SPEAKING TO HEARTS
One of Megan Barton’s first memories was having the strong desire to learn about other cultures and languages. God gifted her in linguistics and she excelled in English and Spanish in school. She says, “God used my appetite for learning and desire to connect with people cross-culturally to lead me in the direction of Bible translation.”
Megan was recruited by Pioneer Bible Translators, which led her to pursue training at GIAL. When asked about how GIAL prepared her for ministry, she enthusiastically said, “Never before had I had classes that were so relevant!” Megan graduated with her master’s in applied linguistics in 2009 and went on to become a translation facilitator for the Kwere Bible translation project in Tanzania. She has taught linguistics on the field, drawing much from the for and content of the GIAL class structure and resources. The Cross-Cultural Teaching Seminar also assisted her in balancing classroom learning with practical application in leading training cross-culturally.
When she joined the project, the Gospels through Romans had already been completed, so Megan jumped into the remainder of the New Testament and exegetically checked the other books until the translation was printed in 2015. In 2014, the Jesus Film was done in Kwere, and Faith Comes By Hearing partnered with their team to publish the New Testament as a dramatized recording.
Megan is now working closely with three national translators to mentor and train them further in translation principles to equip them in scrutinizing drafts of texts. She also works in other facets of the translation process, including drafting, field testing, peer checking, and consulting. The team is currently working their way through the Old Testament and planning to publish the Torah by the end of the year.
Megan is excited about her continued work serving the Lord in Tanzania and says, “I consider it a great privilege to be able to be involved in communicating God’s limitless love to people in the language that speaks to their hearts.”
HEARTBROKEN BY BIBLE POVERTY
Michael Barton felt the call to cross-cultural service as he was completing his preaching degree at Kentucky Christian University. “I felt heartbroken when I discovered for the first time that there were Bibleless people in the world.” He prayed for the Lord’s direction, completed an internship in Guinea, West Africa with Pioneer Bible Translators, and was hooked on the idea of translating God’s Word for a Bibleless people group. Because he needed training to bring the Bible to one of those people groups, God led Michael to GIAL to study for a master’s in applied linguistics, which he completed in 2008.
“I still reflect on what I learned in classes [at GIAL], especially Translation and Semantics,” Michael states. He is currently working on exegesis and training in Tanzania and has had multiple opportunities to use his training in his work. GIAL was also a place for him to forge friendships, which resulted in future contacts for field work and ministry support. Michael appreciates GIAL because all the students there have a true desire to study and have many similar goals and interests.
After completing studies at GIAL, Michael became a translation facilitator for the Vidunda Bible translation project in Tanzania and works with three national translators who trained with The Word for the World. He mentors them as they become more skilled in exegesis. He also checks drafts and plans the next steps in the translation process. The group recently completed the translation of the Torah. Michael is also working with SIL’s Scripture App Builder to create new Scripture apps in local languages.
The Bartons are partnering with the Seed Company to complete the translations of the Old Testament in the Vidunda and Kwere languages. Presently, they are working on translating Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1–2 Samuel, and Psalms. In August, they will be conducting a workshop on Psalms before they begin the translation work. The Bartons also plan to host an ethno-arts workshop to equip local church leaders in scripture impact.
Michael and Megan ask the GIAL community to pray for the national translators and their families to be protected against sickness, discouragement, and attacks from the enemy. They also ask for their own family to be lifted up to the Lord in prayer for rest, comfort, courage, and wisdom in parenting their three daughters.
GIAL, soon to be Dallas International University, remains committed to preparing students to cross language and culture barriers with the Word of God. Our name is changing. Our focus and purpose are not changing. Your continued financial and prayer partnership is critical to our being able to educate these ‘harvest workers’ at the lowest possible cost. Sometimes, even our low tuition is not low enough and students need additional help through scholarships. Please pray with us that God will provide the needed funds in this area as well.
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The Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics.