I feel as if I’ve been going like a sparkler since Friday. No, not angry sparks, just that a week working on Genesis with the Mbula translators left me supercharged. A long time ago, English Bible translator, J.B. Phillips wrote that translating the New Testament was like re-wiring a house without being able to turn the mains off. Everything you touched gave you a shock. As we worked through the first half of Genesis, I felt that I was always working on the live wire.
Every story charged me up until … I was sparking all weekend. That was in spite of spending six hours each day on Zoom meetings, since I was sitting in Largs and the Mbula translators were in Nigeria. It’s amazing that technology lets us meet through a screen even when we’re worlds apart, but it is tiring. So, I’m happy that as well as feeling tired on Friday I was sparking and fizzing … Hagar’s story, Lot’s daughters, Rebekah’s story. My! What a teenage girl Rebekah was!
Although consulting is slow, meticulous work, what goes on in the stories gets into you, heart and mind. Sometimes I am frustrated hearing people say, “This is not only for your head; it’s also for your heart.” As far as I am concerned, translation consulting hits both. I hope we’ll do the second half of Genesis in January. We had planned to spend two weeks on it in early November [see last letter], but circumstances were against it, time passed, and we were glad to get in one week just before Christmas.
And this has been the story of the past few months. No sooner did I have the future all laid out flat and smooth, than it began curling up somewhere.
In Zambia, Mufaya has kept visiting a village, getting a positive response to the gospel message, some baptisms, and meeting each week under the tree on rough benches [below].
BELOW RIGHT: This baptism seems to be in a corner of a flooded field, fully clothed, with the woman at the left ready to wipe down the person’s face.
Mufaya, cheerful as ever! Just at the weekend, his Committee agreed to give a substantial discount on Nkoya Bibles. Great news!
Mufaya himself attended what we call an Exegetical Workshop for a different project, the Nkangala New Testament. Here they are during a break-time. One woman is a translator, the other a consultant. This is good to see. Last week, the Mbula left the woman of the team back home when they travelled for work with me. I was sorry—a woman adds different eyes to the draft translation.
In the last update, I mentioned the two projects in Madagascar held up by lack of funds for the internet, Analamanga and Tsimihety. No sooner had we sent funds for Consultant, Dr Olivia to use setting up internet for them, than a friend sent in another month’s funds. So they’ve been able to finish the year!
ABOVE: Olivia’s screen when she’s working with a team, just like my work last week with Mbula. So, we see each other; the translation; and some other windows showing other features for our work.
We’ve also agreed to help a group in Ethiopia get new laptops. They’ll fund the laptops, and we’ll help on the transport costs. I am hoping this will go ahead without delay.
I’m afraid the news has been building up. Even cutting it short, I’m into page 2. But you can look at the pictures! So, thank you again for praying and supporting this work. Without this there would be little done.