Crossing the Finish Line!
Paul Hefft grew up as the son of cross-cultural workers in Panama. After three years as a pastor in Illinois, God called him and his wife, Melissa, away from their “reached” ministry field to serve Bibleless people groups. Consequently, they joined Wycliffe, started GIAL training, and graduated in 2009 with certificates in Applied Linguistics. Paul also took additional GIAL courses complementing his previous Biblical Languages M.A. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in order to receive the equivalent of GIAL’s Master of Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics program training.
Later, God used Paul as the translation advisor to the Burunge Translation Project and the team leader for the Dodoma Cluster of the SIL Uganda-Tanzania Branch (UTB). On August 23, 2017, the Burunge people celebrated the completion of their New Testament translation, after 12 years of hard work. Praise God for His faithfulness! The Heffts shared some thoughts from one of their colleagues, Tracy Hensler, who attended the event: “Having their language written down, and as a result, being able to have God’s Word written in their language, not only validates the worth of their language, but also their worth as a people group. Besides the introductions and speeches by local leaders and honored guests, readings, preaching, and singing were all done in Burunge — and the onlookers were captivated by the many choirs in their traditional clothing and indigenous instruments. I think that’s one more reason why the New Testament celebration was especially joyful–besides celebrating the books that had been printed, the community was also celebrating that they and their language are valued not only by men, but also by God.”
For Paul, his classes in Translation Theory and Practice and Language Programs Design and Management were the most invaluable sources of training he received at GIAL. Furthermore, he and Melissa still have good friends from their days of doing life together at GIAL.
Currently, Paul works remotely from the U.S. and travels whenever needed as a translation consultant and the branch translation coordinator for UTB. He supervises the UTB team of translation consultants, works on the development of best practices and policies for the UTB translation department, and acts as a liaison between the administration and translation departments. He also does translation consulting for translation teams in Uganda and Tanzania and helps train translation workers in software tools like Paratext and Logos. For a while, Melissa served as the branch prayer coordinator for UTB; now she serves as a scripture typesetter and the manager of the home while Paul travels.
Please pray God’s wisdom over Paul in his leadership roles within UTB, and over both him and Melissa as they parent their children, Josiah and Anna. Finally, let’s praise God for His global Kingdom work through His children and His Word!
CONTINUING THE RACE
In high school, Rose Savaiko began to sense a burden for overseas service. During that time, God used several short-term trips to call her to cross-cultural ministry. As an undergraduate student at Liberty University, Rose learned about Bible translation needs, so she majored in biblical studies and minored in linguistics. There, she also heard about Wycliffe and GIAL. Years later, in May 2016, she graduated from GIAL with an M.A. in Applied Linguistics with a concentration in Bible Translation.
Now Rose, her husband Ben, and their son Judah serve the Alagwa and Mbugwe people groups in north-central Tanzania with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Rose works as a translation advisor, managing and training the Mbugwe translators and checking the Scripture they translate. Also, she works with African Inland Mission members on an oral Alagwa Bible translation using Render (oral Bible translation software), giving advice about key term choices and general translation practices, and checking their translated scripture before it goes to a consultant.
About her training at GIAL, Rose said, “I am regularly drawing on my experience from the following classes: Translation Principles, Relevance Theory, and Discourse Analysis. Those three in particular have especially given me more confidence and the skills required to serve in my role well.”
She also benefited greatly from the community at GIAL. “Everyone there is so driven and passionate about translation and ministries related to translation. Their motivation and excitement is contagious,” she shared. “Additionally, we all then also experienced the lows together. The prime example of this was the study group I worked with in preparing for [comprehensive exams]. I hadn’t had Discourse Analysis since six years prior, and didn’t remember a thing. But through working with that group of students, I can say now that discourse is probably my favorite topic.”
During the next year, Rose and her teammates hope to finish the translation of Luke into Alagwa and Mbugwe and decide whether they will continue with this oral approach for the Alagwa for the rest of the New Testament. Next, they plan to dub the Jesus Film into both languages. When the Mbugwe New Testament is almost completed (maybe in the next five or six years), Rose hopes to start training to become a consultant for SIL.
Praise God for giving the Alagwa and Mbugwe translators renewed strength, enthusiasm, and love for their people and their translation work, despite the difficult beginnings of these projects and a lack of adequate personnel. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will give Rose and her team members constant sensitivity to His guidance. Also, let’s ask the Lord to focus their energy, time, and resources not on merely crossing items off of a to-do list of what ministry funders want done in these projects, but rather on ultimately doing what He wants!
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