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Update on the Zabana New Testament Project!

We are excited to share that we are about 76% done with the New Testament!  The most recently completed books have been 1 & 2 Peter (2 super hard letters to translate), Galatians, Ephesians, Philemon, 1, 2 & 3 John, James and the Gospel of John.  Currently, we are working to complete Romans.  Our remaining books are Hebrews, Revelation, and finally 1 & 2 Corinthians.  After that we will need to complete other important parts before typesetting such as the glossary, index and forward.  We hope to finish in the next 3 years.

Thank you for all of your continued support!

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Update from Greg & Julie Jones and the Zabana Bible Translation and Literacy Project

Dear Partners and Friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial partnership during this last few months. We couldn’t do this without you. In Oct. I was able to travel with an old friend, Mike Williams, and serve as the Wycliffe speaker for 1/2 of the No. Calif. Wycliffe Associates Banquet Tour. What a wonderful experience it was for me, to be able to share the vision for Bible translation in various cities from Monterey to Eureka. Mike and I were encouraged to meet so many people from different churches and denominations, joining together as one Body of Christ, to learn about Bible translation and find out how they can get involved.

Working Together With You

Then in Nov. & Dec. I was back in the Solomon Islands with our translation team to complete the consultant checking of the Book of Acts, Philippians and Colossians.

Greg & Julie Jones

Pictured above from the right are our three mother-tongue translators, Isaac Matezama, Lily Kikolo and Ian Dika. Next are three Zabana people who helped us do the checking. On the left is James Ashley, our fantastic translation consultant. Together we worked long hours to carefully examine every verse, to be sure the Zabana Scriptures were communicating clearly and accurately. James helped us greatly through his expertise, to find many ways to improve the clarity and naturalness of the text. Once approved by James, we had the books printed. After I left, Isaac took them out to Kia Village by ship and began to distribute them.

Later by email, I asked Isaac what the response has been to the books. He told me that he is so pleased to see people reading them and carrying the books with them to church. He is especially encouraged to see a number of elementary children doing very well with their ability to read the Zabana Bible trial edition books.

 

IMG_7266I leave again for the Solomons in late May to work with Isaac and our team. James Ashley will help us to do the consultant checking of the Gospel of John, Titus and Jude. When the checking is complete, we will again print trial editions for Isaac to take to the Zabana villages. Once John is complete, we will have all of the 4 Zabana Gospels and Acts in print, which is awesome. Please continue to pray that God will use each Zabana New Testament book to draw people to himself.

From April 5th through May 12th I will be traveling again with Mike Williams, to be the Wycliffe speaker for the So. Calif. Wycliffe Associates Banquet Tour. Please see the list of dates and cities below, to see if any will be near you. I want to invite all of you to join us for one of the banquets. And if you are able, you can volunteer to be a table host. This simply means you invite your friends, such a people from your home group and church to join you at your table. To sign up to come or to sign up to host a table, simply call Mike Williams toll free at 888-490-0591 or at 760-305-8319 (office) or 714-496-9127 (cell). They are FREE, fun and informative evenings for learning about Bible translation. I hope you can join us for an evening well spent.

Wycliffe Associates So. California
Banquet Tour Schedule:

  • Monday April 8—La Mesa
  • Tuesday April 9—San Diego
  • Thursday April 11—Hemet
  • Friday April 12—Carlsbad
  • Saturday April 13—National City
  • Monday April 15—San Marcos
  • Tuesday April 16—Temecula
  • Thursday April 18—Palm Springs
  • Friday April 19—Fontana
  • Saturday April 20—Riverside
  • Monday April 22—Victorville
  • Tuesday April 23—Ontario
  • Thursday April 25—Torrance
  • Friday April 26—Long Beach
  • Saturday April 27—Orange
  • Monday April 29—Buena Park
  • Tuesday April 30—Monrovia
  • Thursday May 2—Burbank
  • Friday May 3—Granada Hills
  • Saturday May 4—Thousand Oaks
  • Monday May 6—Ventura
  • Tuesday May 7—Goleta
  • Thursday May 9—Lompoc
  • Friday May 10—Santa Maria
  • Saturday May 11—San Luis Obispo

SkylerLena & Mika

 

Our family is doing well. Skyler and Lenea are attending Whatcom Community College and Mika is at Western Washington Univ. This summer Skyler and Lenea will be working and Mika hopes to return to Japan for more Japanese study. Thank you each so much for your prayers and financial partnership that enable us to translate the Bible into Zabana.

With much love in Christ,
Greg & Julie, Mika, Skyler and Lenea

 

Please Pray For:

  1. God to bless the Zabana people through the new Zabana trial editions of Acts, Philippians and Colossians.
  2. God’s guidance as Greg and Isaac translate John, Titus & Jude.
  3. Greg and Mike during the WA Banquet Tour 4/5 thru 5/12.
  4. God’s wisdom for the checking of John, Titus and Jude, May thru July.
  5. Safety & finances for up & coming trips and printing costs for books.
  6. Julie, Mika, Skyler and Lenea, especially while Greg is away.
  7. Isaac’s brother who is ill & for Isaac while he and his wife care for him.
  8. Greg’s mom who is recovering from a broken ankle at 93.

Earthquake & Tsunami

Dear Friends,

I wanted to write to you all, since we have had a number of emails and phone calls regarding the recent earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands.  I am not in the Solomons right now, as I returned from the Solomons in Dec.  The quake occurred in Temotu Province in the far eastern part of the Solomon Islands, some 500+ miles east of Kia Village.  So our Zabana friends are safe and were not affected by the quake.  The tsunami hit Santa Cruz Island causing a lot of damage and a few people have been killed.  We appreciate your prayers for the Solomon Islanders in that area.

I did want to mention a few other prayer requests.

  1. Please be praying for Isaac Matezama, my main mother-tongue translator and his wife Yvonne.  They are in Honiara caring for Isaac’s brother who became very ill.  Please be praying for his brother Obed. Isaac does not know what the illness is, but it might be cancer.
  2. Please pray for my mom, Grace Jones.  She fell and broke her ankle, has had surgery and is now in a rehab hospital, hoping to return home with my dad.  She is 93 and my dad is 95.  Thank you for those who were praying for my dad’s surgery for his lung cancer. Things went very well and the doctor’s tell him that he is cancer free.
  3. Please pray for Isaac and I as we are working on the translation of John’s Gospel, Titus and Jude.  I will be returning to the Solomons in May for the consultant check of those books and maybe some other small books.

Also I wanted to let those of you who live in Southern California know, that I have been asked to be the Wycliffe speaker for the Wycliffe Associates Banquet Tour in So. CA in the Spring.  For 5 weeks from April 8th through May 11th I will be speaking almost nightly in various cities (Click here for a list of locations).  If you live near one of the cities, I wanted to invite you to come to one of the banquets.   I was able to join 1/2 of the Northern California tour last Fall and really loved being a part of this ministry.  The evenings are very fun and informative about the work and needs of Bible translation.  You will hear a variety of stories, watch some very thoughtful and moving videos and then I will be sharing stories of what God has done in the lives of Zabana people.  I will also be leading us in a couple of songs of worship.  Plus this includes a really delicious free dinner. I really hope as many of you as possible can make it.  I believe it will be an evening well spent.

To sign up, simply email Mike Williams at Mike_Williams[at]wycliffeassociates.org or call him at 760-305-8319 or on his cell at 714-496-9127.  He also has a toll-free number at 888-490-0591.

If you can come to one of the banquets, would you consider being a table host?  This simply means that you invite people you know to come and sit with you at your table.  On this last tour I got to meet people who came together from various churches or from their home fellowship groups or Bible studies.  What a great way to spend some time together learning about what God is doing in the world through Bible translation.  If you can be a table host, mention that to Mike, as this would really help him out.  Mike works incredibly hard at organizing every banquet and I know he could really use your help in this area especially.

