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Feb 29, 2016

The DDD reading plan was designed for 365 days. So this year, if you started on January 1 and stayed totally on schedule, the plan will end on December the 30th— instead of the 31st.

In the last weeks, a good bit of my time was spent writing an article that I felt the Lord wanted me to write. It is written to my colleagues in Bible translation missions. The major point of the paper is that we in the Bible translation community have been slow to realize the implications of greater and greater multilingualism in the world— especially in Indonesia. This means that we have not been accurate in our plans and in our communication with people who pray for and support our work in that country. I started writing my article on my last trip to Indonesia, and it all began as my attempt to understand how to plan for our organization there (which has the short name of Albata ( I am giving the links in the episode notes for this podcast to both my 16 page article and the 2 ½ page executive summary. As I say, this article was not written for general audiences, but if you pray for Bibleless tribes you might be interested in the stories I share in the longer article.

At the end of March, our whole family will again be in the States. Rachel is coming for a brief rest from East Africa, and Hannah and family have been here a while. She will give birth to a son at the end of March. So I have set the dates for my next trip to Indonesia to start on the 19th of April, through all of May, and the first week of June.

I plan to visit my friends on Bangka island, where Agus and Kristiana and members of their church will be making recordings of the whole Plain Indonesian New Testament. We want to make these recordings available for sharing with people who cannot read. Here is a short example of Kristiana’s excellent recording of Hebrews 1.

My challenges and prayer requests are about how to lead our non-profit organization in Indonesia. Our mission is to increase the understanding of God’s Word in Indonesia, so that readers and listeners may be transformed by it. Please pray that the Lord will help us

  • expand our Old Testament translation team;
  • involve interested ‘friends’ to help us in the Old Testament translation, checking and giving suggestions to our drafts;
  • to find partners who want to increase the understanding of God’s Word in over 300 ethnic groups. We want to provide our Plain Indonesian New Testament at very low prices to people who will take them into the rural groups where these are most needed.

I also am planning to spend one 5 days among the Orya people. I am hoping that this will be a relaxed time with them. We will be checking our Plain Indonesian translation of Genesis, but that will give us time to talk and disciple the people who help us do that check, and others who will just want to hang out with me and talk about spiritual things. I plan on staying with a couple of my spiritual children, Ayub and Dina.

Around the year 2000, we were conducting spiritual retreats among the Orya people and one of those events took place in the village of Taja. There were three shaman there, and in the course of time, all three came to Lord. It was kind of odd the way this happened for Ananias. About a year after he supposedly repented, I was back in Taja and his neighbors told me that cars still came from other places to call Ananias to help them as a shaman to heal sick people. He was still earning money by being what you might call a witch doctor. So I went to speak with him about this. He said, “Oh, there’s no problem. Instead blowing on sick people using the names of demons as I did before, now I blow on them using the name of Jesus.”

I explained a number of things to him, and these included that ministering using Jesus’ name was not just a matter of substituting Jesus’ name for the names of demons. Spiritual gifts of healing are given in the context of local bodies of believers, and I knew that Ananias never darkened the door of the church right across the road from his house. And one who is ministering by Christ’s authority needs to understand God’s Word, and sadly, Ananias did not know how to read. I urged him to find someone who would read God’s Word to him, and to listen to those who taught in the church.

Well, now think of villages all over Indonesia, especially in the 300 most unreached groups. Each of those villages has shamans still performing rituals in the names of demons. Those groups are the out-of-the-way places where people will have trouble in understanding Indonesia’s formal Bible, but who could understand our Plain Indonesian New Testament. Please pray that we could find and partner with the people who are seeking to bring the Gospel into such groups.