Bislama Writers’ Workshop Report
Thanks for your prayers and for passing the word to others to pray. The Lord Jesus greatly blessed our writer’s workshop, supported in part by Langham Literature. The sessions were well received, but most importantly, the participants’ faith and courage for work on the “Vanuatu Bible Commentary” (VBC) grew, even alongside our warnings that this was a very demanding project! Also, the commitment of the Principal of Talua Ministry Training Centre, the leading theological institution of the country, and the teaching staff of the college, are more excited and committed than ever to producing Bible commentaries. Five men who were sent by their church leaders to be involved in the project arrived knowing nothing about the VBC, but they left with a petition to be allowed to work on the commentary.
The workshop focused on helping participants understand their own languages in relation to English and their own vernaculars, especially as far as translation into Bislama goes. We also discussed the state of standardisation of Bislama spelling and expression. Rosemary led this portion of the workshop, since she is our linguist. It was the lion’s share of the workshop, since everyone needs both the skill and confidence to write in Bislama. It was eye-opening and exciting for the participants to get to know their own national language better from a linguistic perspective, and to have light shed on their own questions and problems with the language. About 1/4 or 1/3 of the workshop was devoted to how to write Bible commentary, and what sort of Bible commentary we are hoping to write, that is, one that is tied to the text and serves preaching biblical, Christ-centred messages.
So, thanks so much for praying, but don’t stop now! The success of the workshop raises people’s expectations, which means more intense work from the VBC team. Pray the Lord gives us wisdom for guiding the venture, and grace to all who have begun working on their commentaries. Different individuals or groups are getting started on: Psalms 1-15; Proverbs 1-10; Haggai; Jonah; Ruth; Esther; Joshua; 1 Peter; 1,2,3 John; 2 Peter; Galatians; 1 Thessalonians; as well as the works nearly completed: Philemon, Philippians, Colossians, Mark.
Thanks again for thinking of us and praying for us.
Andrew & Rosemary Williamson