Day 5: Distribution of God’s Word in Serbia & Croatia

Last month, in the States, after we had already planned my trip to Serbia and Croatia, and made plans for which days we would do Scripture distribution in which cities, we found out that the pastors of several Roma churches would be away on those days at a conference. We were so disappointed, when we realized we would not have the opportunity to distribute at their churches or meet with them. We tried to think of a way to rearrange our schedule, but it was too tight and we just could not manage it.

But when I got to Serbia, and while we were discussing the issue as a team, the idea came up to see if perhaps we could go to the conference center and ask for just a few minutes to share about the Bible translation work.

As it turns out, the conference is in the same town were we were currently staying, and the organizers invited us to come for lunch during one of their breaks. We went, enjoyed a nice lunch, played a sample from Luke in audio through the conference room sound system, got to see a bunch of pastors in one location, and were able to distribute hundreds of copies of Luke and 50 Bible stories, to a couple dozen pastors for their churches. Amazing! We could not have pulled that off, even if we had planned it. They welcomed us warmly and were excited to get copies of Luke and the 50 Bible stories. As my teammate said, “Wow, it’s almost like God maybe had a hand in that!” 🙂 You can see pictures of that distribution below.

After that we had some time to meet with some of the Roma translators so Pierre from The Word for the World Bible Translators could get to know them better.

Then in the evening, we drove 40 minutes to another city where we went to the evening worship service of a wonderful Roma church there. I was able to introduce the translation of Luke and play chapter 15 for them in audio, another translator spoke about the translation to the church and another Bible translator preached the evening service. We were well received, gave out 25 copies to those in attendance, and left 10 more copies for future needs. Then we had special prayer time for several people in need. Pictures of that distribution are below.

Todd speaking at the Roma church, showing the Gospel of Luke & 50 Bible stories in the Arli language

After driving back to the town were we are staying, as a team we had supper at 9:30 pm! It was a wonderful day and we thank God for the great open doors.

Below is perhaps my favorite picture of the day: when we go to the evening service early, the musicians were practicing. After greeting each other, we showed them the books. One of the young men, S., took one. I noticed that immediately he started reading it. He started at page 1 and was around page 3-4 before worship started, engrossed in what he was reading. Later I asked him if he understood it, and he said, yes, he understood it all. Hallelujah. That is why we do what we do, so that people may read and hear God’s Word, so they can obey and honor His name. Soli Deo Gloria!

Days 1-4: Distributing Roma translations in Serbia & Croatia

Thank you so much for your prayers for my trip. I left Sunday, Sept. 4, out of Kansas City. Everything went very smoothly, until it was time to leave from Atlanta, to Paris. There were problems with the plane, so we had to deplane and go to another terminal for a different plane, but the whole process put us behind schedule more than 5 hours. This meant I would miss my connection in Paris. Thankfully, we were able to change the flight itinerary, but this meant adding an extra flight to Amsterdam.

A requirement for entering Serbia is that I would need to show a negative COVID test that is no older than 48 hours. Because of the tight schedule, that meant I had to take the test in the States Saturday morning before I left in order to get the results in time, and yet have them still valid within the 48 hour limit when I would arrive in Serbia. Under the original schedule, I had a 4-hour cushion for it to still be valid when I arrived in Serbia. Now with the huge delay, I knew it would not longer be valid.

Thankfully, I had purchased ahead of time and brought with me two tests that can be done online with a virtual proctor from anywhere. I took it in the Amsterdam airport (in the Netherlands), tested negative again, and was able to use that proof both to board the plane to Serbia and at passport control when I arrived in Serbia.

I arrived in Serbia 11 hours behind schedule, and my suitcase did not show up. Unfortunately, it has all my toiletries, gifts for the Bible translators I am visiting and 1,500 business cards that we were planning to hand out at the distributions to give people information of how they can access the Bible translations online, in written and audio form. Audio is probably the very best way to distribute the Scriptures among the Roma, even more useful than written texts. I am still waiting for the suitcase to show up, four days later. Please pray it will arrive before I leave the city I am currently in to go to several other towns.