The goal of the banquet tour is to bring awareness to the work of Wycliffe Associates and Wycliffe Bible Translators.  Mike’s and my prayer is that we can help to shine a spotlight on what God is doing through Bible translation and help the the Christian community get involved through prayer, going overseas on service trips, serving stateside and supporting projects or sending others to go.  Although the needs of Bible translation are huge, the Christian community can accomplish so much when we join together.

Mike has also asked me to join him as a way to help us get the word out about our work with the Zabana Bible Translation and Literacy Project.

We hope that there will be some who attend who are interested in getting personally involved with the our work through prayer and finances.  So we would appreciate your prayers that the Lord will use these banquets to help meet the needs we have in this area.

Isaac wrote me and told me that people are loving the new Zabana trial editions of Acts, Philippians and Colossians and that they are being read in homes and in the churches.  Thank you all again for your support and prayers that help us meet this need to get God’s word into the language that Zabana people can truly understand.  I hope you are blessed and encouraged as much as Isaac, Julie and I are.  It is an honor to help them in this way.  Thank you for helping to make this possible.

God’s blessings to each of you.

Greg

It’s A Team Effort

Dear Friends and Family,
Recently in our home group, we were discussing teamwork as it relates
to being part of God’s family and ministering to the world around us. I
immediately thought of what Julie, I and our kids have experienced serving
as Bible translators with Wycliffe. What a privilege it has been to serve the
Zabana people along with you all. I could not do translation without Isaac,
Ian and Lily and other Zabana people who help us. And they need the help
I bring them, which includes being sure our translation is accurate to the
Greek. Then there are the various Wycliffe staff both in the Solomons and
in the US who help us do our work. We in turn could not do this vital work
without the financial and prayer support of churches and individual
Christians like you. This task is so much bigger than any one of us, yet
working together with God’s grace and guidance, we can accomplish much.
On behalf of Zabana people from every village whom we have come to love,
from the new infants and young people, and all the way to the older men
and women, I want to thank you for the part each of you plays in making the
Zabana New Testament become a reality. This is extremely important to
them and we along with them so appreciate the your generosity and
sacrifices that you have made on all our behalf.

One such woman who is appreciative is Rosta Vida, who helped us
during our last consultant check of Matthew. One day at lunch as I sat
across the table from her, I asked her what it is like to hear the Gospel of
Matthew in her language. She thought a bit, smiled and then said, “Wonderful!” Rosta went on to explain, “You see, I don’t speak English and like most of the people from my tribe, I cannot understand the English  Bible when it is read in church. But when we were reading Matthew in Zabana, I could understand every single word without needing to struggle. I didn’t have to wonder what the meaning was. I understood  verything right away. Hearing God’s Word in my language is going to change my life and it is going to change the lives of my people.” Wow, was I encouraged by her insight. Rosta’s words really demonstrate the important need for translating the Bible into a person’s mothertongue. God’s Word in a person’s heart language, has the ability to deeply impact their mind and heart. Together through our
teamwork we are impacting the lives of Zabana people. And what I really
love about Bible translation is that the Zabana New Testament will continue
to impact the hearts of future Zabana people, long after our lives on Earth
are over. Just as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:24, “The grass withers, and the
flowers fall away. But the word of the Lord will last forever.” (NLT)

I would appreciate your prayers for some up and coming events. In
October I have been asked to be the speaker for the Northern California
Wycliffe Associates Banquet Tour. This tour helps bring awareness of Bible
translation and raises funds for larger projects, such as the Bible translation
training center recently completed in the Solomon Islands or other needs
like bush airplanes for transporting translators to remote locations. Then in
Nov & Dec I will be in the Solomon Islands with Isaac and our team as we
consultant check the Book of Acts, Philippians and Colossians, and possibly
other books if time permits. When that is done we will then print some trial
editions of these books to be sent to all Zabana villages.

 

I am so excited and thankful to see how much of the Zabana New Testament is complete. Currently we have finished around 35% of the New Testament. When we finish the consultant checking of Acts, Philippians and  olossians in November & December, we will actually have 48% of the New Testament done. Wow! Thank you to each of you for all your support and prayers to help make this happen.

