God's Word For Isan -- Mekong Bible Translation Project of Northeast Thailand
God's Word For Isan -- Endorsements & Testimonials
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Endorsements & Testimonial Letters for the Isan Bible Translation Ministry
(All underlining is mine, added to draw attention to important sections. Ron Myers)

THIS WEB PAGE IS UPDATED OCCASIONALLY AS NEW ENDORSEMENTS ARRIVE

FOREWORD: Although some anti-Christian antagonists openly call the Gospel a "disease," and say that we (Missionaries and Christians in general) should "mind our own business," and "leave others alone (including the people of Thailand),"

The unsolicited comments below absolutely disprove their anti-God, anti-Gospel, anti-Christian, anti-Missions mindset.  (I occasionally leave their ignorant and cynical comments on my guest book pages for all to see. I sometimes receive them in emails—usually unsigned.)   Many of their accusations are as pitiful as they are humorous.

Bottom line?  It's certainly worth the small sacrifice made when we yield our lives to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, taking His Eternal, life-giving Word to people groups residing in the still-unreached, uttermost corners of the world, i.e., those still waiting to hear the Gospel for the first time.  In fact, the Isan people have never held an Isan Bible or New Testament in their hands, let alone owned one, simply because there aren't any yet, apart from our endeavors.  Don't they deserve a chance to read God's Word in their own language too?  ...perchance to receive Christ?  The following comments certainly attest to that fact.

NOTE: As of June 2, 2016, this lack was rectified.  That was the day we held a Dedication and Presentation celebratory event where we introduced the completed Isan New Testament... a 20+ year project!  At least 40-50 Isan-based missionaries and organizations, Isan pastors, and Christians in general were in attendance of the catered event.  We had a great time, and passed out many packages of newly-printed Isan New Testaments and Consideration Creation evangelism booklets, with only a handful remaining at the close.


Chatchai Charuwatee (Ek): Teaching professor and recenlty-appointed Vice President of Bangkok Bible College & Seminary, Bangkok, Thailand

The following letter is from a long-time Thai friend, Professor Chatchai Charuwatee, nicknamed "Ek" for short.  Ek (pronounced "Ache") is a Professor of Bible at Bangkok Bible College, Bangkok, Thailand.  This letter from Ek (in blue below) represents what the Thai-Isan people think of the Isan Bible translation that God has led me to do for them in their own "Isan" heart language.  This letter certainly made my day, and brought tears of praise, joy and thankfulness to my eyes when I read it.  As per their request, I stopped by and visited them while I was in Bangkok recently, working on the Isan Bible translation (November-December 2006... photo pending).

(Note: The Thai word "Khun" used in Ek's salutation means "Mr.")

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Ek's picture Chatchai Charuwatee (Ek):
Teaching Professor and now Vice Pres. (formerly Dean of Men)
Bangkok Bible College and Seminary
Bangkok, 10500 Thailand

July 20, 2006

Dear Khun Ron,

I hope your health is getting better.  One of the classes I'm teaching this semester is Thai Church History.  We talked about many missionaries who sacrificed so much in order to bring the Gospel to the Thais in the past 178 years of Christianity in Thailand.

Your Isan Bible translation project was mentioned.  I also had an Isan student read the Isan version of Colossians to the class, and asked other Isan students if they understood the Bible better in their Isan dialect.  "Certainly," they all enthusiastically nodded!  (Had I not asked them to stop their nodding, I think their heads might have fallen off.... LOL!)

I told [my students] that missionaries are still working hard to reach us and our fellow countrymen.  Ron Myers is one of these missionaries.  He needs our prayers right now because of his health problems.

We prayed that you will recover very soon and come to visit us in our class.  We'd love to hear how God has been using you to reach the Isan folks (one third of the Thai population).

Didn't I tell you that your life will be another missionary story told to the next generation of the Thai people?

In His Abundant Grace,
Ek & the Students

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Note: Ek was born and raised in an upperclass Thai-Chinese heritage, among those who ordinarily look down on the Isan people--residents of the poorer Northeastern sector of Thailand--as being ignorant, lazy, second-class citizens.  However, God really taught Ek's heart in this matter, to the point where he just might go be a missionary there among the Isan people.  It reminds me of the Apostle Peter who was taught of God to accept the "unclean" Gentiles in Acts 10 and 11.

I am including a photo of Ek.  As you read, you'll see that Ek's English is very good--which my wife Cheryl helped teach him while he was a student here at San Diego Christian College (formerly called Christian Heritage College), El Cajon, CA.  Later, Ek returned to earn his M.Div at Southern Calif Seminary, an affiliate school of San Diego Christian College and Shadow Mountain Community (Baptist) Church.  Ek is now back, living and ministering in Bangkok, Thailand, as Dean of Men and a teaching prof at Bangkok Bible College and Seminary (BBC&S). 

UPDATE: Ek recently accepted the pastorship of a Thai-Chinese Church that meets near the Seminary, and continues to teach and mentor in the extension program of BBC&S.

Chantorn Seth's Photo (pending)

Chantorn Seth:

Introduction:  Mrs. Chantorn is a Northeastern (Isan) Lady who married Mr. Richard Seth, a Christian and former USAF Serviceman from Ohio who served at the US Air force Base in Nakhon Panom, Thailand.  Richard and Chantorn had returned to Nakhon Panom with their grown children to visit Chantorn's relatives and friends in the village where she was born and raised (located a few kilometers south of the city of Nakhon Panom).  As we conversed, I took opportunity to show her the Gospel of John in the Isan language, that was being worked on.  She was so pleased with it that she wrote me this encouraging note.

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January 6, 1996

Dear Khun Ron,

I am from Northeast Thailand and I would like to say that these [translations] of the Bible into the Isan Dialect are the best I've ever read and very easy for Isan people to understand.

Love in Christ,
Chantorn Seth

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An encouraging side note:  We were introduced that day in 1996 by a Thai friend—at his home in Nakhon Panom where I was staying.  Chantorn studied my face for a while, then stated that we had met before.  I drew a blank until she continued.  In 1975, I was riding into town on a local form of transportation to get grocery supplies (which I did weekly).  Chantorn was sitting across from me, along with other passengers.  The mode of transportation was an old pickup truck, often called a "Baht Bus" in English.  These are small pickup trucks with their beds converted into a makeshift taxis, having long seats along each side and a canvas-roofed frame.  Chantorn was holding a small child in her lap, and was married to Richard Seth at the time, a USAF serviceman stationed at a base near Naknon Panom.  We carried on small talk as we rode; whereupon, she asked me about the book I was carrying--a Thai New Testament. 

She then explained that she was married to a Christian serviceman, but she really didn't understand what Christianity was all about, and wanted to learn more.  I spent the rest of the trip explaining the Gospel message to her as we rode into town in the back of that rickety old Baht Bus.  When we arrived, I gave her my Thai New Testament before we parted. 

That was in the mid-1970s, towards the end of the Vietnam War.  Chantorn and I met for the second time in 1996 at my friends home in Nakhon Phanom, twenty years later.  It was then that she told me that my explanation of the Gospel that day riding on the Baht Bus helped her to understand; whereupon, Chantorn said she received Christ into her heart and life later that same day.  It goes without saying that I was greatly encouraged that the Lord had privileged me to see the fruits of my labors, even if it was twenty-some years afterwards.  ("And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9)


Mr. Glen Cowgill: Elder and Lay Evangelist
Glen, a retired teacher and former US Serviceman, was stationed at the USAF Airbase in Udon-Thani, Northeast Thailand, during the Vietnam War.  While there, Glen met and married his wife, Nun ("none"), a lady of Isan heritage who worked in the Air Base.  Glen and Nun reside in Southern Florida, where they raised their family.  They frequently return to Udon city, Northeast Thailand, to visit Nun's relatives and friends.  The following letter describes the response Glen experienced while using our newly-produced audio CD of Genesis 1-12 in the Isan Language.  Glen writes:
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Glen & Nun Cowgill November 21, 2005

Dear Brother Ron,

I am really excited.  After several Thai-Isan people listened to your Genesis 1-12 audio CD, I have seen a real interest in God and His Creation as never before.  This is the first time that I have seen any Isan acknowledge God.  Several of them were asking me questions about God and were really expressing an interest in learning more.  Your Genesis CD is a really good tool for witnessing to the Isan people.  The foundation has been built with the Genesis CD.  PTL!  My one concern is the need for follow-up, and the continuing education of the Isan people in the New Testament.  I hope and pray that, along with using your New Testament materials, we will see many Isan people accept Christ.  Incidentally, I was asked many questions about God by Nat, my wife's nephew who ate dinner with us in Udorn.  He has expressed a great interest and I am praying that he will accept Christ.

