One of the key components of Bible translation work is interaction with a translation consultant. We are privileged to have Tom Matthews as our initial consultant on the Ik project. Tom and his wife Juanita have been good friends for more than five years now. They have more than twenty years of experience in SIL work in East Africa. We have stayed with them a couple of times in Nairobi, and this past April, Tom made his first visit to us in Ikland.
Officially, Tom came to help get the fledgling Ik translation team (Daniel, Sylvester, and I) off the ground. This included training in how to use a computer program called Paratext, how to draft portions of Scripture in a way that will preserve Ik's 'oral' qualities, and how to get members of the Ik community more involving in checking the quality of a translation.
But unofficially, Tom provided much more. He came just one week after we got Janet and Lemu, at a time when we felt alone, exhausted, and completely disoriented. Tom prayed for us, encouraged us, and supported us during a very difficult time. Tom, we thank you for that!
For nearly two weeks, Tom and I worked with Daniel and Sylvester down in the office. First, we had devotions, then we got to work reviewing the translation of Ruth. We took breaks for tea and lunch and continued throughout the afternoon. It was tiring for all of us, especially for Daniel who walked ten miles every day! But we sensed God's presence and guidance with us the whole time.
Zachary is also the rector for the Anglican church in Tulutul. It is the only Anglican church in all of Ikland. In addition to reading a lot of formal prayers in Karimojong, Zachary delivered a homily:
Tom Matthew's professional help and personal support during the two weeks he was with us is just another example of God's provision for us as a family and for the Ik people (through the advancement of the translation project).