Bookshelves Full

By Rachel Greco

The translator meant to say, “I’m going away for two weeks, and I’m taking my wife with me.” Instead, he told the chief, “I’m going away for two weeks, and I’m taking your wife with me.” A little change in pitch or tone can make a huge difference!

One translator in Southeast Asia reported that he didn’t understand why a friendly village chief became hostile. Later, by utilizing Speech Analyzer software, he discovered that the language he was learning was tonal. As he thought back to when his relationship with the chief went sour, he realized his mistake.

Participants at Check-IT-Out, held several times a year on the JAARS campus, hear similar stories from missionaries who have served around the world. They describe how various kinds of technology—infrastructure, field and systems engineering, language and app software, and project management—have helped their work succeed.

Kirk with some of the participants

Kirk Bleavins, who attended a Check-IT-Out conference three years ago, now works at JAARS as director of technology and business solutions, aiding each department to find and implement the right technology to best do their jobs. Kirk ruminates on his own Check-IT-Out event, “It was fun to find out that missionaries have been dragging portable computers into the field ever since they were available. So instead of missions being slow to adopt technology, it has actually been quick to adopt it.”

At this event God first opened Kirk and his family’s eyes to the necessity of Bible translation. He says, “Before [Check-IT-Out], I had very little concept of what Bible translation was, or its impact. I guessed that someone must translate the Bible. It just didn’t really register for me—the need or the impact. So it was cool to see the impact of Bible translation, how it really can transform a community and how there are so many people without something that we have bookshelves full of.”

Kirk now teaches various sessions at Check-IT-Out, sharing his passion for Bible translation and technology with others.

And people are responding.

One person who attended the most recent Check-IT-Out said, “It was a great conference. I feel changed for sure. I really liked the practical messages such as, that we are all called [to missions].” Another participant in this particular conference loved hearing from people who are already on the field or have been in the past and the things they have experienced. Three couples who attended this event are pursuing involvement in this work and another participant would love to become involved.

Participants playing with some IT tools

If something besides technology causes your heart to race, there are many other ways you can help put Bibles into people’s hearts and lives!