Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November 2018 Newsletter

       We have a story to tell below, but it's long. The short version is that Steve and the Titan translators shared the Titan translation of Genesis 15 for the first time in a church in Pere village and it really impacted people. If you'd like to know more, read on, otherwise, skip to the next section that begins with the heading "Budget News."



     In Pere village, after a long Saturday working with the Titan (pronounced Tee-Tawn) translators checking verses in Genesis, one of them said something quickly to me (Steve) in Titan before she left. As a beginner in speaking Titan, I only caught some of what she'd said. I gathered that someone would be speaking at church at 9am, so I was excited to hear who it would be! Thankfully, I turned to another Titan and asked what she'd said. He chuckled, "She said that the pastor has gone to another village, and you will be preaching tomorrow."    Gulp!

     The Bible tells us to always be ready, but finding out at 10:30pm that you're preaching the next morning, in the trade language of Tok Pisin mind you, is a little distressing. I didn't know it then, but God had a plan.

     We'd been working on Genesis 15 earlier that day, and had come to verse 6, which says, "Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness." So I inquired about the Titan word they used for believe and how they use it in daily life. The word means to think about something for a long time, like the English word ponder. I learned they don't have a word for believe, or faith, in Titan. After a long discussion about what might be another Titan word to use, the Titans suggested a word which means to accept something as true, and one's life is then lived in light of that. So, they decided to use that in verse 6 and test it later with folks in the village.

     After finding out I was preaching the next morning, I regathered the translators and raised the idea of sharing our translation of Genesis 15 for the sermon. They thought it was a fabulous idea for me to read that so people could hear what we'd been working on! It wasn't as fabulous when I said that I wasn't a native speaker, so it would be better if they read it out loud in church instead. However, they agreed, and divided up the verses amongst themselves. When they read it aloud the next morning, the impact was palpable.

     Usually the Scripture reading is in English (their third language!), because there's no published Scripture in Titan. When it's read, you see people staring out the window or sleeping. But this time, the Scripture being read was in Titan. Everyone perked up and leaned forward, intently listening! Their expressions showed they were really thinking about what they were hearing.

     During the sermon, I reread verse 6 in my rough Titan. One of the older women really started nodding and taking notes! Yes, God had made promises to Abram that seemed impossible, but Abram had accepted what God said as true and then lived his life in light of that, and because of that, God considered him righteous. That was real faith. The same kind of faith required to believe that we are counted as righteous in God's eyes because of what Jesus has done for us!

     The reading of Genesis 15 that morning in Pere was just a glimpse of the Titan people having the Bible in their own language. I praise God for allowing me to see a glimpse of a future when the wonderful news about Jesus is read aloud each week from a Titan Bible in every Titan village!

Stay tuned, because in the next newsletter, we'll talk about what God did in the hearts of some of those in that service.



Budget News

     Now that we are transitioning to living in the US, the ministry budget Wycliffe has approved for our ongoing ministry with the Titan translation project has increased. In addition, since we joined Wycliffe over 4 years ago, some of our financial partners are no longer able to give.

     All of that combined means that we are currently at about 70% of our monthly budget. We must be at 100% of our monthly budget before we can be released to start our remote assignment helping the Titans with their Bible translation project. We need a strong base of prayer and financial partners to get us from 70% to 100%. Can you help?

     We are excited to start our remote assignment as soon as possible and get back to helping the Titans with their translation, so we ask that you would prayerfully consider partnering with us in this exciting ministry!

Click here to be a prayer partner.

Click here to be a financial partner.


Have questions about all of this budget stuff?  Click here to read more.

Please pray...
  • For the Titan translators to continue to share what is being translated with their communities.
  • For the damaged cell tower that services Pere village to be repaired soon, which will help us stay in contact with the Titans.
  • That we would have opportunities to share about our Wycliffe ministry with churches and individuals.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

September 2018 Newsletter

   The last three months have brought about many changes for our family, and we are very thankful for your prayers, friendship, love, and for welcoming us back home from Papua New Guinea (PNG). Because of your prayers, we had a smoother than expected re-entry from our time overseas, which included a lot of travel (but no canceled flights or luggage lost!) as well as a time of rest in California this summer.

