Monday, May 23, 2016

A Word for Translation

   At a board meeting of Word for the World-Slovakia, the Slovak organization that holds the copyright for the Eastern Slovak dialect of Romani language Scriptures, I was able to hear the testimony of some of the translators.  So far, the New Testament is completed and available.  Currently the Old Testament is being translated.  What these three men shared was an incredible testimony of the power of the Scriptures to touch the heart through one’s heart-language.

   “The more I work on this, the more I realize what a beautiful language we have and how God’s word is understood in our language.  I can experience God’s word deeper in my own language.  It is a blessing.” Translator 1.

   Translator 2 added, “I learned more about my own language in this process, in the reading of God’s word.  Even non-Christians are asking and waiting on when the translation will be done.  For my family, to be active in God’s word every day is having a big influence on my faith and on my family.”

   “When I read to Roma in Romanes, you can see how God’s touch falls on them.  (This translation) speaks to them deeper.  Once they learn a new word, you can see how much more of God’s word than they knew (from when the translation is) in Slovak.”  Translator 3

   “When I read (the Bible) in Romanes, the Slovak I grew up with suddenly was not only more understandable, it was not sufficient.” Translator 1

   It was encouraging to hear the testimony of these three men as they reflected on the incredible work they are doing. 

   Pray for these three as they continue the translation process.  Also pray for a project being done by the Slovak Bible Society which will offer a parallel translation of Slovak and East Slovak Romani New Testament.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Story for Pentecost

 Did you celebrate Pentecost this past Sunday? Many Christians around the world did. So it was fitting that this week's Songs of Praise program on the BBC included a segment about Mary Jones.

Mary Jones lived in Wales. On the very first Pentecost, people heard Jesus' disciples proclaiming the word of God in their own languages. Mary heard the word of God every Sunday in her own language, Welsh. But she yearned to be able to read God's word everyday. Welsh Bibles were expensive back in the last 1790s. She began to save to buy one. After six years, she finally had enough. She heard that a Rev. Thomas Charles in another village had Welsh Bibles to sell. So one morning in 1800 the 15-year-old Mary Jones bundled up her savings, packed a little lunch, told her mother she was going to buy a Bible, and set off on foot for this village--26 miles away. She walked barefoot across countryside like this.

She arrived that evening only to discover that Rev. Charles had already sold all of his Bibles. He was so impressed with her dedication, though, that he arranged for her to get one anyway. Her thirst for the word of God inspired him to join with others in founding the first Bible Society in 1804.

And that is why Keith is in Latvia today. The Latvian Bible Society has him recording a new translation of the Latvian New Testament. And that is why the United Bible Societies published the New Testament in Romani languages, why they have a  digital library of  Scripture translations, and why they contacted Keith to help get some Romani translations in that digital library.

Recordings . . . digital libraries . . . ways of accessing the word of God have changed since Mary Jones first trekked 26 miles to get her own printed copy. Ever since that first Pentecost, Jesus' followers have found more and more ways to share that Good News in people's own languages.

(Photos taken from Mary Jones Story)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Recording in Riga


How good is your geography? If it is extremely good (or if you live in this corner of the world), you know that Riga is the capital of Latvia.* The city had a boom during the Art Nouveau period** and is full of fascinating buildings like this one.

Keith is here recording a new version of the Latvian New Testament with the Latvian Bible Society. He does this through Faith Comes by Hearing. The project assistant, Elizabeth, thinks the computer program for doing this is way cool. She speaks fluent English and hopes to design games or computer animation. 
What, you may ask, does this have to do with Romany ministries? Romany in Latvia will also have more access to the Word of God when the Latvian New Testament is available online. Because perhaps there are Romany in Latvia who do not speak Baltic Romani, the first version of Romani ever recorded by Faith Comes by Hearing. Want to hear a bit? Baltic Romani New Testament

*If your geography is moderately good, you know that Latvia, along with Estonia and Lithuania, is one of the Baltic countries. And if your geography is reasonably passable, you know where the Baltic Sea is. And if your geography of Europe could use some refreshing, but you are reading this, you can look all this up on the Internet . . . .
**We won't get started on art history.