Archives

Subscribe!

New web address

Please note that we now have a new address on the web: ‘www.pillingers.net’.

The old address (pillingersj.co.uk) will still reach us for a while; but if you have that as a bookmark or favourite, please update it to the new one as soon as possible.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual!

Welcome!

We’re Steve and Johanna Pillinger, and we work with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Wycliffe is a Christian charity that aims to make the Bible available in every language in the world, so that people can read it in their own heart-language.

Steve is Publishing Production Co-ordinator for our work in sub-Saharan Africa. He liaises with typesetters and publishing specialists across the continent to prepare the translations produced by our teams for printing as Bibles and New Testaments.

Johanna works with Wycliffe South Africa in Member Care, being available to assist fellow members in all areas of life other than their actual work.

For more info, see the About Us page. Meanwhile… enjoy!

House sold!

Yes, folks, if you haven’t heard already, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve sold our UK house!

This was a real answer to prayer, as the UK housing market has been slowing down recently, and we had dark moments when we wondered if we’d have to wait many more months before a buyer could be found. But God took a hand in a wonderful way. A young man came to view the house, and you can imagine our surprise when we found he was a school friend of Stephen and Jen’s whom we know quite well! To cut a long story short, our house was at the top of his shortlist, and with his father’s help he was able to put up the deposit and obtain a mortgage. So the house will be going to someone we know: to a friend of Stephen’s who he’ll be able to stay with—in his old home—when he comes to visit friends in Thame. We’re delighted that he’ll have this option when the rest of his family are thousands of miles away in South Africa.

So with the house sold, it’s all systems go for the big move! We’ve gone ahead and booked our flights for 3rd August, though they may have to be changed if completion of the sale is delayed. And now we’re moving into the packing phase, finalising arrangements with the removal company, starting to deal with all the notifications, cancellations and paperwork that needs to be done, and so on. In between other things we still have a number of farewell visits with supporters, plus the ongoing red tape to be untangled with our house sale and purchase. (We recently had over 60 pages of documents to initial or sign with a UK notary public to finalise the purchase of our house in South Africa!)

So, we’ll be busy! We’d very much value your prayers for organisation and endurance over the next six weeks. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Website up and running again!

Thanks for the many kind enquiries about our missing website! We’ve finally tracked down the fault (it wasn’t entirely ours!), and we’re back in business.

In addition, we have a new web address: www.pillingers.net. We feel this is more appropriate than our old one — pillingersj.co.uk — now that we will be based in South Africa.

The old address will still reach us for a while; but if you have that as a bookmark or favourite, please update it to the new one as soon as possible.

Otherwise, normal service has been resumed!

ALL CHANGE!

It’s been a while since you heard from us, as we’ve been hopping from country to country for work, weddings and farewells. For Steve, that’s meant Kenya, South Africa, Thailand and Holland in just a couple of months! Quite a shake-up to the system.

So, what’s happening? Are we still going to South Africa later this year?

Move to South Africa

Yes, we are still planning to move—at the end of July, if we can sell our UK house on time. (Please pray about this!) Our new house in South Africa is to the south of Johannesburg, with good access to the airport and internet, which is important for Steve’s work. We’ll also be within reach of the South African Wycliffe office, for Johanna’s work.  If we can’t sell our UK house, we’ll consider other options, like letting it; but for now we continue to trust that the right buyer will come at the right time!

Leaving home for the last time

Family

As you know, Jen (23) married Warren Melnick in February in South Africa. They’re now living in Johannesburg, in Warren’s house—now their house! Warren works with an international mission overseeing programmes in Africa. For the meantime Jen is working with Warren; but they are still considering their long-term future.

Stephen (24) continues to work in Sheffield, in the north of England. His focus is to serve people on the fringes of the church; and he pays the bills with ‘tent-making’ jobs. He will miss having his familiar parental home “down south” in Thame! We’d value your prayers for him.

So… big changes for all four of us!

 

Steve’s work

(Steve:) For the past decade I’ve worked at the Wycliffe H.Q. near High Wycombe. I’ve had the privilege of typesetting the first New Testaments and Bibles in many languages—mostly NTs, and mostly from West African countries. There are still hundreds of languages in Africa that need a translation of the Bible; and over 2,000 worldwide. The job is not yet done!

