About

I am originally from Guernsey County in Southeastern Ohio (Byesville and Senecaville). I graduated from Meadowbrook High School in 1978, then from Malone College (Canton, Ohio) in 1982 with a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries. I spent 6 weeks in the Philippines in a missionary training program with InterVarsity between my junior and senior year of college. I was also the interim minister at Trinity United Methodist Church in Byesville for one summer and the minister at Seneca Lake (near Senecaville) one summer.

After college graduation, I took three semesters of linguistic and translation courses (in North Dakota and Dallas) and was accepted as a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International (a sister organization of Wycliffe and formerly called The Summer Institute of Linguistics.)  I was assigned to serve in Mexico and after studying Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico, for 5 months, I began work with the Tezoatlán Mixtec people of Oaxaca in 1986. You can find more about Tezoatlán Mixtec here.  Before going to Mexico, I took a year of graduate school classes at Columbia International University (82-83), and I received my MA in Missions in 1991 after writing a thesis on the Mixtec language I was studying at the time. The thesis is called, “Tezoatlán Mixtec Motion and Arrival Verbs and their Use in the Gospel of Mark.” This thesis later became an article on these motion and arrival verbs in the International Journal of American Linguists (IJAL), published in July, 1996. You can find it here.

The blog post on this site entitled, “The miracle of Sebastian’s Translation,” tells the amazing story of one of the ways God was moving so that these Mixtec people could have His Word in their heart language. I made a video in Spanish about Sebastian’s translation which can be found here. My wife Judith and I continued the work with the Tezoatlán Mixtec people, and the New Testament in their language was recorded in 2005 and published in 2007. A Celebration thanking God for the blessing of having His Word in their language was held in March of 2008. Watch it here.   You can read and listen to the New Testament here.  The Tezoatlan Mixtec tablet/cell phone app can be downloaded from the Android play store, where the text and the audio are synchronized. Here you can see videos of Scripture and songs in Tezoatlán Mixtec. You can find many more Tezoatlan Mixtec links here.

In 2009 we began helping the Ayutla Mixtec people of the state of Guerrero finish the New Testament translation that was temporarily on hold at that time. This New Testament was recorded in the fall of 2014 and 750 copies of the New Testament have been printed.  A Dedication Celebration was held on March, 18, 2017.  You can listen to the Ayutla New Testament here.  Here you can see videos of Scripture and songs in Ayutla Mixtec. Over 300 audio players called Megavoice have been distributed among the thousands of monolingual Mixtec speakers who live in the surrounding mountains. Old Testament translation work continues, with apps and their accompanying audio recording of Genesis, Daniel and Jonah available. Here you can find many more materials in Ayutla Mixtec.

I have written a number of papers on translation topics, three of which I gave at the Bible Translation conference in Dallas, Texas. In 2009 I presented one on 1 and 2 Corinthians, and in 2013, one on Translating Biblical Sexual Terms.  In 2019 I presented on “The Top Ten Things to Consider When Translating John 3:16.

I am a translation consultant with the Mexico Branch of SIL (and Wycliffe) and have had the opportunity to participate in quite a number of translation workshops on Psalms, Galatians, James, 1-2 Peter, 1-2-3 John,  1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy and Titus, Romans, Hebrews, Revelation, etc. and to help out with or co-lead workshops on Translation Consultant Training, Panorama of the Bible, Culture and Geography of Israel, 2 Corinthians,  Romans 1-8, Colossians, and Philippians. I was the Translation Coordinator for SIL-Mexico from January 2015 thru August 2019.

The Panorama of the Bible Workshop teaching opportunity came as a result of having the privilege of spending two weeks in Israel with Home for Bible Translators, a group which helps Bible translators and consultants better understand the geography and culture of Israel in order to equip them to be better translators and consultants. I have posted a few videos of my time there here.

It is through all these experiences and more that have given me a unique perspective on understanding Scripture in some different and hopefully illuminating ways.

Also, as a vehicle to share all the crazy things that happened to me while looking for a girlfriend, and also to share how God has worked in my life and the life of Sebastian, I wrote a book which is a serious comedy and for the most part biographical called, “The Just Friends Syndrome. Memories of a shy guy’s search for true love.” Among other places, it is available here. The Facebook page for it is found here.

Bonnie Henry, a columnist for the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) wrote a very positive feature article in 2006 on the work my wife and I are doing in Mexico.  You can read that here.

I am married to Judith, and we have two children. Gabriel, born in 1989, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University, lives at home. Our daughter Amy, born in 1991, is married to Zach Herman. She is a beautician and he works as a machinist. They both also live in Tucson. I have been invited to preach at the local Spanish-speaking church here in Tucson a number of times, and you can find my talks here.

During the difficult times of 2020, I made a series of videos for my local church, which they posted on their Facebook page, mostly sharing what the Bible says about suffering and standing firm. Later on I posted them on a playlist on my YouTube channel, which you can find here.  In July of 2020 I taught a class online via Zoom about how the Bible came to be, in Spanish, for a Seminary in Mexico City. The link for that is here.

Besides my trips to the Philippines, Mexico and Israel, I have also had the opportunity to visit Colombia, Brazil and Thailand as part of my ministry, and the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Canada, mostly as a tourist.

5 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi John. I received a shortened version of Sebastian’s story in a recent newsletter from a friend at Wycliffe. I’d like to take that short version and paste it as a blog post … linking to you and to Bob’s book as sources, and back to three friends at Wycliffe in case folks would like to begin supporting them in their work to bring the word of life to those who don’t yet have it in their own language. Would this be OK?

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  2. Dear Johnny: I had the pleasure of talking with you at BT2019 (I was the fellow with the TIPs project — https://tips.translation.bible). I have looked at your interesting blog and found a lot of good materials, including this entry here. So far I have not had time to work on anything else, but I have created this page: https://tips.translation.bible/story/complete-verse-john-316/. Is it OK that I use this material and if so, do you see anything I should correct?

    Thank you so much!

    Jost

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