Missions Moment – Thailand

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Terry Gibbs, Wycliffe Bible Translators

Dear Friends,

May the Lord find you with friends and loved ones at this time of year (Dec. 2014). As God continues to work out His will in our lives we need to grow closer to our Great High Priest Jesus.

The Gospel is being spread in new ways around the world. MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) airplanes are helping in this effort with an ingenious way of getting updated software and email into remote areas by airplane. They land the plane, start up a computer and a wireless box and people come near the plane, log in and download what they need. Then the translators upload recent work that has been done on translations projects which will be carried back to a safe location.

Another recent innovation is to make use of Android smart phones. In other countries Scripture is being downloaded onto a phone and then after walking for a few days to a village that person can use Bluetooth to put that on another phone. That person will likewise pass around the Scripture. In this way pastors are sharing chapters of the Bible in areas where there is no internet access. Now people in remote villages can hear the Scripture in their own language.

Another use of the smart phone is to include an audio track with the Scripture so that a person can not only see the text but hear it spoken. Where it is common for many people in an area to own a cell phone, this has also become a literacy tool since the person can now see how the words are spelled and hear how they are spoken.

The on-line ETEN Digital Bible now has 845 translations in 675 languages which can be downloaded.

Local Happenings

This is a map of a district in Mexico showing an example of the large number of languages that can exist in small an area of a country.

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In our work here we also make linguistic maps so that we can decide how best to plan our work.

This past year seven students in our Linguistic program graduated after having written a thesis detailing specific features of a new language. I was able to play a small part by validating the format and accuracy of the layout which must pass the guidelines of the Linguistic Society of America, Payap University and our Linguistic Department. Each one is about a 4 week job.

Terry’s Tales

Years ago I helped develop a computer program called Speech Analyzer. It is still in use and I continue to suggest new features.

A few months ago I was introduced to a fellow missionary who is working in Africa. He’s developed a program that can combine Scripture and it’s audio file into a single item so it can be put on a smart phone with an Android OS. One of the things he talked about was the difficulty they were having with time-aligning the recently recorded audio of the Scripture with the correct verses. It currently requires a lot of time to align them by hand. I suggested that Speech Analyzer could be used to more quickly time-align these two items. I’ve therefore been spending a lot of time recently testing some new ideas in Speech Analyzer that I hope will make this work go more quickly.

This summer it was possible for me come to the U.S due to Thailand shifting the dates when college classes would begin. This shift resulted in delaying the starting of all college classes by 3 months. This was done to align themselves with the coming standards of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). ASEAN consists of the 10 counties of Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. They look forward to functioning like a single economic engine like the European Union.

This once in a lifetime opportunity allowed me to visit many of you this summer. Although I was in the U.S. for 3 months, I still was not able to see everyone. I kept thinking if everyone would move to Hawaii, then in just one stop I would be able to see everyone and it’s a lot closer. But I was able to visit California, Colorado, Texas and North Carolina. From there I drove 4,520 miles to New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, and Georgia.

Leilani’s Lines

I was diagnosed with an Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which helps to explain why I have had so many problems with my knees, shoulder and back for so many years. I’m now at a stage where I cannot lift 50 pounds which will thus prevent me from getting medical related jobs I had hoped for like being a Physical Therapist or an Athletic Trainer.

I got engaged in March to Micah Christie. We are planning a wedding in May or June next year.

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Jamie & Chris’s Journal

I have continued to work at Woodmen Valley Chapel a few hours a week watching 2 year olds. Meilina gets to come with me and be in my class.

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Meilina’s food reactions are like a severe form of Celiac, but are caused by a large number of food proteins. Adding foods to her diet has been slower than we had hoped. Meilina has 12 safe foods, plus a few condiments/supplements. It is about a two week process to determine if one food is safe, but additional time is used up by foods that fail, or illness, or an accidental ingestion such as eating a crayon or a crumb off the floor. We are also dealing with several other issues unrelated to her allergies. We are currently seeing the following specialists: Allergist, Gastroenterologist, Immunologist, Neurologist, Orthopedist, Developmental Pediatrician, and Psychologist. Additionally she is receiving speech therapy, physical therapy, feeding therapy, and occupational therapy. We are all very busy.

Chris has been enjoying teaching at the Air Force Academy. However we just found out that as part of the Air Force downsizing program he will be separated (let go) from the Air Force on April 30.

Please pray for Meilina’s gut to heal, doctors who will listen to our concerns, and help us find answers. Also pray for Chris as he looks for a new job. We would like to stay in Colorado Springs because we own our house here, and all of Meilina’s doctors and therapists are here.

Prayer Requests

– That the Lord would heal Meilina.
– That Chris will locate a job in a few months.
– That Leilani will find long term employment.
– God will guide Leilani and Micah’s wedding.
– That my renters in Waxhaw will be reasonable.

Terry