Monday, August 20, 2018

Day #10: Pray that we could live a peaceful and quiet life

by Dave

Image result for 1 Timothy 2:1-4
We are so thankful to live in a country where the government is not opposed to missionaries. We entered Cameroon originally on visas that listed our role as “missionaries” and have never felt any tension in that regard. However, governments change, and even within an overall supportive government you can sometimes have individuals that can oppose you. We were told when we first met with the mayor of our town that if we did not have his blessing we might as well move onto a different people group. All of that to say, the government leaders in Cameroon can greatly affect our lives.

Paul asked for prayer in this regard. He said…
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
You may think of our lives as anything but quiet and peaceful, but in reality that is what we are going for. We want to live in a village, work with the Bakoum people, and translate the Bible. We know that we need a government that supports us (or at least ignores us) for that to happen. So please keep this in mind.

Here are some specific things to pray for:

  • There is a presidential election scheduled for October 2018 (in just a couple of months). Pray that God would allow for a peaceful election in which righteous men and women are chosen to lead the country.
  • In the past months and years there has been much victory against the Boko Haram in Nigeria. Their violence has spread at times to Cameroon, but let's pray it away. Pray that the Boko Haram would no longer hurt people in Nigeria or Cameroon.
  • There is a lot of tension right now in Cameroon between the Anglophone regions and the rest of the country. Pray that peace would be achieved and that no more people would be injured or killed.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Day #9: Pray for a Ministry of Love

by Dave

As we go to Cameroon we have a lot of goals and there is much that we want to accomplish. We want to translate the Bible, teach people to read, help build the still small and weak Bakoum church, and all along raise our family and minister to our neighbors. 

But we also recognize that we can do all of that without love, and as a result it would be worth nothing. And we know that because God first loved us, we can go out and love others. 
  • Pray that God would give us a heart to love our neighbors, and even our enemies. 
  • Pray that we would find ways to show love that the Bakoum would understand as love. 
  • Pray that we would be known as loving people more than anything else.
  • Pray that we would see God's love change and shape the people around us. 

Goodbye America: Dread, Trust, Resolve

by Stacey

As we have been saying goodbye to friends and family, people have been asking us how we feel about going back to Cameroon. In the midst of trying to see how much we can shove into suitcases and eating as much ice-cream as we can, there are three main feelings that keep coming to the surface: Dread, Trust, and Resolve.

We know that we are soldiers going back into war. Our war is not one involving guns or tanks but instead we battle and against the spiritual forces of evil that have held the Bakoum people for generations. We know whose turf we are on (but we also know who owns the turf). We know that lies and animism have their claws deep in this people and that they will not be released without resistance. We are very aware of this reality.

Years ago, we helped start a pro-life ministry, Speak for the Unborn, which has since taken off under the great leadership of their current director. During those early days of casting a vision for the ministry, determining its core values, and creating a website, I was often clouded with these same feelings of dread. I sat down to create the website and the moment I put my fingers to my keyboard, I am convinced that I was surrounded by demonic forces trying to dissuade me to do anything in the world but the task at hand. Getting stuff done is not something I struggle with, but starting this ministry was much more than crossing off a to-do list – it was picking a fight with the Devil. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t type. I couldn’t articulate my thoughts. And I believe that was all spiritual.

In the same way, we know that Bible translation is declaring war on a force that is so much more powerful than we are. We feel that now. We feel as if we are throwing pebbles demonic forces, calling them to look out way. And yet, greater than the feeling of dread of going back, we feel a deep trust in the Lord…

With the Psalmist, we cry, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me" (Psalm 23:4). We know that we are going back to a dark place, filled with death, both physical and spiritual - and yet, we are simply not afraid. Why? Because the Lord of Heaven and earth is on our side! We don’t know what this next term holds for us. We don’t know what sickness awaits, or even if we will live through our next term. We don’t know if our house in Cameroon is still standing, or if Cameroon will be in a state of civil war when we arrive. We are not certain that the writing system will work, or if people will learn to read. There are so many unknowns, and yet what we DO know is simply enough: We know God is on our side. We know that the Lord will work everything out for our good and whether weeping or rejoicing, he will never leave us. We know that we serve the God of David who took out Goliath with but a few stones. And even though feel like we are leaving everything, we know that the Lord is not quarantined to the pews of American churches. The Lord is with his children wherever they are; and he is enough.

