Archive for February, 2011

February 22, 2011

Confesssions of a missionary wife…

by mendibpng

May 17, 1997...little did we know that we two would be come SEVEN thirteen years later!

The vows that Ben and I wrote to each other for our wedding come back to me often. Maybe it’s because we have them posted on our wall or because it is my screen saver!  But when we wrote the words “I will always be committed to reconcilliation,” we had no idea how often they would ring in our ears AND how much work it would be to keep this promise. There are factors in play now that we didn’t have to worry about on that happy day thirteen years ago…we have five little people whose emotional and spiritual direction are our priority.  Living overseas, I have also found their physical needs to be a challenge–cooking enough food from scratch to adequately feed them, for instance, is something I spend a good deal of time every day working on.  Thankfully I have a haus meri (a lady we employ) who is a dear friend and helps me hang out the laundry and do the dishes…tasks which I would find hard to get done every day! 

In addition to our kids taking a lot of our time and energy to raise, we also daily deal with cross cultural issues.  For instance, last Friday, my haus meri came into the house really angry. The man who works in our yard didn’t eat his lunch (noodles and tinned fish) She told me angrily, “this is the fourth time he hasn’t eaten his food! It’s wrong to waste it.” In all the years she has worked for me (since 2002) I have rarely seen her upset, much less angry. I called Ben upstairs and the two of us asked her a few questions because we weren’t sure if he was sending us a signal–was he unhappy working for us? Were we giving him enough food? (It didn’t occur to us that he didn’t like noodles because every other Papua New Guinean we have known LOVES them and it is a treat!) We found out the next week by asking a third party (another friend who he works for) that he doesn’t like noodles. He thinks it gives him worms!  So althought this might seem like a small matter, I did feel a lot of stress until I knew the answer–I should make him two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch on the days he works for me.

Another thing that has an affect on our marriage is job stress.  The job of translation is HUGE. There are national translators depending on Ben to get exegetical checking done. These past two weeks he has been working literally night and day, rarely going to bed before 2 AM to get the final ‘cleanup’ of Luke done.  He told me this afternoon that he has two chapters left.  Not only that, but now that our teammates will be working remotely, Ben has to (and will) be taking on more administrative tasks.  And finally, he’s going to be teaching a Greek course starting next week. 

So these three things: kids, culture stress, and translation related work (not enough time to do everything needing to be done!) have made it hard to have short accounts with each other.  Our daily debriefing times together have gone by the wayside. And being committed to reconciliation is work.  Sometimes we can get caught up in the busy state of life and don’t have time to “be.” In just a matter of hours, a seemingly small issue can become huge…and by the time it has been discussed, we’re talking about “HOW” we are talking rather than the issue.  Yesterday all of these things came to a head. And once again we realized that we need to work on stress management–both of us dealing with stress differently. We both need support in the tasks we do. And we need to work in some time for “FUN” in the midst of all the other self-care strategies each of us needs to pick up again. One of the ways we have managed to get a date in (where we have no movie theaters, no restaurants to go to!) is to put the little ones to bed, and send the older kids to their rooms with a quiet activity (to read a book or whatever). Then we can have an uninterrupted dinner, watch a movie, or play a table game together.

February 11, 2011

Not waiting to see Jesus, I hope

by bzephyr

This blog post title can be read in two completely different ways.

  1. You could read it with a hopeless and disparaging tone, and perhaps that will get me some blog readers who are curious and ready to bring me into line. As such, the part before the comma has focus and the “I hope” really has the commonly used sense of “I doubt, but for your sake it would be good if you wise up”
  2. If you want to get my real meaning, you should read it as a statement with the part before the comma only providing an adverbial restriction to the focus of the statement, “I hope.” This is true wisdom that only comes from above.

Obviously, language can sometimes be really ambiguous. And in Bible translation, often times we need to look closely at the words we use and make sure we’re conveying the right meaning and not some other meaning that can creep in either because of the way that words have multiple senses or because of some lack of understanding on our part about what the original text means.

We have an example of this with the word “hope” in 1 Timothy 1:1. Read on to get an idea of the kind of translation note I am writing these days for my teammates. 

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February 9, 2011

Co-laboring together: collaboration on translation notes with Paratext 7.1

by bzephyr

I last posted here about our translation team testing a BGAN satellite terminal to share our translation notes back and forth between our remote village and the outside world.

UPDATE: I asked you to pray that…

  • I can delete the old projects successfully
    • It took me until the wee hours of the morning, but I was able to delete the 63 old projects that were in my name.
  • we figure out how to keep this from happening again
    • Thankfully, the network administrator was also able to help us delete over 1000 old projects from his end. This is a good thing! That means we shouldn’t have these old projects reappearing if one of the 20+ members of our team forgets to delete them and accidentally puts them on the server again.
  • John will be able to use the BGAN to receive the new notes
    • Yes! It is working, and John and I have sent our translation data back and forth a few times already. This is the first time in the history of our project that we have been able to send this amount of data back and forth this easily and within the same day that we are working on the translation in different parts of the world.

In the Aitape West Translation Project we are using the newest version of translation software (Paratext 7.1) developed by the United Bible Societies. We have been helping them test the alpha and beta versions of this software in our multi-language context for the last two years. Last week I was using it to write translation notes on 1 Timothy which I sent to the Arop team in the village as they are preparing their translation to become the immediate source text for the other ten languages to translate later in the year. This week I’m using Paratext to write translation notes on Luke which I’m sending to the three Onnele teams as they make final edits and clean up their translations for publication in the next few months. Here’s how it works…

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February 6, 2011

Puzzles and perspective

by mendibpng

Having older kids around to help with the babies is a joy and blessing…

Sometimes I feel like my brain is made up of tiny puzzle pieces. Before I had kids, everything fit together (for the most part) and I knew from day to day where I was going.  But more and more, especially now that I have the twins, I am finding that a piece of the whole picture gets lost here and there.  Once in a while, I (together with Ben) find a piece and put it back, or find a new piece or creative solution to a new problem or discipline issue with one of the kids. Many years ago, one person told me

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February 2, 2011

Let’s share translation notes with a BGAN satellite terminal

by bzephyr

Although our family had to stay at our national training center, our teammates John, Beth, and Jessie still went out to Arop village, and they are meeting with a smaller number of translators since we were not yet able to get a new septic tank installed to accommodate the whole group. That means that as I check over 1 Timothy, I also get to help John test a new method of sharing translation data between Arop village and the outside world.

Loren and John troubleshooting the BGAN connection last July

Yesterday, I finished writing up about 35 notes for 1 Timothy chapter 1. I sent an email to John in the village letting him know that I sent those notes to an internet server managed by the United Bible Societies. He can get that email over a high frequency radio connection, but he can’t get the translation data over that slow connection. So he’ll be testing a new piece of equipment called a BGAN to connect to the internet and receive the data. BGAN stands for Broadband Global Area Network. It’s a satellite internet terminal about the size of a laptop. At about $6.50 per MB, we won’t be using this to surf the web.

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February 1, 2011

Make it right, once for all, not eleven times

by bzephyr

Pastor Peter and Emil, Arop translators

What I’m getting at here is accuracy in Bible translation. It’s about finding “opportunities for improvement” (as our teammate John Nystrom likes to say), and making suggestions for really getting the translation right. When you’re working with eleven language teams translating the same passages together, it’s really nice when we can work together in such a way as to reduce our workload.

This week I’m checking the Arop translation of 1 Timothy. The Arop translators drafted this several years ago. They revised it in 2009, and now I have the last opportunity to suggest changes to it before it becomes the immediate

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