The Bean Family
* Mark has been asked to join a trial for a new linguistic computer program designed to adapt Scripture from one related language to another. Pray for him as he works on setting up a couple Quechua languages for the trial. Meanwhile, the teams he consults for are working to respond to the notes he made on their drafts of Scripture.
* On September 14, their grandson, Jeremiah, is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant. There is a lot of preparation that will require him to be in the hospital ahead of that date. Mark and Patti plan to travel to Charleston, SC, the last half of this month to support the family and help with Jeremiah's siblings. Thankfully, Mark's work is portable. Pray that Jeremiah’s procedure can be done as scheduled and that it will be successful, with minimal side effects.
Your God, not mine?
The other day as Mark and I reviewed our memory verses, Mark commented that a literal translation of Deuteronomy 7:9 would not work in Quechua. The verse says:
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.
Moses is teaching the Israelites about God. But, to say “your God” in Quechua would indicate that he is your God, but not mine. But that’s not right! So, how should we translate? Our aim is to faithfully translate the meaning, not just the words. In Quechua, Moses would say our God. That’s a message Quechua speakers understand, even some 3,000+ years later!
A collective effort
Back in February several circumstances kept the Margos-Yarowilca-Lauricocha (MYL) Quechua Old Testament from being recorded. Now, beginning mid-June another time slot opened at the ministry doing the recording. They need those who record to travel 9-12 hours to the capital city and stay there for several weeks, recording each day.
It was difficult finding people who could record. Some of the MYL Quechua speakers who helped record the New Testament died during the pandemic. Others simply couldn’t get away from home for so long.
So, some men who speak neighboring Quechua varieties have stepped up. Wilmer went for the first month. He has years of experience working with MYL speakers and knows how to speak their Quechua. Then Percy and Felix volunteered to help record. They speak two other varieties of Quechua, with different vocabulary and different sounds. So, we are praying that they don’t slip into using their normal pronunciations! Finally, Shatu was able to clear some time in his schedule. He is a real MYL Quechua speaker and will also travel down to Lima to record.
Last month, Mark helped the Panao Quechua team with the books of Lamentations and Song of Songs. This month, he'll be sitting in with them via Zoom while they do a comprehension check of those same books with people who haven't worked on the translation. Mark will also be doing a consultant check of some of their Psalms. Prayers for attention to detail and sensitivity to understand what may not communicate clearly as they do the comprehension check with people.
Their grandson Jeremiah is in line for a stem cell transplant for his acute leukemia. Neither of his siblings are a match, but they did find a match in the national registry. Pray for patience for all of the family.
Our plans or God’s?
Who looks at the year ahead and plans to be sick? Our plans certainly didn’t include Mark being down with pneumonia this month – first for a week at home followed by eight days in the hospital. After eliminating possible culprits via easier means, a couple lung biopsies and a bronchial wash uncovered the problem. He has a case of cryptogenic organizing pneumonia (COP). The switch from antibiotics to steroids is making a world of difference. Treatment is at least three months.
Our days are in God’s hands. We look to him rather than the passing circumstances that seem to interrupt our lives.
A re-run of one’s life
No energy to hold up a book and too fuzzy brained to listen to an audiobook, Mark was a captive audience. Re-playing situations and circumstances from the past, God reviewed times Mark or both of us were unkind, insensitive, inconsiderate and prideful.
It’s not that we meant to be that way. We were too self-absorbed, too insensitive to the feelings of others, too wrapped up in our own work and family. As a result, we were blind to the pain we caused others. God obviously wanted our attention, and putting one of us in bed was one way to get it.
This month of May Mark is working through the books of Lamentations and Song of Songs for the Panao Quechua team. As always, pray for attention to detail and for being an encouragement to the team while helping them do the best job they can.
Our first grandson, Jeremiah, again needs prayer. He was recently diagnosed with MPAL, a type of leukemia. Immediately, that very same day, the medical team in Charleston started him on chemotherapy. Pray for the whole family to keep their thoughts fixed on God's trustworthiness and unfailing love no matter the circumstances. Jeremiah is 14.
Face to face
For two years now, Mark has been meeting weekly to mentor Antonio Pop, a Guatemalan believer whose first language is Tz’utujil. Antonio was a key translator working on getting the Bible into his language. The translation is about to go to press, so they are excited! Antonio has been to seminary. He was chosen by those who know him best as someone who should be mentored to become a translation consultant.
Up until now, all the training and practice Mark and Antonio have done together has been virtual. This week Mark and Antonio meet in person for the first time.
Training the next generation
As you read this, Mark is already in Peru. The two weeks of March 13-24, Mark and a number of other experienced consultants will be working with a cohort of 19 younger consultants-in-training from all over Latin America, including Antonio. This is taking place in greater Lima. A translation consultant carefully goes over the translation to check for accuracy and to help the team do the best job they can.
Checking a translation together
After their two weeks on the coast, Mark and Antonio will travel up to the mountains to work with the Panao Quechua team. The plan is to join them and take part in a “comprehension check” with members of the community. The books they hope to check are Leviticus, Obadiah and Haggai.
Ahead of that check, the Panao team has been busy wrapping up their responses to the notes that Mark and Antonio have already generated for those three books. Once everyone is happy, this comprehension check is the next step.
Mark leaves for Peru late in the day March 10th. He will help lead a two week workshop outside of Lima for translation consultants-in-training from all over Latin America. They will be giving the students practice using the book of Jonah.
Then, Mark and his mentee from Guatemala plan to spend a third week (March 26-31st) up in the mountains checking Scripture together for the Panao Quechua team. They hope to check Leviticus, Haggai and Obadiah. In addition to asking for God's favor in the training and checking processes, with close attention to details, pray too for the ability to travel freely to the places they plan to work.
There never seems to be a lack of big questions when translating. The latest come from Leviticus. Leviticus 10:10 gives the job description for the role of priest in the Old Testament:
You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean…
So, the big questions are:
What does it mean to be holy or common?
What about clean and unclean? Do these have anything to do with soap?
Helps for Leviticus
Mark has been checking the book of Leviticus for a team in Peru. It is clear that these terms are anything but clear to them. And no wonder. These are not categories central to our culture, either. However, to understand much of the Bible, it’s something we must learn.
Mark has been working on simple presentations to help explain these categories and the processes that move us from one of these states to another. There is holy and everything else, which is common. The common stuff can be either ceremonially clean or unclean. His work helps me. We pray that it also helps the men he comes alongside of as he checks their translation work. Pictured below are some people for whom Leviticus and the rest of the Old Testament is being translated.
While Mark continues to do translation consulting for a couple teams, the big items this month are family related.
1. Our son Ernie arrives from Germany for a consultation at the Clinic on the 10th regarding a possible hernia surgery repair. Mark hasn't seen him in over 3 and half years. We're tickled to have him come!
2. The last half of January we hope to visit our daughter Emily and family in Australia. We're trusting that there will be unsold seats available on Delta to get there on standby and back in the slice of time between their staff meetings and the beginning of a new school year. Our prayer is to provide practical and emotional support to Emily, Blake and the boys while we're there.
Who knew! New gospel videos
We recently discovered that there are two new videos out in Quechua, resulting from a project we hadn’t heard of: The Lumo Project. Their goal is to make each of the four Gospels available in as many languages as possible with the unabridged Scripture as narration. They now have several Quechua versions posted on the web. Roughly half of them have the Gospel of Mark available, while the other half have the Gospel of Luke. Who knew!
Okay, so how did they do this?
Years ago, Faith Comes By Hearing made dramatized recordings of the New Testament. More recently, they partnered with the Bible Media Group to create the Lumo Project. The Lumo Project’s style of filming avoids having to lip-sync, making it fairly easy to insert different languages into the soundtrack. So, voilà, new videos!