Finally, I feel tremendous resolve. I feel the resistance – I know it is there and yet, the greater the resistance, the greater the resolve. Going back again to the genesis of Speak for the Unborn, the more people slandered my husband and me, and the more they called the cops for this reason or that, the more, by God’s grace, we dug our heels in and ended up starting a secondary pro-life ministry that same year on a college campus. If discouragement is what the enemy is looking for, by God’s grace, what he will get is more versions of the Bible in Bakoum. If fear is the agenda of the great Slanderer, what he will get is Bakoum children singing Scripture songs in their own language. I know who’s on my side, and all the sickness, dread, questions, rejection, and loneliness cannot undo the promise of God to sustain me. The gates of Hell will not prevail against the building of the Church of Jesus Christ. We leave tomorrow to go back to Cameroon cognizant of our weakness, but as convinced as ever that we are on the winning team. 

I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be shaken. - Psalm 16:8

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Day #8: Pray for Competent National Translators

by Dave

I once admitted to a pastor that I was hesitant to preach in churches because of James 3:1:
"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."
This pastor responded to me: "Do you think that the judgment is going to be LESS strict for those who are translating his Word?!" His warning has been well received. As we begin Bible translation this term, we are going to be producing the text that future Bakoum pastor's will preach from. Our task is both difficult and serious. Of course, Stacey and I will be careful in our exegesis and translation, we are only two parts of these extremely complicated machine of Bible translation. We will be working daily with men to wrestle with the meaning of the text. Then, other translators will take that exegesis and translate a rough draft. Then, another team will examine the draft and make recommendations. After revising, we will then have others who will bring the text out on the street and make sure that people understand what is translated. Then more revisions and more tests. We will also have a consultant that will check for accuracy and make more recommendations. All of that to say, we will have a team of people working together. And a problem in just one of those steps can slow down (and potentially stop) the entire process. We are desperately in need of good workers.

  • Pray that the Lord would provide us with Bakoum speakers who are competent and hard working. 
  • Pray that we would have at least one Bakoum speaker willing to wrestle through the exegesis of the text.
  • Pray that we would have Bakoum speakers that are willing to go out and read the translations to neighbors to make sure the correct message is being portrayed.
  • Pray for Stacey and me during this process, pray that we would understand Greek, Hebrew, and Bakoum well enough to make sure we are all doing a good job.
  • Pray that we would have a competent consultant who has the time to review our work and make recommendations.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Day #7: Pray for Wisdom in Money Matters

by Stacey

Mary T. Lederleitner in her book Cross Cultural Partnerships writes about how money matters cause many divisions in cross-cultural partnerships:
Cross-cultural partnerships are on the rise. They have become a primary method in which churches and organizations engage in global missions. Partners from different cultures and contexts start working together with the hope of accomplishing great things for the kingdom of God.
Yet despite their noble dreams and aspirations, working through cultural differences that surround money can become overwhelming at times. Over the years I have witnessed often that these cultural differences about how funds are utilized and accounted for cause cross-cultural partnerships to come unglued. When this happens, many relationships are ruptured and the witness of Christ is hindered (20).
That the Bible is translated is of monumental importance, but so is the how of how the Bible is translated. It costs money to pay consultants to check the drafts produced, it costs to pay national translators, not to mention the cost of producing audio and print versions of the Scriptures. Where the money comes from (i.e. the English speaking church in America and/or the Bakoum community) communicates something and how money is handled can further or hinder the cause of Bible translation. 
  • Pray that the "how" of funding would further the acceptability of the Bible as it is translated.
  • Pray that the Lord would give Dave and I incredible wisdom in dealing with financial issues within the project. Pray that we would use "unrighteous mammon" shrewdly for the advancement of the Kingdom.
  • Pray that the Bakoum would take ownership of the development of their language and that there would be buy-in on the front end and all throughout the project.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Day #6: Pray for Future Co-Workers

by Stacey

There is so much work to be done among the Bakoum and surrounding people groups. The efforts of Dave and I are but a drop in the bucket. We would love to see full-time literacy workers, someone to come start a Christian school, church planters, people to work with children, and medical workers. The people groups around us are also without the Scriptures. We simply need more life-long workers beside us in Cameroon.
  • Pray that the Lord would send out more laborers among the harvest in Eastern Cameroon
  • Pray that the Lord would send out Bible translators for our neighbors: The Baka, Pol, Bebil, and Mbodomo.
  • Pray for Richie and Tabitha Rice, who are planning on joining us in Cameroon. Pray that the Lord would provide for them life-long prayer and financial partners soon so they can come to the field.
  • Assuming the Lord will answer the prayer for more co-workers, pray for Gospel unity in ministry, love for one another, and a like-mindedness in methodology. 

To find more about the Rices and their future ministry, check out their blog:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Day #5: Pray for the Writing System and for Literacy

by Stacey

Working through the kinks of a writing system can be a very emotionally charged process (in some countries it has caused riots). Therefore, please pray that the process of proposing, testing, and implementing the writing system would be peaceful. Pray that the Bakoum writing system would be standardized and used.

