John Tan

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Latest Updates from John Tan

22 November 2023

Trenem Tingting Kos (Train your Mind Course) goes out to Epi

Loui Maki has been a trainer of the Vanuatu based Trenem Tingting course for several years now, but his Epi Island brother, John Sethy is new to the job. John’s enthusiasm and Loui’s teaching experience were a great combination in a recent trip they made together to the west side of their home island, Epi.

Responding to the invitation from the Presbyterian church of Vanuatu on Epi to run three mornings of teaching for the delegates at their conference, they added on two more ‘gigs’: a training time for Sunday School teachers in their home villages, and speaking at the local high School where Loui’s brother works.


In each place they used the modules they have previously taught at the Trenem Tingting course, teaching the Big Story of the Bible and the principles of critical thinking and how that can be applied to life and to good Bible reading.
They made good use of the visual aids they had made before they went, showing the basic method for processing something one hears or sees or reads, namely, ‘Stop and Think’, ‘Analyse’ and lastly, ‘Work out a Conclusion’. Loui reported that people were quick to realise that they often don’t follow those steps and so run into problems. He had to stop the many participants who wanted to volunteer personal stories because he wanted them to have time to practise the right way! He led them through a few verses of Psalm 100 to demonstrate how they can read a text carefully and determine the meaning the author had in mind when he wrote.

About 200 students listened to John and Loui’s presentation, and many at the conference too. Church leaders offered an invitation to come back next year so clearly their appetite was whetted!

16 October 2023

Click here for KSD preparation materials

22 February 2023

1. History of Israel Part 1-1
2. History of Israel Part 2
3. Western Wall
4. Temple Mount
5. Via Dolorosa
6. The Pool of Bethesda
7. The Institute for Biblical Languages and Translation
8. The Israel Museum and Shrine of the Book
9. Western Wall Tunnel
10. Hezekiah’s Wall
11. The Coastal Plain
12. Dor and Sharon
13. Benjamin Judah
14. Mt Olives
15. Garden of Gethsemane
16. City of David
17. Sabbath meal
18. Manasseh
19. Ephraim
20. Elon Moreh
21. Shiloh
22. Bethel
24. Judean Wilderness
25. Negev
26. Ancient Arad
27. Masada
28. The Geography of the Dead Sea
29. The Dead Sea
30. Ein Gedi
31. Qumram
32. Philistine Plain
33. The Shephelah
34. Maresha
35. Azekah
36. Lachish
37. The History of Bethlehem
39. Shepherds’ Field
40. Bethlehem Bible College
41. Church of the Nativity
42. Beth Shemesh
43. Caesarea
44. Caesarea aquaduct
45. Central Mountain Range
46. Geography Mt Carmel
47. Mt Carmel
48. Megiddo
49. Nazareth Introduction
50. Nazareth Village
51. Nazareth Hospital
52. Sepphoris
53. Geography Jezreel Valley
54. Jezreel Valley
55. Jezreel
56. Beth Shean
57. Gideon’s Spring
58. Geography Lower Galilee
59. Cana
60. Geography Sea of Galilee
61. Magdala
62. Tabgha
63. Sea of Galilee
64. 2000 year boat
65. Capernahum
66. Corazin
67. The Way
68. Mt Beatitudes
69. Bethsaida
70. Geography Upper Galilee
71. Geography Huleh Valley
72. Hazor
73. Caesarea Philippi
74. Tel Dan Gates
75. Geography Bashan
76. Golan Heights
77. Kursi
78. Geography Jordan Valley
79. Yardenit Baptismal
80. Jordan Valley
81. Geography Gilead
82. Jericho
83. Solomon’s Quarry
84. Holocaust Museum
85. Jewish Circular Economy-1
86. The Garden Tomb

15 February 2023

Impact of the 2022 Tour:

Many of the participants reported on how important it was to see the archaeological sites in Israel for themselves, as confirmation that the Bible is true and reliable.

Other participants were impacted to trust God more on a personal level, and were challenged to share what they learned with church leaders back home.

The African participants went home to tell their sponsoring organisations that this Tour is a must for their translations and translation consultants.

15 February 2023

The Lama translation project is nearing completion. The work is currently focusing on ensuring the technical correctness of the text. Several read-throughs (readers’ workshops) are planned to make sure that any typographic errors are found. Other issues may be discovered in this process. One of the Lama translators reports:

“During the readers’ workshop, I felt great joy in having done the work of translation with the other translators. There is little ambiguity in the text and the translation is very expressive. When I hear people read the message, it moves through me and penetrates. The others say that they have felt the same thing. The readers make comments and indispensable suggestions. Their remarks have led us to revise certain verses. I am frankly content with our work. I thank our financial partners.”

07 February 2023

There have been many delays, but progress is still being made. Highlights:
– Seeing the Kope translation team and OMTC Property Management Committee continue to take ownership of the work is very encouraging.
– Seeing the excitement for training, from both local people and outside visitors, encourages us to keep on with the work, even when challenging
– The paperwork for the dorm build has been complex, and it is satisfying to have finally completed and submitted it.

(Picture: Framing for new toilets and washrooms)

07 February 2023

The Moba Literacy project has been innovative in several ways over the years. This was the first literacy project, of SIL in Togo or Benin, to use audio recordings of lessons to help teachers and students who have not quite been able to succeed in their classes in a single season. This was the first project to use cell phones for literacy lessons, for on-going support at the end of a class, or for new students. The personnel of ATAPEB have spread their vision to other literacy projects, which have caught the vision and are hoping to do literacy via WhatsApp. As the “red zone” (ie terrorist activity) increasingly encroaches on the Moba territory, this method of spreading learning has become ever more important and appreciated.

(picture: Literacy teachers who successfully completed a training course)

06 February 2023

Dave was able to travel to Chad with his wife Elly for 6 weeks in Nov-Dec 2022.
All translation goals were met – that is, consultant checking the parts of Genesis not previously checked, namely chapters 25-36; 38 and 46-50. This means that the goal of publishing the book of Genesis in one volume is now achievable. The team plans to work towards this goal in 2023, as well as having the book of Ruth consultant checked.

(picture: consultant checking session in Bitkine, Guera Region, Chad, 5 Dec 2022)

13 October 2022

The door finally opens – travel is now possible and 14 new participants come in to Port Vila, Vanuatu, as the new cohort for the first of three modules of the Trenem Tingting course.

Trainers Loui, Epson, Philip and Norman, jump into preparation, and all of us work hard to pull our minds back to think about what we really want to achieve through this training. For these men, each from different islands, our daily fellowship around God’s Word is obviously and warmly welcomed. It is also part of the training!

And then, two days later there we are, all squeezed into the dining room at the out-of-town Scripture Union campsite ready to start Training our Brains, to consider with more question daily life matters, and more importantly, to consider with more clarity the meaning of God’s Word.

At the end of the first week of lessons, we meet with the trainers. This is an every-afternoon assessment ritual. The question for the end of the first week meeting being, “How did you think the week went?”

“I sit at the side where I can see the faces,” offers Loui, “And I have watched faces change over the time as people start to get it.”

“What about Eron?” I ask. “He seems pretty quiet.”

“Ah yes, but he is taking it all in.” The trainers agree. “And everyone is talking more now.”

Sure enough on Monday, Eron surprises us all when he confidently contributes an answer to the class.

The trainers may well describe their job as ‘Straining the Brain’ as they try to communicate the error of taking one verse in isolation without considering its context, of using every proposition in a text to determine the meaning of that text, as well as many other concepts usually foreign to their past education.

They give Bible talks each day which highlight God’s greatness and the importance of taking him and his Word seriously. They work through the Bislama* workbooks, and teach a sequence which tells God’s Grand Story played out in the Bible. A little competition lightens the atmosphere and there is much laughter as each table races to see who is first to order the 15 icons representing the different parts of that Big story.

As the course draws to a close, Epson reminds the participants that the food, lodging, books and travel didn’t just happen. “Please, thank God for the money provided through Wycliffe Australia,” he says. Pastor Apy adds, “Yes, they provided everything, and now we have something to go and teach our communities.”

