As the end of the semester approaches and students prepare for the summer, Oklahoma Christian University junior Rett Parker looks forward to his internship with Pioneer Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea.
Pioneer Bible Translators aims to create a translation of the Bible in every language, giving people across the globe access to God’s word. Rett first learned about the organization when his Bible professor, Grant Testut, brought in a recruiter to talk to one of his classes.
“Rett has a natural enthusiasm for biblical studies and biblical languages,” Testut said. “Whenever I see a student who has all that enthusiasm, I want to point them to all the possibilities that are before them. When it comes to somebody that really does have that love for the text, love for the history and language in the Bible, I will direct them toward possibilities either in addition to or sometimes instead of ministry.”
Before flying to Papua New Guinea, Parker will spend two weeks in Dallas to prepare for his experience out of the country. As the only intern traveling to Papua New Guinea, Parker said he looks forward to embracing and learning about new cultures.
“We will be visiting people who’ve gotten most of the Bible translated and people who are probably still working on figuring out the language,” Parker said. “We will get a good slice of what’s going on. There’s going to be a bit of recording their stories, writing them down and then helping them. It’s mostly going to be about learning.”
During the internship, Parker will spend various amounts of time at different translation sights across the country, which will allow him to experience a variety of cultures.
“They’ve given us a lot of books to read and a lot of them have to do with anecdotal stories on how Bible translation works,” Parker said. “I’m super excited to see that in the flesh. At the same time, it’s terrifying having no idea what the language is, no idea how to speak it, what the cultural norms are, what the do’s and don’ts are. I’m most excited but also incredibly scared about that part.”
Parker’s work in intermediate and advanced Greek with professor Jim Dvorak provided him with adequate training for an internship of this caliber. According to Dvorak, Parker shares his unique love for biblical Greek.
“Rett has a really strong passion for translation,” Dvorak said. “Not just learning different words, but really diving deep into the language in a linguistic and sociolinguistic context of the language. He seems to really eat that up, and that’s one of the things that I love. Rett’s a good guy and he works hard.”
After graduation, Parker said he hopes to continue his relationship with Pioneer Bible Translators. The Bible department at Oklahoma Christian plans to create a unique program for Rett and other students who aspire to translate the Bible.
“I’ve talked to professors and they’ve crafted me an NTS here at OC that makes a Master’s course out of all the different classes that I need to take for Pioneer Bible Translators,” Parker said. “If I don’t do that, then Pioneer Bible Translators has their own universities that they run their classes through.”
Ultimately, Parker said he hopes to engage in mission work during his time working with Pioneer Bible Translators.
“I’m really in awe of how faithful Pioneer Bible translators is,” Parker said. “One of their goals is to bring the Bible in the heart language of every people. They pray hard, they pray faithfully, they pray knowing that God will do His work. Seeing that out of Pioneer Bible translators is astounding and makes me want to have that sort of faith. I’m hoping that a little bit of that will rub off on me on this internship over the summer.”