View this email in your browser
Dear <<First Name>>,

March and April were particularly intense and varied months of work for me (David) and we didn’t manage to get a letter out to ask for prayer but were grateful to God for carrying us through. This is what we had:

  1. a little work with Koro Ashɛ, 
  2. some field/village sessions with Nyankpa and Koro Ashe/Wachi pastors and elders, 
  3. technical support for translation students at TCNN, 
  4. checking part of Romans in Gbari language, 
  5. annual staff meetings with colleagues
I love the artwork and slogans on the back of lorries. We've been trying to hurry a bit.

February: Getting Ashɛ up to speed

I spent most of February intensively training/retraining the Ashɛ translators on the job as we continued to work on getting Luke’s gospel into decent shape for publication. Arams Zachariah, who has worked with us for 6 years, and new translator Anthony Isuindok travelled into the Jos office which made things easier for me. They came for a week then worked in the Ashɛ office for a week and came back. I wanted them to try some independent work but not to go too far without supervision. (Of course various funerals interrupted work.) 

We’ve worked on Luke for well over 5 years. You might wonder what on earth we are still doing; some Ashɛ people apparently do! Most of the right meaning is mostly in the right place but we’ve been going through checking less obvious aspects, like making sure new paragraphs begin in the right place and sound like new paragraphs. We’re trying to improve section headings so they are helpful and not a hindrance to reading the Bible well. We’re looking at the big picture of how we use certain words and phrases for ideas and themes that run through the whole Bible - foreign names, customs, God, angels, disciples, apostles, messengers, temple, etc. We’ve been trying to make our spelling more reliable too. This brought out a huge list of words which sound similar and could be written the same way, but where we want to keep the spelling different to ensure readers understand things well.

Often the most noticeable difference is the tone (or intonation), but Ashɛ people literate in English or Hausa aren’t familiar with any way of distinguishing tone in writing or even talking about it abstractly, so we have a challenge on our hands. We have 2 variations of ‘e’ and ‘o’ sounds, as well as vowels having two versions pronounced ‘through the nose’ or ‘through the mouth’. And of course some vowels in certain words may be longer than others and sometimes this is a very significant difference. Figuring out how to separate words most helpfully has also been quite a challenge, particularly as vowels very regularly get lost at the end of words. When we compare what’s in Luke to the other very rough drafts of Matthew, Mark and Acts, the difference is quite stark and I think the translators are appreciating why it’s profoundly unhelpful to rush ahead drafting translations of more books before we’ve mastered writing Ishɛ consistently and clearly.

It’s handy that Anthony is comfortable with computers, but he’s had lots of time outside of the Ashɛ area so is less confident with the normal patterns of the language. We could do with taking on a third translator to maximise this training time and build capacity.

Realising that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet up with them I asked Arams and Anthony to come in for 3 more days at the end of February along with new literacy coordinator Joash, so that we could make some more progress together. Please pray for them as they continue working on some literacy teaching materials and continuing checking through Luke’s gospel as we did together in February. God willing we will meet up again next week in Jos.

Ashɛ Translators Arams and Isuidok (Anthony) together with Chairman Garba Monday with some materials we had just showed at a gathering of Koro Ashɛ pastors.
New reviewers from the Nyankpa community gather to learn what they can do to help us check the translation is really useful.

March and April: Students, Romans, Countrymen

March and April quickly became packed quite solidly with varied non-Ashɛ work. I joined my Canadian colleague Jono for a trip to his translation area some way into the Nyankpa countryside. Ten men and a couple of women gathered under a shady tree outside a church to help review the Nyankpa translation of Luke and to think through some tricky translation choices. That was tried some years ago without too much fruit but this time there seemed more momentum and the reviewers were sent away to work in pairs with audio recordings supplementing the printed drafts. (Many people find it a little intimidating trying to grapple with reading their language for the first time and so the audio recordings seem to help people focus on what is said and meant, not just how it looks.)

We pray the reviewers will embrace their work and that God will guide them to identify weaknesses and make helpful suggestions to improve the translation.

One exciting bonus was getting to meet up with Moses, the Ashɛ translator who stepped away from the translation work last year to concentrate on church ministry. I wanted to find out what the chances were of him returning to work with us and meeting up face to face was considerably more helpful than trying to talk on the phone. 

The next week I got to visit what we had been told was a pastors’ conference or seminar in a town called Kubacha. It wasn’t quite what we expected, but we were given a chance to talk about the translation work with Wachi and Ashɛ and to collect numbers of people who might be interested in reviewing these translations. 

We also had some fun (!) computer problem-solving getting TCNN students ready for their pioneering language fieldwork, we had some staff meetings together and I joined the Gbari translation team as they started checking Romans with my colleague Ben. I led them through checking Romans 9-10 a couple of weeks ago spent a lot of time immersing myself in preparation and then writing up my comments and suggestions for further improvement or research.

A friend from Glasgow (Joanna Turner) sneaked in here with Elizabeth, Helen and Abigail on the sofa.

At home

Julie has been trying out some changes with how home education works in conjunction with our friends the Creightons who are now also living in Jos. It’s a moving target for her trying to keep all the different personalities amongst our girls motivated as they settle into life in Nigeria again and grow up.

Friendships with the women who work in our house as well as the women’s Bible study give Julie ample opportunities for sharing the struggles of everyday life. Pray for wisdom in counsel and give thanks for the growth in her Bible study group. They have just rounded up a study of James’ hard-hitting letter.
Ashɛ team at work on some literacy materials and translation checking in Jos: Arams, Jo'ash and Isuindok (Anthony)

Prayer - especially for the Ashɛ project

Do please pray for our checking of Luke’s gospel. It is getting into reasonable shape but the pandemic delays (us getting stuck in the UK) cost us about a year and a lot of momentum.

Pray for the translation team (Arams Zachariah and new translator Isuindok Anthony) to work well together and pray we might find a reliable 3rd translator too. Anthony is young enough that he may still be looking for jobs with more lucrative prospects.

We were sad that translator Moses hasn’t had enough time to keep being involved though he had contributed a lot and had learned a lot. Ask God to give him opportunities to support the project while working for his church and perhaps rejoin the translation work.

Pray for the fairly new Ashe translation chairman Garba Monday as he tries to drum up local interest in the work. 

Ask God to help us connect well with pastors in the area to try to explain what we’re doing and how they can use the translation well. This weekend (30 April / 1 May) we hope to meet some church leaders and others to help them understand how they can usefully contribute to and benefit from the translation work.

Many thanks for your prayer for us. Let us know how we can pray for you. The situation in Scotland has seemed rather depressing to us over the winter, and we’re very glad to be here. But God is in charge and we pray he will bring people to their senses to depend on him and not rely on politicians!
We got our first vaccinations thanks to a friend who let us know in time
A trek with friends during our Easter get-away
Elizabeth baked and decorated a space-themed birthday cake for David
Julie cooked up a good birthday feast to enjoy with friends
Photos clockwise from top left:
  • In March we suddenly got a call from a friend working at a hospital that Covid-19 vaccinations were happening. We told friends and many of us rushed off to get it and all worked quite smoothly. Follow-up jab in June apparently.
  • On a walk with a group of friends on a get-away in nearby Miango over Easter.
  • Friends joined us in March for a Chinese feast celebrating David's birthday.
  • Elizabeth made and decorated David's birthday cake on a Space theme.
Thank you for your prayerful support for us. We appreciate your care and it's a reminder that we rely on God to pull us through.

Love from David, Julie, Rebekah, Elizabeth, Abigail and Helen
Copyright © 2021 David & Julie Rowbory, with Wycliffe Bible Translators, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp