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  • Writer's pictureTim Robinson

Robinson Ministry update – 22nd Sept 2019

Good morning all!

The rains feel like they are easing off over the last week or so, actually having a few days in row sometimes without much of a downpour! Dry season is on its way!

Tim has been away again for part of this week. He drove to Niger State, to the same area as his last trip. This was mainly a delivery trip, delivering a couple of people who are now going to be based out there. It was also a chance to check in with the others who had already moved there a couple of weeks ago, also great to take one of our colleagues from the finance office to visit the place and meet the project staff. It did mean four days of back to back driving long hours. Thankfully he made it a large chunk of the way back yesterday and arrived home around 11am on Saturday. Please pray for good times of rest and renewal before he travels to Kaduna State on Tuesday to run training for a language committee.

The office has been busy this last week with four teams of translators (each team working with a different language) and their advisors gathered for a discourse workshop. Discourse is a fascinating area of linguistics that helps to make sure that translated scripture sounds natural and really communicates well. If you have ever read something in an English version of the Bible and found it awkward to follow or just written in a way that does not fit at all with how you might naturally express something then you have probably struggled with a discourse issue!

These issues can go way beyond just sounding awkward however. There is a Nigerian language that seems to have a pattern in their own stories where the main character is introduced and then just known as he or she without using their name. So for them to read a story about Jesus where his name is repeatedly used will give them the impression that he must not be the most important person in the story!

How about this English example of a potential discourse issue from Genesis 12:10 – “Once upon a time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abraham to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner.” Does that sound like a real event that really happened? The phrase that is really there (in the New Living Translation) is “At that time”. Don’t “once upon a time” and “at the time” mean more or less the same thing? But we don’t want to give people the unconscious impression that the events in Genesis are a fairy story! Not understanding these sorts of rules in a language could easily result in very misleading or even completely incorrect renditions of the scriptures in that language.

Now of course there is a whole lot more to it than that and I (Ali) really know very little about it! But I am so glad that these teams are having an opportunity to gain the skills needed to work out the rules for their languages so that the scripture they translate will speak clearly to those who read it.

We are hearing about a few security concerns around Jos recently. Please pray that we will be wise in the precautions we take but that we will also fully trust in the Lord.

If you are able to take a few minutes to pray for us, we would be very grateful!


  1. The opportunity for these teams to develop the skills to improve their translations.

  2. Tim made it back from his road trip safely!


  1. Space to rest for Tim

  2. Focus and good understanding for the teams through the 3 and a half week discourse workshop

  3. Wisdom and peace in regards to security issues

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