Friday, July 24, 2009

What Do We Do Anyway?

I've often been asked variations of the question, "What do you do in Thailand?" and I've never gotten around to posting an answer because I'm busy doing it:). Today, however, is different. I haven't been feeling too well today and stayed home from the office, so perhaps I can fill in a few blanks for you!


Now that it is 11:30 at night and I can't sleep, how 'bout I finish what I started? :)

I'm too tired to go find the post now, but I think I have mentioned in the past that a big chunk of time is spent working on the Good and Evil Project. Basically it's a 320-page comic book that tells the story of the Bible in an incredible way for people who don't know a thing about the Bible. This comic book has been translated into dozens of languages and my job (along with three other ladies in our office) is to take the translated text and place it in the bubbles. I don't speak any of these languages (I wish!), but I do often communicate with the translators as we work in getting a particular language completed.

We have a numbering system in place so that the translator and the text placers (I believe our technical title is "graphic artists" - wow) can easily understand what the other is talking about and it really makes for a quick reference. I've been in Thailand for 11 months and have had the great privilege and opportunity to work on over 30 languages. That's an incredible amount! How I praise the Lord for diligent and faithful translators who labor endlessly in their tasks so I can do my job.

In addition to working on the Good and Evil project, we also have two translators in our office. Berm, our Thai translator, is translating the Bible Institute curriculum from Oak Harbor, Washington. He has been working on this project for the last 18 months and has three more books to translate into Thai. This is quite the undertaking, but will be worth it when it is completed. Many churches and pastors in Thailand are weak in the faith because good materials were unavailable to them in Thai.

There is another translator in the office who is working on the New Testament in his language. I have to be vague for a reason, but suffice it to say the Lord has used this man in tremendous ways!

Our regular office staff consists of eight people, including the missionary and his wife. Right now the missionary's wife is in the midst of scanning the entire Bible for a regional language. The missionary (Bro. Tom) is always running in 20 different directions, with all of them demanding his attention immediately:D.

We also have other people periodically join us in our office and they are known as "short-termers" who normally stay a month or so. For us, a month is short term! We had a couple come in February who were a huge asset in getting all of our computers back up and running. Another man who came in May was able to travel around a bit with Bro. Tom to nearby countries and also take care of some things like plumbing issues. Yes, missionaries on the field do have things break and it's nice to have someone come along who is a "jack-of-all-trades" and handle that stuff for us. Never underestimate your abilities and talents on the mission field - God can use you!

We currently have three "short-termers" with us, although two of them are heading home next Thursday. Heather (mentioned in the post below) has been a great help in dropping the text in one language that needed to be done asap (translation = it was needed two weeks ago)! While Heather dropped the text in the bubbles, the rest of us came up behind her and fit the bubbles around the text and cleaned up the graphics. If she hadn't done that, we would still have quite a bit of work ahead of us! In addition to that, Heather has been scanning several books onto the computer to be worked on at a later date.

Aaron (who is also from Heather's church) has been put to work by printing some tracts and the Gospel of John in Nepali. When I first joined the team last August, I spent a good two months doing printing. In October, a young man came to work with us and took over the printing from me. He left in January and we haven't had the opportunity to print since then --- too much to do! So Aaron's been working on getting a few printing projects out of the way. He didn't come here knowing how to do it, but one afternoon and a good instruction book soon helped him out:).

Ben (who is from my church) is planning on making a video for Bro. Tom and right now is in the filming process. He does excellent work (those of you who have seen his videos would agree!) and we can't wait to see the finished product.

I haven't even touched on the CD aspect of this ministry. We had a lady help us out during November/December in burning hundreds upon hundreds of "Light of the World" and "God's Story" CDs. Of course these CDs are in regional languages, so that means a filing system needs to be in place for them:). You never know when Bro. Tom is going to come in and say, "I need God's Story in ___________ language" so it's always good to be prepared!

Lest you think we run ragged 24/7, we do operate our office Monday - Friday, 9ish-5. Saturdays are normally our "whatever" day - sometimes that means hanging out at home doing nothing and other times that means going to do tourist things. Sundays are always a busy day: we leave the house at 8:45 and usually get back around 2:30. Every now and then, we take a day off and do something extra fun:).

So there you have it! It's our routine, but it's never predictable, I can promise you that:).


Dani Joy said...

Thanks for letting us see into your ministry. What a blessing to know you are working on something of eternal value!! How exciting.
I took a look at the book and would like to get it in Spanish. We may just order a bunch to give out to the young people here.
Have a great weekend!

Kate said...

Thanks for explaining! I enjoyed hearing about it!

Isn't foreign languages something? I amazes me to think that something that is so incomprehensible to me makes perfect sense to someone else and vice versa!!!

Ashley said...

I loved reading this post and getting a glimpse of the kingdom work you're doing in Thailand!