Story 1: What hair has to do with translation
I like to wear my hair short. But have you ever stopped to think how strange this might sound to people learning English? You can wear pants or a shirt, or you can wear a watch, but in this particular language that we work in you cannot "wear hair." Hair is an attached body part. Instead, you "keep (maintain) your hair short." I teach a linguistics course called Semantics, which basically provides the technical tools and know-how to analyze the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in any language. Equipped with the understanding of how a language conveys meaning helps greatly when translating into another language. We wouldn't want people reading their own language scratching their head in disbelief at a person who actually "wears hair." That would be crazy!
Story 2: Opium-addicted Shatikha youth
TK, a Shatikha youth, was once a fine young man who was part of our literacy training. He composed music beautifully, loved to learn to read his own language, and was at one time sincerely searching answers about God and Jesus. Today, however, he is back upcountry, forcibly married to a Shatikha girl he never loved, and in desperate poverty, foraging the forest for food. He is now also, with a blank stare, addicted to opium.
When his “family and friends” discovered TK’s curiosity with the Good News, they did everything they could to stop him and keep him down...and they succeeded. TK actually represents the plight of a majority of Shatikha youth today—jobless, homeless, and hopeless. However, we are strategizing microloans for community farms (we call Faith Farms) in order to re-engage the youth. This project will give people like TK employment, shelter, and good teaching—both in agriculture, business, and in God. We want to take people like TK back from despair. This starts with the translated Good News into the Shatikha language...and ends with an addiction to God's Love, rather than opium.
Story 3: Jesus and women when it comes to the Shatikha
MH, our Shatikha mother tongue translator, continues to witness to his family and neighbours, despite opposition. Specifically, four ladies have been encouraged by stories of how much Jesus cared for women in His ministry on earth. Shatikha women are often second-class citizens and bear the brunt of manual labor in the fields, making the money for the family, raising children, and looking after elder parents.
When Shatikha ladies come to understand how much time Jesus took to be with and share with women, they feel a warmth towards Him and want to know more. The newly translated book of Matthew has been a great resource within their own heart language for these women to really know and understand the heart of Jesus.
Story 4: Faith Farms and translation among the Shatikha
The Shatikha people are very poor. Poverty in the area has become one of the biggest challenges facing the Shatikha church and the translation team. Specifically, brother MH, our Shatikha mother tongue translator, has a very hard time asking the neighbors to help him with translation work when he knows that their children are malnourished and very hungry. This daily physical need often takes up MH's thoughts and energies as he tries to address social injustices for his people. Projects, such as the Faith Farm, are attempts at a solution to this glaring need. However, the time needed to address the obvious distresses often leaves MH and fellow team members physically exhausted and unable to attend to the mental rigors of careful translation work.