Chapter 30: Activities Away from Piat

After our first week in Piat, we had to leave for a week on a speaking trip. This was in February of 1975. First, we went to Aparri where Chuck was the baccalaureate speaker at the Aparri Bible Seminary. Then we spent four days in Manila attending to business.

After that, Chuck was the commencement speaker at the Philippine Bible Seminary in Vigan, Ilocos Norte. We went there by way of the west side of the island, a north-south route we almost never took, because it was far to the west of our usual destination. We had gotten acquainted with the folks in Vigan when we were trying to go to Abra to find a place to work. This was the same school Chuck went to, to get the student named Phillip who came up to Bacag and stayed with our cargo while we went to Cagayan for a few days, remember?

Every year, the Aparri Bible Seminary had a Senior Camp for high school and college age students at the seminary campus. That April, Chuck and I were asked to be instructors at Senior Camp. We had a wonderful time, but Chuck got sick for two days so couldn’t speak at the chapel service or his class. There were six out of a total of 88 campers who accepted Christ, and those who accepted Christ the last day did it at the chapel time, and since they did not all understand English, it could be that Chuck’s illness was allowed so these people could be reached for Christ in their own language. God really does desire for all to come to the knowledge of His Word, and these young people were reached for eternity, so we praise God for them and that Chuck’s illness was only for a few days.

Camp turned out to be a time of spiritual refreshing as we were able to spend time in the Scriptures planning our classes and studying the lives of Bible characters to bring out different pertinent factors and make applications to our own lives as well as to the kids’ lives. It was a time of physical refreshing, too, as younger couples took over the job of sponsoring the campers in their various team activities, which kept them busy all day and evening when they weren’t in classes. We were free to participate as much or as little as we liked, so we got some much needed rest, especially Chuck. Also, they didn’t have to find a replacement for him as a sponsor when he got sick since he wasn’t a sponsor.

Participating in Senior Camp was a special time for us. We were able to get acquainted with the leaders of the camp, and some missionaries who also took part. We also got a view into the lives of some of the students, mainly Ilocano young people, and the depth of their spiritual lives as well as their zest in living. We hoped that some day we would have Itawes young people who would come up to that standard and it gave us a definite uplift in our hopes for the future.

When we got back to Piat, we learned that our youngest daughter, Merilee Joyce, was planning on getting married to a young man named Michael Norman Parlier. We learned about this several months before it happened. The problem was, we had very little extra money at that time, so we thought only one of us should try to go to the wedding. But neither of us wanted the other to be left out, so we finally decided we would both go, and the Lord made it possible. Finally, in early August, two and a half weeks before the wedding, we made it back to the States. The problem still was that we had very little extra money, and we felt badly about not being able to fulfill our sense of obligation to organize, facilitate and pay for the wedding. In the end, we felt blessed just to be able to be there.

The wedding was held on August 23, 1975, at Hillcrest Christian Church in Granada Hills, California, the church which our family attended from 1964 to 1972. In the Philippines, before going home for the wedding, I bought beautifully embroidered pale blue material to make myself a dress for the occasion. When we got back to the States, I made a lovely gown. We were only able to be there for three weeks, so the groom’s parents were involved in some of the preparations. We should have been there to take care of it. I know they saw to it that beautiful bouquets of flowers were on both sides of the stage.

The bride was beautiful, dressed in a lovely white gown and wore a tiara of white daisies at her forehead in front of her veil. She carried a bouquet of carnations, white daisies, yellow roses and baby’s breath. Her maid of honor wore a yellow dress, while the bridesmaids were dressed in pastel shades of dotted swiss fabric with daisy accents, and wore broad-rimmed hats the color of their dresses. The groom was very handsome, dressed all in white, while his best man’s tuxedo had a yellow jacket to match with the yellow gown of the bride’s maid of honor, and the groomsmen had black lapels and pants with white jackets.

She had a darling flower girl and handsome ring bearer who were Mike’s niece and nephew. Our son, Ken, sang a special number, and Chuck officiated at the ceremony. The wedding was beautiful. We were thankful that Mike was a fine Christian young man, and Merilee would now be happy to have a loving husband to take care of her whose ‘looking after’ she would appreciate. Mike’s family were lovely people, and we were happy we had some time to get acquainted with them, too.

