Thank you for praying! The Yamagata trip was a great success. Colossians is almost ready, and it looks like Pastor Matsumoto will be able to sign it well.
First, some background. Since finishing the translation of Matthew, we have split into two teams. In team 1, Yano does all the translating up front in Tokyo with help from teammates Hori and Matsumoto in Yamagata (by webcam). When the translation is ready, Matsumoto takes over and copies her signs for the final draft. In team 2, Minamida is the lead translator and signer, working with Hagiwara, and Yamada, all in Tokyo.
The Yamagata trip was prompted by deadlines we’re facing. The translation wasn’t quite ready, and we had planned to work by webcam to fix Yano’s final draft. We decided it might be faster to all meet face-to-face in Yamagata, where Matsumoto could copy her last draft and make the final translation adjustments at the same time. Colossians has four chapters. Chapter one took up the first two days (we lost some time traveling on day one). Chapter two, we did in one day. Encouraging, but it still seemed like a stretch to finish two chapters on the last day. When Matsumoto finished signing the final verse at 5:08 pm, we were all elated. It was an intense four days, with lots of “overtime”, but the joy of working together, getting good translation done, and meeting an “impossible” deadline made it all worthwhile.
For me, personally, it was full of memories, a time to reconnect with cold, snowy Yamagata. In particular, a noon Bible study with Araki was a highlight. His desire to see what God’s word says, his struggle with the Japanese text, his excitement at learning was a deep reminder of what brought us to the Deaf of Japan in the first place. It is people like him, and many, many more who might be like him if only they could see and understand, that keeps us pressing on in the not-so-glamorous work of Bible Translation.