    We have now ended up residing in Ferndale, WA as the new season in the States begins for our family. What does this new season look like for us? It's a time where we need to give our kids a home base here in the U.S. to help them transition into adult life. However, our work with the Titan people in PNG will continue as we work remotely with them on their Bible translation and travel back to PNG from time to time to work with them in person.

Display images to see this picture.    Our time in Papua New Guinea during the last few years was just a beginning, and we want to say a huge thank you to you, our partners in this Wycliffe ministry! You are helping the Titans in their ongoing work to translate the Bible, so their people can be transformed by reading and hearing God's Word in Titan! You've also trained Papua New Guineans from several different languages in skills that are helping them translate the Bible into their own languages. You helped a Papua New Guinean couple get a new laptop so they are able to continue their Bible translation work. You've shared the gospel, and you've read the Bible with Papua New Guineans to help them improve their reading skills so they can read the Bible on their own.

    You've done this and more through your partnership in our Wycliffe ministry. Your prayers, financial giving, and encouragement make this ongoing work possible. As Paul says in Philippians 1:3-6, we thank God for you, and are confident that He will complete the good work He began in you!

Display images to see this.    Our team is working on translating Genesis, and when it is finished, it will be the first Scripture ever published in the Titan language. After that, the rest of God's Word needs to be translated as well. So there is much work left to do, and we ask that you would prayerfully consider continuing to partner with us in this ongoing work of Bible translation.

    Now that we're transitioning to serving the Titans remotely from the US, Wycliffe will approve a new budget for our continuing ministry. We must be at 100% of this new budget before we can be released to begin this remote assignment.

    If you'd like to learn more about our Wycliffe ministry, please let us know. We'd love to talk with you! If you know people who may be interested in our Wycliffe ministry or would like to receive our newsletter, please feel free to forward this newsletter to them and/or put them in contact with us.

Please pray...
  • That the Titan translators would continue translation work despite the many demands on their time.
  • That we would trust in God's provision and timing as we look for opportunities to share about our Wycliffe ministry.
  • For our daughter, Karah, who is now attending Trinity Western University, working toward her goal to become a nurse.
  • For our son David, as he seeks the Lord for his future plans.
  • And that our son Jonathan would find friends who love Christ as he starts as a junior at a new high school.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover

Friday, June 8, 2018

June 2018 Newsletter

Display images to see this.    The Translator Training Courses (TTC 1 and TTC 2) are complete. It has been a busy six weeks or so for us. Mindy was the photographer for both Translator Training Courses, and did a great job of capturing the students as they learned.


Display images to see this.
    They were taught things like Bible translation principles, language discovery, skills for studying the Bible, and Bible background. These Translator Training Courses are a key part of training that national translators receive to help prepare them to translate God's Word into their own languages.


Display images to see this.     Steve was a mentor in TTC 1 for two of our Titan (pronounced TEE-tawn) translators, Sheila and Grace, who flew up to Ukarumpa from Manus Island to attend the course.  During TTC 1, they worked hard and learned a great deal that will help them in their Bible translation.


Display images to see this.     Learning through doing is also a big part of these courses, which included having fun while deepening their knowledge of the Bible through acting out Bible dramas and creating a map of Israel.




Display images to see this.     The key part of learning by doing in the course was doing Bible translation. They worked on translating Genesis 22 into Titan during class, and have been working on other chapters in Genesis and 1st Samuel for homework. They now get to take back to share with their community the fruit of their labors in the form of some of the very first printed Scripture in the Titan language! Praise God!

    As for our family, we are currently in transition again. We are leaving here soon and will be back in Washington State by June 23. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone again! Though we are not able to predict yet how our reentry process will go, we anticipate a wild ride of physical and emotional challenges as well as many adjustments that will come with returning to the States. Transition is difficult for us, and we are used to life in Papua New Guinea (PNG) now, so leaving will be hard. Plus, we are going to be doing a lot of travel and moving from place to place. Our first months in the States will include a short stay in the Lynden, WA area, followed by traveling in California for the summer months. We will, however, be residing in Lynden after that for at least one school year.

    Even though we are returning to the States to live for a time in order to give our kids a home base as they transition into college and their adult lives, our work here in PNG is NOT done. We are committed to helping with Bible translation in PNG from the States once we return.  We will work remotely helping the Titans with their Bible translation, and we'll also travel back to PNG from time to time to work with them in person. So, no need to wonder if we will still need your financial partnership with us. The answer is yes! In fact, Wycliffe is increasing our monthly budget requirement, so your partnership, and that of more new partners, will be absolutely vital in order for us to continue our Wycliffe ministry.

