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.

Giving Thanks

While I am living in a place where the days are the same length year round and where the weather is always above room temperature, my body and my brain can be caught off guard by the passing of time. Throughout my childhood, the days would get shorter and the weather would turn colder signaling that the fall and winter were coming. The changing of the seasons in this way somehow announed the coming of Thanksgiving and then Christmas, but in my current home things are different. The rain storms get stronger and less frequent and the days get hotter to signal the change from rainy season to dry season, the time to harvest again and give thanks for another year.

So, now I am thinking of all that I have to be thankful for and the list is LONG!

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
    a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
    and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
    His hands formed the dry land, too.

Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!
The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
    as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
    even though they saw everything I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’
11 So in my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

Fall Wycliffe News

Scripture Celebration – wycliffe.org/celebrate

Wycliffe USA recently made a new YouTube video, “Reaching for the Stars: Expediting Bible Translation Through Starlink Satellite Internet,” that shares the hope of how SpaceX’s Starlink satellite can help to remove the biggest roadblock to Bible translation: lack of internet access.

This struggle is real for our work in Cameroon and we have tried many different ideas and are hopeful that Starlink will connect Cameroon to reliable and affordable internet soon. Please continue to pray for Brian and his team to have creative ideas to help the internet situation here and now.

Beach break

During the “summer” vacation from school, we spent a little time at the beach and loved it even though it is the coldest and cloudiest time of year for us. We planned to do nothing for a few days – just sit and relax. In reality, we were busy and active but with a different rhythm. Swimming, running, volleyball, fishing, crab-hunting, and building in the sand were just a few of the beach activities. There were also lots of board games, conversations, shared meals, and long walks. The tropical rain forest also provided plenty of bird-watching and monkey-watching and the boys saw a sloth when they went a little inland. Despite some bad jellyfish stings, we all enjoyed the time in nature and away from the city. A change of pace and scenery provided a necessary refreshment and renewal.

Colors of the world

You might know that I really like languages and studying the structures and sounds that make them unique. You might also be aware that I love the way that cultures and language intersect. So, sociolinguistics is one of my favorite topics to talk about and study. In iDELTA this year, I am also so glad that I was able to teach, as part of a great team, in the introductory course of sociolinguistics. Some of the lessons that I taught focused on language and how it interacts with identity and culture.

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

For homework, the students shared about their own languages and communities. Reading about the taboos and euphemismes from over 40 different language groups and how they view and name colors in different ways is super interesting. Many indigineous languages in Africa only have a few colors that they actually name: white, black, and red, for instance. Other colors are comparisons, like “the color of the sky”, or “the color of the grass”, or “the color of mangos”.

The different ways of naming things can have an impact on Bible translation and especially on understanding of the Word of God by a community. This is one of the reasons why it is so special to be part of iDELTA and helping train those who are working in Bible translation and engaging their communities.