i-DELTA AC3 2018

It might seem that i-DELTA has been mentioned a lot lately (in our newsletters and on Facebook), but that is only because it has been. This training program is sort of all consuming for its two-month duration.  The students and staff work long days, eating meals together and even taking breaks together, for volleyball or canoeing, but mostly learning together.

The daily routine starts with a time of prayer and Bible study together, usually with song. Then, all of the students take a 2-hour class together, while teachers of other courses prepare lessons, grade or collaborate.  At 10:30am, there is a short coffee break before the next 2-hour class, when they break into 3 separate courses according to their track.  There is a lunch break, but classes resume in the afternoon and finish at 4:30pm.  By this time, everyone is ready to get up and move, so there is usually a friendly volleyball game.  The students will have at least 3-4 hours of homework each night, so after dinner, they will get back to studying.

This year was Shannon’s first year serving as the course registrar, which includes handling all of the logistics for the course, but also helping keep the students on track and content.  With so many different cultures represented, it is not always a straightforward task. The 22 students who have survived this far come from 8 different countries and represent 17 different language groups.  Despite the many differences, we all become one big i-DELTA family after 8 weeks together.

This Academic Cycle (AC3) is the third and final year in the three year course which awards students the equivalent of a first year university degree in Translation, Literacy or Scripture Engagement.  They are mostly already involved in various community Scripture projects, so what they learn is immediately able to be applied to their work, and for many of them, they will also be training others and passing on the knowledge that they have acquired through i-DELTA as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you are enjoying all of God’s many gifts and are as full of gratitude as we are!  We enjoyed a really wonderful time set apart to thank God for some of the myriad blessings we have.  While we often celebrate by gathering together for a feast with family in the US, our church here has also been celebrating the bounty of God’s provisions but with song and dance and giving of gifts for the next year.

Children dance and sing their way to bring gifts for the church.

And we were able to enjoy a (sort of) traditional Thanksgiving feast with some friends who are becoming like family.  We ate chicken instead of turkey and a type of orange squash instead of sweet potatoes, but it was delicious all the same.

Leaves made by Eila

Give Thanks

We are especially appreciative of the great team of partners, which includes our awesome family and friends, who support, encourage, and work with us to help make God’s Word accessible to all people in their heart language.

J’exprime à mon Dieu ma reconnaissance chaque fois que je pense à vous. ~Philippiens 1.3 (BDS)

 

Report on Wycliffe Bible Translators

The September/October issue of Mission Frontiers focuses on the work that God is doing through Wycliffe Bible Translators.  Though the entire magazine is devoted to the topic, it only  highlights a few of the ways that God is at work drawing people to Himself.  You can read it here: http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/archive/wycliffe-bible-translators1

And, I will add a quick story of how God is at work in Cameroon. This morning, I was  praying with five others : two were from Central African Republic, one American, one from Togo, and the last from Congo-Brazzaville.  Each of us shared something that God has taught us this week and we prayed together.  We prayed for the studies that they are doing and for their families back in their respective homes.  We prayed for the work that they will go back to and the impact that it could have.  All six of us are all involved in different aspects of Bible translation, usage, or literacy. Yet,  I am becoming more and more convinced that some of the most important work we do is praying and then walking forward in the next thing God has for us.  It might not seem like much, but I know that it makes a huge difference in innumerable lives.  And, you can join in this work too.  Please take a moment and pray for iDELTA and for Cameroon. Here are some suggested prayer topics.

One Year

We arrived in Cameroon just over one year ago.  In this time, we have learned so much and yet understand so little about our new home.

We welcomed a new family, arriving from French language study in Albertville, on their first day in Yaoundé and our one year anniversary.  What a gift to be able to see the difference that a year can make! The overwhelming sense of “how do I…?” especially with regard to feeding our family is gone, but a desire for deep(er) connections lingers.

New schools and new friends

Mixing new and old – studying or watching videos??

Potluck, Cameroonian style, with baton de manioc, chicken, fish, salads, and plantains

Seeing some of the natural beauty and learning from others about it

Joining the expat/missions community and playing lots of sports

Singing and dancing with our Cameroonian family

Re-learning old skills in a new context takes time… Driving in Yaounde is not for the timid.

My mom always said that you need two years for really getting to know someone, and I would argue that is likely true for a place as well.  In our first year, we have just scratched the surface.  In this coming year, maybe we will learn about some of the hidden treasures and see a bit more of what we couldn’t see before.

Teachers Needed!

Calling all educators! Wycliffe Bible Translators is in need of 200 teachers and administrators in the next one to two years so that the work of Bible translation can move forward in many countries. These overseas missionaries will need a team of​ ​prayer and financial partners​ ​as they fulfill t​​​heir Wycliffe role.
If you’d like to learn more about the work and needs, please join us for our Explore Wycliffe: Live webinar on Sunday, July 22, from 7-8 p.m. ET.  Ask us for the Zoom URL to join the meeting.
To learn more about the event, contact ​Daysi Russell, associate director of recruitment leads, at daysi_russell at wycliffe dot org. Please invite other educators!

