Ending and Beginning

Praise God for another milestone! On Friday, Pastor Minamida signed the final word of Genesis. It takes a whole phrase to say that one word in spoken languages—essentially a dramatic depiction of the-(sarcophagus)-lid-closing-with-finality (over Joseph’s body). A long, long way from “in the beginning, God created.” Like the history relayed in this pivotal book from Adam to Joseph, our project has had its ups and downs in the years it took to do the translation. There was the brilliant but unworkable translator that had to be dismissed after working for over a year just on the first five chapters. There was Pastor Minamida’s ongoing battle with “signers syndrome” that had him out completely for several months, and working two hour days for another half year. But now with the lid closed on this latest chapter, perhaps we are getting ready for a great deliverance.


We are seeing hints. 1) There is a good possibility of new funding that would be just enough to support a full-time translator in addition to Pastor Minamida. We find out for sure in August, but have already started looking. 2) We have been invited to apply for funding to another group that seems interested in a substantial commitment.  (Remember, we’re still praying for $3M, hiring the dream team, and finishing the whole Bible in 10-12 years!)


In the meantime, we’re having to re-decide what to translate next. It was going to be Matthew, but now we’re thinking that if we get the new full-time translator, this would be best left for them, as they would be able to work more quickly, and starting out on narrative-heavy gospels might be easier as well. With Pastor Minamida working on shorter epistles, he would be free to spend time training the new person without delaying a long-term project. We’ll be making these decisions in the following days, so pray for wisdom.


Pray also for Ms. Kuwahara, our full-time office staff person. She has been plagued for months now with chronic colds and headaches, and is missing a lot of work. Having her gone for three of the four recording days put a great strain on the rest of the team.



About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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