Friday, March 21, 2008

New friends here in Dallas

We all went to celebrate my roommate's birthday at a Morroccan restaurant in Dallas.

Studying the night away. My roommate caught me off guard.

I know it's weird, but I'm comfortable.

Sometimes my neighors come over and we have a bedtime story.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Over a decade ago I was exchanging Christmas presents with a fellow missionary kid in Rajshahi, Bangladesh. He gave me a beautiful fountain pen. We lost contact until last fall when we started writing each other again. All of a sudden, I stopped hearing from him and got an email from his parents. He had been diagnosed with cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma of his left pelvis. After his diagnosis, he withdrew from college, where he was excelling academically, and moved with his parents to a small apartment in a different state where he had no friends. He has to go almost daily to a cancer center to give blood specimens and undergo others tests, if not to receive infusions of chemotherapy. He has to take medicines throughout the day to prevent treatment side effects, and he has to take his temperature four times a day to monitor for infection. Just below his right collar bone, going into his chest is an intravenous catheter that he has to flush with a heparin solution every night and cover with Press N' Seal for protection every time he bathes. He must conscientiously protect his fragile hip by using a cane to go short distances in his apartment and crutches when he goes out. The hair on his head is completely gone, and his eyebrows and eyelashes are nearly gone. He gets pale from anemia, and his finger nails bear stress-induced ridges chronicling the six cycles of heavy-duty chemotherapy he has received during four months. The doctors wanted to shrink his tumor but have recently informed him that the chemotherapy is not working, and his tumor has grown again. They are planning to surgically remove the residual cancer at a date still unknown.

As childhood friends who grew up in Bangladesh, we have an unusual bond. I ask myself daily, “What can I do?” I have not had the courage to call him or talk to him since I found out. What role do I play in this situation, and why has God burdened me to pray for something so beyond my control and understanding? My dear friend is learning valuable lessons about himself, God, and life, but the price for these lessons is unbearable for me to comprehend. Why, and why can I not understand? There are no easy answers.

Jesus, I Adore Thee (13th Century Chant) arr. Stephen Caracciolo

Jesus, I adore Thee, Word of truth and grace,
Who in glory shineth light upon our race.
Christ, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed.
Alpha and Omega, thou true Son of God.

Taste and touch and vision to discern Thee, fail;
faith that comes by hearing pierces through the veil.
I believe whate'er the Son of God hath told.
What the truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.

Word of God incarnate, Lord of life and light,
teach me how to love and worship Thee aright.
Holy Spirit, ever bide within my heart,
speaking Thy commandments, telling all Thou art.

Wondrous revelation, verity and grace.
Lo, in heaven's glory I see Thee face to face.
Light of endless ligh Whom heaven and earth adore,
fill me with Thy radiance, now and evermroe.

(text by St. Thomas Aquinas; translation by Stephen Caracciolo)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Not about the feelings.

My last few updates have been specifically about my "feelings" and life in general so I thought that I'd give you a glimpse of some "concepts" and questions that I wrestle with here in Dallas.

I am learning about the importance of understanding a group's cultural worldview more and more. For example, I just learned about a culture that finds it extremely rude to approach a person's house or even pass by without permission. One has to call out from the path or vicinity of the house with an appropriate greeting and receive a specific response before approaching the house. If the situation is not handled in the right manner it is very offensive... people have even been speared! Well, how would you translate Rev. 3:20, "I stand at the door and knock." or any verse having to do with visiting someone's house?

How does a person who is not from that culture learn these things (before getting speared)?

It is very important to translate something in an understandable and meaningful form, but what liberties can a translator take? Now Rev. 3 above is a figurative example, but what about the verses that are literally about a person entering a home? In translation theory, I learned about the importance of making a text applicable to its readers but also the importance of not changing historical events just because they are culturally inappropriate.

What about color?

People all over the world have different perceptions of color. Some people think that there are only three colors: black, white, and red; and all the colors that we see (blue, pink, brown, orange, etc) are divided amongst these three. I read about a culture that considers the color of something very important, and they define concepts with color. They associate white with pure, masculinity, and birth; and red with danger. The "pale horse" in Revelation 6:8 symbolizes "death." So in this particular culture, it would be more appropriate to use the color red. But then how would you distinguish this horse from the red horse representing "war" in verse 4? And is it okay to change the colors of the horses in the passage from the originals?

These are some questions that have been presented to me in my classes here in Dallas, along with others like... How do you translate the word "God" into a language that has no concept of a personal deity? Or for you grammar geeks... How would you translate a passive clause into a language that doesn't have passive constructions?

All this to say....

I'm learning a lot.

God is a fantastic teacher.

I'm ripping my hair out with my bazillion unanswered questions.

Thank you ALL for your prayers and your partnership with me in this ministry of getting the Bible into the languages and hearts of the people. I am amazed at the responses that I've gotten from this group that I was so hesitant in making. THANK YOU! I would love to here your thoughts, comments, and any updates about your lives.

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