I want to thank you for making your materials available to me.  I hope to be back in Thailand late 2006, God willing.  I am praying for the Isan people and pray that materials will become available to help reach the younger children also.

May God Bless you and your mission.

Your Friend In Christ,

Glen W. Cowgill

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Note:  This encouraging testimony reconfirms the fact that:  1) God's Word in the heart language of the people speaks to their hearts as nothing else can;  2) Creation Evangelism (where one introduces God and the creation story first and foremost) is the very best missions evangelistic approach, since it lays the missing foundational truths for people who have absolutely no previous knowledge of God, His creation, or their own beginnings... things that they must know to properly understand the Gospel message and their need for God's saving grace revealed in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Tong-pahn Prome-metta:  Evangelist, Teacher, and President of the Evangelical Covenant Churches of Thailand
Brother Tong-pahn has been a close friend for many years.  He has probably led as many Isan people to faith in Christ, and to a clear understanding of Salvation by the Grace of God alone, as anyone whom I know of.  In a recent phone conversation, Tong-pahn said (words in blue) (translated):
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Tong-pahn Teaching "Ron,

"The book of Colossians in the Isan language that you did last summer [2005] really turned out great.  So far, using it as a witnessing pass-out and study guide, we have seen over a hundred new Isan believers come to faith in Christ through my and other's efforts while using your Isan translation of Colossians."

"Also, you were right Ron. We now realize that we need to start with the Genesis creation account when teaching inquirers and new believers about Jesus Christ and the Gospel; otherwise, they don't really understand [their lost condition, salvation by grace alone, or who Jesus really is]."

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Note: Tong-pahn added that the audio CD of Genesis 1-12, narrated by one of my translation assistants in the Isan language, and distributed last summer along with the printed book of Colossians in Isan, has also been well-accepted and productive.  (See Glen Cowgill's testimony above.)

The day that I visited Brother Tong-pahn in his office in Udon Province during the summer of 2005, Pastor Tong-pahn was busy teaching a young lady inquirer about the Genesis creation account, the Temptation, Fall, Curse, and promised Messiah.  Tong-pahn was teaching out of the book of Genesis in the Isan language that we had translated. 


Wycliffe Bible Translators International (SIL):
In 2002, Wycliffe Bible Translators's (SIL's) Mainland Southeast Asian Language Rep contacted and met with me (Ron M.) to discuss the Isan translation. The purpose of the meeting was to ask formal permission to use the Isan translation as a source text for their translation teams working on Bible translations into Mon-Khmer related minority dialects (ethno-linguistic groups) living in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. -- AS FOLLOWS:
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Wycliffe Bible Translators
Dear Ron,

My name is Julie Green and I work with SIL in Mainland Southeast Asia on Katuic [Mon-Khmer related] language translations.  Last week I got a hold of a copy of the Gospel of John in the Isan language from Brian Migliazza (another SIL translator working on the So language).  We would like to use it as a resource to Katuic [or Mon-Khmer related] language translators...

I'm specifically interested in the Isan translation as a potential source translation [for our translation teams].  It is highly likely that some of the translators working in Katuic languages would be able to read and understand the Isan translation better than the standard Thai (or Lao) Bible.

The Katuic language groups include So, Bru, Tri, Kui and others who speak similar languages. They are small minority groups who live in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.  Their languages ... come from Mon-Khmer rather than Tai-Kadai.  For the Katuic peoples living in Thailand and in Southern Laos, Isan (or Lao) is their [secondary or trade] language of wider communication.

