A road trip into the future - Higby Herald October

October 13, 2015

Dear Friends,

We are smack in the middle of a short three-month furlough, a blow-back to our first days with Wycliffe. We were newlyweds then, visiting people and churches to share our vision for Bible Translation and to find the financial backing to send us out. As our family grew, subsequent furloughs were based near a school for the kids, and we did our road trips during school vacations and long weekends. Now that it is just the two of us again, we’ve scheduled a three-month tour, presenting at a different church every weekend. It sounds taxing, but God has kept our passion for His work alive, and we’re enjoying the people and places we visit. A big thank you to all of you who signed up for Higby Pushpin Travel on our website, offering us the possibility of staying at you home. We’ve appreciated the hospitality we’ve received so much, and can only repay you with our thanks! We wish we had time to see more of you, but our schedule has some prior engagements, most notably the one happening this weekend in Dallas, Texas.

From Oct 16-20, the biennial Bible Translation Conference brings together Bible translators from all over the world—and not just with Wycliffe! There will be people from Pioneer Bible Translators, the Bible Societies, and the Seed Company, to name a few. This is an amazing opportunity for my (Doug’s) training department to get the word out about new technology to advance Bible translation. We will be offering a week of training prior to the Conference, then I’ll be presenting our tool to put Scripture text and audio on cell phones during the conference. An opportunity like this only comes once every two years, so we covet your prayers! Especially for this week’s training. My teaching partner had a death in his family and isn’t able to come. He has more experience than I in a number of the topics and I’ll be struggling to cover for him.

We hinted in our last newsletter that some big changes were ahead for us, beginning with closing down our European base of operations. Priscilla left her role at Black Forest Academy after serving there for three years. She’s been serving in school administration roles since 2007. It worked well while our boys were in school, but next week she begins training as a digital publication editor for SIL. There is a wealth of linguistic publications that are only available in print format. Given the rise of digital publications and the ease of distribution, it makes much more sense to convert these to digital format. In that way, our linguists and translators can access this library from anywhere to better understand the languages they work with.

With her new assignment, Priscilla will be able to work from her laptop. This will allow us to travel together to coordinate technology training for SIL globally, staying longer in each area we visit. Unfortunately, recent events have thrown a big question mark over our first planned destination in West Africa. We were hoping to record the audio version of the Fulfulde New Testament with Faith Comes By Hearing, but a recent terrorist attack in the area has put any travel to that region on hold. Even the neighboring country of Burkina Faso has had a recent attempted coup-d’état, and the coming elections cause that region to be unstable. We look to God for His timing for our travel there. He knows the burden we have to get the audio Scriptures in circulation given the extremely low literacy rate among the Fulani. We can’t consider our job there done until this happens.

We were able to enjoy a week together with our boys in Grand Rapids, Michigan before launching out. During this time we also became acquainted with Kaitlyn Hekstra, a special young lady to whom our son Henry proposed just last weekend! We are happy for them and pray that the Lord would bless their future plans.

Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers!

Partners in the Gospel, (Phil 1:5)

Doug & Priscilla

Prayer & Praise

  • Praise God for a reliable vehicle and for safe travels so far over many miles.
  • Pray for the Bible Translation Conference, that many would be inspired and enabled to continue effectively in their work.
  • Pray for Doug and his team as they teach advanced Bible translation software this week.
  • Pray for an opportunity to record the Fulfulde New Testament in 2016.