Thursday, May 9, 2013

Timely visit from Tom Matthews

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.
While we worked on translation, Amber continued working at the clinic...in addition to cooking and caring for the children! She's one awesome lady, a great wife and mother.
Janet and Lemu warmed up to Uncle Tom pretty quickly:
The last Sunday Tom was with us, we drove to the village of Tulutul, for two reasons. One, to have Sylvester read our translation of Ruth for the first time to the people there, and two, to visit Zachary and his wife Rose and daughter Small. Zachary is one of the paternal uncles of Janet and Lemu. We want to do our part in making sure the girls know their relatives even though they now live with us.

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:
After the usual prayer service, Sylvester got up to read the translation of Ruth:
As he started, people were at first distracted, as if they were expecting more incomprehensible Karimojong formalities. But soon, as they heard pure Ik pouring from Sylvester's mouth, they fixed their attention on the fascinating story of Ruth that they had never heard in their language:
The people said they really liked what they heard, and afterward, a couple of men even showed keen interesting in reading and writing Ik. Guys like these could be future literacy teachers.
After the service, Zachary and Rose (and Daniel and his wife Monica) invited us to their home for lunch. We enjoyed some delicious cassava and beans, topped off with a sweet cup of tea:
Here's a picture of Zachary and his daughter Small, who is one of Janet and Lemu's favorite cousins. We hope that in the future they can have many more opportunities to play with her:
We're not quite sure how Janet felt at the time, because she had lived in Tulutul for short periods of time before. Just two weeks earlier, on a dark and misty Sunday evening, we had driven up out of nowhere and whisked her off to this new, unfamiliar (but hopefully good) life.
Please pray with us as we try to help Janet come to grips with her tumultuous life up to this point and begin forming a new identity out of the fragments.

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).

4 comments:

Notinthewild said...

Such a beautiful little family you make. :) Love the picture with Tom and the girls and the one with the faces of the Ik as they are listening to the book of Ruth. Priceless and rare in the fullest sense.
Have to say I like the framed photo by the door, too! ;)

Anonymous said...

We love all your posts and a chance to share in the joy of your little ones' faces :) Many thoughts and prayers for the 4 of you always! Shannon + Simon

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! What an exciting opportunity for God to move in Tulutul through the power of His Word, planting seeds for literacy and for spiritual transformation! And I agree - Amber is one fabulous woman of God, a gifted, caring nurse, an amazing friend and I have no doubt, a wonderful mother!

Love, Kate

Larry said...

Oh Amber, ...what a timely gift Tom was during those critical first few weeks with girls. In a small way he was an answer to our many prayers. Also what a tremendous a asset to Terrill and the translation project.

Loved the photos of the reading of Ruth. THAT was an answer to one of my prayers... To God be the glory...