How www.easyBibles.com began and grew – including learning from mistakes.
November 1 1998 – Revd Martin Lloyd was asked to co-ordinate easyEnglish for Wycliffe Associates, UK (now called MissionAssist) – see www.easyEnglish.info .
A small team had translated about 10 psalms at level A (1200 word lexicon). Several Bible Commentaries without Bible texts at the same reading level were also being produced. This team grew to 60 to 80 people writing, checking and field-testing easyEnglish, including Accessible EasyEnglish (now called ‘veryeasy’ English by Martin) which began in 2000.
November 26 2003 – in travelling to promote easyEnglish, Martin reached Kampala, Uganda – where he was asked by the Bible Society of Uganda to start easySwahili – on his return to Tanzania. This was the first ‘easyBibles’ language.
2004 – easyBibles spread to South and West Africa (Zulu and Fulani) as well as rapidly through East Africa. There, work was started in Swahili for Kenya, Dholuo, Masaai, Luganda (for Uganda), Gikuyu, Kimeru, French and Kirundi (for Birundi), Amharic (for Ethiopia), Juba Arabic & Nuer (for Sudan). Sadly, these teams were not encouraged to do the ‘veryeasy’ level and so could not grasp the full ‘easyBibles’ vision.
Martin made his second visit to India – this time to promote EB; easyTelugu (just commentaries without translated Bible text) started plus easyBengali in Bangladesh. Then Martin went to Hong Kong and up north, by train, to Hunan Province to ask “What Bibles do you have?” and “Who can read them?” So Martin was led to meet Mr Ma’s team in Zhoukou, Henan Province – by phone – with David Wang as the messenger.
2005 – Martin & Jenny went to Shanghai and met Mr Ma, who told them that easyChinese had already started. On returning to the UK, easyWelsh began. Veryeasy Portuguese began by email with Catholic Professor Carlos Gohn in Belo Horizonte University, Brazil. Soon Martin in Lima, Peru was able to initiate easySpanish.
April 2006 – Martin handed back to Wycliffe Associates UK the leadership of easyEnglish as the combined workload with also initiating and encouraging ‘easyBibles’ too was proving unnecessarily large. It also meant that Martin now travels to Africa and Asia without any Western labels attached.
In October, Martin went to Los Angeles to the International Theological Seminary and met several African and Asian students.
Also in 2006, Martin revisited the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission in Milton Keynes and their Bible College Dean, Dr Jason Lim – who has since met the easyChinese team three times inside China.
2007 – the ministry of ‘easyBibles’ spread steadily to many new languages – including Polish, Shona for Zimbabwe, Nepali, French and Lingala from the DRC, Yoruba from Lagos, Fanti from Ghana, Indonesian, Russian from Ukraine and Gita from Tanzania.
Martin met several deaf churches and their leaders in UK, Kenya and the Philippines to see if the ‘veryeasy’ versions can support their main communication, which is by the use of signing.
‘Veryeasy’ languages are becoming increasingly relevant to prison ministries.
2008 – in the period May to July, Martin went to some of the poorest countries in the world. So easy and veryeasy languages began in :
Ethiopia – Oromo and Amharic
Malawi – Chichewa and Tumbuka
Mozambique – Portuguese and Yao
Zambia – Bemba
He also visited India (where the Friends’ Missionary Prayer Band have started easy languages for North India) and Thailand.
Throughout 2008 the work has been developing strongly in Pakistan – Urdu, Punjabi, Farsi and Seraiki and soon Sindhi. EasyBisaya(Cebuano) and Subanon from the Philippines have started; also easyHebrew from Israel.
2009– Martin visited Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore and India.
Jan 2010 – We changed our financial policy to work only volunteers. Nobody will be paid to write, translate or check Bible texts.
Feb 2010 – Ian Melton of Cefni Computers, Llangefni, Angelsey, North Wales kindly started printing veryeasy and easy gospel booklets. These are posted to teams doing the work to sell at very low prices to cover their distribution expenses.
March 2010 – teams formed to staple the booklets together – and a charitable fund was set up to pay for postage costs.
April 2010 – Richard, a businessman who travels each week to Bradford started to carry large numbers of booklets for stapling and trimming by printing firms – free of charge.
May 2010 – Martin visited Tokyo 2010 and Malaysia to promote easyBibles. Many new contacts were made – praise God!
June 2010 – Martin visited Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS) and Liverpool Hope University
July 2010 – Martin met Father Mario from Italy, who not only helped improve veryeasyItalian but will return to his missionary work in Northern Uganda in September and help to find translators and checkers. Printing started for Edition 2 booklets in large numbers with veryeasyVaiphei for Manipur, India. A new team met in Llanfairfechan to collate and fold large numbers of booklets – ready for Bradford. Martin again visited OCMS.
