An ancient story tells of a monastery with a very difficult monk - a contentious, obnoxious, arrogant, and divisive man. If an argument erupted, odds were very good that he was somehow involved. Any group of murmuring brothers almost certainly had his name on their lips. This monk had no friends but many enemies, and finally even he grew tired of the animosity and left the order. While the brothers rejoiced, the abbot quickly realized his loss. He pursued the contentious monk and tried to persuade him to return. When the monk asked why he should come back to a place where clearly he wasn’t wanted, the abbot offered to pay him a salary if he would just rejoin the monastery. Imagine the other monks’ consternation when they say this hapless fellow walk back into the compound! When they discovered he would receive a salary to live their, they grew furious. One marched over to the abbot’s office to ask for an explanation. The wise abbot responded, “This brother, as troublesome as he may be, nevertheless teaches you patience, kindness, and compassion; that is why we need him here. No one else can teach you the lessons he teaches” (Sacred Parenting, chapter 9).
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Sunday, November 8, 2015
And my ultimate favorite animal story from the survey is when we arrived in one village, we were greeted by a group of rowdy people carrying a baby civet (our neighbors call it a chat-tigre). So, I held this little tiger-like creature that I’ve never even seen before (even in books) on my lap during the survey.
All this to say, the survey was not at all dull.
For those of you who did not see our post about this on Facebook, we are looking for a godly young lady to come live with us to homeschool our kids (4 2nd graders) for the 2016-2017 school year. Here are some details for anyone who might be interested:
- A strong walk with the Lord and a life committed to the practice the personal spiritual disciplines.
- A strong recommendation from your local church.
- A love for and experience working with kids of this age.
- You do NOT have to have any experience as a teacher but we ask that you come with a willingness to learn and to work hard to ensure they receive a good education.
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Must apply through our mission agency, World Team, and be willing to raise funds to support yourself for your 9 month stay.
- Homeschool the kids (generally this is 4 days a week, 5-6 hours a day), be willing to work one on one with them in areas where they struggle.
- Prepare daily individual lesson plans from the suggested lesson plans available.
- Volunteer for activities during the group homeschool session.
- Assign and encourage students to give a presentation during the spring group session of something that they have studied throughout the year.
- Be responsible for checking out all curriculum materials, taking care of them and checking them in at the appropriate time.
- Be willing to watch the Hare kids when Dave and Stacey both need to attend language / Bible translation committee meetings (this happens rarely).
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Sunday, October 18, 2015
While it is true that there are various aspects of missionary life that prove to be difficult, there are also so many reasons why I just love my “job.” Let me share a couple of my favorites:
If you are trying to have a conversation in your third language, the mental gymnastics that you are doing prevents you from ever getting bored regardless of who you are talking to. Plus, you never know what is going to come out of your own mouth, which keeps things interesting. Dave the other day told the chief of our village that he was on his way to his cat’s house (meant to say his friend’s house).
Data entry is a part of my job as I enter the vocabulary that I learn into a computer
Could you imagine pulling into the suburbs in the US and seeing all the neighbors in the street watching two dogs chase each other? Or maybe you could imagine doing grocery shopping and then pulling into your driveway only to have your whole neighborhood come curiously watch you take everything out of your truck whispering to one another about your purchases. Imagine thunderstorms where all the kids in your neighborhood strip off their clothes and come dance in your front yard, rolling in the mud and laughing hysterically. This is the normal for us here. Why? Because these are our sources of entertainment. There are no computers here, no Twitter, no Facebook, just rainstorms and the village dog chasing the village pig. It is amazing how easily amused you become living in a village. I love it.
There are no soccer leagues, no church Sunday school programs, no swimming lessons, no slumber parties. Thus, we are almost always with our children. While it can be difficult at times to try to speak in your third language, while mentally translating it into French, while telling your kids to put the machete down in English, they get to see every aspect of our lives. They get to see mom and dad struggle with “school.” They get to see mom and dad pray and wait and keep praying even when God does not respond right away. They come with us to Bible studies that we teach, they see the dead bodies lying in the beds of their loved ones before they are buried. They see violent fights in the village, they see those who are sick, those who are impoverished. They see it all. They see how their parents deal with being the minority in a culture and they get to see how we react when we are mistreated. They listen to our every language session, and since we do not have ceilings in our house, they hear us repeating the same vocabulary words over and over during the night. This is living life-on-life with our children. In the day to day it is not easy, it is nevertheless something I would not trade for the world.
It is rare to visit a church and not be asked to give a little message or encouraging word. In our area, people seem eager to hear the message that we crossed the ocean to tell them. We often find ourselves having to turn down opportunities to teach in order to devote time to language learning. And the very simple truths that we tell people are earth-shattering to them. We really emphasize that man is made in the image of God and thus we ought to treat one another with dignity and not resort to violence and hateful speech. This idea is revolutionary here. There are always children in our front yard that will stop to listen to whatever we teach them. They are learning catechisms and loving it. It is exciting how many opportunities there are right outside our window.
There is no danger of doing what we are doing for the applause of men. Why? Because we are never applauded. We are regularly mocked for our inability to speak the language, we are often misunderstood, and are sometimes just glared at. We have lost our sense of identity as people just refer to us as “the whites” and have no idea what country we are from. We have also been asked if we work with terrorists or if we are spies here to steal the secrets of Cameroon. Just the other day one of our neighbors came to our house to tell us that we knows we are not really here to study the Bakoum language. There is only one reason why we are here: love for God and our neighbor. There can be no other explanation. There is no danger of ulterior motives in our positions.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
It was nice to see Simon so happy because he is generally just sitting expressionless in front of his house. He washes his clothes in a bucket of water and hangs them to dry by his small house. His meals usually consist of a few bananas or plantains when he can find them. When I ask him how he is doing, I always get the same response: “Dah.” We could translate it as something like “surviving.” I never see people hanging out at his house, he seems to have few friends and literally seems to just be surviving.
“If we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8
Sunday, September 6, 2015
- We can learn from MAST projects and seek to involve a greater number of translators. When you read about the lives of our predecessors (Adoniram Judson, William Carey, etc.) the idea was that the missionary was the main translator that worked mainly with one mother-tongue speaker. I know of several projects that have moved to a model of having multiple mother-tongue translators who do most of the actual translation work. The missionary in this situation acts more as a consultant, but one that is very involved in the process and must actually speak the language well. This can be a prayer for your Bible translation missionaries. It is much harder to get people to sign up for a translation project that takes years than one that takes weeks.
- I believe that translation must be tied in with discipleship, when possible. The more biblically trained men and women in the culture, the more people who can take the burden of the work from the missionary. This means that the missionary needs to be trained and needs to seek to train others. This is one reason we are very happy to be a part of Together for the Bible. This is a group that is dedicated to sending out missionaries that are theologically trained that are dedicated not only to Bible translation, but also to church planting and training up leaders. The goal here is to raise up a church, not just to translate the Bible.