Monday, June 26, 2017

June 2017 Newsletter

   The Translators Training Courses (TTC) are an important part of the training that happens here, and Steve was fortunate enough to help with one of them recently. Translators from several language groups from all over Papua New Guinea attend the TTC 1 and TTC 2 courses.

Display images to see this.    During the TTC 2 course, Steve mentored a husband and wife translation team from the Borong people group for about five weeks, helping them to learn and progress in their translation of the Scriptures. They have only been translators for about a year, roughly the same amount of time we have been here in Papua New Guinea. In that time, Steve has helped with three courses here that they were students in and it has been a huge blessing to see them make such great progress both in their knowledge and abilities as translators.

   This couple has also made real progress in their translation work, having already done a first draft of least ten books of the Old Testament (including most of the minor prophets). They are excited to work on more books, as they have a strong commitment to make sure that the Borong people have the whole Bible in their own language.

Display images to see this.   Three members of our family (Steve, Mindy, and Karah) have also been helping in a reading fluency class conducted in Tok Pisin (the local trade language). This class helps Papua New Guineans to improve their ability to read, and the students spend time in class practicing their reading on portions of the Bible. It is wonderful to be a part of a program that helps people to improve their ability to read, especially when the students are doing it because they want to read the Bible. Some of the students even walk for more than two hours, one way, to be able to attend this class! What a humbling and rewarding experience.

   The Titan translation is continuing as well, with more chapters of Genesis currently being drafted. Early stages of work have also begun on a picture dictionary for the Titan language, with the desire to make this available primarily for kids, but adults have also expressed interest.

Please pray for:
  • God to increase the literacy students' hunger for His Word even more and help them to become confident readers.
  • God to continue to encourage the Borong and equip them for the important work of translation that He has given them to do.
  • God to help our Titan translation team on Manus Island to make good progress in drafting Genesis.
  • Steve and other Wycliffe translators to be able to work out necessary arrangements to run some needed training courses and workshops on Manus Island in the next few months and work with the translators.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

April 2017 Newsletter

   On Sunday, March 19th, 2017, our family was officially commissioned to work with the Titan people group of Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Our fellow missionaries gathered around to lay hands on us and pray for our future work to help the Titan people to have God's Word in their own language.

Display images to see this.    Less than two weeks later, near the end of March, Steve arrived on Manus Island to begin a two week stay. Not long after arrival, he traveled by boat to the village of Pere on a small island off the southeastern coast of Manus. He spent ten days there at Pere, starting to learn the Titan language, building relationships, and working with the translation team on their draft of eleven chapters of Genesis.

Display images to see this.   Much like Genesis, Steve's time in Pere was a story of beginnings, and of God's faithfulness. At one point, as the team sat around the translation table discussing how to translate a Biblical concept into the Titan language, Steve had the sudden realization that what was happening at that moment was it. After all the years of linguistics courses, training, and talking to people about our hopes for the future, Steve was finally doing what God had called us to do years ago: actually helping a people group to translate God's Word into their own language! The moment was truly surreal, and yet, it wasn't a dream, it was really happening.

Display images to see this.    Another surreal moment was when he found himself in a traditional dugout canoe, made by hand from a log and complete with outrigger, helping to paddle across to the mainland to meet the leaders of another Titan village called M'Bunai (this picture is from a different trip to M'Bunai by boat). The meeting went well, and the leaders were very supportive of the translation team and have a real desire to have God's Word in their language.

   So far, the Titans only have a rough draft of eleven chapters of Genesis and the first twenty verses of Luke chapter two, so there is much work to be done ahead, but this has been a story of beginnings for the Titans. We know that God is faithful, and that He desires to transform the Titan people through His Word in the language that speaks to their heart; the very language that He made for them: Titan.

Prayer requests:
  • God to strengthen and encourage the Titan translators, and clear any roadblocks that might keep them from sharing what has been translated so far with their communities (village checking).
  • God to help the Titan translators to make time and be strongly committed to work on drafting more chapters of Genesis.
  • God's continued protection, provision, and wisdom for us, and the Titans, as we work with them.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 2017 Newsletter

   Many have asked about what individual family members are doing here, so this newsletter gives an update and prayer requests for each of us.

Display images to see this.    Steve’s been teaching a course at the Training Center here in Ukarumpa, where he’s training national translators to use the translation software called Paratext. We’re also excited to report that he’s in the process of starting to help the Titan (pronounced “tee-tawn”) language/people group of Manus Island (a PNG island) with their Bible translation. They’re one of the most eager groups we’ve seen, and really want the Bible in their language, so we’re excited to be involved with helping the Titans!

Display images to see this.    Mindy’s main job is managing the home, and while our lifestyle is similar to the States in ways, daily chores are more demanding and time consuming. For instance, local produce is available at an outdoor market, but must be bleached, dried, and stored properly, which takes more time than throwing produce from the grocery store in the fridge. Laundry’s also harder as we have to line dry it, and rain often starts by lunch time. She gets up very early to do all this and more before going off to her part-time job in the Literacy and Education Department as the office manager. She manages the logistics of the office, such as emails, answering phones, photo copying, errands, archiving literacy materials, and even sewing curtains for the office! Her gifts free up literacy workers to use their gifts, which leads to Papua New Guineans learning to read God's Word in their own language. Mindy’s a real blessing and we praise God for her!