I met up with the new projector coordinator for The Word for the World, Pierre, who drove down from Slovakia, and we’ve had a very good time getting to know each other better and introducing him to the Roma translators. It has also been great to see and hug the translators in person again, after a year and eight months from when I left Croatia the day after Matthew’s motorcycle accident.

Coffee with translators and friends in Serbia
The new project coordinator, Pierre (The Word for the World Bible Translators) meeting with the translators in Serbia

On Tuesday we had a distribution at the house of one of the translators in Leskovac. It was great to have about 35 people come, listen to a presentation of the book we have translated which contains 50 stories from the Bible, the entire Gospel of Luke with explanatory footnotes, and a dictionary of key theological words. We also played an audio sample so they could hear it, and gave out the few business cards we had on hand and told them how they could access the translation online. See picture below.

Luke & 50 Bible Stories in Ari, also playing the audio version through a speaker

At that time, we also had special prayer for a couple who have not been able to have children, and for a grandmother whose children also cannot have children. Just like in Bible times, in the Roma culture it is extremely sad and shameful to not have children.

It was a joy to handout the Gospel of Luke and 50 Bible stories and to have them listen to the audio of Scripture in their heart language. Praise God! Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for the remaining days of travel and distribution.

Boarding flight to Europe

Hello from Atlanta! I’m ready to board my flight for the next leg of my journey, stopping in Paris on the way to Serbia. Things have gone very smoothly so far. Please pray there will be no flight delays and no problem entering Serbia. They have a requirement that I must present a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of landing in Serbia. I have that test, but because of time constraints and the length of the travel time, I arrive there 44 hours after the test was taken so I don’t have much room to spare.

Another prayer request: We plan to visit about a dozen places to distribute the Gospel of Luke and the 50 Bible Stories. We had planned that three or four of these places will be next Saturday in the Chergash language. I just got word that the church we will be working with there cannot meet due to an outbreak of COVID cases, and there are apparently infected people in the villages we were also planning to visit that day. It is the only day we have on our very tight travel schedule, due to work commitments that our translators have. Pray for the Lord’s will to be done, for wisdom in deciding our itinerary, and pray that the Gospel of Luke and the 50 Bible stories will reach the Chergash Roma in Serbia in spite of COVID.

Thanks for praying,

Todd

Bags are packed; I am blessed

My bags are packed. I leave for Serbia tomorrow. Ariela and Daniel gave some of their tithe money to help with Bible translation, so I will be using it to help pay for the 1,500 cards I had printed for the translation team to hand out in Serbia and Croatia. The cards give the web address so people can go online to listen to or read the Gospel of Luke as well as 50 Bible stories from creation to the return of Christ, in four languages spoken by Roma in those countries.

(I know the languages will not be known to you, but if you’d like to see or hear what they sound like, go to http://www.rombib.com or to YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy9hGi7Rc5AHCgOLcOUKerw/playlists)

Thank you for praying for my trip; may God be glorified and His Word honored!

Todd

Our daily prayer calendar for September 2021

And the LORD said to him,
“I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me.”
(1 Ki. 9:3 ESV)

To download this prayer list in a calendar format for printing, click below:

September 1 Pray that COVID travel restrictions into Croatia, Serbia & the US will not hinder our entry or travel over the next two weeks

September 2 Pray we can get all the audio recordings of Luke & the Bible stories in 4 languages uploaded to our website & YouTube

September 3 Pray that the printers in Croatia & Serbia will finish printing Luke and the book of Bible stories (1,500 copies) by Monday, Sept. 6

September 4 Pray Todd can get everything done before leaving for Serbia tomorrow, including final COVID test & packing

September 5 Pray for Todd traveling to Serbia today; for safety, rest on flights, & no delays due to COVID travel restrictions

September 6 Pray Todd can quickly get over jet lag & for safety for translation colleagues driving from Slovakia & Croatia

September 7 Pray we can distribute Luke & Bible stories in Arli & Gurbet languages in various towns in Serbia today through Friday

September 8 Pray for good meetings with Roma pastors & church leaders about working together on the Bible translation

September 9 Pray for safety as we travel many miles by car in Serbia; pray for open doors & divine appointments to share Scripture

