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When Italy, Australia, and remote Philippines Converge!

Pilot Alex Minium and some of the translation team.

With Ethnos360 Aviation service at the ready, translation leaped forward last fall in the Philippines!

Banwaon – For most of 30 years, Albert Castelijn and his wife, Lynne, have worked among the Banwaon people of the Philippines. Though Castelijns are in Australia for home assignment, Albert’s work on Scripture translation got to the point where he needed to return to the Banwaon for translation checking. Consultant Jógvan Júst (JJ) Rasmussen, flying from Italy, would meet him there, as well as two indigenous teams of Banwaon translation helpers. In exacting detail, they would work together through the translated books of Ephesians, Hebrews and Mark.

Albert arrived on the island of Mindanao after a couple of commercial flights from Australia. From there, Ethnos360 Aviation pilot Alex Minium flew him to the Banwaon village for initial meetings with the Banwaon people and with the translation helpers. A few days later, Alex made three flights into the village to bring the translation team out to town where they could meet with JJ and work without distractions, and, of course, Alex would fly them all back when the work was done.

JJ (l.) and Albert (r.) rejoice with some of the helpers.

Though translation can be very academic, to Albert this was a spiritual task that needed God’s blessing. His prayer for the work: “ … that we can quickly get back into the groove of checking. …. To be able to think clearly, be patient, work well as a team, be able to make any adjustments needed so it's a clear, faithful, natural translation."

The team tackled Ephesians first, then labored over Hebrews for days. As they reached the final verse of the thirteen chapters of Hebrews, clapping broke out. “This experienced team of Banwaon checkers said Hebrews was the most difficult book they’ve worked on,” posted Lynne. But, not to be daunted, they plowed on to finish the book of Mark, ending just before lunch on JJ’s last day before he had to leave.

Lynne posted the victory: “It's been an intense two weeks, but praise God soon the Banwaon will have three more books added to their New Testament,” bringing the total to 76% of the New Testament translated.

translation team (l.) works with JJ and Heidi (r.).

Isnag -- Consultant JJ Rasmussen might have been the most tired of the whole Banwaon team, because before that check, he’d already done two weeks of work on Luzon Island in the Isnag language group where Jonathan and Heidi Bamford work. For that job, Ethnos360 Aviation pilot Brian Schaadt flew JJ right into the village, where Bamfords had assembled a team to tackle the project of Scripture translation checking .

“The checkers really applied themselves to the work,” wrote Jonathan, “and they went home exhausted each night, only to return in the morning with big smiles. They are very excited to see more books of the Bible in their own language and were happy to be getting an early peek into the books which will be distributed soon.”

Amazingly, distractions were minimal during the whole two weeks. “While I translated for JJ, Heidi checked the translation and noted how the checkers understood each verse,” describes Jonathan. “We were able to check 10 books. Or, if you want to be a bit nerdy, 13.68% of the New Testament: 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.” Thank God that weather did not threaten JJ’s flight out. Pilot Brian came for him as scheduled so JJ could make it to the Banwaon translation check.

An Isnag woman reads from Philippians.

As Ethnos360 Aviation facilitates translation, people get God’s Word in their very own heart language. And how they relish that! Shortly after the Isnag checking, the people gladly received some of the new portions of the Scriptures they have been waiting for. And just like you might read Scripture during your work break, Jonathan “encouraged them to take the book of Philippians with them [to their rice fields] and read it when they are resting.”

God used Ethnos360 Aviation to keep the Banwaon and Isnag translation checks on schedule to accomplish a lot of work in a tight window of time. And God can use you to make the flights affordable for the indigenous teams who help put God’s Word into a language their people could understand. Thank you!

Tags: Aviation, Banwaon People, Isnag People, Helicopter, Philippines
POSTED ON Jan 16, 2023 by Wonita Werley
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