So, we're interested in the Isan translation as a source text and reference for these projects.  We are in the process of figuring out how we can do Katuic languages translations and so we are putting together a set of translation tools for Katuic languages that would include any usable source translations.

We would need to crunch it over into Lao script for it to be usable in Laos, but this is doable.  So I would like to... know if it would be possible for us to get together to talk about using the Isan translation?

Thank you,

Julie Green (SIL Asia)

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Note: In November, 2014, Wycliffe Bible Translators of Thailand, a well-known Bible translation mission organization, asked permission to review the Isan New Testament.  After doing a back-translation spot-check review, they concluded that it met their criterion for Bible translation for the Isan People of Northeast Thailand.  We consider this a valuable endorsement that speaks for itself concerning the strategic relevancy, usability, and accuracy of the Isan New Testament.


Far Eastern Christian Broadcasting Network (FEBC), Thailand/Laos:
In June, 2004, FEBC's Southeast Asian Thailand Director contacted me (Ron M.) and asked permission to use the Isan Bible translation in their Gospel broadcasts to the twentyone million Isan in Thailand's Northeastern region, as well as into Laos, were another five million Laotians live -- AS FOLLOWS:
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FEBC Logo, Thailand Dear Mr. Myers,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus!

I am the director of FEBC Radio International Thailand and we are interested in using your translated materials [into the Isan language] for our listeners who write in to our Isan radio programs. In fact, not only our Isan language programs, but all programs in the general area. We also are involved with the Lao shortwave broadcast [into Laos].

I note that you are still in the USA and trusting the Lord for your support level. However, if you have any copies of any material available out here, would you please let me know where we need to make the next contact.

It would be good if we could meet when you come next time.

In His Joy,
Georgina Stott
Director, FEBC Radio International Thailand

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Note: We consider this new development and interest by FEBC a wide-open door and a fantastic opportunity for the Isan translation to be broadcast and heard by everyone in Northeast Thailand, and in Laos as well. It is obviously one more sign that God is blessing His work through us, and desires that His eternal, life-giving Word get into the hands and hearts of the millions of Isan and Laotian people in their own heart language, that they might hear, believe, and be saved.

I (Ron M.) will be attending a planning meeting with the FEBC Director in Bangkok in September 2004. I will also supply them with all Isan Bible materials, translated to date, along with taped portions now recorded in CD digital format, namely Genesis 1-12 in the Isan language.

FROM:
Rev. Banpote Wechkama: Pastor-teacher and National Missionary
Brother Banpote (of native Isan heritage) is also a prolific song writer and a key leader with the Isan Research and Development Foundation for Evangelism and Church Growth, based in Udon-Tanee Province, Northeast (or Isan) Thailand.
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Rev Banpote Wetchkama Dear Ron,

I would like to voice my full support and assurance that the Isan Bible Translation has great benefit for the people of Isan.   Especially John's Gospel, the version that you [Ron] did that has both Central Thai and Isan texts, so that people can compare the two and readily understand the meaning.  Because that way, they won't have to retranslate it into their own Isan language in their heads first, as they must do now with the Central Thai translation.  My hope is that many, many Isan people will be able to have the Scriptures in their Isan language and thus increase their understanding of God and His Word.  And, that they will finally understand the meaning of John 1:1, that Jesus is 'The Logos, the Living, Breathing Word of God,' and not some "divine frying pan."

By the way, of all the missionaries I have ever met working in the Isan region, I want to say that you speak our Isan language best over all the rest.

We Love and Miss You,

Banpote Wechkama

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Explanation: In the present-day standard Thai Bible, the term "The Word" (Logos), in John 1:1, is translated using the arcane literary term, "Pra-Wa-Ta."  The Isan people are not familiar with this obscure term (as well as most Thai), which sounds similar to their word for frying pan. So, when the Isan people read John 1:1 in the Thai Bible, all they hear is: "In the beginning was the Divine Frying Pan, and the Divine Frying Pan was with God, and the Divine Frying Pan was God."  This is a small sampling of the problems incurred when the Isan people try to make sense of the Thai Bible.

