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Gary’s new (very part-time) ministry – June 2015 Newsletter

What if you had to learn, let’s say, Romanian if you wanted to read the Bible?

Gary says: I have long admired the work of Bible translators, as they do the hard work of taking the Scriptures to the 1.3 billion who do not have the whole Word of God in their own – not in someone else’s – language.

I have just been offered a chance to lend a hand to this process (visit https://unfoldingword.org/). I am now working some hours a week to write a handbook that will help translators around the world. It’s called Door 43, named after Colossians 4:3 – “pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word” (Now, wasn’t that easier than read it in Romanian? “Rugaţi-vă totodată şi pentru noi, ca Dumnezeu să ne deschidă o uşă pentru Cuvânt”).

This handbook will then be translated into 50 languages that are used all around the world. And from those 50 “Portal Languages” (e.g., English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, etc.) it will be possible to translate the Bible into every single language and dialect in the world. In theory, 100% coverage.

To give an example, we know that in Mexico people speak Spanish, right? But did you know that the government recognizes 68 other indigenous languages? That means that plenty of people cannot hear or read the Bible in their first language, and the Bible forever remains a “foreign” book.

So what will happen is this: Christian leaders in Mexico who speak both languages will use an app on their tablets, and bit by bit translate the Bible from Spanish into their own local dialect.

It is amazing that in the 21st century, people in remote areas, without electricity or telephones can start translating the Bibles into their own languages, using kits that donors have supplied (click here).

Wycliffe Associates just tried an experiment: they set up 13 native speakers in a remote area of Asia – and working in 12-hour shifts, they were able to translate half the New Testament in just a month.

We have nine people on our committee, and we are working on Acts. Our task is to go carefully over the text, and to write Translation Notes that will help people in the field to render the Bible accurately. For example, in Acts 16:31, Paul says “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your house.” We have a note about the word “house” – we remind translators that it doesn’t mean the physical building where people live, but rather the people who lived with the Philippian jailor – his extended family, workers, and servants. Now no-one will make the mistake of having the Bible say that “your hut can be born-again”!

Here are two notes that I wrote for Acts 20:7 – On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul spoke to the believers. He was planning to leave the next days, so he kept speaking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we had come together.

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This project will run for 3-5 years, and has the potential of reaching every language on earth, and within a much abbreviated period of time. In fact, they will be flying me to their center in Orlando on June 20, where I will work with a team to write the Romans material in just a week.

Everything we do as missionaries to Costa Rica is aimed toward one goal: “Y este evangelio del reino se predicará en todo el mundo como testimonio a todas las naciones, y entonces vendrá el fin.” – Oops! That’s the Spanish of Matthew 24:14. Better say it in English! “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Please pray for this new open door! Blessings this month, Gary and Karen

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April 2015 Newsletter

On Friday, our community San Francisco de Dos Ríos celebrated its annual Passion Play. To my surprise, while “Jesus” hung on the cross (tied in this version, not nailed; see picture below) a literal earthquake shook the ground beneath our feet.

Then over the weekend I listened to Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, which reminds us that at Jesus’ death, “the curtain of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And the earth was filled with quaking”. The way to God was opened, and the power of the grave was nullified.

All because of a cross.

The Romans regarded “cross” as one of the worst curse-words in their language. Their darkest obscenity was “I in malam maximam crucem!” which roughly translates to “Go and get really badly crucified!” It was a shocking profanity. Yet this curse of Jesus has become for us the way of salvation.

As Bach went on to write: “Ah, Golgotha, hapless Golgotha! The Lord of Glory must wretchedly perish here; the blessing and salvation of the world is placed on the cross like a curse. From the Creator of heaven and earth, earth and air shall be taken away. The guiltless must die here guilty. That strikes deep into my soul! Ah, Golgotha, hapless Golgotha!”

Take away the cross and we might as well dismiss the preachers; call the missionaries back home; tuck the Bible back on the Ancient Literature section of the library; turn Sunday School into playtime. But no! “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” And for those of us who were called to believe in the gospel, “Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (see 1 Cor 1).

We can draw a direct line between the cross of Christ and our work in San Francisco de Dos Ríos. May all God’s children enjoy that same clarity!

(I invite you to read my sermon on the shame of the cross at http://openoureyeslord.com)

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Why Are Missionaries So Expensive?

Reach Global has just published a great article that explains line by line missionary costs. Enjoy! Click HERE

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April 2014 Update

We still need to raise $973 per month, which will bring us to 100% in all areas: living expenses, work expenses, and remaining debt to the mission. We still have a special gift from Cuba that will go to the person who puts us over the top!
Interested donors can contact WorldVenture by clicking www.worldventure.com and looking up our name. Click MAKE A COMMITMENT for a regular donation or GIVE NOW for a one-time donation to our Ministry Account.

Prayer Needs:
1. For Sammy, especially his education
2. For Gary as he balances teaching, writing a Spanish-language commentary on Romans, and serving as academic dean.
3. For Karen as she balances teaching Sammy, ESEPA work, and moving her
mom.

Blessings! Gary and Karen

 

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Update from Karen

We are working through some major family issues. The most worrisome is that Sammy is having trouble in school, due to behavioral issues that can probably be traced to his early environment. Local public schools lack the supervision and education quality we need, and Costa Rica isn’t very open to homeschooling. We are further pressured by limited resources and time to implement a decision. Please pray for God’s wisdom, strength, and provision.
Then there is my mom’s health. Thelma broke her knee about 2 months ago, and she came to Costa Rica for a month with us during her recovery. Continue reading

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December 4 update – on the verge of returning to Costa Rica!

Dear friends, As of six weeks ago, we needed to raise $1400 per month before we could return to Costa Rica.

As of today we need to raise only $828/mo!

Thanks to our new donors: Bill and Karen, Brandie, the Johnsons!

Gary is going to Costa Rica for graduation, and Karen will follow; she is spending a couple of weeks with her mother, who is recuperating from a hospital stay.

If you were ever considering donating to our work, this is the key moment to do so, so that we will go at 100% supported!

And again, whoever puts us over the top will receive a special gift from Cuba!

Interested donors can contact WorldVenture by clicking HERE

Blessings! Gary and Karen

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October 16 update

Dear readers, many blessings!

It’s only October, but, may we ask for an early Christmas gift?

As our readers know, we lost a great deal of support in the latter months of 2012. So that we could survive on the field, WorldVenture kept paying our salary.

Now we need to raise some thousands of dollars in order to settle accounts with our mission agency, and we want to quickly clear it up.

Every year, churches give us Christmas gifts. Whether you are a supporting church or not, would you consider a special donation of $500 or $1000?

The simplest route is to send a check to WorldVenture, 1501 W. Mineral Ave., Littleton CO 80120, and state that it is for “Gary Shogren 1269 Receivable-2012 Under Support”.

General Fundraising Update

We need to raise $1080 more of monthly support before we can officially return to Costa Rica. There are several churches with which we are in contact, and some individuals, so that figure will probably go down over the next few weeks. Nevertheless we want to push hard to return to our field in 2013.

Please pray about how you can stand behind us and our ministries in Central America.

Interested donors can contact WorldVenture by clicking HERE

En Cristo, Gary and Karen Shogren

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