Family News

We would appreciate your continued prayers for our family and
especially our kids, who are also doing some traveling. This summer Mika
(21) is studying advanced Japanese at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan
through early August, through the US Government Critical Language
Scholarship Program. She is a Japanese and Chinese double major at
Western Washington Univ. and hopes to serve the Lord in Asia someday.
So far, her time there has been wonderful. Skype is awesome!

Meanwhile our youngest daughter, Lenea, is preparing to go to
Tanzania, Africa in August, with a mission team from Christ the King
Community Church in Bellingham, WA. They will be working with various
ministries through the local Youth With A Mission Base, which will include
holding medical clinics, working with women and children who are AIDS
survivors, as well as working with children in orphanages. Pray that Lenea
and her team can be the hands and feet of Jesus to the people that they
minister to. Pray that Lenea will grow in her faith and trust in the Lord and
come to know more of God’s heart for all people. This is a big step for her
at 17, and we are so blessed to see her giving of herself.

Skyler (18), though not traveling, is stepping out as well into a new
chapter in his life. He has been attending Whatcom Community College
and come September will be moving out to live in a house with a bunch of
other guys with Campus Christian Fellowship, which serves students at
Whatcom CC and Western Washington University. This new ministry house
will serve as a place for students to gather as well as a place of
encouragement and discipleship for the 5 young men living there. In order
to pay his expenses, Skyler has begun working in the kitchen & deli at The
Markets, a local very nice supermarket in Bellingham. We are so excited for
Skyler and this great opportunity for him to grow in his walk with the Lord
and in independence. Please pray that God will do a mighty work in his
heart and mind during this next season.

And last but not least Julie continues to be the awesome wife and mother she is.

 

Please Pray For:

  1. Greg as he travels in Northern California in October to be the speaker for the Wycliffe Associates Banquet Tour.
  2. God’s guidance and blessing during Nov. & Dec. when Greg travels to the Solomon Islands to do the consultant check of the Book of Acts, Philippians and Colossians.
  3. God to minister through Lenea and her missions team in August as they reach out to the people in and near Arusha, Tanzania, Africa.
  4. Mika while she studies Japanese in Kyoto from June through August.
  5. The continued impact of the Zabana Scriptures.
  6.  Julie and our children, especially when Greg is away.

December Update

Dear friends and partners,

Just a quick note to let you know how things have gone.  I leave for the airport in about an hour.

The printing of the trial editions should be completed this morning and Isaac is headed down to the print shop to pick them up and then he will take them on the ship back to Kia this afternoon.  So of course we are all excited to have 3 more books of the Zabana New Testament complete that people can start using.  Isaac told me that the scheduled readings for this month are in  some of the books that we finished, so they will start being read in the churches immediately.

Please pray that God will speak in a mighty way through his word in Zabana to change hearts and minds of people and bring people to truly know him.

Isaac and I finished getting the computers tuned up and James helped us revive a computer that we mostly dead.  So now we have 3 working computers for the translation office.

Each year when I come I get a chance to spend some time with the worship team of a small church out in the hills of Honiara.  One of the national women who works at the Wycliffe center here is the wife of the pastor of that church.  So I try to bring some new songs to teach them as they are always eager to learn new songs that they can use when leading worship at their church.

On Sunday afternoon I spent a few hours with them teaching them some new music.  Joining me this time was John Havenga, a new Wycliffe translator who arrived recently in the Solomon Islands.  Being a man of many talents he joined in and even played drums for us.

It was a sweet time of worship and it is always a joy to see their strong desire to worship God.  Their ability to learn music quickly and then add their wonderful harmonies really lifts my heart.  Attached is a photo of our time together.

I will close with the verse of one of the songs I taught them.  This is from 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin.

Verse 2 says:

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing;
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.


So I am very thankful for all the Lord has done for us during this time and that we could get so much accomplished.  Thank you all for your support and prayers that enables us to serve the Zabana people.

God bless you each with new insight into his love for you.