We were very thankful to be able to attend Merilee’s wedding even though we were able to be there for only three weeks. After the wedding, we spent our time with our children, visited a few of our main supporting churches, and accepted a few personal invitations as time permitted. Unfortunately, time ran out before the invitations did, and we were sorry about that.

The urgency in our returning was so we could attend an ethnology workshop sponsored by SIL. The workshop was to help us understand the Philippine culture better, so we would not offend the Filipino people, and would be able to produce a more understandable and more relevant translation. It was vital that we attend. It took place at Bagabag, about half way between Manila and Enrile, and at the close of it, the director announced that there would be a translation orientation workshop in January for new translators. In preparation for it, we were assigned about 150 verses which we were to translate before then. The people attending this workshop were people who went to their tribes about the same time we were trying to go to the Tingguian people in Abra. As things turned out, we didn’t get to live in that place. It was six months later that we got moved into our house in Piat. That put us at least that far behind the other teams in language learning. We wondered if the handicap would be too great.

We talked with the director about this, and he told us the next such workshop would be a full year later, for teams that had been assigned just a couple of months ago. Surely we would not want to wait that long before beginning actual translation work, so he suggested we do our best and attend this time.

The purpose of the assignment and the workshop was to give us an opportunity to do some actual translation work, and then have it checked. With translation, as with most jobs, you learn by doing. Inevitably, when you first start to do a new job, you’ll do a lot of things wrong. If someone who knows something about it examines your work, he can point out the mistakes, and you can correct them and correct the procedure so you don’t go on making the same mistakes. This workshop was intended to bring out, and help us correct and eliminate, as many mistakes in procedure as possible.

Certain ground rules were laid down. We were permitted to ask our informants for words with specific meanings if we didn’t already have them in our vocabulary, but we could not ask them to translate a portion for us, or have them check our work. Chuck and I ‘cheated’ on this rule on the first couple of passages just to help us get started, but after that, we attempted to stick by the rule.

When we went to the workshop, we were to take our informants with us, and they would correct our work under the guidance and according to the instructions of the teachers. We were told we should not expect the finished product to look anything like the first draft we brought to the workshop.

There was one more rule: All discussions between the translator and the informant at the workshop were to be in the informant’s language. The director told us that, because we got a late start with our group, that rule would be suspended for us. We appreciated that. If that rule hadn’t been suspended, we might have been scared away from the workshop. As it was, we moved ahead, and looked forward with great anticipation to it.

Seeing how impossible it seemed to me to do this, I asked for special prayer from the folks at home. After that, the Lord gave me a real thrill and excitement in doing this work. It was like a huge jigsaw puzzle attempting to get the English, Greek, and Itawes to all come out with the same concepts. We really appreciated all the prayers that went up on our behalf.

In the month following, we were praising the Lord and thanking people for their prayers. We both were able to complete our rough drafts of 137 verses for the January translation workshop. We were growing in our understanding of the language. We still needed to be able to use it instead of English in conversation and understand what the people were saying when they spoke so fast.

We received a letter, however, saying we would not be able to attend the January workshop because they did not have room for us. Because we were not members of Wycliffe Bible Translators, we were invited to attend their seminars on a space-available basis. When a seminar was overcrowded, we were the ones who get left out, and that was as it should be. Our initial reaction was one of disappointment, but we soon realized that God had allowed this to happen for our good because we did not yet know the dialect well enough to be able to converse with our informant in it—one of the rules of the workshop. So, we pressed ahead with language study, looking forward to attending the next year’s workshop.

In the month following, we were praising the Lord and thanking people for their prayers. We both were able to complete our rough drafts of 137 verses for the January translation workshop. We were growing in our understanding of the language. We still needed to be able to use it instead of English in conversation and understand what the people were saying when they spoke so fast.

We received a letter, however, saying we would not be able to attend the January workshop because they did not have room for us. Because we were not members of Wycliffe Bible Translators, we were invited to attend their seminars on a space-available basis. When a seminar was overcrowded, we were the ones who get left out, and that was as it should be. Our initial reaction was one of disappointment, but we soon realized that God had allowed this to happen for our good because we did not yet know the dialect well enough to be able to converse with our informant in it—one of the rules of the workshop. So, we pressed ahead with language study, looking forward to attending the next year’s workshop.

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