Fiber Optic Project Featured

We’ve discussed the fiber optic project which took place in Yaoundé this past February and March in our newsletters. This project was first discussed about two years ago. In many ways, it was just a start of a large project — although in some ways it felt like the end of a long journey as well.

This tells the story of that project from a different perspective, highlighted on the blog of JAARS, a partner organization who assisted us with the project. It highlights a long day of shopping when myself, a Cameroonian colleague, and our two visitors drove around Yaoundé looking for ground rods. Ultimately we were successful.

[They] were impressed by the persistence and creativity of the IT staff in solving problems. In the U.S. if you need a ground rod, you go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and grab one. Not so in Yaoundé. The group had to go to four stores before they found the ground rods, and it was piecemeal. They found some parts at one store and some at another. But this never bothered the IT staff. “Their mentality is, ‘We will find a way to do this. We will fix it,’” Jordan recalled. “And it was a great joy to see.”

– from the JAARS blog

You can read their story here.

From a distance

As most people around the world have experienced over the past few years, working remotely has some distinct pros and cons. We are really thankful that we are able to continue our work from a distance, but there are a few challenges as well.

The family in Detroit, MI.

One of the main advantages of working from the USA is the difference in internet capabilities and consistency. We have ben able to do some tasks ten times as quickly which allows us to spend more time on other tasks that are needing attention. Another big plus is the quiet, at least for me (Shannon). I work really well in a quiet environment and while I love the varied noises that come with living in an urban rainforest and actually miss them, the relative quiet of a suburban home is conducive to a productive work day. Also, there are many conveniences available to make non-working life more productive which means that we have more time to devote to working.

Remote office

On the other hand, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a real struggle when working remotely. And while some tasks are done more efficiently, meetings with colleagues and collecting language data can take a lot more time from a distance. We definitely miss being able to chat at coffee break or pop in to ask a quick question before lunch.

When you have two homes, the hardest part of being at a distance is always being away from some of your loved ones. The flip side of that is that even from a distance, we are able to connect with family and friends, but it is makes the enjoyment of being together in person even greaterǃ

Highlights of iDELTA AC2

It is hard to capture the joy of seeing eager workers grow in their knowledge, understanding and skills. I think one of the best parts of my work in Cameroon is the francophone iDELTA training course. This course is a three-year cycle that provides practical education and mentoring for workers in Bible translation, literacy, Scripture engagement and media. These workers come from all over West and Central Africa to participate in the intensive 8-week sessions. They are dedicated and motivated. They are not always happy with the way things go and one of my jobs is to handle their complaints. That is not the part I enjoy. Rather, I love teaching and seeing them understand the concepts and apply them to their language group, to their situation. It is even more amazing to hear their stories of returning home and using what they have learned to help their communities and pass it on to others.

Here are a few photos of the work and the play that happened in the first session together in this cycle, but the second year.

We are already planning for the third session and looking forward to seeing these eager students againǃ

Summer Fun

The first half of 2022 was one of the hardest yet for our family, but we are now into the second half and it is off to a great start. One of the best parts of this summer is that we are all together again after various trips and travels that led to us being apart more than we were together. We were able to all make it to a family wedding in Michigan at the end of June, which was followed by a family reunion over the Independence Day weekend and another family reunion the following weekend. Lots of family traveled to visit us as well and we greatly benefitted from others’ previously planned trips. It was an unexpected gift to see so many of our family and friends this summer.

We have also started on the adventure of exploring colleges and universities for our teenagers. Even though we can hardly believe it, Eila is a senior and will probably attend a school in the USA while the rest of us are living on the other side of the world. Trying to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life is a daunting challenge, one that she has been ardently avoiding until this summer.

While there is little that can compete with the fun of seeing friends and family after a long absence, the teenagers in our family have been enjoying eating as much food as they can. They are also looking forward to lots of sports to wrap up the summer fun.

Trying new things

In December, we went to Douala. The financial capital, the port city, the largest city in Cameroon. We were eager to try the many restaurants and shops that were often advertized to us on social media, but that we a little farther away than we hoped for a night out… (about a 6 hour drive!)

We enjoyed lots of ice cream and fine dining.

We saw a movie and went to an indoor shopping mall, complete with an escalator, the first of its type in this country. And directly across from this giant, modern building, we saw cows grazing.

Of course, we spent some time just relaxing as well.

We also watched the port and have been tracking the giant ships that were docked while we were there.

Soccer in the Village

(This was originally written just a few weeks after the trip, but was never published.) Recently, as in about four years ago, I (Eila) went on a sports evangelism trip with my soccer team. This was not an everyday opportunity considering that middle-schoolers don’t usually end up on the higher level team that gets to go and it only happens with the girls’ team every other year. To say the least, I was very excited to have this chance. I saw it as a way to improve spiritually and also in my communication skills.

The plan was to arrive at a village not far off from the town where we’d be staying and immediately get out of the van and play a soccer game. After being cooped up for at least four hours, none of us were really in the best shape, but we managed to beat the other girls 3-0. It was a fun game played on a field surrounded by a gorgeous bamboo forest. After that game, we drove into the town of Lolodorf and situated ourselves at the small house we were staying at.

The next day was devoted to hosting a tournament for the legion of girls at the Lolodorf soccer club. We set up activities to help them warm up and learn important soccer skills. The 13 of us there were split into groups of 3 or 4 to govern the activities and coach one of 4 teams of girls. we coached and advised our team as best as we could, with some groups only have limited French, to compete in a tournament against the other teams. In the ridiculous heat and sunshine, the day seemed much longer than it really was, but everyone had a ton of fun. In the end the team I was coaching scored zero goals and won zero games, but had some of the best passes and teamwork I’d seen from any of the others. They were worn out and beat up by the end but still enjoyed the celebration of the winning team.

The drama evangelism team was supposed to join us and perform a few skits for the competitors but arrived too late to do so. At the end of the tournament, the MVP was chosen from the winning team.

Welcome home hugs!

2022 = 80 years

Wycliffe Bible Translators is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year! That’s 80 years of God transforming lives through the work of Bible translation. And today Wycliffe is still working to ensure that every person has access to Scripture in a language and format they can truly understand. You can learn more about Wycliffe, what Bible translation work looks like, and how you can be involved at wycliffe.org

Gift Planning Webinar

The Wycliffe Foundation will be sharing tips on how to create a biblical estate plan that provides for your family and supports the ministries close to your heart. All Wycliffe staff, donors and prayer partners are invited to attend this free gift planning webinar. We encourage you to register for the Zoom webinar Creating a Biblical Estate Plan scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 22.