Greg

Keeping Up With The Jones: Four Things You Gotta Know!

Web Size Missions Board

 

14 years ago Greg & Julie Jones (& their three children)  responded to God’s call and we sent them with Wycliff Bible Translators to live with the Zabana People in the Solomon islands who had no written language.  Their goal was to learn the Zabana language, create an alphabet and put it into writing and then translate the scriptures into their native language.

#1  It took about 3 years to learn the Zabana language and culture to create an alphabet and put it into a written language.  Living in the jungle, malaria, and lack of modern convinces didn’t stop them this from this first amazing step.

# 2 Greg trained 20 men and 20 women from the Zabana tribe in translation principles to work with him as mother-tongue translators and a lead local Zabana translator Isaac Matezama.

#3 The speed and accuracy of Greg’s translation team has set records.  His literacy program is now being used on the national level in the Solomon Islands by their government.

#4  Of the  6,800+ languages spoken in the world today only 1,275 language groups have access to the New Testament.  The Zabana people now have nearly 50% of the New Testament in it’s final draft form (it’s a 5 draft process)  The books completed are  – Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1 &2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, James.  Acts, Philippians, & Colossians just passed their final edit in December 2012. By May 2013 they hope to have John, Titus, Jude, 1 & 2 Peter finalized.

 

Through the Jones efforts and their team, along with your continued prayers and financial support one more group of people will have the New Testament bible written in their language!

What to pray for:

  • Support Raising – Pray that people will come alongside with monthly support and one-time gifts.
  • Greg & Isaac as they seek God for the right words to use when translating God’s word
  • Health and safety for Isaac and Greg and their families
  • The Zabana Scriptures to lead people to Christ

 

Financial Support

Your can support the Jones family directly through North Coast Church. Make checks payable to “North Coast Church” and in the memo write “Solomon Islands/Jones”, or submit an Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) form (available in the LIVE Lobby or by contacting our finance department, (760) 724-6700).

 

Keep In Touch

For more information and for updates on the Jones’ ministry, visit their blog: GregandJulieJones.wordpress.com. You can also contact them via email at greg-julie_jones@sil.org or send them cards and letters at:

Greg & Julie Jones

P.O. Box 3138

Ferndale, WA 98248

Update #4 From Greg in the Solomon Islands

Dear friends and partners,

Just another quick email to let you know that we finished the final
checking of Colossians yesterday. Hooray! Today Isaac, Lily, Ian and I
worked all day to put in the final changes and corrections. Tonight I am
formatting the trial edition books. Tomorrow the four of us will head
into downtown Honiara to find a print shop that can do the printing of
the books. I really appreciate you prayers as we have had lots of
problems with printing issues in the past at certain stores.

After that I will be working with Isaac to get the translation computers
up and working correctly. James helped me wipe the hard drive of one of
the computers that got hit by that nasty virus last year. So I have
lots of programs to reload. Some of the other translation computers are
having problems as well. So lots to do before I leave.

Then Isaac and I will spend some time making our plan for this next
year, which will include translating the Gospel of John, Titus, Jude,
and 1 & 2 Peter. Tentatively I am planning to return to the Solomons at
the very end of next May for the checking of these new books. So we
have lots of translating to do between now and then.

I have attached 2 low res pictures. One is when we were checking the
Book of Philippians so you can see us in action discussing points with
James. The other is a group shot. Going from left to right starting
with myself you will see Isaac Matezama, our main mother-tongue
translator, David Vunagi, a Zabana man who is the head of the Church of
Melanesia. He was visiting us that morning and got to see for the first
time what translation is like. Damaris, a woman from Kia Village, James
Ashley our translation consultant, Lily Kikolo and then Ian Dika, our
other two mother-tongue translators, Malcolm a man from Kia and finally
Hazel a woman from Baolo Village. Damaris, Malcolm and Hazel came to
help us check the Zabana text.

That is all for now.

Thank you again for all your prayers and support. I couldn’t do this
without you. God’s peace be with ea

ch of you.

Love in Jesus,

Greg

Zabana checking 1

Zabana checking 2