Thursday, October 20, 2011

Speak, O Lord

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

"Speak, O Lord"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My Heart Language

I'm a guest on LBT News today, sharing about my heart language. Check it out here.

What's your heart language?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

God Sings

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

Goosebump-ingly amazing.

Read the chapter. 
It'll wow you!

Monday, June 27, 2011

"A Translator is a Traitor"

This phrase first attacked me from required reading for a Second Temple Judaism course I took in 2005. The book was about the Dead Sea scrolls, and I was caught off guard. I didn't like it.

"A translator is a traitor" is from the Latin play on words traduttore, traditore, literally "translator, traitor." Now I doubt that the one who thought of this brilliant combination intended to attack. His or her  point was probably a bit simpler than challenging my "life calling" and deepest desires to be involved in Bible translation. All the same, I felt conflicted.

I was reminded of the phrase again when I saw and retweeted this quote:

"Reading the Bible in translation 
is like kissing your new bride through a veil."

Haim Nachman Bialik (Jewish Poet, 1873-1934)

Both phrases have a similar message, as does the Hungarian fordítás: ferdítés, roughly "translation is distortion." You lose something in translation. Form and meaning are meant to work beautifully together in an original work. In translation, they're often in conflict and form bows to meaning, at least in a good translation.

I love studying linguistics and everything that goes with it - translation theory, hermeneutics, exegesis, discourse analysis, semantics, pragmatics, Greek, Hebrew, and all kinds of subjects to better understand what it takes to take a message in one language and communicate it in another. But when I hear these phrases, I'm intimidated.

These may be obvious truths, but often intimidation clouds truth and leaves fear and doubt. So I have to remind myself from time to time that...

  1. God intends for the Bible to be translated. Ever since before the Scriptures were compiled into the form we have today - the Bible - God has supported translation. The Ethiopian eunuch read from the Septuagint translation. Jesus quoted from it.
  2.  God uses translation to help us understand Himself.God came to earth through Jesus in a form we could understand and recognize.
    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, ESV)
  3. God wants to communicate with us. God wants to communicate with us today, not just a couple thousand years ago.
    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
  4. God loves the variety in languages.
    Though the variety in languages came out of a curse, God has brought Himself glory in it all.
    After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”(Revelations 7:9,10) 
  5. God gives us the ability to learn and is with us!
    Though the earth was cursed at Babel with what has come to be thousands of languages, God has given us the ability to learn another language or several languages. He is able to communicate with us, we are able to communicate with Him (because of Jesus), and we are able to communicate with each other.
    And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

Is a translator a traitor?


Translation is a used to communicate life-giving Truth.
And I am thrilled to play a part... whatever that might be.

If God spare my life, before many years I will cause a boy that drives the plough
to know more of Scripture than you [priests] do. (William Tyndale, 1494-1536)

 The worldwide status of Bible translation (2010) - Wycliffe Bible Translators

Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't Stop at Vision 2025

"Isn't it incredible that there's a vision to begin a translation in every language that needs it by 2025?!"

I would love to get a dollar for every time I hear this. It's a common response when people hear that Josh and I are training for translation work. I'm not interested in debating here the likelihood of accomplishing this Vision (also known as Last Languages Campaign). Or what it's going to take. Or how good of an idea it is. Like in my What's it like being an MK? post, I want to respond from my heart to a question that rubs me the wrong way - though this one is rhetorical.

Yes, it is an incredible endeavor, and God is using Vision 2025. But. Please don't stop at Vision 2025.

One of my heroes from Bible Translation history, right along with Luther, Tyndale and Wycliffe, is William Cameron Townsend, founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, affectionately known as Uncle Cam. You may recognize this famous quote.

"The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue.
It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner."
- William Cameron Townsend

This quote was instrumental in drawing me into Bible Translation. But as the years have gone by, through more reading, more discussing, more training, and more praying, I find that this quote is not what it's all about. And I don't think Uncle Cam would have thought so either.

In the same way, I don't think that those who had Vision 2025 believe that Vision 2025 is what it's all about. But I do wonder if that's the message that the church is getting... that you're getting. When thinking about the unreached, have you ever thought, "If only they had the Bible...." I have. People like accomplishable-in-my-lifetime goals. Quantifiable ones. Visible ones.

