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Dear Reader,

We hope you are doing well and are safe during this time.

Please note that some of these updates were written several weeks before they were posted. Ethnos360 missionaries around the world are following COVID-19 advisories and restrictions in their countries in order to stop the spread of the virus. More Details.

The Editor

Monday, Sep 21:
An Extra Little Task

Esmé ministers in West Africa. “Over two months ago now, I had a request to help out with a bit of translation printing. Our team here is a little thin on the ground just now, especially as many are unable to return when they had planned, … so I was happy to have this privilege to be a very small part in bringing God’s Word to people in their own language. In January 2018, I had the opportunity to visit the village where this team is serving … and to see just a small glimpse of what they are doing in literacy and translation there. Please pray for the B people in the south of the country. Pray these additional books of the Bible will be a blessing to the believers and will enable them to be better equipped to stand firm for the Lord in their village. Pray that unbelievers too would have a desire to access God’s Word. Joshua, Revelation and 1 and 2 Thessalonians (large and small print) are in various stages of the process of being printed and bound. Please pray that I would be able to get this finished in the next week or so, before I leave … so that these books would be ready to go to the village as soon as possible. Pray too for the ongoing work of translation … that one day soon, these people would have the New Testament in their language. Pray for the team as they teach God’s Word, translate, teach literacy, disciple believers and reach out to the lost … Pray for a spiritual awakening there.”

Friday, Sep 18:
In-Depth Critical Read

David and Shari Ogg minister among the Simbari people in Papua New Guinea. “We [are] making preparations to print the Simbari New Testament. We have been working daily since returning from PNG on proofreading and, at the moment, we are in Acts 25 (58%). This is an in-depth critical read that takes some time, but it is very worthwhile since some of the material we are looking at was translated over 15 years ago, and we have learned a few things since then. Shari is nearly finished with a new Children’s Sunday School curriculum that she has been working on.” Pray for wisdom as they prepare Bible translation and lessons for the Simbari church. Read more.

Thursday, Sep 17:
Restrictions Slowly being Lifted

Larry and Linda Depue minister among the Simba people in Bolivia. “Please pray for our Simba coworkers in Bolivia: Felix and Zoila, Julio and Flora, and Arturo and Maria. These days of COVID-19 are very trying times for them, too. Bolivia in general, has been in a lockdown state for the last four months. This has caused especially the poorer people to experience lack of even the basic food items. Now that some of the transportation restrictions are slowly being lifted, the country people are beginning to be affected by the virus as it spreads out to the more rural areas. Pray for the struggling Simba people and church. Zoom meetings via the internet allow us to keep involved team-teaching in Spanish together with a good group of Bolivian pastors and brothers. We are thankful for and encouraged by the faithful ministry of these men using so many opportunities to reach out to their own people during the shut-down. Pray that the Holy Spirit will use the Word of God to work in the hearts of the Zoom participants.”

Wednesday, Sep 16:
Recently Translated Scriptures

Tim and Robin Walker minister among the P people in Latin America. “I was very pleased to hear that in spite of all that is happening in our world, and in Latin America especially, there are materials and personnel available to print our recently translated Scriptures. The print shop is about to embark on printing 2000 copies of Hebrews, James and Jude which have been beautifully formatted and compiled. I believe this will begin this month and then we will send them out to the P's in their respective locations. With these completed scriptures, we are a little over 96% done the New Testament. May God speak to His people through His words written down carefully in their language.”

Tuesday, Sep 15:
Bible Materials

Emilio and Marlen Ychu minister among the Guarayo people in Bolivia. “Marlen went back to working on the book of Bible stories for elementary school children. Esteban (Marlen and Esteban [are] co-workers) is working with her on that. He’s a great help because he's very fluent in Guarayo since he has lived here most of his life and all of his friends speak Guarayo. I’m planning to record the Bible lessons that I’ve already prepared in Guarayo. I think that way many more people will be able to hear the Word of God in their own language, not only here but also in the other towns that speak Guarayo. … Pray for wisdom to know how we can continue ministering here. Also pray for wisdom for Marlen and Esteban as they work on the Bible story book for children and the recording of the Bible lessons, I’ve finished translating so we can have a greater outreach.”

