7:9-10 and which includes relaxation in their Courtenay, B.C., home. The couple, who married in
the variuos First Nation language communities of Canada. 2013, appreciate each other’s God-given gifts and personalities. Matt
says he admires Caitlin’s emotional intelligence and great listening
For now, however, like all Wycliffe missionaries, they live in the reality
skills. Caitlin says one thing she values about Matt is how steady he
that they can’t do it alone—they need a team of generous donors is when she goes through ups and downs due to cerebral cavernous
and prayer warriors to join them—and they need God’s provision. malformation, an illness which causes mini strokes and seizures.
This isn’t a new concept for the couple. Caitlin’s cerebral cavernous
malformations are a constant reminder for them of how dependent
they are on God to sustain them every day.
“We all have a short time in life and we serve God the best we can
with the time that we have,” Matt reflects.
It’s with this desperate trust that Matt and Caitlin also continue to
commit their future ministry to the Lord.

34 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 35
A Thousand Words Beyond Words
A Desert Trot Will It Be Acceptable?
By Danny Foster

hat Bible Acceptability must work together with accuracy, clarity
translation do you and naturalness, but sometimes it can actually work
prefer the most?” against it. For example, some expect that for a book to be
It’s difficult for considered “holy,” its language should be archaic, difficult,
me to answer this often-asked and even not understandable! This kind of thinking
question, because there are so plagued John Wycliffe and William Tyndale as they
many “flavours” of English Bibles translated the Bible into English 400 years ago. Their critics
available. I tend to jump between insisted God’s Word remain in Latin.
many translations. Maybe an Acceptability, however, is not just about eliminating
interesting way to approach the question is to think about detractors. It also drives a Bible translation team to
the translations we dislike and specify reasons we avoid produce something highly desirable—something a
them. In the past three issues of Word Alive, I’ve discussed language community will be proud of. Bible translation
accuracy, clarity and naturalness as necessary qualities of expert Eugene Nida says that as translators, you must
a good Bible translation. In this issue, I want to move on find a way to convey “the tone, spirit, and the genius” of
to a fourth quality—acceptability. And if you’ve started the original source text into the target language they are
pondering why you like or dislike certain translations, then translating for. If you fail, the text is robbed of its value and
I’ve succeeded in getting you to think about this topic. the receiver is cheated,
Acceptability is achieved when Bible translators have explains Nida. If you
mitigated all (or most) of the reasons that people might Acceptability is succeed, the translation
reject the translation they produce. Acceptability can be is “a masterpiece.”
affected by many factors internal and/or external to the achieved when Accuracy, clarity,
translation. Bible translators naturalness and
Let me give you an internal example. I’ve always acceptability are the four
marvelled at the survival of the Hebrew, idiomatic have mitigated main qualities that Bible
expression in most English translations of Proverbs 25:22, translators must strive
which instructs us to “heap burning coals on the heads” all (or most) for and balance. All
of our enemies by giving them food and drink. (Paul of the reasons four are necessary for a
also includes this in Romans 12:20.) Not growing up in a translation to be valued,
Christian tradition, you’d likely have no clue what the idiom that people read and impactful. I
means. A better translation for today might be to use a hope that these past
modern, idiomatic equivalent: treating your enemies nicely might reject the four columns have
is a great way to “kill them with kindness!” Of course, I would translation they helped you appreciate
not be surprised if you balk at my translation suggestion, the importance of Bible
because it fails the acceptability test. It’s just too colloquial. produce. translation being done
But acceptability can reach way beyond word choices, with great care and
touching on external, even social, factors. At the front of respect.
the 2007 New Living Translation, the publishers extol the Significant time must be invested to produce a
scholarly approach and the academic qualifications of the translation that is of high quality—time spent not only
translation team. Publishers do this in an effort to improve in the work, but also in the training of those involved.

anIL student Brittney Balfour (see our confidence in their work and thereby improve its There is simply too much at stake if a Bible translation
Courtesy of Brittany Belfour related story, pg. 16) takes a canter acceptability among readers. effort fails.
on a camel in the desert between
I’m reminded of a time when we looked for mother-
Jerusalem, Israel and the Dead Sea. Danny Foster is president of the Canada Institute of Linguistics
tongue translators in a language project I served with in
Balfour was in the area to take a one- (CanIL), a partner of Wycliffe Canada that trains personnel to
month intensive biblical Hebrew course at northern Tanzania. We chose a quite gifted man, but when
serve in language projects, including Bible translation. CanIL
the Biblical Language Centre in Jerusalem. he began working on the translation, some church leaders operates at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., and
During a weekend excursion to the Dead quickly asked us to find someone else. I soon learned that Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, Ont. (See
Sea with other students, Balfour spotted a the man was well known as a drunkard. We had to let him articles in this issue.)
man giving camel rides for a few shekels. go; his lifestyle would have blocked acceptability of the
Although Balfour screamed and laughed a lot Bible translation.
on the ride, by the end she says her and the
camel became “good friends.”
36 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 37
Last Word
Beyond Translating the Bible
By Roy Eyre, Wycliffe Canada President