    It has been a stretching and very fruitful time here in Papua New Guinea for the last few years for our whole family, and we look forward to sharing with you in person soon. However, one big highlight during our time here has been working side by side with the Titan language group as the first chapters of Scripture were being translated into their language. To finally be engaged in the ministry that the Lord called us to so many years ago is extremely rewarding, and we are excited to see what God will do in the years ahead!

    Thank you for continuing to be a part of this Wycliffe ministry with us, as we can't help the Titans to have God's Word in their own language without you!

Display images to see this.
See you later, Papua New Guinea!

Please pray that:
  • The cell tower that services the village of Pere would be fixed so that we can communicate easily with the Titans.
  • The Enemy would not be able to prevent the Titan translators from working on translation, or cause division.
  • We would have smooth and safe travel back to the States.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover

Sunday, February 18, 2018

February 2018 Newsletter

Display images to see this.    Steve just recently finished teaching another Paratext 2 course here in Ukarumpa. There were nine Papua New Guinean translators in the course, coming from five different languages and four provinces of Papua New Guinea (PNG). As you might remember, Paratext is the main software used to do Bible translation here, and learning it really helps these translators to translate the Bible into their own languages. In addition to learning about Paratext, they also learned more about God through daily worship, prayer, and devotions.

Here are some comments from the Paratext 2 students:
"I am very happy because the course has helped me more in doing translation..."
"My own spiritual life improved alot."
"It challenges me to use the skills that I learnt to do more in our translation project."
"This course gave me strength in my weak parts of the translation work."

Answers to some of your questions about our return in June:

Why are you coming back to the States?
Our oldest son, David, will graduate in June 2018 and will need to go back to the States for college. Karah, who has been doing online college classes, will also need to start doing classes in person. We need to give them a stable home base in the States until they are ready to live on their own.

Display images to see this picture. Where will you live in the States?
We did not know what our life looked like beyond serving in PNG for 2 years. We have been relying on God in faith to show us the steps along the way. Now that our time of returning to the States is upon us, we have made the decision (through much prayer, discussion, etc.) to return to Lynden, WA after David’s graduation this June.

What about your role in Bible translation?
The last 2 years brought many new changes and opportunities to us. During this time we were allocated to Manus Island to help the Titan (pronounced TEE-tawn) people translate the Bible into their tok ples (heart language). The Titans have been praying for years for help and we had been praying to serve God where He was already working. Praise God for this allocation, because we will still be able to help them with their Bible translation from the States. We are NOT going on furlough, and we are NOT done with helping the Titans with translation. We are coming home with a REMOTE ASSIGNMENT of continuing to help the Titans.

What does remote assignment mean?
We love the Titans for a number of reasons. One reason is that they have computer skills and the ability to access the internet. This means we can work with them remotely from the States. Steve will also be flying back to PNG a few times a year to meet with the Titans in person. He will do this until we (together, WITHOUT KIDS) can go to live with the Titans in our house in the village of Pere.  Empty Nest years for us will be spent helping the Titans, after our children are settled into their young adult years in the States.

How long will you be in the States?
Our youngest son, Jonathan, is now in 10th grade. He will finish 11th and probably 12th grade in the States, preferably at Lynden High School. So for a minimum of 1-2 years (never know for certain how long), we need to be in the States for him to graduate, and for Karah and David to get established in their young adult years.

Will you go back to PNG?
Lord willing, yes! Our plan right now is this: Steve is currently setting up a small house in the village of Pere with our Titan team on Manus Island. He has been, and will be, going out there to set up solar electricity and indoor plumbing so that we can live and work out there in a way that is sustainable for the long term.

Display images to see this picture.     In fact, Steve will be heading back to Manus in the next few days with two missionaries from our Computer and Technical Services department (pictured). They will install a solar power system, while Steve works on plumbing for our house in the village of Pere.

Please pray that:
  • All will go well with the solar and plumbing install on this next Manus trip.
  • Steve will be able to work some more with the translators on this visit.
  • God will provide housing and a vehicle for us when we return to the States.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 2017 Newsletter

"I don't go to church . . ."