Rev. Andre Provost: Church-planting Missionary in Isan
Andre is a brilliant and uniquely-gifted missionary who develops and uses cutting-edge evangelistic methodology to effectively communicate the Gospel to the Isan people in ways they can understand and identify with. Andre has been highly successful in his endeavors to win and ground people in Christ. He writes:
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Rev. Andre Provost We are very excited about the Isan translation work that Ron Myers is doing.  I have been working in Thailand almost 17 years.  The last six years we have been working with the Isan.  Our work is among the common people.  Most of our believers are rice farmers.  Rice farmers represent a good 90 percent of the Isan population.  They are very poor.  Their education level is low.  The average education level of our believers is only a third-grade education.  That means that they have only spend three years in the government schools.  The government schools teach using the Thai language [Thailand's official language].  When these farmers leave the Thai school, they have very little exposure to the Thai language.  All their communication with one another is done in the Isan language. 

Therefore, when we bring Christianity to these farmers, we use their own Isan language when communicating with them.  We also find ourselves having to translate or re-explain the Thai scriptures into their Isan language.  I do believe that God would want these people to have the scriptures in their own language.  My understanding of Matthew 28:19 is that we are commissioned to make disciples of all nations.  In the Greek "nations" refers to "ethno-linguistic groups." Until we have the scriptures in the language of this ethno-linguistic group, we will fall short of really discipling them.  Therefore, we very much endorse the translation work of Ron Myers.  This endorsement does not only come from me as a missionary.  It also comes from the 90 plus Isan believers whom we represent.  We are waiting for the finishing of the Isan New Testament. 

May God Bless You,

Andre Provost
(Church planter of Eastern Mennonite Missions, located in Det Udom District, Ubon Ratchathani, Isan Region, Thailand.)

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Note: Andre's work is situated in the lower-right sector of Isan, near the Lao and Cambodian border region.  I visited and spent a few days there.  Andre stood out in that he impressed me as one of the most effective cross-cultural pioneer church-planting missionaries I've seen in all my years working with the Isan and Thai people.  He can get on the same level with the Isan people and they are very open, comfortable and trusting around him.  Andre taught himself how to play some of the local ethnic musical instruments, which also gives him an automatic "in" with the people.

Pikun Natsasia: Pikun is a native-born Isan Believer.  As a missionary to her own people, Pikun met and married an American Missionary.  They are now living in the States.
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Bob & Pikun Nastasia Hey There Brother Ron,

You certainly have a great web site. Bob and I viewed most of it last night. My grand daughter also loved your presentation at church. It helped her to understand more about my side of her roots.

Hey, if you think you can stay in New England for awhile, please don't hesitate to call. We don't have a luxurious suite, but our humble abode is always ready to accommodate you.

I looked over the Isan version of Genesis and John. I must say that you did a great job and I added them to my treasure collection and I will read it daily on my devotion time. It is so good that I will be able to read the scriptures in my own heart language. Thanks a million.

May the Lord continue to bless you as you travel in His path. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way" Psalm 37:23 Amen.

Looking forward to having sweet fellowship with you and Cheryl again.

Pikun and Bob Nastasia

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Note: Pikun sent me (Ron) this letter after I gave her various Scripture books that I had translated into her own Isan language. She had traveled quite a distance to attend the meeting at a church in Connecticut where I spoke about our church-planting and Bible translation ministry in Thailand's Isan region.

John Middlewood:
Missionary, Nakon Panom Province, Isan Region, Thailand
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John Middlewood, wife, and Ron Myers Dear Ron:

Thank you so much for the copies of the Gospel of John in the Isan and Thai languages .  ...  the Thai-Isan pastors I have talked to are really excited about this translation.

This translation, both the Thai and Isan are much simpler for the people of Northeast Thailand to understand and get a better grasp on the true meaning of the Gospel..  As soon as I can get more copies, I have one pastor that wants to take copies out on his village ministries.

It would also be great to get copies of other materials [scripture books] that your project has translated into Isan and Thai.  There is a great need for Christian educational materials in an easy to understand form for the people here to read.  Anything you can provide me with would be greatly appreciated.

We will continue praying for your support and that people in the States will understand the need for this important work your project is doing.  I know how hard it is sometimes to convince people far away of the importance of what is being done in the field.

God Bless and please pray for us also here...