Monday, Sep 14:
Smart Phone Audio Lessons

Ron and Michelle Jennings minister among the Higaunon people of the Philippines. “For a while we have been looking into using smart phones for the audio lessons of our teaching program and also for many of the churches songs and cultural tribal songs. We have actually done that on quite a few of the people’s phones, and they really love having it. So we also wanted to see if we could get their Scripture on an app. We had been struggling with having to do a lot of preliminary printing of the Old Testament since it is so huge and we are a long way from finishing it all, but the phones seemed a good way of by-passing this preliminary printing and getting it into the leaders' hands and being able, at the same time, to update it regularly as terminology is improved and new books are added. But the only way anyone could make an app for us was as a finished product which would be no good for our preliminary material. However, we discovered that there is a program recently developed just for translators by the Summer Institute of Linguistics … [that allows us to] put our translation on a phone app to do exactly what we had been wanting to do. So, we installed the program, and now we have all of the Higaunon Scripture on a very good quality phone app. This is an amazing answer to our problem of printing since we won’t need to do any more preliminary printing. We can easily update the app at any point, and in fact, a lot more Higaunon people than just the leaders will be able to have it since it can be installed on any Android smart phone.” Pray for the work among the Higaunon people.

Friday, Sep 11:
Public Testimony of their Faith

Ed and Jeanne Casteel minister among the Wana people in the Asia-Pacific region. “Just recently, we had 22 Wana believers baptized in the outreach village. These people used to be very afraid of us and [would] run away and hide from us, but now many of them have come to know the Lord as their Savior and now [are] our brothers and sisters in Christ! What a blessing to see what the Lord is doing in their hearts and lives and to see them make this public testimony of their faith in Christ.”

Thursday, Sep 10:
Bush Happenings

Paul and Ellen Swenson minister among the Tanguat people of Papua New Guinea. “Here’s a little update on the Tanguat people in Papua New Guinea. First of all, we’re thankful for our co-workers who are able to be there on the ground, encouraging the people and sending us updates of what’s happening. We had mentioned that some of the believers took the challenge of memorizing part of Psalm 139. We’re grateful for the excitement they had in doing that, and we’re excited to tell you some of their children have been busy memorizing that passage as well. Our prayer is not just that they will be able to continue to remember those verses they’ve memorized but also that those verses will be an encouragement to them as they walk through each day. We’re also excited that Bible-teachers-in-training have been invited to take part in a Bible teachers’ conference that the Inapang church is hosting. It’s exciting to see the churches be able to get together to encourage each other and to see God using times like this to see His church continue to grow in maturity. Pray for wisdom and strength as our co-workers live in the village and continue to press on learning the language and culture.”

Wednesday, Sep 09:
Preliminary Print

Ron and Michelle Jennings minister among the Higaunon people of the Philippines. “Work-wise, the lack of interruptions has enabled us to get a lot more done than we had planned. Having Lance and Laura here longer enabled us to finish our [Higaunon] comprehension checking on Nehemiah, Ezra, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Daniel and Isaiah. Now Ron is getting all of that ready to send to our mission’s official checker. This is the English rendering of those books for him to check against the Hebrew for accuracy. This will be several months of work since the things that the mission’s checker picks up have to be retranslated and checked again with the Higaunon translation helpers. Our plan had been by the end of this year to do a preliminary print of all our Old Testament books that will be passed for initial printing. This would still not be the final print and would only be distributed to the leaders and teachers. This preliminary print has to be put out there for them to use and to see if there are language issues that still need addressing.” Pray for the work among the Higaunon people.