Display images to see this.    While on Manus Island in November, I (Steve) had a long conversation with a Papua New Guinean man who said, "I don't go to church, because it doesn't change people." He explained that he watches the lives of those who go to church and he sees that once the church service is over, they live like everyone else. They are greedy, get drunk, beat their wives, steal, fight, gamble, commit adultery, leave their wives or husbands, etc. Other than going to church on Sundays, they live like people who don't know God. He also said that these people don't really understand what the Bible says, because they don't have it in their own language.
    In Romans 12:2, Paul tells us that Christians should not be conformed to this world (it's way of thinking/living), but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. That happens by reading His Word daily, but how can people do that when it doesn't exist in their language? They can't.
    This man and I then went on to talk about how the Christian life isn't about keeping rules, it's about knowing and loving Jesus. If we truly love Him, then He will enable us to love others. This man had never heard all this before and it clearly impacted him. He thanked me repeatedly and was anxious to talk with his wife about all this, saying, "My wife needs to hear this too!"
    This encounter showed me clearly that wherever we live, people are watching us, and their lives are impacted by how we live. It also underscored the importance of the Bible being available to everyone in their own language!


Display images to see this picture.     Now, the reality of helping a people group to translate the Bible into their own language brings up many practical needs. Among other things, you need a place to sleep, take showers, cook meals, and charge the computers you use for the translation work. So, we are very excited to share that God recently moved the hearts of a Titan widow and her family to help with our practical needs by blessing our family with a house in the village of Pere (a Titan village just off the south-eastern coast of Manus Island)! This gives us a home in the village to live and work with the Titans. This is a huge blessing! The house needs some improvements, as it does not have electricity, so during the November visit to Manus, we moved some solar panels and batteries out to this house. These panels and batteries are part of a much needed solar power system that will give us the power we need to live and do translation work in Pere with the Titans for longer periods of time. The house will also need a kitchen and bathroom. I don't mean remodelling, because all that exists now are two completely empty rooms where a kitchen and bathroom could be (no plumbing, fixtures, electrical, appliances, or anything else). So, much work needs to be done on it, but we will try to get as much done as possible in the coming months in preparation for future long term stays in the village.

Display images to see this picture.     After moving the solar equipment, I (Steve) stayed in Pere village and worked with the Titans on team checking more of their drafted chapters of Genesis (team checking is when we go over drafted chapters as a team to make sure the translation is clear, accurate, and sounds natural in Titan).
    Thank you so much for your prayers for team unity, because our team worked very well together this trip. We have now finished checking chapters 12 through 21 of Genesis, and the team is moving on to testing them with the people in their villages! This will give us much needed feedback and help us further refine the translation.


Display images to see this picture.     After we had finished our team checking on Genesis 21, one of our translators started playing the Tok Pisin (a trade language here in PNG) version of the Jesus Film on our team's laptop. She just wanted to see if it would play, but soon some kids playing nearby came to see what was happening. Before we knew it, more kids started coming and we had drawn quite a crowd around our little laptop. The ages of the kids ranged from toddlers to teens, and even some adults dropped by from time to time. Many in the crowd attentively watched the whole Jesus Film, and talked excitedly in Titan at various parts. As some of the translators and I watched the crowd, one of the translators said, "Oh, if only we had this in Titan, now that would really be something!" I couldn't agree more, and one day, hopefully soon, we can translate the book of Luke and work on dubbing the Jesus Film into the Titan language. After that, we will have a real showing and invite everyone to come to watch it for the first time in their own language!


    As this will be our last newsletter of 2017, we would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Thank you again for all of your prayers and generosity! You are why we are able to continue in this Wycliffe ministry to help the Titans to have God's Word in their own language, so that the veil might be removed and the whole Titan community might behold the glory of God and be increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ Jesus (See 2 Cor. 3:18).

Please pray for the following (and however God leads you):
  • That the translators would soon share Genesis 12-21 in their villages.
  • That God would speak clearly to the Titans through His Word in Titan.
  • That God would help us to do much needed improvements to the Pere house for our long term sustainability in the work.
  • Where we will live after returning to the U.S. in June 2018: California, or Washington?
  • God's direction and leading for our children's future.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover