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The correct word is . . .

December 9, 2010

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a quick, small shake of Yobe’s head, and I know that my idea will not work. . .
Five people sit around the table discussing the best way to word a difficult concept. The wording in the first draft is close, but does not really carry the full meaning. After several versions have been discussed, I think that I have a brilliant idea, and say how I think that it would sound best. That is when I see the quick shake of Yobe’s head. It is just a slight double shake, but it gives me the answer. The other guys do say the phrase to themselves and talk about it, arriving finally at the decision that ‘no, it is not right.’ Which I knew already. Sometimes, I do generate a good idea, then there is a gentle “Hmm,” and I know that I struck gold.
Yobe has amazing editing skills. First, he does have that innate sense of what works well in his Onobasulu language. His quick instinctive responses almost always mirror what the group reaches for its final decision.

Second, his memory for detail helps make him our best editor. We will be reading along, and he will remember that we used the same word in another passage. So, he asks us to go back and look at that word. Sure enough, the same word is spelled differently. Therefore, we are able to correct the spelling of the word. Often, he will remember words or phrases from previous chapters, maybe even several days before. He also catches punctuation errors. I often tease him that when we are finished with the translation work, he should go to work for a publishing company as an editor.

Third, Yobe is our best computer person. Now, we have only given him limited training so far, but we do want to give him more training. (Want to come and run a basic computer skills course?)

Last but not least, Yobe applies in his life what he has learned in the Bible school of Bible translation. A couple of months ago, there was a heated discussion in the village about a situation. All of Yobe’s replies were grounded in Scripture, and his comments were to persuade the two sides to act as the Bible says that people should behave. He occasionally preaches on Sunday. Most of those sermons come from the passages that we have been working on – another instance of Scripture being applied directly to everyone’s life. I cannot tell you how these incidents blessed and encouraged my heart and life.

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