September 10 Pray for Pierre as he meets translators, potential translators & church leaders to have wisdom planning next phase

September 11 Pray we can distribute Luke & Bible stories today in the Chergash language & for many to listen to the audio online

September 12 Pray for smooth border crossing into Croatia; pray for Sunday worship in Roma church & distribution of Scripture in Bayash language

September 13 Pray for successful testing out of draft of Luke in Ludari language in Slavonski Brod, Croatia

September 14 Pray Todd’s visit will be an encouragement to our teammates & pastor in Slavonski Brod, Croatia

September 15 Pray we can distribute Luke & Bible stories in print & audio to many in the Bayash language today & tomorrow

September 16 Pray that many Roma will listen to Luke & Bible stories on their phones & share it with many other Roma

September 17 Pray for safety for Todd flying back to the US today, as well as Pierre traveling home to Slovakia; pray for good rest for all of us

September 18 Pray Todd’s mom will get approved for Medicare ASAP to cover her nursing home stay

September 19 Pray for God to show himself strong to our adult children in their jobs

September 20 Pray for wisdom for Pam in home schooling & home managing; praise for a good start for this school year

September 21 Pray we can make good progress to finish Luke & 50 Bible stories in the Ludari language by January 2022

September 22 Pray for all of our children to have hearts like the good soil, to know Christ in salvation & bear much fruit for Him

September 23 Pray for good health for both our moms & for Pam’s mom to get her house packed to be ready to move to Kansas City

September 24 Pray for Todd’s sister’s hand palsy (which came on suddenly) to be healed

September 25 Pray for our believing children to grow spiritually & to daily follow Jesus with all their hearts

September 26 Pray for Matthew to get his prosthetic arm soon & that he can adjust quickly & learn to use it well

September 27 Pray for diligence & good learning for Kirsten this year as a high school sr./dual enrolled in college

September 28 Pray as we give our missions presentation to a group at John Knox Village in KC this morning

September 29 Pray for Bible translator, Nedeljko, to be able to receive two kidney transplants as soon as possible

September 30 Pray for Joy Hill as she adjusts to life back in Australia, for good housing, time with family & ministry work routine

Funeral services; traveling to Serbia & Croatia for dedication of Gospel of Luke & 50 Bible stories in 4 Roma languages

L to R: Daniel (13), Matthew (23), Todd, Todd’s mom Geri Price, Timothy (30), Pamala, Stephen (26), Ariela (10) Kirsten (17), Elizabeth (26)

FAMILY UPDATE

The memorial for Todd’s dad, Max Price, was in Oklahoma City on July 30. We’re thankful that my mom was in good health and able to attend, and that all our kids (except Jonathan in California) were able to attend.

The burial for Pam’s dad, Mal Hughes, was in Dallas on August 13. Again, all the kids (except Jonathan in California) were able to make the trip down, and we also had a mini-family reunion with Pam’s mom, Pam’s sisters, and many of our nieces and nephews. Pictured left is the casket and flag at his burial with military honors.

Todd’s mom is doing fine in the nursing home in Oklahoma City (pictured above with Pam) and it has been good to visit her several times. Pam’s mom is preparing to pack up her house in Dallas and move into a small apartment in Kansas City to be closer to us, and to Pam’s sister, Kim.

Speaking of Kim (pictured above with Pam), it has been such a treat to live close to Kim and family and she and Pam have loved having weekly “sister time” together.

In August we celebrated Ariela’s 10th birthday and Matthew’s 23rd (pictured above)!

TRANSLATION PROGRESS

Drum roll, please! We have now completed the Gospel of Luke, and a separate book of 50 Bible stories with pictures in four Roma languages, and have made audio recordings of them as well. Todd has been putting the text, as well as audio files on a special website for Roma Bible translation and on YouTube. We are so excited for this milestone!

From September 5-17, Todd will be in Serbia and Croatia to meet with all the Roma Bible translators and distribute the printed Gospels and Bible story books, and demonstrate to people how they can listen to the audio recordings on their phones. This will be a very full tour visiting about a dozen locations in the two countries, with 1,500 pieces of printed literature.

