Thank you for your prayers! After a long journey from Detroit, we arrived safely in Cameroon late in the evening on Tuesday. We received our negative Covid-19 test results in plenty time to be printed before we left. The trip was smooth and all of our luggage arrived. God went before us each step of the way!
We are also thankful for the warm welcome we received to our quarantine apartment in Cameroon, with transport, groceries, and a meal waiting for us.
We are returning to our work and studies remotely and settling into our new routine. We hope to move into our home in Yaounde in two weeks.
It is a joy to be back on the field and be able to continue to support the life-changing work of Bible translation in Cameroon. We could not have gotten here without you!
Thank you for being partners with us on this journey.
It has been a little while since our last update, and maybe you are wondering how Shannon’s village trip went. The short answer is: wonderfully! You can read more details and see a few pictures here.
Shannon working on nouns with a small group at the participatory workshop in February.
One of the downsides to life in a tropical climate is the large insect population, mosquitos especially. While Shannon was in the village, she got quite a few bug bites, one of which likely resulted in a virus called chikungunya (similar to dengue fever or the zika virus). Shortly after returning from her travels, she got a high fever, itchy rash, headache, etc. that lasted about a week. Then, the second stage of the virus set in with severe arthritis pain in her joints. She is doing better each day and is easing back into resuming her regular workload, but still from home.
Brian and the kids enjoyed a Valentine’s Day banquet at Eila’s school while Shannon rested at home.
Brian continues to work on the final details of the new payroll system, as well as preparing a new website for the Cameroon branch. The computer services department is very busy, and Brian is glad to have great colleagues. He and the kids have been playing soccer in their free time as well as doing some extra cooking and cleaning.
We really want to thank you for partnering with us in this work; we are so encouraged when we think about the people that are participating with us in Bible translation here in Cameroon!
Please thank God for:
protecting and caring for us each day,
deepening friendships (Shannon’s sickness has opened the door for others to come alongside and love on us.)
safety in travel and the productive noun workshop in February.
Thank you for praying. We would appreciate your prayers for:
good health: in addition to Shannon’s virus, stomach troubles and bug bites are a common problem for all of us, and Eila has been having some bad headaches lately;
continued development of friendships and adjustments to cultural differences.
Bible translation in Cameroon enjoyed a big boost as we began this new year. SIL-Cameroon, the center where we work in Yaoundé, hosted the first ever National Symposium on Cameroonian Languages. Shannon was co-coordinating the logistics of this 2-day academic conference with the University of Yaoundé and is thrilled that it was a huge success. There were over 150 linguists from around the country who raved about how much they learned and were excited to go back to their respective institutions and communities with their insights. We made it look so easy that it was decided that they’d repeat it annually, rotating to the various major universities around the country.
Today marks 6 months since we arrived in Cameroon! We are amazed at all that we have been a part of in such a short time. And, we are so grateful for God’s faithfulness to us and to bringing His Word to the world. Thanks for partnering in the work of Bible translation!
Attendees are welcomed to the first ever Cameroonian linguistics conference.
Shannon, pictured here with our neighbors, worked at the information table throughout the conference.
We can thank God for:
sustaining us through a year of huge transitions
encouraging results from the first linguistics conference
giving us interesting things to work on
6 months of living in Cameroon!!
We appreciate your prayers for:
protection and health (for the whole family) as Shannon travels to a remote village for a language workshop
Les vacances! Les vacances! Les vacances” That was the chant that was heard this afternoon as the kids counted down their last few minutes at school. It ended with an epic water battle and the boys were able to close out their school year with a lot of fun. Then, they got haircuts. And now that we are all finished with school in France and looking good. We are ready for a change of pace and scenery. Tomorrow, we will take a train to Paris to meet up with our family and do some sightseeing in Europe before we move to Africa!
Some reasons to thank God:
We have our visas for entry into Cameroon!
We have an apartment waiting for us in Yaoundé.
We all passed our exams!
We have made wonderful friends in France.
We have learned many things, including lots of French language and cultural adaptation.
We have had better health than ever during our time in France.
We are able to have a break and spend time with our families before our big move!
Please pray for:
Wrapping up our life in France well – saying goodbye (again), packing, taking care of many details for our departure.
Settling in to Yaoundé, Cameroon: We arrive July 25 to begin working in support of Bible translation; the kids will start school again on August 10. Please pray for health, patience & peace throughout the transition, for good local friends for each of us, and for all of our luggage to arrive with us.
We will try to send an update upon our arrival in Cameroon, but it may take a few days before we can do that. At any rate, we’ll be in touch from Africa in just a few weeks!
Sour Patch Kids are among our family’s favorite candies. So, we were really excited to find them on the shelf at our local grocery store in Albertville, France. When we read the name on the bag though, we laughed out loud. Very Bad Kids doesn’t have the same meaning or connection to the candy at all. Something was clearly lost in translation. This simple candy name illustrates the difficulty and importance of quality translation for the Bible. Preserving the accuracy as well as ensuring a translation that is clear and natural is essential. These and other challenges remind us of the need for trained translators and consultants in the monumental task of ensuring that all people have a Bible in their heart language. Thanks for being part of this work with us!