September 2010 – Martin Baskerville took easyBible materials to Burundi and DRC.
October 2010 – Martin visited Budapest.
November 2010 – Made new UK Comboni friends and contacts with prison chaplains.
celebrated ‘easyBibles’ 7th birthday.
December 2010 – Met L’arche friends in London and Liverpool. Number of on line projects reached 100.
January 2011 – In Preston i met the UK leader of L’arche. Attended my first ‘Good Gifts’ meeting for learning disabled children and their parents in Llangefni, Anglesey, Wales, UK.
Went to Verona and Rome for exciting Comboni meetings.
February 2011 – Revisited Verona and Rome. Made additional contacts.
Visited Catholics in Dublin – but no doors opened. Eventually i understood that Roman Catholics are not usually allowed to do bible translations – but several have been able to check them. I appreciate their fellowship!
March 2011 – 2 weeks in China – mainly in Zhoukou, Henan Province for 3rd time – much progress, particularly for learning disabled in Zhoukou and Shanghai.
Met Revd John Sephton, a retired prison assistant chaplain – in Ormskirk, Lancashire to discuss opportunities for ex-offenders to help write veryeasy materials.
Continued similar discussions with Kainos in Runcorn.
May 2011 – Returned to Rome for 1 week – also met director of Franciscan University. Visited Roman Catholic and Anglican Franciscans in London. Jenny attended ‘Good Gifts’ committee meeting in Llangefni. This work is exploring links with ‘Faith and Light’ groups – also set up by Jean Vanier – who founded L’arche.
June 2011 – Visited Jean Vanier and L’arche in Paris – a great team – extremely hospitable.
July 2011 – Much encouragement with French from DRC.
August 2011 – went to Brussels, Brugge & Ghent seeking easyFrench and Dutch helpers and later N E England where i met a wonderful church fellowship.
November, December 2011 – prepared for the first ‘easyBibles’ Conference ‘KABWE 2012’ in Kabwe, Zambia.
February to September 2012 – a time of disappointments, learning and fresh beginnings for ‘easyBibles.’ The Kabwe Conference failed as people were more interested in money than helping the poor.
Martin is now concentrating on just visiting Europe and trusting God to provide the ‘one in a million’ people who care about the needs for the poor readers of the Developing World. These friends will translate, check and field-test as VOLUNTEERS. No money will be involved.
October 2012 – Posting continues for veryeasyHindi and Marathi, veryeasyRawang (Myanmar), easyZande (level A for South Sudan). Chinese team agrees to become independent and pay for costs for level A Luke’s gospel! Please see ‘Top Teams’ on the quality.easyBibles.com part of this site.
November 2012 – Martin plans to visit Istanbul for the launch of a friend’s easy to read Turkish New Testament and at the end of the month to return to Stavanger, Norway.
December 2012 to February 2013 – Martin made second visit to Istanbul and planned third trip to Stavanger Missionary College (MHS), Norway for March 20 – 28th.
March to May 2013 – i revisited Stavanger and Istanbul – also the Indian Community in Southall, London – which led me to add India and Pakistan to the countries, such as China, who have received the ‘easyBibles’ vision and are well equipped to implement it – independently!
I shall now concentrate on the poorest countries in the world and also on helping learning disabled people. So, i hope to get nearer to the original vision in Matthew 25 v 40.
June & July 2013 – a new emphasis on level A brought 8 strong teams forward. Concentrating on the poorest nations (in Africa) – especially DRC, South Sudan and Malawi – led to a desire for an African Conference in Lilongwe, Malawi on November 26th – ‘easyBibles’ 10th Anniversary.
August 2013 – delaying the African Conference till April 2014 was universally agreed by African leaders as this extra 6 months meant more time to prepare and print. And Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania have also started level A.
Pastor Elie’s team ( doing French and 3 local languages) have also successfully registered ‘easyBibles for DRC’ with the government in Lubumbashi.
An Asian ‘easyBibles’ Conference is being planned in Kathmandu, Nepal for late 2014.
Printing has stopped in UK as all is now being done in local situations to eliminate postage costs, increase local employment, reduce damage and theft and encourage field-testing before further printing.
October 2013 – a 4th visit to MHS, Lutheran College, Stavanger made good progress in Ethiopia (Amharic and Oromo) and in Madagascar (Malagasy).
November 2013 – we celebrate the 10th anniversary for ‘easyBibles’ with a Skype Conference.
December 2013 onwards – www.easyBibles.com accelerating.
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