Pray also for literacy. If we attain an excellent writing system, but this writing system is not taught, then it is nothing more than a trophy without any function. Pray that we would have a thriving literacy program - that we would have writers’ workshops, that we would train teachers with excellence, that the teachers would be faithful and competent, and that reading and writing would be popular among the Bakoum. 

We have heard that in many minority languages, once a writing system is developed, it is only used by 10% of the population (if that). Please pray that this would not be the case with the Bakoum, but that the writing system would be used and that many would be able to then transition into also reading and writing in French. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Day #4: Pray for our Family

           by Stacey

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:35 
  • Pray we’d love like Christ. Pray that the love that Dave and I have for one another and for our children - that it would not be assumed to be part of “white-people” culture, but instead would communicate that our love is an overflow of the love with which we have been loved by God. 
  • Pray for physical health. Pray especially for Dave as he spent our last term sick half the time. Pray that the Lord would keep us all healthy so that we could have the necessary energy to do the work of translation. 
  • Pray for faithfulness as missionaries and parents. Pray that Dave and I would be found faithful before the Lord in the various hats that we wear - pray that we would stand before Christ and not be found ashamed for neglecting the children and/or the ministry he has entrusted to us. Pray that we would be faithful to teach, train, correct, and encourage our children. Pray that we would also be faithful to translate his Word with excellence and teach it to the Bakoum people. 
  • Pray for our homeschool teachers. Pray for Hunter who will be joining us for the first year of our next term. Pray that she would thrive in Cameroon, that she would persevere as a teacher, and grow in her intimacy with Christ on the field. Pray also that the Lord would direct the steps of our homeschool teachers back to field for life-time service. 
  • Pray for our children. Pray that the would consider Cameroon their home. Pray that the Lord would save the ones who do not know Christ and would grow Kaden who is a professing believer. Pray that the Lord would work in them compassion for the sick and suffering. 
  • Pray for physical safety. Pray that the Lord would protect us from the hands of those of evil intensions. Pray for safety from snakes, car accidents, fires, thieves, and civil unrest.
  • Pray for help with the burden of just “living.” Living (food prep, laundry, house cleaning, etc) takes about 4 times as long as it does in the States. So, if we spend 10 hours a week in the States cooking and cleaning, we spend 40 hours a week in Cameroon doing the same thing. Pray that our family would have a “team” mindset in household responsibilities and that our children would learn to work hard, do a task “all the way,” and serve with a heart of love for others.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Day #3: Pray for a Mastery of the Language

by Stacey

Dave read a book a few years back that described the history of missions in Africa. One striking characteristic of the missionary community was that they achieved a mastery over local languages to the point that they were called teachers of the Bakoum language to the Bakoum (for example).

This is what we want.

We want to be conversant in the language, we want to teach abstract spiritual truths in the language, tell jokes, give a simple gospel presentation to a child, and disciple new believers. We want to know the grammar of the language, the various tonological processes, how to read it, write it, and teach the Bakoum to do the same. Our first year back on the field will be devoted to full-time language acquisition. After that, we will start Bible translation.

Please pray that:
  • The Lord would continue to provide patient, competent, committed, sober language partners (like we were blessed to find our last term).
  • We would master speaking the correct tones.
  • We would retain the vocabulary we memorize (nouns, verbs, idiomatic expressions).
  • We would have the time to devote to further analysis of the language. For Dave this would be tracking participants throughout discourse, understanding the semantics of remote past tense markers and future markers, and a deeper understanding of procedural and expository discourse. For Stacey, this is a tonal analysis of possessive pronouns, tone in non-indicative moods, and tone in subordinate clauses.
  • Pray that we would understand and be understood.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Day #2: Pray for Great Relationships with our Bakoum Co-workers

by Stacey

Mary T. Lederleitner in her book Cross Cultural Partnerships says: 
In order to work together well we need to listen to one another. We need to not only deeply grasp how our partners feel and what they believe but also take the additional step
to understand why such feelings and beliefs are wholly logical within a given context. If we can see the logic of a person’s worldview, if we can value it as being wholly reasonable given a unique cultural heritage and history, from that place of mutual respect and dignity we can find new and creative ways to overcome obstacles and work together(34).
Please pray that Dave and I would: 
  • Listen well to our Bakoum co-workers and friends
  • Seek to understand their feelings, worldviews and opinions
  • Seek to understand the logic of their perspectives within their context
  • Honor our national partners as fellow image-bears of God and treat them with the dignity that is due 
  • Overcome cultural obstacles in order to win the Bakoum to Christ and in order to move forward with translation and literacy
Pray that even though there are language, cultural, and spiritual barriers, the Lord would give  incredible unity and mutual love between us and our Bakoum co-workers.