I worked with the translators, many of them Africans. It is increasingly the case in Bible translation worldwide that nationals are translating the Bible in their own country, or becoming missionaries. This global change is a very exciting development, helping to bring Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Vision 2025 to completion:

Our vision is, with partners worldwide, to see a translation project started in every language that needs one by the year 2025.

Thailand: Looking at new ways of publishing Scripture

And so, experienced members are being asked to change, and take up supportive roles to mobilise the next generation. I have been appointed Publishing Production Co-ordinator for sub-Saharan Africa. This involves matching Scripture publishing needs with available expertise; training national typesetters; and much more! It will mean travelling and communicating with folk in many African countries where Bible translation is taking place.

This is why we need to move back to Africa. It’s also why I went to meetings in Thailand—where we discussed the way the publication of Scripture is changing, and how to respond to those changes. “Publication” no longer only means printing stuff. With the internet, mobile phones, etc., there are many new ways to bring God’s word to people everywhere.

Johanna’s work

(Johanna:) For the past two years I’ve worked at the Wycliffe Centre part-time. My job? To help fellow members build a team of supporters, who will participate in the work of Bible Translation through their support. The way people give and receive has changed over the past 5–10 years, and I helped colleagues adjust to those changes.
But I am changing assignment too! I’ll have a wider role with Wycliffe South Africa, working in Member Care. This means supporting Wycliffe members at home and overseas on a personal level. Missionaries experience higher than normal stress levels with travelling, constant changes, illnesses, etc. They need to find their own income, and come up with creative solutions for their children’s education. With over twenty-seven years of experience of all these and other issues, I was considered a good candidate. I look forward to it immensely!

But a few things won’t change:

1. He remains constant, and His love and faithfulness don’t change!

The Maker of Heaven and Earth, the sea and everything in them, the Lord, who remains faithful forever.” (Psalm 146:6.)

2. Our calling to see Scripture translated in every language that needs one; and

3. —our gratitude to all of you who are participating in this exciting work through your support! During May, June and July we hope to see as many of you as possible before we leave.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

Off to Thailand…

Tomorrow a sudden change of gears as I fly to Thailand for an international ‘Publishing Summit’.  I’ll be in Chiang Mai, where we have a regional centre, for ten days, returning on 15th March. In this rapidly-changing era of new technologies, Wycliffe leaders are coming together to shape future policy for creating and distributing publications of all kinds by scripture translation projects worldwide. These will be crucial meetings, which will lay the groundwork for my future work in Africa as part of a global strategy to publish God’s Word in both old ways and new to reach every single language community that is still without it.

I’m expecting to learn a lot, and maybe also contribute a little; so I’ll be able to tell you more about what’s involved when I return. Meanwhile I would value your prayers for safe travelling, energy after the busy period just past, and above all that God will use these meetings to set us on the right path for the years ahead.

A house in Africa

If you’ve seen the film Out of Africa, you’ll remember the famous opening line of Karen Blixen’s autobiography: “I had a farm in Africa…”

Well, the Pillingers will soon have a house in Africa!

We spent a lot of time during the two weeks before Jen and Warren’s wedding house-hunting. Armed with unknown addresses and a satnav, we cruised the roadworks on the Johannesburg motorways, usually getting lost but occasionally reaching our destination. Our prayer, wildly optimistic though it seemed, was that we’d be able to find the right house during this short period and start the purchase process now, in order to avoid a long time ‘in limbo’ after our arrival in South Africa in July.

Amazingly, the Lord answered our prayer at the end of the first week! After seeing half a dozen houses that mostly didn’t interest us at all, we drove up to the rather unique house you can see in the picture. It’s in Alberton, to the south of Johannesburg. Within a few minutes we both knew that ‘this was the place’. It met almost all the requirements we’d listed: a large office for me; a separate flatlet for colleagues from other African countries who will work with me from time to time on scripture publications; and an office for Johanna, who will work partly from home, partly commuting to the Wycliffe South Africa offices to carry out her member care responsibilities. The third bedroom and the flatlet will also give Johanna the space to practise hospitality, something she loves doing; and the attractive, well-maintained garden will be a place for weary travellers to rest.