Sour Patch/Very Bad Kids
Our time in France is nearing the halfway point and each one of us has recently received a report card along with a conference with the teacher. Learning a language, even while immersed in the culture, can take an average of about 18 months of full-time study. Since we had a very good base in the language, we are functioning pretty well. The children came in with no French at all and are now able to read and write a little and even understand some of what is happening around them. They are able to play some sports with their classmates. The boys are also getting to be decent with a yo-yo, thanks to its popularity on the playground at school. It will still be a while before they can make their own sentences or carry on a “normal” conversation in French. Despite the challenges, we see God’s protection and provision. We are thrilled with the progress that we are making in our language studies. And, we are encouraged by your continued partnership with us in ministry. Thank you for being part of this adventure with us.
Let’s Praise God for answered prayers!
We survived the first semester with exams; we are all making a lot of progress in language learning.
We are getting involved in our local church.
Our neighbors and classmates have been very helpful, including lending a bike to Eila for the rest of our time in France.
Please Continue to Pray:
for continued development of friendships for each of us with our French neighbors and classmates
for the kids to seek God and trust Him during this difficult season for them
for good health, study habits and motivation to speak in French, even when it is humiliating.
We are truly grateful for your role in the work that God is doing in and through us!
“France is not that different.” said Josiah. Then he went on to say, “except the tiny cars, the long lunch break, half-day Wednesdays, food, and that everything is in FRENCH!” We have been in France for about one month.We celebrated the new year with a local traditional meal, tartiflette, brought to welcome us to Albertville, France.
Within a week of our arrival on the other side of the Atlantic, all of us had taken placement exams and started school. (Well, Eila started one week later, which was just fine with her!)The boys are attending a local elementary school: Val des Roses.Brian and Shannon are studying French at the Centre d’Enseignement du Français.Eila is going to the Cité Scolaire Jean Moulin, where she is taking lots of FLE (French as a foreign language) as well as other classes in French.
A typical day so far is full of school for everyone. Eila’s school, which is about a 30-minute walk from our apartment, begins at 7:55am. The boys’ school begins at 8:25am and our classes begin at 8:40am, so we have just enough time to walk to the various schools and make it to class on time. We all have a two-hour break for lunch between 11:30am and 1:30pm, and then we finish our classes at approximately 4:30pm each afternoon. After a small snack, we review the kids’ work from the day and start on homework.The boys spend time playing in the snow, with legos, or reading while we make dinner.Luckily, we live right across the street from a grocery store.
We are so grateful for your prayers as we are truly starting to feel like we are settling in to life in France and are able to do more than just survive.We are eager to make friends and practice the French we are learning.
The kids’ reactions and quick adjustments to life in France has been very encouraging.We see how God has been preparing the way and getting us ready for our next move to Cameroon this summer.
Thank God with us!
Saying goodbyes and moving was difficult, but we experienced God’s peace throughout the process.
We have moved into our apartment with beautiful views of the Alps in France.
All five of us are attending school in Albertville and learning more French every day.
We are starting to get involved in extra activities outside of school and are excited to make new friends.
Please Continue to Pray
for friendships for each of us with our French neighbors and classmates
for wisdom in managing our time and stress levels
for studying, and language progress, especially for the kids
We are just starting to go beyond saying “Bonjour” to actually talking with and getting to know those around us. We are feeling homesick and yet we are seeing God’s goodness and power in big and little ways each day – like the healing of Shannon’s shoulder pain, an American friend for Thaddeus in his class, a gymnastics club for Eila to join, Josiah’s free skiing lessons with school, delicious bread (among other treats!) and the sun shining on the mountains outside our window.
I lift my eyes to the mountains… My help comes from the Lord. Psalm 121:1-2
“Sold, to 4897” the auctioneer said as we claimed our small snowblower for $2.During October, we have been participating in the Intercultural Communication Course (ICC) at the Wycliffe-JAARS Center (jaars.org) near Charlotte, North Carolina.One of the required training activities was to attend an auction where we learned how to interact on the fly by observing other participants.
The focus of the training is preparation for transitioning to a new culture and serving well in any environment.The skills we are practicing and the topics we are studying are essential for successful cross-cultural communication during our language study in France and for our ministry in Cameroon.
“Wow; I had no idea!” whispered one woman as she watched our kids pull the list of languages down the church aisle.We were sharing about the need for Bible translation around the world at our home church last month.The statistics and stories of people waiting for God’s Word are staggering.God is using us to get the news out about this need and advocate for those without the Scriptures.At the same time, God is also preparing us to go and be part of meeting the need, ending the wait for so many with no Bible in a language that speaks to their heart.
“When Are You Leaving?”
This is a question that we get often, and it is a difficult question to answer precisely.However, every day the future seems to be a bit more in focus.In order to leave, we must be at 100% of our monthly ministry budget and we are currently at 80%.We are so thankful to God for the people that are partnering with us.When we began building our partnership team in February, we had a faith goal that God would provide 100% of our ministry budget by mid-October.It looks like that just might be what happens – but this is our plan.We are trusting God to accomplish His plan.Continue reading →
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