Participants will return with their homework to their respective villages, representing nine different language groups. We are hopeful that there will be a ripple effect and just as the door to Vanuatu opened, God will open the door to many hearts and minds to receive these new things, and to thirst for the truth of his Word.

* Vanuatu’s national language of wider communication

10 November 2021

Jesus Film: Scripture Use (SU) workers have been trained and they are having an effective ministry showing the Jesus Film from village to village in four languages. They are also using other Bible films where a translation is available. In response to a translation request from Jesus Film Ministries, discipleship study segment titles (60 of each) were translated in three languages.

Listening Groups: SU workers have distributed 250 NT Proclaimers and Bible study question cards in four languages. They are training listening group leaders in village churches and have done follow-up visits.

Family Bible Storybooks: SU workers have distributed 300 Family Bible Storybooks in six languages. SU workers have been trained to train ministry leaders and Sunday School teachers in how to use the Family Bible Storybooks for lessons.

Printing: Pijin Bible Reading Class books were printed to teach Pijin literacy to students at the AOG National Bible College. A Kwara’ae Language Songbook was compiled and printed. Listening group Bible study question cards were printed and laminated in five languages.

08 November 2021

All the New Testament books have been drafted in Buwal and consultant checking of Romans and Mark is completed. In Gavar drafting is completed for 1 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, 2 Peter 1-2 and Revelation 1-5, 8-13. In Mbudum drafting is completed for Hebrews and Revelation. Acts and Mark were consultant checked in Gavar and Mbudum. The book of Luke has been recorded in the Gavar and Mbudum languages.

The literacy campaign took place from January to June 2021. There were 20 classes in Buwal: with 23 teachers and 197 students (82 men and 115 women); 20 classes in Gavar: with 25 teachers and 279 students (129 men and 150 women); and 16 classes in Mbudum: with 17 teachers and 152 students (76 men and 76 women).

One 82-year-old man thought he was doomed to never taste the happiness that comes from God’s Word. But thanks to Luke’s audio in Gavar, his hopes were revived. To express his joy, he said: “I didn’t know that the Word of God was so delicious. I bless the Lord because the good news of the kingdom of God has come to us.”

05 November 2021

The book of Jeremiah was consultant-checked in January, and the book of Ezekiel in May. The Old Testament books are now all completed, and the team has begun to work on the harmonisation of the materials and names, etc that are shared by the Old and New Testaments. Lama local residents and those in the diaspora are impatiently awaiting the Lama Bible – people regularly ask about when it will be completed.

The Lama translation team was able to translate materials related to COVID-19 prevention. These included texts for billboards and posters, as well as instructions for washing stations. They also translated trauma healing materials for use in the community to support those who have been impacted by the effects of COVID-19.

05 November 2021

Literacy classes began in the first week of January – there were 10 beginner classes and 4 second year classes. Three refresher courses for teachers were run – in January, February and March. All teachers received training on how to use the Moba New Testament in literacy classes. All classes were adequately supervised and final evaluations completed in mid-April. Diplomas were awarded to all classes 10-14 May. Some church leaders kept the diplomas to be awarded during church services, in order to motivate others for the next campaign. A writer’s workshop was held 19-20 May entirely in Moba. Seven writers (3 men and 4 women), of whom one was an elder, took part. The purpose of the training was to teach how to write news articles and stories, with the goal of publishing them.

15 October 2021

Due to COVID-19, the i-delta participants were not able to gather in Yaoundé to undertake the training, so this is being done online in 2021 in three separate sessions between May and September. Please pray for the effectiveness of the online training, and that all participants will be able to gather together in Yaounde for the next two academic cycles in 2022 and 2023.

Participants from the north of Cameroon have been able to gather in a regional centre, Maroua. In this way Glab Athanas (from the Jam Ma Cluster) joined with other students from this region to do the studies. In the first session of training he successfully completed one week of orientation on Zoom and Moodle, and the unit Introduction to Sociolinguistics. In the second session he successfully completed the unit Translation 1. Overall the arrangement seems to have worked well and will be an option if travel continues to be restricted over the next two years.

Thanks for your patience...

Waiting is hard, isn't it. But imagine waiting 2000 years for Scripture in your language! Thanks for your patience. And thanks for your generous support which will help bring the long wait to an end...