As Josh and I talk about what we want to be involved in, what we want our lives to be about, we have plenty of questions. But we do know that our end goal is not Bible accessibility.

There are many things that disturb me about Vision 2025 becoming the face of Bible Translation. Does the church know that a Bible translation is considered outdated linguistically about every 10 years? Does it know that the languages considered "still needing one" in Vision 2025 don't include every language that doesn't have Scripture? Does it know that the written Word is locked to someone who can't read? Does it know that Bibles can and do end up in warehouses? Does it know pages of Bibles can and are used to wrap food or as toilet paper? Does it know that the majority of people in Heaven could very well have never held a Bible in their lifetimes?

The Vision is wonderful, ambitious, and inspiring... but please don't stop there.

Our mission is not accomplished when people have access to the Bible. It's when every heart bows in submission to Jesus. And we all know that access to the Bible does not ensure this. I'm grateful for the translators and missionaries who have come off the field and said that we need to give more. We need Scripture engagement activities, literacy workshops, leadership training, and ethnomusicology. National leaders need to be identified and trained to carry on the work. God brings people to faith, and we can partner with Him in all sorts of ways. But please. Let's not stop at accessibility.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Missing Peoples - Church Planting in the Muslim World

I've been following the Cape Town conference in South Africa through videos/blogs found at This video especially struck me. There are about 300 unengaged Muslim peoples in the world, and God is moving among them! Watch it to the end and you'll hear how local churches in rural Africa are mobilizing people for missions. The Nigerian church is committed to mobilizing 50,000 Nigerians to go to the Arab speaking Nigerians. This is phenomenal. Peter Tarantal (OM International) tells about a small, poor rural church that is supporting a missionary by selling their clothes and fasting.


"The Africans are coming!" - Peter Tarantal

Check out the site. You'll be informed/updated on all the leading issues the church is facing today, particularly as it grows in the southern hemisphere.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Assignments on My Mind

How would you define career? I kinda see career as the thing that takes up a person's time for which he or she is trained or being trained... or maybe it's just something that a person does to contribute to society (or even just themselves, I suppose). I'm not really sure. Anyways, for me, I like calling better, or maybe assignment. Beyond my role in WMPL Communications or my training in Linguistics, I recognize a string of "assignments" in life to which I am held accountable. These are my passions. My burdens. My joy.
Assignments on My Mind
  • Set the Lord and my husband in the center of my life
  • Create a place of refuge and love for those who live in and visit our home
  • Recognize and act in ministering to needs at Hope Lutheran Church, Minneapolis and the Church at large
  • Seek opportunity to share Christ with and pray for those who don't know Him and to encourage those who do
  • Communicate the mission of God and the message of the World Mission Prayer League to the best of my ability
  • Pursue information and opportunity for service in Bible translation/engagement

I found this list of 5 Career "Super Foods" from this random article by Lindsey Pollak. As I think about several somewhat-career-like issues in my life, these sorts of lists are helpful for me.
1. Daily Goals. "[S]et small, daily goals that will keep you moving forward. Big goals are important, but small goals get the job done."
(Check out this blog post.)
2. News. "[I]t’s crucial that you keep up with world news, national news and the news of the particular industry you want to join. We live in the Information Age, so the most informed people are the ones who are most likely to succeed."
3. Coffee. "While the actual caffeinated stuff helps a lot of people achieve their career goals, what I mean here is getting together with people for coffee -- also known as networking."
4. Mentors. "They are people who have “been there, done that” and are willing to share their wisdom to help your career grow. To receive the maximum benefit from a mentor, be sure to set up regular meetings... bring specific topics or challenges you’d like to discuss for each session."
5. Responsiveness. "With the amount of e-mails, LinkedIn requests, Twitter direct messages, voice mails, text messages and IMs we all receive, it can be hard to get back to people in a timely way. But those who are responsive -- especially to important requests and time-sensitive opportunities -- really stand out from the crowd."
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Sunday, October 03, 2010

What's it like being an MK?

