BB July 2016
July 4th 1986, exactly 30 years ago as we write this letter, in Dayton, Texas, Felton and his family were packing the truck and moving to Waxhaw, NC. He was beginning his assignment with Wycliffe Bible Translators, serving in the aviation department at JAARS.
JAARS exists to make Bible translation and language development possible, especially in the most remote and difficult places on earth. They do that by enabling locally-appropriate and sustainable solutions in transportation, technology, media, and training.
Sometimes, their boots are on the ground (or in the air, or on the water). Other times, they provide expertise, training, logistical support, research and development, project management or funding. In all cases, they are working hand-in-hand with global field partners to identify, design, test, refine and implement solutions that can be sustained going forward.
You can learn more about JAARS by visiting their website jaars.org. There is a place for you in Bible Translation. You will find 26 pages of service opportunities, everything from an Academic Administrator to a Youth Worker, when you visit Wycliffe’s website.
The JAARS Center
For Felton “his boots have been on the ground” in the aviation department. In the words of Cameron Townsend, founder of JAARS, SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators, “Airplanes and radios don’t just make translation easier; they make it possible.”
Felton manages the JAARS Aviation financial budget, and JAARS/SIL aviation insurance worldwide. Over the past three months he has spent his time pouring over more than 650 rows on his spreadsheet as he has taken the information provided to him by the training instructors and section leaders and developed the 2017 Fiscal Year budget.
Rachel’s boots are also on the ground as she serves as Human Resources Financial Liaison (HRFL) in her office located on the JAARS Center. As an applicant has committed to follow God’s leading and joins Wycliffe Bible Translators, each is joined by a member care team who guides them through all the elements of the pre-field process. Rachel is a vital part of the member care team that assists new members with all things financial; this involves making certain they have an accurate and up to date ministry budget at all times.
Preparation by the HRFL team for the implementation of a major financial system change within Wycliffe USA has been stressful throughout the past few months. For us personally, this change has increased our required ministry budget 7%. In the past year, our partners’ monthly gifts have averaged 90% of this new ministry budget. As God continues to provide us with good health, we plan to continue our ministry. We are praying for new financial partners. Information is available at the bottom of this letter for any of you God may be leading to partner with us.
Rachel has been intrigued by translators’ stories since she was first introduced to Wycliffe in 2008. One of the highlights of her jobs is getting their newsletters, watching how God provides the funds they need before they can leave for their first assignment. After they leave, she gets to keep in touch.
Here is a story, used by permission, from Andrew and Elizabeth Roberts serving in Papua New Guinea. Andrew is an aviation mechanic which means that he crossed paths with Felton, as well, when he did his pre-field orientation at JAARS.
Blurred lines appeared on the page…the press plate was broken again. Time to call the welder. I received a page to come to the maintenance office. As I walked in, I was handed a part and asked if I could repair it. Looking it over, I was fairly certain that it would not be a problem. “What do you need it for?” I asked. “It’s for the local printing press. We are working on Scripture portions that are due to be delivered for a Scripture dedication. We’ve been running day and night, and now my guys are standing around waiting.” Trying to figure out the quality needed on the repair, I asked, “How strong does it need to be?” “Very. This part holds the part that impacts *claps hands together* the pages. So??? Can you have it done quickly?” “Yeah, I’ll either have it welded up before the end of the day, or I’ll make a new one.” I got right to work grinding out the cracked areas, removing the old welds, and re-machining the stem for proper fit. After 4 hours, it was finished. As I looked over this critical part of the printing press, which literally has a direct impact on God’s Word (pun intended), I remembered someone once mentioned that printed words are simply tattoos on dead trees. Another person said that trees look at books and smile knowing that there is life after death. The Bible says “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV The tattoos that we give trees are not simply dead words on dead trees but are alive and active on trees which live on and are used by God to impact the hearts of those who flip through their pages.
Prayer and Praise
- Praise – Felton’s son Aaron and his wife Daphne have completed their masters programs.
- Praise – Rachel’s son had good results from back surgery in March.
- Praise – The Men’s and Women’s Bible studies that Felton & Rachel facilitate are doing well.
- Pray – for the approximately 180 million people who need Bible translation begun in their language.
- Pray – as travel plans for our trip to Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas in October come together. We will be visiting family, friends and partnering churches during this trip; we are planning to visit Dallas, the Denton area and Longview in April.
Contact Felton and Rachel