Sunday, June 30, 2002

Since I am still collecting my thoughts about the Wycliffe translation training course I took last week, I will post this to get the subject warmed up:

A passion for language leads to calling as Bible translator
May 24, 2002
By Michael Foust

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--What some Christians find hard to believe, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate Jenny James knows to be true: More than 380 million people in the world have no Bible translation in their own language.

They've never read about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They know nothing about Moses, Joshua and the Israelites. And, they've never read about the One who died, was buried and was resurrected on the third day.

Until they get a translation of their own, they won't.

"There are people who don't have Scripture," said James, a South Dakota native who graduated form the Louisville, Ky., school with a master of theology degree May 17.

James' heart breaks when she thinks about those who have never read God's Word. Her heart also breaks when she sees Christians who fail to make Scripture a central part of their own spiritual life.

"I think to most people it doesn't seem that tragic because they don't depend upon their own Bibles as much as they should," she said. "(But) if it is something that sustains them and something they drink from daily, then it will seem tragic."

James wants to help give that Living Water to those who currently live without hope. She hopes to do translation work overseas -- taking the Bible's original languages of Hebrew and Greek and translating them into one of the many languages that currently have no Scripture.

It's a calling that requires a passion for learning different languages. And she has it.

James, who had already graduated with a master of divinity degree, focused on the Old Testament languages in her master of theology track.

"I like learning in general," she said. "I came here and enjoyed Greek. I enjoyed Hebrew, too. I guess when I had Dr. (Russell) Fuller he just pushed me a lot. I liked Hebrew and I started taking more and more Hebrew."

A trip to a closed country in Southeast Asia last summer helped James witness first-hand the work of translators. She spent six weeks there with Wycliffe Bible Translators' Discovery program. She spent another two weeks in the country with a missions team from Southern Seminary.

The Wycliffe program is designed for those who are considering service as a Bible translator. Most of the time was spent observing translation work. On one instance, though, she helped a translator with the book of Genesis.

"I wanted to see the daily challenges of a translator -- not just how to do the translation work, but what their days are like," she said. "How they get the translations done is a huge part of that, but you get a much more realistic picture when you talk to translators who have worked with Wycliffe for 40 years and who have faced challenges of all sorts.

"It gave me a much more realistic picture of the sacrifices and joys I will experience. I hope this will help me to be more dedicated and focused in my preparation for this work."

Rather than staying in one area for six weeks, the Wycliffe team moved to a new location about every 10 days. That allowed James and her team to see the country's diversity.

James said the trip helped strengthen her call to translation work.

"The trip pretty much confirmed it -- that it's something that would be rewarding," she said. "There's a great need for it. There are a lot of people who don't have Scripture."

Once, one of James' junior high teachers played a game with the students. She asked each student about a series of vocabulary words. Upon hearing an unfamiliar word, the student was to say the Spanish equivalent of "I don't know."

James found she was pretty good at the game.

"I knew them all," she said. "It took her a while to find one so that I could say, 'I don't know.'"

James took Latin and German courses in college and graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1995.

She came to Southern with an inquisitive mind.

"This is the one place that I felt would be pushing me toward finding the truth in Scripture."

James is praying about where her next step will lead. One option is to be a translator with Wycliffe through the IMB. The IMB alone does not do translation work.

James said her future service could take her anywhere.

"There are vast differences in translation projects," she said. "In the former Soviet Union, there is a great need for well-trained Bible scholars to help with translation. These countries have linguists of their own. What they need is the Bible scholars to help with the translations. Most of these countries were forced to read in Russian and have only Russian Bibles. Seeing as how they hate Russia, this doesn't help the church very much."

On the other end of the translation scale, James said, are those people who have no written language and are illiterate.

"The translator would then have to go in and learn the spoken language, create the written language, then teach people to read while working on Bible translations," she said. "That is a big challenge considering the very primitive and isolated settings where most of these tribes live."

James said that Christians in the United States need to be praying for those who are doing translation work, as well as those who have never heard the Gospel. She also believes Christians should constantly strive toward making the Bible a bigger part of their lives -- and not take for granted what many people still do not have.

"Americans are blessed in many ways and we don't realize how far our resources would go in another country," she said. "As Christians, we should consider the whole body of Christ and be praying for Christians in the world who are struggling."

Monday, June 10, 2002

From Tony Haug, the missionary I worked with in Japan:

This Sunday I had the opportunity to give the message to both of our church locations both Sunday morning and evening. We had a very positive response to the message if I go by indicated decisions that were made furing the invitation. Also, I have had several meetings with new believers and seekers who are wanting to begin studying the Bible this summer.
Yesterday I had the privilege of leading a young lad (first grader) to the
Lord. His name is Ryo Ishii. He is the son of Mrs. Ishii, who was saved 1and 1/2 years ago. Both of her children are now saved as well as her mother. She has had quite a testimony! It was refreshing to kneel on the carpet and go to the Saviour in confession and receiving of salvation. I believe that this is the fifth person saved this year so we are rejoicing in the harvest.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Shrek: Ogres are like onions.

Donkey: What, 'cause they stink?

Shrek: No...

Donkey: 'Cause they make people cry?

Shrek: No...!

Donkey: You mean if you leave them out they get brown and start growing little white hairs?

Shrek: Ogres are like onions.

Donkey: They both smell?

Shrek: NO! They have LAYERS. There's more to us underneath. So, ogres are like onions.

Donkey: Yeah, but nobody LIKES onions!

Donkey: You know, I ain't never met someone who didn't like parfait. You never hear someone say, "Hey, you want some parfait?" "... no, I don't want no parfait!"