The upper windows you see in the top picture are not a second floor: they light up the living room below. Overall the floor area is not much bigger than our present house; but there’s room for everything we’d need. The house is a little run down; but for that reason we were able to agree a price considerably lower than our upper limit, which will leave funds available for repairs and improvements. (By the way, don’t be misled by the thatch: in Africa thatch means a cheap roof, not a luxury feature!)

If all goes according to plan, the house will be ours by 1st July — so our belongings can be moved straight there from our UK house when we move.

Please praise God with us for yet another indication of His hand over this move.

Printer logo Print this post (PDF)

HP logo Or, get HP Smart Web Printing


WEDDING IN THE SUN

In a wonderful open-air ceremony on February 19th at Leopard Lodge above the Hartbeespoort Dam in South Africa, our daughter Jen (23) married Warren Melnick (26).

The setting was breathtaking, and so was the bride. It was a tremendous privilege for me to walk down the aisle with Jen, surrounded by the glories of God’s creation. At the front I handed our daughter over to Warren, happy in the knowledge that God had brought them together. As they took their vows, the sun broke through the clouds and fell on the couple; a butterfly came to rest on a bouquet of flowers. A cat casually strolled past. It was a joyful, spontaneous occasion.

The ceremony was followed by the reception in the large thatched restaurant of the lodge, with around 100 people there. Most of them knew Warren, but not Jen; so as father of the bride I did a short slide presentation on “Who is Jen?”, showing some long-buried pictures from her chequered past. Stephen, as one of the groomsmen, delivered an excellent speech advising Warren on how to deal with his sister! But though most of the guests were from Warren’s side of the family, Jen had relatives and friends there from six different countries: Rwanda (matron of honour), Hong Kong (bridesmaid), England (us), Kenya (honorary aunt), Holland (relatives) and South Africa (friends). We felt this was a fitting reflection of her multi-cultural background.

The couple, now on honeymoon, will come to the UK for a reception at the Wycliffe Centre on 26th March for the many folk who could not make it to South Africa. While over here they will have interviews with a small organisation involved in peace building and community development based on Christian love and co-operation. It is this kind of work, focusing on African communities, that they are considering for the future. In the meantime they are staying in the house Warren already had in Johannesburg while he continues his work supervising church planting projects in Africa.

In the run-up to the wedding, we were warmly welcomed by Warren’s parents, Rose and Mike Melnick. We stayed with them for two weeks, and when Stephen, the bridesmaids and others started arriving, their house was overflowing! We are deeply indebted to them for all the help they gave Jen and Warren in making this fantastic wedding possible.

Printer logo Print this post (PDF)

HP logo Or, get HP Smart Web Printing


The writing on the wall (or board)

Yes, folks, it’s really happening! A For Sale sign has gone up outside our house, where we’ve lived for the past 13 years. It’s hard to believe! All of us found this picture shocking; but Stephen most of all. Jen and we two parents are moving on to pastures new; but Stephen is staying here in the UK and losing his family home. Do pray for him. He’s already strengthening his ties with Christian families in the Sheffield area so as not to be totally deprived of home comforts!

There have been quite a few viewings since the sign went up in early February. No offers yet, but the estate agents report positive feedback, and are confident it will be sold within our time-frame.

Meanwhile we’re all trying to adjust our minds to the end of an era!

Printer logo Print this post (PDF)

HP logo Or, get HP Smart Web Printing


Taking to the air

The Pillingers will very soon be taking to the air!

On Sunday 30th January I (Steve) will be flying to Nairobi en route to South Africa for our daughter Jen’s wedding. I’ll be in Kenya for a week to attend annual staff meetings with my new colleagues in our Africa Area administration, to which I am now assigned. This has worked out very well: I’m delighted to have this early opportunity to meet and chat with the people I’ll be working with in years to come.

Then on Friday 4th February, Johanna and I will both take to the air—Johanna from Heathrow and me from Nairobi—flying to Johannesburg, where we’ll be for the two weeks leading up to Jen and Warren’s wedding. Johanna will be able to spend time with Jen in the run-up to the wedding; and we’ll both be doing some house-hunting for a long-term home after our move in July. We’ll also be meeting our future colleagues in Wycliffe South Africa, with whom Johanna will be working in Member Care.

