Saturday, December 10, 2016

Finished Philippians!

Ben and the Jita translators Magesa and Neema
We finished the book of Philippians! Now the Jita people can read this beautiful and encouraging letter. When Paul tells the believers to "rejoice in the Lord always" and to "not be anxious about anything," it carries more significance because Paul himself was in prison for the sake of the gospel.

Here's Philippians 4:4 in Jita -

Mukonderwe siku joone kwa okubha emwe muri na obhumwi na Raatabhugenyi Yeesu, enaayika rindi ati mukonderwe!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

We're thanking God for the grace and strength that he gives us everyday to continue translating his Word for the Jita people. Thank you for your prayers!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Advent 2016 - King Jesus is With Us

'Tis the season for Advent!!! We love this season of reflecting on the meaning of the incarnation and joyfully anticipating the return of Jesus. If you're looking for a good collection of Advent Scripture readings, here's what we use. We came up with this a few years ago and we've been tweaking it ever since. We trace the theme of Immanuel: God with us, through the entire Bible. It's amazing to see all of God's promises to be with his people.

You can view or download our Advent readings on google drive here:

ADVENT 2016-King Jesus is With Us

or we can always email you the pdf. Just let us know.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Very thankful for 2 Thanksgivings!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

This year we celebrated 2 Thanksgivings. Our first Thanksgiving was at home and we enjoyed roasted chicken, garlic potatoes, sesame seed green beans, carrot souffle and pumpkin pie with our friend Martin. Jeannette did an amazing job preparing our feast all from scratch! We were sad that our friend Mama Benadi could not join us this year. She was in the village attending the funeral of her sister-in-law. Please pray that God would comfort her family and lead them to Jesus.

Then our second Thanksgiving was with fellow missionaries. Kara made pumpkin muffins and Jeannette made pumpkin pie, carrot souffle, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce from craisins.

Of course we had the traditional thankfulness poster. I'm not sure how "mobility" and "underwear" made that list but we sure are thankful for those things.

Luke was sad that he couldn't invite all his superhero friends to Thanksgiving so we built this instead.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on Yahweh

Every year on November 11 we pause our busy schedules for the Wycliffe World Day of Prayer. It's a day to gather together with other believers and focus our prayers on the work of Bible translation all over the world. This year Jeannette and I organized the event for the office here in Musoma.

We gathered with about 50 people including Tanzanian staff and missionaries from England, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.S.

We prayed for specific needs in each of the departments in our office: Translation, Linguistics, Literacy, Scripture Use, Operations, Partnership, and Lake Victoria Learning Center.

Then we prayed for the work of Bible translation all around the world.

  • We prayed for the translation work on a tiny island in the South Pacific called Niuafo'ou. The Niuafo'ou people are becoming excited about their language and they are preparing to print the Gospel of Luke.
  • We prayed for Deaf people who use over 400 sign languages in the world. We prayed that God would make a way for Deaf people to have the Bible in their own language.
  • We prayed for Bible translation projects in Muslim countries. In one country in central Asia, a young Christian woman named Hanna was being persecuted by her Muslim in-laws. They rejected her faith and called her "unclean" and cast her out of the family. Eventually her husband divorced her. After this persecution, Hanna came in contact with a translation team translating the Bible into her language. They asked her to read a draft of the book of Job and check it for naturalness. Hanna was deeply impacted by the Word of God. She felt like she could identify with Job in his sufferings and this gave her great comfort and hope. She is now waiting for the rest of the Bible to be translated into her language.

I shared an encouragement from the Word (in Swahili!!) to focus our prayer time. We looked at the story of King Jehoshaphat from 2 Chronicles 20. God's people were threatened with invasion and destruction by three foreign armies. The Bible says King Jehoshaphat "turned his face to seek the LORD" (20:3). In Jehoshaphat's prayer he said, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (20:12). Such a good reminder in times of fear and uncertainty and threats and trials. Our God is all-powerful and all-knowing and all-wise and always good and always with us. We can turn to him and trust him.

Our kids really enjoyed the prayer time as well. They said, "It was so good to pray with other people outside of our family," and "I liked reading Scriptures about God and then praising him for those things."

Thanks for the photos, Michael!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cow to kefir - a milk journey

Here's how we get our milk. It's quite labor-intensive for Jeannette but we're thankful that we can do it. And we all really enjoy kefir smoothies!!

Here's a video that explains the process...

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Holy Spirit Brings the Treasure of the Gospel Home to our Hearts

Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk by Lucas Cranach the Elder 1520

On this Happy Reformation Day, here's a little gospel-saturated truth about the Holy Spirit from Martin Luther in his Larger Catechism:
The Spirit of God alone is called Holy Ghost, that is, He who has sanctified and still sanctifies us. For as the Father is called Creator, the Son Redeemer, so the Holy Ghost, from His work, must be called Sanctifier, or One that makes holy.

For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain of ourselves.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. -- 
Ezekiel 36:26–27

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. -- 1 Corinthians 6:11

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. -- 2 Corinthians 3:18

Text from
Image from

Sunday, October 16, 2016

finished Revelation but it's not the end

We finished the book of Revelation in the Jita language! After meeting with a Consultant for two weeks and examining every single verse of the book, Revelation is now approved!

We're so excited that now the Jita people can know Jesus as
Jesus Christ (1:1)
the Son of God (2:18)
the Lion of the tribe of Judah (5:5)
the Root of David (5:5)
the Lamb who was slain (5:12)
Faithful and True (19:11)
the Word of God (19:13)
King of kings and Lord of lords (19:16)
the Alpha and the Omega (22:13).

One of the challenges was the word "seal" like the scroll that was sealed with seven seals (5:1) and the 144,000 servants of God who were sealed on their foreheads (7:4). The Jita have one word for seal which is a mark used to show ownership of a cow or a mark that fishermen would use to identify their catch of fish. So that word works fine to communicate the idea of heaving a seal on the forehead, but it would definitely not work in the context of opening the seals on the scroll. Therefore, the team found another way to talk about the seals on the scroll.

Another challenge was the word "Abyss" in chapter 9. Is it the place of the dead? Is it Sheol? Is it Hades? Is it Hell? Finally we decided to simply translate "the unending pit."

And we still don't know how to translate "sulfur" in 9:17. The team plans to go out to Jita villages and do some community checking next week so hopefully they can discover a good way to communicate the meaning.

Thank you for all your prayers!! Here's a little sample of the Jita translation for you. Enjoy!

Nibheembira Omwana wa Inaama orwimbo oruyaaya runu rwayikaga ati,
"Awe wiiyire okugega echitabho echo
na okusuruumura jimboyero jaacho eja obhurimbo.
Okubha awe :waatemerwe-ko omutwe
na ku‑maanyinga gaawo, nuugurira Nyamuwanga
abhaanu bha jing'anda joone, jinyaayika joone,
jinyaami joone na abha amaanga goone."

Revelation 5:9
Then they sang a new song to the Lamb saying,
"You are worthy to take that book
and the open the seals.
For you were slaughtered
and by your blood, you purchased for God
people of all tribes, all languages,
all family groups and all nations."

Now on to the next book...