f you ask the average Canadian what learning its language mirrors God’s incarnation. As we care for
Wycliffe Bible Translators does, they people through their language, we are ministering to them at
can usually make an educated guess. a heart level. I'm beginning to think of this work as "language
But our work goes way beyond ministry."
translating the Bible. All of these activities are important. However, they don't get
Over the years, Word Alive has cast us out of bed in the morning like the one thing that has the
light on Wycliffe’s work to create special most impact on a language group: the Bible in the language that
fonts used in languages with non-Roman speaks at a heart level. Language development is foundational
scripts; to promote literacy; to advance to our ultimate vision: that all peoples will be transformed
multilingual education and to survey languages to determine by encountering Jesus through the Word of God, when it is
translation needs. These and other disciplines are broadly translated into their language and culture.
summarized as “language development”—activities that enable In short, we believe that an Open Book is transformational.
a given people group We've staked our lives and ministry on the fact that God speaks
to use its own language and works through His Word.
more effectively for CanIL is united with us in this passion. In November, Wycliffe
God created language and the overall good of its Canada’s board met at CanIL and attended a couple of classes.
speakers. They were impressed at the depth and breadth of the training
cloaked our cultural identities This year has given us needed for Wycliffe personnel to engage in Bible translation, to
new opportunities to promote use of translated Scriptures and do language ministry.
around language. highlight our work in ในปฐมกาล พ ร
They were also impacted by the passion of CanIL faculty.
language development.
ระเจ ้า งอ ยแ
So it’s a joy to feature this crucial partner in this issue of Word
ู่ ละพระวาทะท
In January, a National Alive. May God continue to use CanIL to prepare students—
รงอ ยก
ู่ บ
ั พ
แล ะพ ระวาท ะท
Post article illuminated from Canada, the U.S., Trinidad, Norway, wherever—to go out to
the 50 years of incarnational work Ruth Thomson รงเป็นพระเจ ้า
the nations, until every people group knows the love of God
has done among the Kayapo people in Brazil. The แตป ่ ฐมกา ล
through their language. พ ระอ งค ท ์ รงอ ยก
article draws particular attention to the long-term ู่ บ
ั พระเจ ้าตงั ?
impact of writing down history and customs in a
language, increasing literacy and preserving culture. สรรพสิงB ถก ู สร ้างขน ึ? โดยทางพระ
Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau drew attention
ในบรรดาสิงB ท อ งค ์
to the importance of indigenous languages in restoring

ีB กู สร ้างขน ึ? มานัน
pride, identity, belonging and culture among Canada’s
ไม ม ่ สี ก
ั สิงB เดย ?
Aboriginal peoples. The prime minister stated that activities ี วทไีB มไ่ ด ้ถก ู สร ้างขน
to restore those languages would lower the rate of suicide ในพ ระอ งค ค ์ อ ื ชีวต ึ? โดยทางพระ
ิ และชีวต ิ นัน อ งค ์
? เป็นความสวา่
among First Nations young people. We featured such language
ความสวา่ งส่อ งของมนุษย ์
งเข ้ามาในควา
and culture preservation work among the Cree in Faith Today
and Word Alive magazine issues in January.
แตค ่ วามมด ม มด ื
We engage in all of this foundational work for several ื ไมไ่ ด ้เข ้าใจ [a]
reasons. As our brothers and sisters at the Canada ความสวา่ งนัน ?
Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) often point out, God มช ี ายผู ้หนงึB ทพ
created language and cloaked our cultural identities ีB ระเจ ้าทรงส่ง
มา เขาชือ B ยอ ห น
around language. So the process of studying a language
and uncovering its unique rules and structure, and its เข า ม า ใ น ฐ า น ะ ์
พ ย า น เพ อ ืB ยน ื ยน
distinctive way of expressing an idea, lets us see more
เพ อ ืB วา่ คนทงั ? ปวง ั เก ย ีB วกบ ั ความสวา่ งน
of God's love for diversity. In fact, every language sheds
จะได ้เชอ B ื ผ า่ นทางเขา เข ัน
light on who God is. For instance, in my recent travels,
วา่ งนัน ? เขาเป็นเพย
Cindy Buckshon Illustration

ี งแค พ าเองไมใ่ ช่ควา

a mother-tongue translator told me of a word in his
language that describes one who provides and cares for ความสวา่ งแท ่ ย า น ข อ งความสวา่ งนัน มส
us, and can only refer to God. ้ซึงB ให ้ความสวา่ ?
Moreover, the act of living in a community and งแก ม ่ นุ ษยท ์ ก
ุ คนกําลงั เข ้าม
าในโลก [b]
38 Word Alive • May – August 2017 • Word Alive • May – August 2017 • 39
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