On April 6, the long anticipated new version of the Paratext Bible translation software was released. The major changes in this Bible translation package took much longer for the developers to implement, resulting in major delays. Yet, on the positive side, those delays worked to my (Doug’s) training department’s advantage. Our new staff members are getting up to speed with the skills to produce training videos, and the first ones are ready to go out to thousands of Bible translators globally.
The new version has many improvements, but as with any software upgrade, the cries for help are coming in daily. Recently, I was summoned by text message from Wilson (pictured on the left at a recent workshop) in a remote village in Burkina Faso. He was there to train the teams and upgrade their software but couldn't proceed because of the slow Internet. A brief connection is required during the upgrade. In Wilson’s own words, “This is very aggravating because the training is blocked and we can’t go forward. I could almost cry.” Fortunately for Wilson, the Internet signal (via cell phone) improved just long enough to complete the upgrade and go on with the training. Fortunately, I was in the same time zone, awake and working at the time of his call. Even though he didn’t end up needing my help, he was glad to have a lifeline to someone who could walk him through this difficulty. You can pray for the people like Wilson who are helping the translation teams upgrade their software and helping them get up to speed.
Audio Bible Project Update
A year ago, you partnered us while we traveled to West Africa to do the dramatized recording of the Fulfulde New Testament. It is an amazing testimony to God's grace that the doors were opened for that trip, enabling our team to complete the recording in just four weeks. If you were following our media updates then, we were forced to change plans due to attacks in a neighboring country and we could no longer travel to the target zone. We had to find other people to use for the voice talent, but in the end, we captured all of the various roles, resulting in an amazing audio production of the Fulfulde New Testament by Faith Comes by Hearing.
Now, P.J. and I are heading back there next week with 60 solar audio Bibles preloaded with the Fulfulde New Testament. This trip came about through the Lord's directing, as we were originally slated to teach a workshop in France. That workshop was canceled very late in our scheduling leaving us with an open block of time, so we bought our tickets. This is the hottest time of the year and travel is still unsafe, forcing us to stay in the capital and bring people down to us for training on setting up Bible listening groups. We are thankful for this opportunity to see God's Word planted once again, and this time with no barriers of illiteracy. Please pray for the safe transport, distribution, and training using these devices. Having a strong prayer team is very important to us especially during this three-week segment of our ministry tour. Would you prayerfully consider investing in the work of Bible translation by committing to pray for our Wycliffe ministry?
Below is a photo of the two devices we're taking with us. The smaller device on the left is 'The Treasure' donated by World Mission. The device on the right is the 'Kulumi Mini' which will be a test project for Hope Tech Global.
Earlier in April, I had the opportunity to present at a Scripture media and technology conference in the Netherlands for field workers. The first presentation demonstrated the Bloom software that enables simple book authoring in any language, and the second was about using Paratext to extract and prepare Bible stories from translated Scripture. It was also good to network with other aid organizations to learn what they are doing to help promote the use of technology in the various countries.
Thank you for your continued interest and faithful partnership in our ministry with Wycliffe USA. We feel such gratitude to the Lord for the way He touches hearts to be a part of translating the Bible into the heart language of those who don’t yet have access to it.
Partners in the Gospel, (Phil 1:5)
Doug & Priscilla Higby
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Doug & Priscilla Higby are missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Doug is the International Coordinator for Language Technology Use, and Priscilla is serving as E-Pub Manager with SIL International.