Shannon recently returned from another trip to the village where she helped with a verb workshop. In Bantu languages, generally, verbs are known to be able to add suffixes or prefixes or even infixes for different tenses as well as for many other uses. So, this verb workshop was an attempt to start the process of learning how verbs act and how they can change in this language. We were able to learn a lot through the participatory workshop and the participants seemed to really grasp the richness and diversity of their language. It was a productive workshop that also had to be very efficient, as it was cut short by one day due to the funeral of one of the main leaders of the community. This sad situation was also an occasion for learning, as Shannon attended the wake and burial service.
Grieving is often a deeply personal experience in American culture, but in Cameroon, the entire community wails and weeps together. They stay up throughout the night together; sitting, talking, and even dancing and music are prominent among the activities. Of course, there is a lot of food too.
I was really struck by the normalcy and injustice of death throughout this trip. Death is both so wrong, especially when it takes a young person and so normal, in that everyone experiences it. I appreciated the expressions of grief and the community striving together to make sense of what doesn’t make sense. And even more, I’m grateful for the eternal life and hope that belong to all who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and the chance to share that hope with others.
I Corinthians 15:50-57 NIV
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.