It is also a highly strategic time as I will introduce the new project coordinator to all the translators and help him make plans for the second phase of the project as we translate more of the New Testament in five Roma languages. I will continue my full-time work on the Bible translations, but move up to the higher level of being one of the consultants who does the final check of the translations.

We completed the consultant check for the Gospel of Luke in the 5th Roma language (Ludari), logging 199 hours on Zoom over a 10-month period, meeting virtually in the US and Croatia. We will continue to translate Luke & the Bible stories in this 5th language, which is due January 2022.

Please pray that all of us traveling from the US, Slovakia and Croatia can cross the borders without problems from COVID, that all the books will be printed on time, and that we can show dozens of Roma how to listen to the Bible on their phones.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us!
Todd & Pamala Price

Prayer needs for Scripture distribution in September

Renata making the audio recording of 50 Bible stories in the Bayash language

I plan to be in Serbia and Croatia September 5-17. The goal of the trip is two-fold:

  1. We have completed the Gospel of Luke and 50 Stories from the Bible (along with a glossary explaining important terms) in four Roma languages. We will print these and distribute them in the four languages in over a dozen churches or villages during this two-week visit.
  2. We will introduce the new project coordinator to the translators and other Christian workers and pastors in the region. He will take over coordination of the translation project as it moves on to the second phase, and I will become one of the translation consultants which will allow me to give my focus to examining and approving the finalized version of other books of the Bible which are translated in these languages.

As often happens with trips of this complexity, we have already run into challenges in the planning stages and I feel a great need for your prayers and the Lord’s intervention. We want this trip to (as my consultant said the other day) to be a success as defined by the Lord. So, with that in mind, please pray for the Lord’s will to be done in the following:

  1. That the printers in Serbia and Croatia can get the books printed in time for the scheduled distribution (starting Sept. 7)
  2. That we will be able to meet with many churches and in many villages, and distribute the books to many interested Roma.
  3. That we can get the audio recordings of Luke and the 50 Bible stories put online and on YouTube in time for the distributions, and that many will listen to God’s Word through that medium.
  4. That the new project coordinator will have much wisdom from God moving forward about how best to set up the translation teams for translation of the rest of the New Testament in our five Roma languages.
  5. That COVID tests and restrictions will not stand in the way of us crossing borders into and out of Serbia, Croatia and the US.

Thank you for being there for us and for holding us up in prayer!

Todd

Below are the covers in the four languages. The titles are 50 Stories from the Bible and The Gospel of Luke.

Our daily prayer calendar for August 2021

Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today
(1 Kings 8:28, NASB95)

Click below to download the prayer calendar in a format for printing out:

August 1 Pray that all the details will come together for Todd to be able to travel to Croatia & Serbia next month to meet with the translators

August 2 Pray for COVID travel restrictions into Croatia & Serbia to allow easy entry and travel

August 3 Pray for God’s will regarding the possibility of an additional funding source for the Roma Bible translation projects

August 4 Pray for Bible translator, Nedeljko, to be able to receive two kidney transplants as soon as possible

August 5 Pray for our teammate, Joy Hill, as she wraps up her time in Hungary and moves to a new ministry position in Australia

August 6 Pray we can finalize & print copies of Luke & 50 Bible stories in the Chergash language in August & distribute them in September

August 7 Pray we can finalize & print copies of Luke & 50 Bible stories in the Gurbet language in August & distribute them in September

August 8 Today is Ariela’s 10th birthday! Praise God for good friends & for her heart for Jesus.