Tuesday, Sep 08:
Growing New Testament Churches Established

Mike and Cher Riepma minister among the Ese Ejja people of Bolivia. “Cher and I never dreamed in our lifetime of ministry that one day we would see a growing New Testament church established in every Ese Ejja village in Bolivia with maturing (not perfect) spiritual leadership that is able to teach and lead/shepherd a local group of believers. ‘God is on the move’ (even during a global pandemic). He is building His Church among the Ese Ejja people, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against them. Though living five thousand miles apart, we are so encouraged to hear from them daily, via the internet, how God is working. I never thought in my lifetime we would have this capability to stay engaged. Driving to the store, I get a call from an Ese Ejja pastor asking a question about some issue he is facing. We watch videos of their church services, hear about special needs and see young people singing specials accompanied with instruments in a packed church building. Wow! Last Sunday we saw pictures of nine new believers who were just baptized in [one] village, and next Sunday two more baptisms are planned in other villages. Pray with us for the elders in each church to be men of integrity, to be men of faith and conviction with a servant ’s heart. Pray the spiritual leaders will anchor their hearts on God’s Word and encourage one another.”

Monday, Sep 07:
It Is Monday Morning

Jonathan and Heidi Bamford minister among the Isnag people of the Philippines. “It is Monday morning, and the translation process is moving forward. Vicky has a group of ladies helping her with comprehension checking First Corinthians. They worked on it for several days last week and will probably finish [soon]. Heidi and Arcely are also comprehension checking First Corinthians. They have just started, so they have a few days of work ahead of them. In the translation process we need to do comprehension checking several times to make sure that each verse communicates well. Please pray that we will find and improve any verses that might miscommunicate.”

Friday, Sep 04:
Choirs of Angels Singing

Adam and Julie Martin minister among the Akolet people in Papua New Guinea. “Bible translation continues on. We’re currently working on both Matthew and Mark. Some chapters sail smoothly along, and I hear choirs of angels singing as I tick off yet another chapter with a sigh of satisfaction. Some chapters, [confusion reigns] when the Akolet people to whom I’m reading it stare blankly back at me and say something like, ‘Well if you have two hands, you’ll sin and then you can’t get to heaven, so Jesus is saying to cut one off so you can get to Heaven.’ Then it’s a different kind of sighing as I mentally label that section as a ‘Train Wreck - Back to the Drawing Board.’ Overall, we are encouraged with our progress, and daily we push just a bit further toward that goal of one day having the whole New Testament in the Akolet language.” Pray for progress in the Bible translation.

Thursday, Sep 03:
News from the Village

Levi and Robyn Lenz minister among the North Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea. “In early June another 13 Wahgi believers were baptized. What is more exciting is that these people were led to the Lord and baptized by other members of the Wahgi church. This was done while our co-workers were out of the village. We are thankful for Stephen and Wirol who have kept Bible studies and Sunday Bible teaching going. Now that our co-workers have returned to the village, they will be working to further train and encourage these men to continue Bible teaching rather than taking that role again themselves. We have been longing for the day when the church would stand strong on their own feet and the Word of God. It looks as if God is using COVID to help bring that about. Please be praying with us for continued unity in the church and more faithful men and women of God take on responsibilities in the church.”

Wednesday, Sep 02:
Elsengg Literacy Program

Scott and Natasha Flaugher minister among the Elsengg people of the Asia-Pacific region. “I alluded to the fact that our team was able to complete the Elsengg literacy program prior to leaving the village. That was a huge answer to prayer and very exciting. It was a heavy load to put on our students as we doubled up on many of the classes to ensure that we could cover all the material before our scheduled helicopter flights on June 23, but we were very pleased with the diligence of most of our students to push forward through the last primer. They now have a small library of materials available to them in both Elsengg and [the national language]. Portions of Scripture, books about Jewish culture, books about health and hygiene, etc. It was exciting to leave them with these resources and to know that they are now empowered to read them. Praise God! Please pray that God will continue to grow them in their reading skills and in their understanding of His Word and draw them to Himself.” Watch their video.

Tuesday, Sep 01:
Team Ones Wonderful Report

Wayne and Patsy Gibson minister among the Piapoco people of Colombia. “The first Piapoco team of Reinaldo, Susana and Roberto, who left last month for the long journey upriver, returned with glowing news of their time in a distant Piapoco village. Leaders from about a dozen villages gathered for teaching on church leadership and benefitted by the classes on I Timothy and Titus. Some even confessed of relying on their tribal magical incantations instead of the Lord Jesus. It was encouraging that many of the young people sat in on these classes, as well. ‘We can understand much better the teaching in our own language,’ one Piapoco leader commented. ‘Thank you for coming and for Susana to teach the women.’ The ladies’ class that Susana had on the woman’s role in the church was well attended by 23 women, some from neighboring villages. The ladies shared that they have never had a Bible class just for them — this was the first and [was] even in their own language. When the subject of prayer came up, some of them also confessed that they knew and used the magical incantations from their ancestors but now wanted to trust the Lord. Like the Christians of Ephesus, they proceeded to rip pages out of notebooks that contained the incantations and said they were going to burn them.” Pray that more Piapoco Christians, both men and women, will be equipped to teach others.