The 19th February, of course, is THE BIG DAY! Stephen will be flying out from Manchester to join us on Wednesday 16th; and after the ceremony itself on the Saturday we’ll all be staying at Leopard Lodge, not far from Johannesburg, with a number of other close relatives and friends. On the Sunday we’ll enjoy breakfast together before the happy couple head off on honeymoon. This will give Jen a little longer with friends and family who have travelled all the way from England and Holland for the occasion.

Because of our different arrangements, it has worked out that Johanna will return to the UK on 22nd February, while I will be there a couple of days longer, returning on the 24th. This will leave time to tie up any loose ends regarding house-hunting or future work arrangements.

But after I return, there will be no rest for the wicked! (Or, as I’d prefer to say, the conscientious!) A little over a week later, on 5th March, I’ll be leaving for Thailand, DV. This will be for a so-called ‘Publishing Summit’ of colleagues worldwide involved in typesetting and publishing of all kinds, to discuss the way ahead as we seek to meet the goals of Vision 2025. I’ll be in Chiang Mai, where we have a regional centre, for ten days, returning on 15th March. These will be crucial meetings, which will lay the groundwork for my future work in Africa as part of a global strategy to publish God’s Word in both old ways and new to reach every single language community that is still without it.

From mid-March the UK Pillingers will be grounded for a while (though not idle!—we’ll be selling our house, visiting our partners across the country, and preparing for our move in July); but the South African Pillinger — Jen (now Melnick!) — will take to the air in late March, returning to the UK with Warren for the UK celebration of their wedding on 26th. This will give an opportunity for family and friends in the UK and Holland who were unable to come to South Africa to rejoice with them and wish them well.

So there in a nutshell you have the movements of the airborne Pillingers over the next couple of months. Please thank God with us for the way all these journeys, meetings and celebrations have dovetailed together; and pray that we may be aware of His presence, blessing and enabling throughout.

Printer logo Print this post (PDF)

HP logo Or, get HP Smart Web Printing


Burunge booklets dedicated

Earlier this year I typeset three booklets in the Burunge language of Tanzania: the books of Acts, James and Revelation. Right now I am finalising the book of Genesis. It was a great joy to hear recently of the dedication service the Burunge team held to celebrate the publication of the books I had done, plus four others that had appeared previously: 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

The dedication took place in the village of Goima in northern Tanzania. It was held on the football field, which was right next to the weekly market location, so throughout the day many people passing by came over to find out what was happening. There were representatives from various Christian denominations, government officials, and even an honoured guest from the Muslim community. After the introductions, the choirs began to perform.  Local church choirs had been asked to prepare new songs from the texts of the newly translated Scripture portions.  Their joy was contagious as they danced and sang, accompanied by calabash and friction drums.

Johanna and I were struck by how similar the people look to the Rendille in Kenya. Both are Cushitic groups, and the picture of the women singing—their features and their bead decorations—could easily have been taken of their Rendille counterparts!

Later one of the Burunge pastors preached a message from the newly-published book of 1 Timothy. It was obvious that he had the crowd’s complete attention. One older man sat listening with tears rolling down his cheeks. Pastor Doe clearly explained the Gospel and told of God’s great love for all people. The sermon was also translated into Swahili for non-Burunge speakers.

Two men examining the Burunge book of Acts, which Steve typeset

To close the event, portions of the new books were read aloud by members of the community.  All the church leaders then gathered together, prayed over the books, and dedicated them to Lord. After the dedication, people were able to purchase their own copies from a book table.

Paul Hefft, the leader of the Burunge translation team, concludes: “Praise the Lord for a fantastic celebration and an opportunity to thank our Lord for His work among the Burunge people! Pray that the Lord would use these Scriptures mightily to strengthen Burunge Christians. Pray also that, in turn, they would boldly proclaim what God has done in their lives so others would come to know Him.”

For a fuller description of the event and further information about the Burunge translation project, follow this link.

Printer logo Print this post (PDF)

HP logo Or, get HP Smart Web Printing