August 9 Pray we can finalize & print copies of Luke & 50 Bible stories in the Arli language in August & distribute them in September

August 10 Pray Todd’s mom will get approved for Medicare ASAP to cover her nursing home stay

August 11 Pray that the translators can finish recording the audio of 50 Bible stories in the Bayash language

August 12 Today is Matthew’s 23rd birthday! Pray for Jesus’ work in his heart & for him to get full time work in Atlanta

August 13 Pray for a God-glorifying family time & for comfort & eternal perspective, as Pam’s dad’s military burial is today

August 14 Pray for safe travels & safety on the job for Elizabeth & Stephen, & for rich feeding from the Scriptures daily

August 15 Praise God for the very special family & sister time this weekend with Pam’s side of the family

August 16 Pray for God to work in Kirsten’s heart & guide her mind. Praise God she could take summer classes & work

August 17 Pray we can finalize & print copies of Luke & 50 Bible stories in the Bayash language in August & distribute them in September

August 18 Pray our insurance will fully approve an electronic prosthetic arm for Matthew & that it will fit well (first part is due early September)

August 19 Pray for Pam’s mom to have physical & emotional energy as she decides what will be moved to Kansas City & packs it

August 20 Pray for progress for Daniel with his vision therapy (he has an evaluation today) & that he can begin orthodontic treatment soon

August 21 Pray for Joy Hill as she adjusts to life back in Australia, for good housing, good time with family, & good ministry work routine

August 22 Pray the Lord will use us for His glory speaking this morning at Fellowship Bible Church, Oskaloosa, IA

August 23 Pray for wisdom for Pam in home schooling & productivity managing the home

August 24 Pray we can make good progress to finish Luke & 50 Bible stories in the Ludari language by January 2022

August 25 Pray for salvation & spiritual growth for each of our relatives & for translators’ family members

August 26 Pray for time & success reading & taking other training needed for Todd to get credentialed as a Bible translation consultant

August 27 Praise God for all the on-the-ground help from our colleague, Sergej, in Slavonski Brod, Croatia

August 28 Pray for God’s grace in navigating changes in their job descriptions for our Roma Bible translators as we prepare for phase 2

August 29 Pray for strength, wisdom & encouragement for our Slavonski Brod team, Andy, Lim, Sergej & Željka, in Roma ministry

August 30 Pray for continued diligence for Zoki & Stanoja translating Luke in the Ludari language

August 31 Pray that The Word for the World can set up the new infrastructure in Croatia & Serbia to help with our Bible translation projects

Funerals, family & preparation to print Luke and Bible stories

Pam’s mom speaking at the funeral for her husband, Mal Hughes

FAMILY UPDATE

Pam’s dad, Mal Hughes, went to be with the Lord July 6. He had been in a memory care facility in Dallas, TX, for 2.5 years, due to his battle with Alzheimer’s. His funeral was in Denton, TX, July 9, and interment with full military honors will be August 13, at Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery.

We’re thankful that we are in the States and able to attend the services and be together as a family. Now that her husband has passed away, Pam’s mom, Barbie Hughes (pictured above), will be relocating to Kansas City in December to be closer to Pam and her sister, Kim. Please pray for the process of moving her from Cross Roads, TX, to Belton, MO, and the process of downsizing and setting up a small apartment.

Todd’s dad passed away February 11, and his memorial will be held in Oklahoma City at Spring Creek Baptist Church on July 30. Please continue to pray for Todd’s mom, Geri, as she adjusts to life without her husband, Max. We’re grateful that her transition to the nursing home in Oklahoma City has gone well, and that we are in the States so we can visit her.

Daniel and Ariela each enjoyed a week at West Central Christian Service Camp in Missouri. They had fun with friends and cousins, enjoyed outdoor activities and had good Bible teaching. Ariela also had a week of day camp on the topic of Ruth and loyalty, ending in a fun tea party for the girls and their mothers (pictured above), provided by one of her Sunday school teachers.

TRANSLATION PROGRESS

We are approaching our deadline at the end of August for finishing the Gospel of Luke and 50 Bible stories in 4 of the 5 Roma languages (Arli, Bayash, Chergash and Gurbet). Below are the early mockups of the covers in each of the languages. The title is 50 Stories from the Bible and The Gospel of Luke. They will each have about 185 pages and will include 50 stories from Creation to the Return of Christ, giving the overarching storyline of the Bible, the entire Gospel of Luke and a glossary of significant biblical words, which are unfamiliar to the average Roma.

To get the texts ready to print, we have been working on checking spelling, punctuation, consistency in the use of key biblical terms, headings and footnote phraseology, and formatting. Please pray that we can get these printed (anywhere from 100 copies to 700 copies, depending on the language need) and that I will be able to travel to Croatia and Serbia in September for these to be distributed.