John Middlewood
Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

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Note: John, pictured with his wife, and me, is an Independent Evangelical Missionary living and serving in the Isan province of Nakhon Phanom -- the same province where we lived and served. John was initially stationed there in the USAF Air Base during the Vietnam War days. He later returned and married a local Isan Christian. They serve the Lord together and have a very fruitful ministry among the local-area villagers.

Mr. Waen:
Waen is a native-born Isan Buddhist who read John's Gospel in Isan for the first time and believed. 
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No Picture "I read the booklet you gave me last week.   It is really special.   Its words went deep down into my heart.   I want to know more.   I want to 'enter' now."   (to 'enter' means 'to believe' in the local vernacular)

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Note: Praise The Lord!   I have never previously (since 1973) had this happen, or seen this amount of openness.  God's word in their heart language did it!   I spent some time with Mr. Waen briefly -- I was on my way to the airport to catch my flight to Bangkok -- and then referred him to a local pastor in whom I had confidence.

Mrs. Suwanee: National Missionary To Her Own People
Suwanee is a strong believer and a gifted missionary to her own Isan people.
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Suwannee I picked up the book of Galatians that Ron Myers translated into my Isan language and began to read.  I couldn't put it down.  It captivated my heart and my understanding.  Every word and every phrase spoke deeply to me.  Even the passages that were unintelligible in the Thai Bible were easy to comprehend in the Isan translation.  This is just what our people need.

When we Isan people read the Thai Bible, we often wonder about the actual meaning and then ponder as to what the Lao Bible might say, which is usually unclear as well.  But now, thanks to Ron and Cheryl Myersí work, we will have Godís Word in our own Isan language.


Rev. Mark Caldwell: Church-planting Missionary to the Isaan people
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Rev. Mark Caldwell I want to commend the work of Ron Myers and his work of translating the Gospel of John into Isaan.  Isaan is the heart language of the 20 million people of N.E. Thailand which they use in their homes and with family and friends.  Central Thai is the official language of education and government in which most of the Isaan people receive only a third-grade education.  Since Isaan is no longer a normally written language, Ron has placed an invaluable tool in the hands of the Isan people -- the Word of God in both their heart language along with a second column in the language of education, Central Thai.  The response and interest that I am seeing to this diglot (dual column} translation among the Isaan is exciting and I pray that God will use it to share Good News of Great Joy with all the Isan people. 

My hope is that the ways and means will be found to continue to translate, print and expand the translation of God's word in this diglot format as a foundational tool for the sharing of the gospel with the Isan.

Sincerely,

Mark Caldwell
Local-Area Strategy Coordinator: Isaan People of N.E. Thailand, Int. Mission Board, Southern Baptist Conference.


A GOD-ORDAINED MEETING ABOVE THE CLOUDS:
(Ron Myers relates an account about a God-appointed meeting at 35,000 feet, while flying from Bangkok to Taiwan)

Mr. Go-Mone: A Thai Laborer Headed to Taiwan to Work on Construction Projects

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Mr. Go-Mone reads Genesis for the very first time. After a fruitful five-week trip to Thailand to re-print and distribute 20,000 copies of Genesis chapters 1-12 in the Isan language, I (Ron) was in Bangkok wrapping up a few details when I received a call on the borrowed cell phone I was carrying.  'This is China Airlines, Your flight to Los Angeles has been moved forward three days to...  So, you need to be at the Don Muang airport at 5:00 AM sharp, tomorrow morning!    Yikes!

Needless to say, I tried to make other arrangements, but in vain.  Being right after the SARS disease scare, everything was booked ahead solid for weeks, and I needed to get back to San Diego.  I continued to wrap things up, realizing as I did that it was a godsend that I had arrived back in Bangkok just that morning from visiting a Thai pastor in a distant southern province, else it would have been impossible to make the rescheduled flight.  So, I hurried back to the place I was staying to pack for the trip home, leaving early the next morning.

I was disappointed, knowing that this meant I would be forced to cancel a very-much-needed dentist appointment two days away, to get my new top-front bridge, which I was really in need of.  That was in Ubon province, hundreds of Kilometers away, back up in Northeast Thailand.  Oh well, I began to daydream...

