[This post is a continuation from May 2022 Update.]
While the teachers were gathered at the Primary School campus for the Literacy course I explained last month, I was working in the church building with a group of 14 musicians from two villages. The Guitar and Songwriting course was designed to give them some practical ways to increase their skills and use their gifts to bless their community. Through a variety of activities, we explored the concept of music throughout Scripture, discussed ways they use music in their lives and community, and spent a good deal of time interpreting Biblical forms through local art forms, highlighting the value of combining new methods and resources with traditional cultural expressions and ancient Biblical wisdom. We also developed some expanded practical skills in the area of guitar playing, from mechanical tasks like tuning and strum patterns to more critical applications like selecting appropriate keys and layering various textures.
Much of the afternoon time was devoted to songwriting practice in groups. Through several different groupings and configurations, the participants composed 7 new original songs, which we recorded over the last two days of the course. These recordings were judged by several trusted friends, and the prize-winning composition was one whose text was taken from John 6, recently translated by the Mamusi team. You can hear it in the video below. Praise God for continuing to raise up young worship leaders to engage their community with the Word.
Simultaneous to the other two courses, 11 translation team members were joined by six interested observers from the community in a course called Basic Computing, held in the translation house. Running this workshop enabled us to finally deploy the three rugged laptops we purchased and shipped from the US nearly a year ago. Before the course, well over half the participants had literally never touched a computer before. Now, each one can confidently handle and care for the project laptops. We covered some basic operations like file organization and word processing, all the while getting comfortable navigating a keyboard and touchpad. Near the end we were able to look briefly at Paratext, the software platform we use for translation work. We also had very profitable discussions on appropriate use of technology and how to use all the tools we have been given to honor the Lord and carry out the call He has placed on our lives.
Two of our translation team members (Jack, who has been on the team since 2017, and David whose testimony was shown in the video above) flew back to Ukarumpa with me after the village courses. For the next two weeks we worked together, along with several other translation teams, on enhancing their computer skills through a course on Paratext hosted by the Academic Training department. Thank God with us for this great opportunity!
I wish I could share more, but I’ll have to leave it there for now. As I write this, we are making final preparations to leave Ukarumpa. We’ll be spending a week in Sivauna village as a family, then continuing our slow journey (look for us at Cross City Church on July 10!) until we finally reach our Knoxville house in early August. We will be on Stateside assignment for the duration of the next school year. Please pray for health, safe travels, and peace as we transit over the next several weeks. We hope to see many of you soon back in the USA!
I’ll leave you with a quote from a recent article by Freddy Boswell, former Executive Director of SIL and a long-time Translation consultant in the South Pacific and in West Asia. He views the whole of this work we’re engaged in from the ‘other side’, as it were. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in this, and it captures exactly where we are:
As I reflect on my personal journey into Bible Translation of more than thirty years, I am landing hard on the realization that this is a Generational Work. It’s not quick, it’s not easy, it’s not mechanical. It’s long, hard, and interpersonal. It’s art and science, developed over a generation.“Emic Consulting: Its Significance for the Future of Bible Translation” in Journal of Language, Culture, and Religion 2, no. 2 (2021) p.16