March 2017

  Psalms 33:4-5  (NIV)
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. 

The Philippines

We have many reasons to be praising God for the work He is doing through TBTA in the Philippines.  We’re excited to share four recent developments:
1) We’ve been distributing our Tagalog translation of Ruth to churches, schools, and orphanages, and the responses have been very good.  Pictures and comments from several of the pastors, missionaries, teachers, and students who are using these books are shown below.
2) In mid February Tod Allman met a Korean missionary who develops Tagalog Sunday school materials for churches throughout Manila and the rest of the country.  That man and his team make videos of people reading the Bible, performing dramas, building crafts, telling stories, etc.  Whenever they wanted to make a video of someone reading a passage from the Bible, they spent hours simplifying the language of the most popular Tagalog translation ‘Magandang Balita Biblia’ so that children could understand it.  But when they saw our book of Ruth and the Tagalog texts produced by our software, they immediately said they want to use our texts in their future videos.  We are thrilled that our Tagalog translations of Old Testament books will be used in churches and Sunday school programs throughout Manila and the rest of the country.
3) Tod and Ephraim Rey have finished translating Genesis into Tagalog, and they’re now in the process of putting the text into the Free Illustrated Bible pictures to make the books and videos more appealing to young people.  In order to edit the computer generated draft of Genesis into a presentable first draft, Ephraim spent approximately one hour per chapter.  Now that the Tagalog lexicon and grammar are well developed, our software can quickly produce initial draft translations of many biblical books, and Ephraim can edit those texts into publishable form in a  fraction of the time required by manual translation.
4) Tod and a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators recently finished translating the book of Ruth into Ayta Mag-Indi, and have started working through Esther.  The process of modifying the Tagalog lexicon and grammar to accommodate Ayta Mag-Indi is going very quickly.

Pastor Paul at Sampaloc Deep Rooted Church of the Nazarene in Manila wrote: “Thank you very much TBTA.  Our students are so happy to read these picture books.  We have 150 students, and most of them lack basic Bible knowledge.  So these books are a great opportunity for them.  I tried to find simple Bible story books in Tagalog, but could not.  There are many books in English, but the children from poor families cannot speak English, only Tagalog.  By reading these books in Tagalog, they will learn, and the Holy Spirit will be working and touching their lives.  We will be praying for your ministry.  God bless you.”


Students at Sampoloc Deep Rooted Church of the Nazarene in Manila

A teacher at Lyncrest Christian Academy in Manila wrote: “The students were captivated by the books and couldn’t wait to read them. I requested they read the first chapter before I collected them, but many of the students finished reading to the end! The principal is interested in using the books in the Christian Living class.  Kids love comic books, and this is a great way to teach them truth from God’s Word! Thank you for sharing these books with our students.”


Students at Lyncrest Christian Academy in Manila

A teacher at Shining Stars wrote, “Thank you TBTA! The students enjoyed the story; it was easy to read and easy to understand.  They’d like the entire Bible study series to use the same format as this book.  We would certainly be interested in getting copies of Genesis when it is ready!  God bless!” 


Students at Shining Stars in Manila

We have additional Old Testament books translated into Tagalog and ready to print, but lack the funds for the printing costs.  Would you please consider making a donation to help cover the costs of printing additional picture Bible books for the students and young people in the Philippines.  All of these books include a clear and simple presentation of the gospel so that everyone who receives one of these books may potentially commit their life to Christ.  It costs approximately $2 for each copy of Esther, and $2 for the first half of Daniel.  Genesis has been divided into five sections, and each section will cost approximately $2 to print.  All of these books will be printed with color covers and black and white pages on coated, durable paper. If you’d like to make a donation, please click the Donation button below, and include a note indicating which books you would like to have printed.  We appreciate your generosity.  All donations are tax deductible. 

Translating Bible stories:
There are certain situations in which it is either impossible or impractical to translate large portions of the Bible.  In those situations, missionaries may try to translate a series of simple Bible stories.  Some missionaries even recommend starting with Bible stories as a preliminary to translating the Bible in order to gauge the people’s response. We at TBTA want to assist missionaries who are translating Bible stories, so Richard Denton is preparing semantic representations for “A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories,” by Arthur Gross. Richard has completed the analysis for several stories, and the English translation produced by our software for one of those stories is shown below.

“This story is about the first family. The first man who lived on the earth was Adam. God wanted Adam to have a good place so that he could live there. So God planted a beautiful garden for Adam at a place named Eden. All kinds of trees grew in that garden. Some of those trees were beautiful. And some of those trees had good fruit. Animals played on the hills. Flowers grew from the ground. Rivers flowed through the fields. God told Adam to live in that garden. God wanted Adam to take care of that garden. And God wanted Adam to eat the fruit that grew in that garden. All of the things that were in that garden were very beautiful. But Adam was alone. God said, “It is not good that this man is alone. I’ll create a person who will always be with this man. And that person will help this man.” So God caused Adam to sleep. Then God took a bone from Adam’s body. He created a woman from that bone. That woman’s name was Eve. Then God brought Eve to Adam. And Eve became Adam’s wife. Adam was happy because he wasn’t alone. Adam and Eve were good people. They were holy. Adam was with Eve. And Adam and Eve were very happy. God loved Adam and Eve. God visited Adam and Eve in the garden often. Adam and Eve liked seeing God. God was Adam and Eve’s true friend.”

Soon our software will be able to quickly translate all of these stories into other languages, just like it translates the biblical books.

Additional Praise and Prayer Requests:
1) Please pray for Stephen Beale as he continues to prepare for a workshop in Vanuatu in early 2018.  He’s hoping to gather the necessary linguistic data in order to produce initial draft translations of several Old Testament books in five languages spoken on Tanna Island.  Soon he’ll begin working by email with some of the mother-tongue speakers on that island.
2) Please pray for Richard Denton as he continues to develop semantic representations for several Old Testament books and the Bible stories.  The semantic representations are the foundation of this project, and are crucial for producing accurate translations in a wide variety of languages.
3) Jeremiah is thankful that he was able to complete his fourth half marathon in Hong Kong and raise money for the Vanuatu workshop.  He’s also thankful that his Merei grammar has been translated into Chinese, and will be published later this year.  Please pray for him as he continues networking with various Christian organizations that are interested in using new techniques for Bible translation.  This month he’ll be teaching a Bible translation course in Asia, and next month he’ll be attending several workshops and conferences related to Bible translation in Europe.
4) Please pray for Tod Allman as he continues to work in both Tagalog and Ayta Mag-Indi.  We hope to put the Ayta Mag-Indi translations into the same picture books as the Tagalog translations.