Family Fun

We just got back to Cameroon after a wonderful (and exhausting) couple of weeks visiting family and friends in North America.  We had such an amazing trip and wish we could’ve seen more of our family and friends and enjoyed even more time together.  Though saying goodbye again was difficult, we are glad to be back to our other home in Yaounde and to the work that brought us all this way.

Shannon’s grandma, mom, sister, niece, and Eila enjoyed their pedicures.

Playing with cousins and their new puppy, Luna

Serious game playing with cousins, aunt, uncles, grandma and great-grandma on the Yee side

Janes family fun on Lake Huron

So much food, so good.

The boys enjoyed their buddies

Brian’s mom beat us all in putt putt

Brian’s sister and family welcomed us with open arms.

Eila was thrilled to spend time with two lifelong friends.

Branch News

Sometimes, we might talk about the branch or how things are at our branch, which basically is what we call our local expression of our missions organization.  We are so glad to be part of the Cameroon branch, which is one of the largest (local branches) in the world.  The great international schools that the kids attend is just one of the many perks.

Missiological Reflection

Brian led worship several times during the branch gatherings.

Every year, there is also Branch Conference.  Some of the highlights included times of prayer following reports about work going on throughout the Central African Region and the sharing from one of our ministry partners, Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ Cameroon).  It was so encouraging to hear about the collaboration of these two organizations as well as local churches and the impact that together we are having.  For example, each visitor to the  Prime Minister’s office is questioned about their mother tongue and then offered a download of either the Jesus Film or the Bible in that language, if available, and because they are with this high government official, they accept and use it (whether want it or not.) This is the influence of reaching those in positions of power and of the body of Christ working together.

The bigger your headdress, the more important you are. Shannon is with the new General Director and the out-going branch governing board chairperson; both are good friends.

It was a packed room for the formal ceremony with lots of media coverage.

This year the week-long Branch Conference concluded with the installation of a new General Director.  For the first time ever, our branch director is a woman.  Somehow, I (Shannon) ended up on the organizing committee for the big public relations event for the transition of the directorship.  That means that we planned and pulled off the official ceremony with all the government, university and ministry representatives and partners here in Cameroon along with the party that followed.  I learned so much about protocol and culture from the planning and from the event itself, and praise God, it was a huge success.  The best part was seeing so many people work together to pull this off and to see God answer so many prayers so specifically and clearly.  Just one of those answered prayers related to the weather, where a torrential storm passed by and not a drop of rain or gust of wind blew where we were despite flooding and damage all around us.

These two amazing ladies welcomed me to the team and taught me so much in the process.

Soccer Season

Cameroon loves soccer, so Brian and the kids have been playing a lot of soccer since we’ve arrived.  Brian plays Friday nights at the compound where we live which has a small soccer field.  I’ve posted about the kids soccer club the boys enjoy going to.  Eila has joined the soccer team at her school and really enjoys playing.  This is her second sport (after volleyball) that she’s joined at the school and she’s had a lot of fun playing both.  Here’s a few photos of her playing.

Swimming in December

One of the activities planned at the boys’ school during the month of December was the gym class going swimming.  Since December through March is the hottest time of the year here (well, it’s hot all year, just extra hot during those months) it’s the perfect time for the classes to have swimming lessons.

The elementary kids were put into classes of varying level and sent to local pools around town with parents helping to teach the strokes and the skills.  It was fun for the boys, even if it made the days tiring.

Here are a few pictures:

Lift Your Bottoms to the Lord

The dialects of French and English that are spoken in Yaoundé are very different than the versions of those languages that I speak and understand most easily.  In fact, it is easier for me to communicate with locals here in French than in English.  But, most conversations are navigated very freely and the language employed depends on both parties and their comfort and ability.

Our work environment uses a wide mixture of English and French as well as translators for both.  There are Americans, Canadians, British, and Australians who are all native speakers of different English dialects.  In addition to the many Africans, there are also Koreans, Dutch, Germans, Swiss, Hungarians, and Swedes who speak English as a second language.  And of course there are native French speakers from Canada, France, Switzerland and various African countries.  Then, there are all those who speak French as a second or third language.  The potential of miscommunication abounds as does the need to be flexible.

The MCs for the branch Christmas baquet included an Anglophone (English-speaking) Cameroonian woman and an American man.  The American was the French MC for the evening while  another Francophone (French-speaking) Cameroonian woman translated other English-speakers words into French during the event.  Unfortunately or fortunately for the translator, most of the crowd is fluent in both of these languages and corrected every mistake she made and helped her out when she struggled.

At one point during the Christmas banquet, the English MC said that we should lift our burdens to the Lord and praise Him. She repeated this several times, encouraging us to worship God and lay our burdens before Him because He is able to carry them and He wants us to trust Him with everything because He cares for us.  Unfortunately, I misunderstood her. To me, the word “burden” in Cameroonian English sounds a lot like “bottom.”  I kept wondering why she wanted us to “Lift our bottoms to the Lord.”