For the 5th language, Ludari, we continue to work on Luke, with the goal of finishing it and the 50 Bible stories by the end of January 2022.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support which makes this Bible translation ministry possible. We couldn’t do it without you!
Todd & Pamala Price (Matthew, Kirsten, Daniel & Ariela)

Thinking about Christmas … in July

Manger with hay and swaddling clothes in old stable

LOST (AND FOUND) IN TRANSLATION

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas lately. Recently we have been translating Luke chapters 1-2 in the Ludari Roma language and therefore have been studying a lot about the birth of John the Baptist, and of the Lord Jesus.

We all know the story and are aware that Jesus was placed in a manger after he was born. However, when we came to those verses (2:7, 12, 16) in the Ludari translation, we hit a snag. The translator first used a Croatian word that means “hut”. We pointed out that that was incorrect and suggested another Croatian word. That other word means “manger”, but is rarely used in Croatian and is often misunderstood. When we asked the translators to explain in their own words what it means, they gave a description of an open-sided, covered barn or stable. We explained to them that that was not correct either since the term in Greek is for a feed trough for animals.

My Croatian colleague mentioned that when he was doing research on how the Ludari tell stories in their language, he noticed that the storyteller used a Ludari word (not Croatian) for a wooden food trough. It turns out that many Ludari Roma, generations back, used to specialize in woodwork and often made items from wood, including feed troughs.

We discussed this with the translators and their response was that it would be very strange to put a baby in a food trough. And yes, we explained, that was exactly the point. The King of the Universe, the newborn Messiah, of all people, deserved glory and honor at his birth, but ironically, he was placed in the most humble place imaginable–in a trough for feeding livestock.

We put the Ludari word for wooden food trough in the text in Luke and are excited to have not just an accurate translation and one that is recognized in the Ludari culture, but one that has the shock value to communicate the humility and condescension of our Blessed Savior. So, as always, thank you for praying for wisdom for all of us as we continue to translate the Bible into these Roma languages.

Praying with the translation team before editing the translation of Luke 1-2 in Ludari

FAMILY UPDATE

Now for some pictures that are more appropriate for July: We enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July earlier this month. Pam, Ariela and Daniel, in keeping with our tradition, made a Jello desert and cheesecake to celebrate.

Speaking of celebrating, even though we are saddened by the deaths of Todd’s father and Pam’s father, we celebrate their lives and have so many fond memories. In celebration of Pam’s dad’s life, Pam’s sister Kim (pictured below) bought Casey’s coffee and donuts for them. That is “quintessential Dad” for them since their dad, Mal Hughes, loved coffee, loved donuts, and loved spending time with his daughters. It was an appropriate celebration for Pam and her sister, remembering the things that brought them and their dad such joy.

Here are few updated prayer requests:

  1. Please pray for Pam’s mom, Barbie Hughes, as she prepares to move from Dallas to Kansas City. Pray for the logistics of downsizing and making this major move to a small apartment.
  2. We have gotten preliminary approval from our insurance for Matthew’s prosthetic! He met with the prosthetists who cast a mold earlier this week. It should be ready in about six weeks! Pray that it will be a success.
  3. We’re thankful that we have been able to speak and give our missions presentation at First Family Church in Albia, Iowa, and at Zion Church in Freeport, Illinois recently, and plan to speak next month at Fellowship Bible Church in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Pray that we will be able to speak at various churches, and let us know if you would be interested in having us come speak to your church or group.
  4. Pray as we will be traveling this weekend to Todd’s dad’s memorial in Oklahoma City, July 30, and to Pam’s dad’s military burial in Dallas, August 13.
  5. Pray we can finalize all the corrections for the publishing of the Gospel of Luke and 50 Bible stories in 4 Roma languages (Arli, Bayash, Chergash and Gurbet) in August and get them printed, and that we can successfully plan for Todd to visit Croatia and Serbia in September, to meet with the Roma translators and to help them distribute these books to Roma who speak these languages.

Thank you for praying!

Todd