Monday, Aug 31:
Extra Generous Piles

Adam and Julie Martin minister among the Akolet people in Papua New Guinea. “We recently held a used clothing give-away for the Akolet believers. We’ve done this in the past but have held off for the past several years as it always seems to result in jealousy, discontentment and even theft rather than their just being thankful for what they got. What was different this time was that we have Akolet deacons and deaconesses to whom we gave the whole heap of stuff, and [we] had them divide it up so that each church family got some things. They did such a great job. They even came to us with this plan in mind for a few believers who have kind of cut themselves off and haven’t attended church for the past few years: ‘Well, we were thinking they should still be included. Because God tied them up (sealed them) with Christ, and that can’t be untied. Nothing can separate them from His love even if they separate themselves from our church fellowship. So we’re going to give them extra generous piles and go and visit them to deliver the stuff and encourage them that we still love them and hope they come back.’ This nearly moved me to tears. It blessed me to see them thinking through it so well, and everyone seemed happy with the items they received.” Pray for continued harmony in the Akolet church.

Friday, Aug 28:
Chimane Reading Primers

Dan and Judy Burke minister among the Chimane people in Bolivia. “We continue to make books. Thank you for your prayers. Last Tuesday the office supply store called and said they had four more cases of paper for us. On an average day, Dan is using 1,500 pieces of paper. Our newest copier has made more than 80,000 copies. … It is a big consolation to be able to [do] something productive, even if we would rather be somewhere else doing something else. ... Our printing focus is on Chimane reading primers right now. Dan is hoping that when we are able to get out to town again, we can come up with a plan [to] help the Chimane students who have basically lost out on a whole year of education due to the virus. On-line education alternatives are not an option for the Chimanes. Please continue to pray that the machines will keep running and that we will not run out of printing supplies during the continued time of quarantine.”

Thursday, Aug 27:
LaNgUaGe Blunders ...

Christian and Megan Hall minister in the Asia-Pacific region. “Christian recently realized he was calling his friend 'taman' (which means garden), instead of 'teman' (which means friend). Oops … Both of us have had many blunders. We know these mistakes are a normal part of the learning process, but it sure is humbling. As life goes on here, things are beginning to reopen and return to a ‘new normal.’ As of this week, we now have three language helpers that are working with us! We are praising the Lord for this answer to prayer. They are a huge help to us as we study.”

Wednesday, Aug 26:
Kaje Baptisms

Neil and Becky Burleson minister in Papua New Guinea. “Back in Papua New Guinea, the gospel continues to grow and bear fruit in many places. The Kaje church recently celebrated their first baptism. Check out [the] short video of that exciting event [at the link below]. Elsewhere, both the Amdu and Wantakia works are currently teaching through the Scriptures chronologically, nearing the presentation of the gospel in the coming weeks. Please keep praying that the Lord would draw many more to himself in these two tribal works. Exciting days ahead.” Watch the Kaje baptisms video.

Tuesday, Aug 25:
Village Wi-Fi

Ed and Jeanne Casteel minister among the Wana people in the Asia-Pacific region. “We are really thankful for good technology we have had during this time. Our two largest Wana villages now have Wi-Fi capability, and that has helped immensely. I have been able to get together with church leaders and others on WhatsApp and Skype which has been really helpful, not only for making plans but also for studying Scripture together. And, of course, we have been using this technology for a number of years to do Bible translation and lesson development. We continue to work on our translation and lesson development projects. Getting the translation on to the Paratext software has been a challenge, but I think I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We are now running some of the final formatting checks and trying to get all those squared away. We will then to have get all the copyright info for the pictures we used entered in as well.”