Oh-oh, I bolted with a start; what ever can I do now?  To travel more lightly, I had left some of my extra luggage at a fellow-missionary's home in Ubon, planning to retrieve it when I went there for my now-canceled dentist appointment!  I wonder, if...  the convenience of modern Thailand meant I could immediately call my missionary friend there in distant Ubon province, and ask him if he would kindly rush my luggage across town to the Ubon airport, in time to have it air-freighted back on the last flight to Bangkok for me to pick up that same evening!  He did, and it worked!  Praise the Lord!  And, the price was unbelievably inexpensive -- not so in the States, I can assure you!

After a hectic night of packing, I made the flight, all my luggage in tow.  On the first leg of my return flight, from Bangkok to Taipei, Taiwan, I experienced a God-ordained meeting above the clouds at 35,000 feet, as follows:  I was seated next to an Isan person, Mr. Go-Mone, a laborer headed for a new job in Taiwan, as were many other Thai and Isan people, traveling on the same flight.  After preliminary introductions, replete with pleased smiles, and oohs and aahs about my being able to speak their Isan language, I settled back and dozed off for a much-needed nap.  I awoke a bit later and observed Mr. Go-Mone looking around for something to read.  Sensing that he could not read English, I took the opportunity and offered him a newly-printed book of Genesis 1-12 in Isan, in fact it was the only copy I had with me.  To my most pleasant surprise, he eagerly accepted it, settled back and started to read.  I expected him to politely hand it back, not wanting to be seen reading about the foreigner's "religion" by his buddies.  However, he never even looked up once.  After a few chapters, he took a short break, whereupon he turned and conversed openly with me, saying:

'I'm so glad we sat together, and that we met...  this is a very important and valuable book.  I have never seen one before.  Where did you get it?  It tells me where we came from, and about the beginning of all things, and the Creator...  when I read, its words go deep down into my heart...'
So, you see, man's obstacles often become God's opportunities in disguise.  If I had not been forced to leave on the earlier flight, and cancel my appointment for my much-needed new front bridge back in Ubon province, I would never have met Mr. Go-Mone.  And, he very likely would not have learned about his Creator and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

During the final minutes before we landed and parted from the plane, sensing that we might not ever meet again, I took the opportunity to explain to Mr. Go-Mone about the rest of the story.  I explained that the true identity of Jesus Christ is something most Thai don't really understand.  I explained that Jesus Christ is the very Creator God he was just reading about in Genesis-Isan.  That Jesus is not the so-called founder of the foreigner's "religion," as most Thai wrongly presuppose, nor was He born some 500 years after the Buddha, but that He is the eternally-existing Creator of heaven and earth and all things contained therein, as he had just read about in Genesis.  And, that because of His great mercy and compassion, the Lord Jesus Christ willingly descended from His home in the heavenly realms, "borrowed" the tummy of a young Jewish virgin maiden, and was born miraculously into this world as the sinless God-man -- the Redeemer of all people, everywhere, having paid the price for sin and opened the way for fallen mankind to be restored back to Himself, conquering Satan, sin and death in the process.

Go-Mone listened intently, then thanked me as we walked off the plane together.  We said our goodbyes and parted, he with his own copy of Genesis-Isan in hand...  parted, yes, but not before I gave him the addresses and telephone numbers of Thai-Isan friends, evangelists and pastors whom I knew who could help him later when He returned home from Taiwan.

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Note: Here (above) is the picture that I took while sitting next to him at altitude (35,000 feet). It shows Mr. Go-Mone deeply concentrating as he reads Genesis for the very first time ever, and, in his own heart language.  Pray for him (Go-Mone), that he will, in fact, follow through and receive Christ.  (At least one-quarter of the passengers on this flight were Thai or Isan laborers (wearing blue jackets), headed to Taipei, Taiwan, to work in factories and industry there.)  Cut and paste the following Internet link to see a graduate-level thesis on the Isan People's struggle for identity and economic well-being, as they transition from being backwards rice-farmers to become the emerging labor-class of Thailand:  http://www.isanpeople.net

Uncle Pote: A Local Church Elder in Udon-tani Province, Isan Region, Thailand
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No Picture "Wow, we never had a Bible like this one before.  Where did this come from and why so good now?"  (As opposed to having to rely on the Thai Bible.)  "When I read, the understanding is crystal clear."