Disclaimer: I edited portions of this post after receiving two very different responses. I do not intend this post to be offensive, hurtful, or sarcastic. It is simply to help you see into a mind of an MK and understand the deep sense of identity the label MK has.  -------------  This is probably the most frequently asked question of an MK apart from the impossible Where are you from? question. Uh, global citizen? My sister recently wrote on her blog, "They wanted to know what it was like to be a missionary kid. I would like to know what it was like to not be one." Seriously.  I'm an MK, or more specifically a TCK (third-culture kid). This doesn't mean that I grew up in a third-world country, though I did. It means that I've grown up in at least two different cultures, and  live a third. A culture that only fellow MKs will ever be able to relate to. We share in the identity crisis, the homelessness, the reverse culture shock... the rich childhood.  
   I can't tell you how many parents of MKs beg me for advice on how to relate to their child. I may have never met their child, I may never have been to their country, but I have a pretty good idea of what their dealing with. Any MK would.  One thing that most MKs have in common, is they love to talk about their experiences... only if they are certain they won't be ridiculed or alienated. The question What's it like being an MK? is typically interpreted differently by an MK and non-MK. To the non-MK (the ask-er) it may be a question about an experience similar to asking What was it like homeschooling? or How did you feel about moving as a kid? To an MK, the question is one of identity and can be difficult to answer. It sounds more like What's it like being American? Imagine answering that or What's it like not being an MK? Here are some questions that might make a conversation with us easier.  What do you miss most about the country you grew up in? What was the first thing you noticed when you returned to the States?What do you find disturbing about the American culture or political system?Would you tell me about your childhood best friend?   Try it sometime.  If you want to discuss identity with an MK, here are some suggestions: 1) Take him/her to a ethnic restaurant with familiar food. 2) Allow plenty of time. 3) Help him/her feel safe. 4) Find common ground, maybe with discussion on how his/her identity and experiences have influenced spiritual growth. 5) Share what it is like not being an MK (it might be difficult).   

    For those of you who are trying to relate to you MK friend or child, there are two realization that completely changed my life, freed me from anger, and gave me confidence and a sense of belonging.  1) My identity is in Christ.2) My home is in Heaven.    These, my friends, will never change -- no matter where I move, no matter what language I speak or use to communicate with God, no matter who my friends are or aren't, no matter how alienated I feel.   
   P.S. Here are a couple links that might help.  TCK Glossary Terms
Third-culture Kids

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Qu'ran Burning Canceled (Prayer totally works.)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The minister of a Florida church said he has canceled plans to burn copies of the Quran because the leader of a much-opposed plan to build an Islamic Center near ground zero has agreed to move its location. (Sep 9, 5:25 PM EDT)

Please keep praying. It's totally not over.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Pray AGAINST the Qur'an Burning on 9/11

I just received this plea from my dear cousin, whose life will be in danger if this ridiculous Pastor Jones follows through with the plan of burning the Qur'an on 9/11. Please pray that if he goes through with this, that the message will be connected to him as a lunatic and not to "the West," Christians, or the military. 
Please pray with me that the church in Florida will NOT go ahead with plans to burn the Qur'an on September 11. Please pray for the safety of minority Christians around the world whose lives have been put in danger, and please pray for the Muslims around the world who will feel alienated by this insensitive and irresponsible plan.
With a gun at his side and a plan to burn, Jones thinks this will be an effective warning "to the radical element of Islam." Here's the message from the Pastor Terry Jones, who heads the little-known Dove World Outreach Center in Florida.

"The Vatican today denounced as "outrageous and grave" plans by a Florida church to burn copies of the Quran on 9/11." USA Today
"Germany's leading Jewish group condemned plans by a Florida pastor to burn the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11, saying it evoked the mass killings of Jews in the Holocaust that followed Nazi book burnings." Reauters
"A religious leader who met with Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday said the top US law enforcement official described as "idiotic and dangerous" a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks." AFP 
"He will bring total contempt from the world's fastest-growing religion against the world's oldest democracy. He will destroy the goodwill generations of Americans have worked to create in almost every nation. He will -- in just a few seconds of self-proclaimed glory and protest -- paint a target on the backs of U.S. troops, diplomats, foreign service employees, humanitarian relief workers and American tourists.Worse, still, Jones and his followers will provide our enemies with a propaganda tool that will outlast our lives and those of our children and their children." Richard Eubank, CNN
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