One Month Catch-up

I apologize for letting the blog go during our recent travels.  Here are the highlights:

June 14:

Just a quick note to let everyone know we are in the U.S. We are again thankful for the people who make these trips possible.

This trip was mainly planned around the defense of Mark’s MA thesis in linguistics at SIL’s summer program at University of North Dakota. The good news is that the thesis is written, the committee is reviewing it, and after some revisions, it looks like he will be able to defend the last week in June or the first week of July. We are very thankful for the many committed staff and faculty at the SIL/UND program who have taught us so much about linguistics and translation these past seven years. Having an MA in linguistics also fulfills the last of the SIL requirements for serving as a translation consultant.

June 28

We made it safely to SIL’s summer program here at University of North Dakota. Despite some adventures with thunderstorms and a re-routing, and a very late arrival, there were smiling faces there to meet us and take us to our dorm room at 1:30 am.

The thesis has preliminary approval, and processes are underway for the defense. We got a chance to sit in on someone else’s defense, and were glad for the chance to see what’s coming when it’s Mark’s turn.

July 8

Thank you to all who prayed for Mark as he defended his linguistics paper on July 3.  About 35 people attended, and it was actually quite fun.  He passed! We are so thankful for the great committee Mark had.

The SIL program/experience has been absolutely fantastic not just because of the academic learning, but also because we’re able to share and learn from others working with Sign Language translations.  Tonight’s supper was with a worker in Kenya.

July 9

We’re heading home tomorrow!  Japan is calling, and in peak travel season, a tiny window of affordability opened up. Thanks for praying. Here’s what it looks like:

4:00 AM
A friend is joining us at this hour (!) to drive us an hour and a half from UND to the airport in Fargo. Did I mention, SIL people are amazing?

6:30 AM
Fly out of Fargo to Denver, and then from there to Los Angeles.

2:15
Arrive in LAX

7:15 PM
We really hope to be on the flight to Tokyo. Pray that there will be open seats.

11:00 PM (Thursday, that is)
Eleven hours and 45 minutes later, that’s what time it will be in Japan when we hope to land. It will be a very long day, but this was the window of opportunity that just kept opening up as we searched on-line for ways to get home. Pray that we’ll be able to sleep on the plane.

July 14
We’re home!
We arrived back in Tokyo safely July 12, 12:30 AM after 31 hours of travel. It was a smooth trip, and we were able to sleep on the plane, yet we still arrived fairly exhausted to a warm 97F 77% relative humidity.  Thank you for praying.

Suitcases are now unpacked, laundry finished, and we begin work tomorrow.
We ask your prayers especially for the Friday ViBi leadership team meeting.

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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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