Display images to see this.    Karah’s 19 now and enjoying her gap-year (which might become 2 years) as the medical clinic receptionist. She speaks the Tok Pisin language well and serves both expats and nationals. Karah also “job shadows” doctors and nurses and loves to observe lab work, take blood pressure, and sometimes accompany doctors and nurses out to villages for immunizations and infant care. She’s gained a heart of compassion and love for the local people and really wants to go into nursing, so college for that will be pursued when we return to the States.  She’s also involved in the Pony Club here, where 6 horses need care, and she loves serving in this ministry.

Display images to see this.    David recently turned 17, and though our other two kiddos have quickly adapted and embraced the new culture and language with little culture shock, David has had more difficulty. Change of any kind is not easy for him, so we are very proud of him for pushing through the difficulties. After missing a whole term of school while we attended POC, he had a lot of catching up to do and struggled to make it to the end of his 1st semester. However, now he’s back to his old self and his normal 4.0 GPA. He’s adjusting well, and though he’d rather be back in the States, he never complains and is trusting deeper in God than he ever had to before.  It’s excellent to see his faith grow in many ways here.

Display images to see this.    Jonathan’s 14 now, loves it here, and is the happiest we’ve seen him since California. He has transitioned, adjusted, and adapted well. He knows the Tok Pisin language, and is making friends easily. The others in his 9th grade class have made him feel very much a part of things here. Missionary kids are unique that way as they all know time is short, so friendships form quickly. It’s been a real growing up time for him, and he’s learned so many valuable lessons that he’d never have learned in the States, like new cultures, language, village living without electricity, how to build and start fires, how to go barefoot with the local kids, climb coconut trees, and so much more! He’s enjoying this adventure and growing in his faith by leaps and bounds! Honestly, we’re not looking forward to uprooting him again and taking him back to the States, as he’s very content to stay here.

   We praise God for you, our many partners, friends, and family members who give generously, lift us up in prayer, send care packages, and write to encourage us! Please know that our ministry here with Wycliffe of helping Papua New Guineans to have God's Word in their own languages couldn't happen without you. Thank you!

Prayer requests:
  • Steve to teach clearly and accurately, and students to learn, remember and use what they learned to translate more effectively. Also, for Steve to learn the Titan language, get started in general, and especially for travels to and from Manus Island.
  • Mindy to improve her Tok Pisin, and boldness to speak it more, as well as for much needed energy for each day! Building friendships with local PNG women, as well as with expats.
  • Karah is beginning the process of starting online college courses here, so wisdom and help with that as well as internet to be consistent and reliable for this.
  • David to feel more comfortable with PNG surroundings and make real friends here. Also, wisdom for future college plans.
  • Jonathan to adjust to high school well and handle the stress of an intense homework load.
  • Spiritual warfare: the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and minds.
  • That illnesses would not hit us, or would pass quickly, as viruses abound.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January 2017 Newsletter

The best Christmas gift ever!

   Have you ever given the gift of Scripture for Christmas? Some of us have probably given Bibles to loved ones for Christmas, but what about giving the very first portions of Scripture that have ever been translated into your language? Well, as English speakers, we missed that opportunity by hundreds of years, but some folks on Manus Island got to do just that.
 
   You might be saying to yourself, “Beep, beep, beep, back up the truck! Manus Island? Where’s that? I thought the Clovers were in Papua New Guinea!” Well, read on!

Display images to see this.     Manus Island is off the northern coast of the Papua New Guinean mainland, but it’s still part of the country. There are approximately 30 languages on Manus and the smaller islands around it, but only a few of these languages have any published Scripture. But God has been moving. He’s been stirring up the hearts of men and women from about half of the languages on Manus to work on translating God’s Word into their own mother tongues. Praise God!

Display images to see this.    In December, I (Steve) had the opportunity to go to Manus Island with another Wycliffe translator, Jerry Pfaff, to help him run a translation workshop for two weeks. During this workshop, we helped people from 8 languages to work on translating God’s Word into their own mother tongue. By the end of the workshop, each of these languages had at least their initial draft of 10 chapters of Genesis completed (they started work on these at the previous workshop).

Display images to see this.     Jerry and I also had the special privilege of helping some of them as they worked on translating Luke 2:1-20, which is the Christmas story. When the workshop was over, some were going back to their different villages with the plan to share, for the first time in their own language, the story of the best Christmas gift of all time: the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world.

Display images to see this.    Our family enjoyed our first Christmas here in PNG, and we hope that your Christmas was blessed too. We also hope that it was filled with the wonder of God being born in human flesh on a mission to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, because that is a merry Christmas.
 
Please pray for: 
  • God's wisdom and guidance as we explore the possibility of helping the Titan people of Manus Island to translate God's Word into Titan.
  • God to strengthen us, protect us, and help us through the many challenges of serving here and missing home.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all),
Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover