We posted about i-DELTA recently in our email updates, but i-DELTA continues. The two month program is intensive for both students and teachers.
Here’s a photo of Shannon teaching about the EGIDS scale to the students in her language development course. The EGIDS scale is a way to measure the status of a language in terms of its vitality or endangerment.
The motto of much of our work in Cameroon is “Nous sommes ensemble” which means We are together. This is true in the everyday moments and our work, but also in the big celebrations and difficult struggles of life. Last year, we attended several weddings for our friends and colleagues and it is a big deal. It is important to celebrate together. Even more important is visiting a friend or their family member in the hospital or grieving with them in the loss of a loved one. Funerals can last several days and include many nights of sitting with the family members. We can show that we are together by simply being with others. Being present is a powerful gift – in times of rejoicing and mourning.
This fall, I am reminded of the beauty and difficulty of change and loss. Our family recently went through a group lamenting session to process some of the changes and losses we have experienced. Looking at the Psalms, we see that God welcomes all of our emotions and questions. We also see that we can come to Him always. We don’t know how much time it will take to process all of our feelings and we are all at different places, but we can trust God to be with us no matter what. We are very thankful that we are not alone on our journey, even with ups and downs. We choose to believe that this isn’t the end of the story. With God, there is always hope, new life. Spring will come.
On the 2nd of November, Wycliffe Bible Translators will celebrate God’s faithfulness and work in Bible translation over the past 80 years and look forward to what God will do in the future. You can join online or in Orlando. Visit wycliffe.org/celebrate for more information.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
// Paste your Google Analytics code from Step 4 here