A common sight for today, Helen consults medically, and even participates in classroom training exercises, on-line.
Of the many hats that I have tried on this year, the newest one has been reviewing medical literature. Specifically the rapidly published articles on mankind’s newest menace, SARS CoV-2, and the illness it causes, COVID-19. This activity has ended up being more than a full time job, but has some benefits; it can be done from home, it has improved my ability to read and interpret medical literature, it has kept me mentally active in a field that I enjoy, and I hope that it has helped the various Wycliffe and SIL medical personnel around the world. The focus of the review (which I do in conjunction with Dr. Keith in Orlando) is on the ways the virus spreads, and its risk factors for severe illness, symptoms, diagnosis and updates on some of the possible treatments. Particularly those that might be helpful in limited resource settings.
There has been a great deal of just plain grunt work involved. But at times very interesting and novel research is found. You may be aware that COVID often causes inability to smell or changes in taste sensations. One group created a machine that quantifies the ability to smell. This device was able to detect changes in this sense, even when the person was unaware of their loss. You might recall back in the year 2014, how I (Brian) traveled to witness the New Testament dedication to Long Island and the people of Arop-Lokep. That was quite an experience, including a hike into the volcano-crater lake "Wisdom" at the center of the island. So what has happened since then?
This year an incredible amount of my work was performed exclusively "on-line", but ministry continues. I'm sure you can relate. WBT/SIL recently adapted our Bible Translation program, Paratext, for the electronic tablet environment. This program is used by Bible Translators around the world.
This adaptation is called "Paratext-Lite". It was specially designed with a touch-screen interface in mind (instead of a mouse), and proved
moderately challenging for our software developers to "port" over to that new environment.
This Open Source software has been downloaded thousands of times, and often by Bible Translation agencies outside of the Wycliffe family of organizations. That's wonderful to us... more Bible agencies around the earth can accelerate the work in their part of the world. Plus for many national translators tablets are much more affordable than larger, and more expensive laptop computers. A win-win for all. It means that Bible Translation work can be carried out by local communities all over the globe.
Recently, we noticed that there were hundreds of new downloads of PT-Lite, but NOT to tablets - rather to mobile phones! This is incredible considering that PT-Lite was not originally designed to be used by these less expensive devices. I have long been involved in the promotion of this tool. Recently, I wrote an article on Paratext-Lite in a technical newsletter and with that came increased personal support emails. These were related to "problems" that one encounters in the field with our software. I have become a remote technical consultant.
Last month a member of the South African Bible Society who is working on a new revision of the Afrikaans Bible wrote to say that unfortunately he and his team could not download PT-Lite onto their mobile phones from the Google Play store. This was due to a world-wide ban on Huawei products. The download to his Huawei phone was "blocked" by Google. So they asked me for help.
Did you know there is a tricky way with Android OS to "sideload" an app to your phone? It's a complicated process, to be sure, but the short-of-it is that I was able to walk this user through the many steps to install PT-Lite from a special download site. Halleluah! They successfully grabbed all their available Bible Translation resources to display on those tiny screens, and were ready to work. Yes, it can be done, even on those tiny computers that are already in everyone's hands!
Celebration of God's Creation on Lake Willowby, Vermont
Too much looking at the computer is not good for physical and emotional health, so we have taken regular outdoor breaks. This summer it was mostly on the water where we got exercise while also resting in God’s beautiful creation. We are blessed with many lakes, surrounded by hills and mountains all within a short drive from home. Just the remedy we need to overcome the "Pandemic Blues".
What Too Much Screen Time Does to People!
We trust that the Advent Season this year will allow for time to rest and reflect on our Lord Jesus. He to whom all things will eventually come under His complete authority. Ephesians 1:10
Blessed Christmas to all !