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Explanation: Isan believers are presently forced to rely on the Central Thai Bible, which is not their own every-day spoken heart language.  To give credit where credit is due, the Thai translation deserves to be acknowledged as a worthy endeavor.  However, the challenge is that the Thai Bible is translated using "high" or literary language, interspersed with little-known or rarely-used terminology.  This "high" vocabulary is reserved only for use when addressing royalty, and often leaves the uninformed reader perplexed as to its meaning.  A more serious problem is: the Thai Bible is somewhat misleading, as it has been mistranslated in various passages key to understanding God's grace (versus human works), the believer's position and eternal standing as being "In Christ." Any revisions or new Thai translations seem to carry many of the old problems across into the new version, as well as create a few new ones.

Unsolicited letter written by Gene Long: Veteran Missionary to the Nomadic Mla-Bri (or "Yellow Leaf") People of Northern Thailand
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Gene Long with MlaBri Kids "Ron Myers is a man who gets things done.  With a background as diverse as his talents are numerous, he is able to bring a lot of competence to almost any task he tackles.  One such task is Bible translation.

"Bible translation is a monumental task.  It demands a depth of language proficiency that only comes from long and intimate contact with native speakers.  It also demands the ability to concentrate on details.  Not many people can do both.  Ron Myers can, and does.  He even seems to enjoy it!

"Ron has a passion to communicate the Gospel, the main reason he has worked so hard on translating the Bible into the Northeastern Thai (or Lao-Isan) language.  Ron has also translated portions of the Bible into a simple Thai version.  Many portions have already been published, and the response has been very favorable.

"As time has permitted, Ron has graciously served us as a long-distance consultant as we begin to translate the Bible into the Yellow Leaf language.  He has also been our evangelism consultant, giving us ideas and input for sharing the Good News with Thai people.

"Ron's experience includes using tools of all types.  [His past work experience included being] a machinist, carpenter, welder and heavy equipment operator.  But, Ron doesn't just use tools to accomplish physical tasks.  He was among the first missionaries in Thailand to join the computer revolution, getting one of those early models that intimidated normal human beings, such as myself!  I was still banging away on a portable manual typewriter while Ron was upgrading to a better monitor.  His enthusiasm for a tool that could get the job done better and faster served him - and many others - well!

"Ron excels in befriending those he meets - it's fair to say he has never met a stranger!  His outgoing manner was no doubt a major factor in his gaining an enviable degree of fluency in three different dialects of Thai in a very short time.  He had friends among the Thai, minority groups and expatriate communities.  His varied background was an asset to him, enabling him to speak, not just with fluency, but with interest and insight.  People loved him.

"These people skills opened many doors of opportunity for Ron, doors that had dollar signs all over them!  He gladly declined the pursuit a lucrative career in advertising sales and management in order to translate the Bible and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I think Ron is a living example of a Christian who believes that money is a good servant, but a poor master.  Ron has chosen to serve his true and only Master.

"Ron and his godly wife, Cheryl, live in California, where they maintain an active ministry with non-native speakers of English, mainly Thai, Lao and Cambodian.

"I have asked Ron and Cheryl for this opportunity to publicly express my admiration and thankfulness for them.  They have served the Lord with distinction and honor, and have hazarded their lives for the sake of the Gospel.  They are worthy of your respect and support.

"I don't pretend that any endorsement by me could possibly enhance the impressiveness of the fine job they have done over so many years.  Rather, I am just happy to identify myself with them.  It's an honor to know them and to be a beneficiary of their talents.  Truly, they are 'the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.'   (2 Corinthians 8:23 KJV) "

Eugene R. Long

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Note: Gene Long and his wife Mary are veteran missionaries to the difficult-to-reach nomadic Mla-Bri (or "Yellow Leaf") tribal people who inhabit the remote mountainous regions of Northern Thailand, as well as parts of Laos.  They have known Ron and Cheryl personally for over three decades.

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