April Photos

Here’s an overview of April in photos:

One picture of the “big event” for the 50th anniversary of work here in Cameroon
We all ran a twilight 5k “glow-run” which started in twilight and ended as it was getting dark.
Our church held a baptism service the Saturday before Easter. It was nice to celebrate with nine people who were baptised. The baptismal pool is behind the church and it’s hard to see what’s going on.
Our family selfie Easter morning.

It Takes a Village to Bake a Cake

It turns out for us, this is true. Last month, Shannon wanted to bake a cake for a party for a friend and she eventually found out the preference was for German Chocolate Cake. No problem.

German Chocolate Cake (with three layers)

Except that we didn’t have cake pans to make a round cake. No problem there either. When you can only bring what you can fit in a few suitcases — you often are missing certain household items: especially those things you don’t use every day. As is customary, Shannon posted a WhatsApp question to find out which of our neighbors had cake pans.

Well, in this case, no family had more than one cake pan of the same size so the cake was baked using pans from three separate households.

Together, we all have a complete kitchen.

Together, we get by each day.

This experience reminds of the Cameroonian proverb: “One hand cannot tie a bundle”. Or another one: Si tu manges seul, tu bagarre seul. “If you eat alone, you struggle alone.”

Sometimes I miss having cake pans, or a pasta maker, or other items I left behind in a basement back in Michigan. But I think what I’ve found here in the community around us is pretty good.

Everyone knows it’s hard enough just to get by on your own. They know that going back to the store after you just spent hours driving through town because you forgot something is too much. So you ask, and people understand.

What you see depends on what you’re looking at

I enjoy running, especially in the neighborhood. Other people don’t enjoy running out on the roads for various reasons, one of which is that there could be things, like trash or mud, in the way. But for me, running on the road (even by the dumpster or passing the roadside dump) is a regular reminder that when I look at my feet and focus on what is ugly or stinky or in the way, I might be missing out. When I look up, I see amazing clouds and beautiful flowers, and I am reassured that this world is more than just what my feet and hands touch, so much more. The bigger perspective is a gift that I get each time I step outside and look up at God rather than down at this broken world.

Your Language Matters

Yesterday, the 21st of February, was International Mother Language Day. 2019 has also been declared the Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations.

In Cameroon, we are part of a Wycliffe partner organization, SIL International, which works to develop indigenous languages all over the world. They have put together a small web site talking about International Mother Language Day

Included in this site is a short video that include many people saying in their mother language “My Language Matters”. Please watch it.

As a mother-tongue speaker of a language of wide communication, English, it’s difficult to understand how it feels to speak a lesser-known language as your mother tongue. One thing that has been clear to me, however, after arriving in Cameroon is that people react to their mother tongue: visibly and emotionally.

Just the other day I was at a celebration, and I witnessed a man come across a small booklet in his mother tongue, a Cameroonian language. The excitement was clear on his face as he began reading it. His connection with the words of his own language could be felt. His joy was pouring out in his words.

His language matters.

Your language matters.

We all matter to God.

Mit mond az?

Title is “What does that say?” in Hungarian.

A few weeks ago a colleague brought his computer in for assistance. This itself is normal. I’m on help desk Tuesday morning, and even outside of that people often come into the office looking for assistance. It’s always nice to keep get someone back working again, if they’re having trouble.

However, after he left I quickly figured out that this computer was in Hungarian. I usually only see computers in English or French. Hmm. This job turned out to be a little more difficult than usual. Luckily, I didn’t have to do too much, and the location of options on Windows is pretty standard. And Google Translate allowed me to know (approximately) what word I was looking for a times.

This was another challenge I never thought I’d run into (I feel like I’ve said that more than once).

Pray without ceasing

Starting out 2019, we took a day to pray with other members of the Bible Translation work here in Yaounde and I was struck by the importance of praying all the time and for all kinds of things.  One of the things that we did during the day was write down big ideas that we are asking God to do this year.  I had a long list of really big things that I want to see God do this year and I know He will do even more than I can imagine!

The Finish Line is a prayer guide book from Wycliffe Bible Translators that might be useful to you in praying for the various people groups around the world.  This booklet focuses on praying for the projects that are close to the end, where the wait is almost over for these peoples to have God’s Word in their heart language.

You might also like to check out a new devotional called “At His Table” where you’ll see how you’ve been invited to participate in the kingdom of heaven here on earth.  You can download it free of charge.

 

When’s Spring?

In the tropics, there’s really only two seasons: rainy and dry. It’s hot all year long, but it’s either hot and rainy (where’s it’s not quite as hot) or hot and dry (where it’s really hot). Here in Cameroon you might be able to also say there are four: the big and little rainy season and the big and little dry season.

I, as an expat and import, often still think about the “regular” seasons of back home in Michigan even though here it bears no resemblance to what is happening across an ocean. I still say things like “Next Summer”, or “This Winter” even though it’s 85 degrees out.

The other day I was talking to one of my Cameroonian colleagues about something that we’d do in the future and I said, “We can’t do that now, but we’ll take care of that in the Spring”.  She said, “Oh ok.” seeming to understand — but then added, “When’s Spring?”.

i-DELTA AC3 2018

It might seem that i-DELTA has been mentioned a lot lately (in our newsletters and on Facebook), but that is only because it has been. This training program is sort of all consuming for its two-month duration.  The students and staff work long days, eating meals together and even taking breaks together, for volleyball or canoeing, but mostly learning together.

The daily routine starts with a time of prayer and Bible study together, usually with song. Then, all of the students take a 2-hour class together, while teachers of other courses prepare lessons, grade or collaborate.  At 10:30am, there is a short coffee break before the next 2-hour class, when they break into 3 separate courses according to their track.  There is a lunch break, but classes resume in the afternoon and finish at 4:30pm.  By this time, everyone is ready to get up and move, so there is usually a friendly volleyball game.  The students will have at least 3-4 hours of homework each night, so after dinner, they will get back to studying.

This year was Shannon’s first year serving as the course registrar, which includes handling all of the logistics for the course, but also helping keep the students on track and content.  With so many different cultures represented, it is not always a straightforward task. The 22 students who have survived this far come from 8 different countries and represent 17 different language groups.  Despite the many differences, we all become one big i-DELTA family after 8 weeks together.

This Academic Cycle (AC3) is the third and final year in the three year course which awards students the equivalent of a first year university degree in Translation, Literacy or Scripture Engagement.  They are mostly already involved in various community Scripture projects, so what they learn is immediately able to be applied to their work, and for many of them, they will also be training others and passing on the knowledge that they have acquired through i-DELTA as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you are enjoying all of God’s many gifts and are as full of gratitude as we are!  We enjoyed a really wonderful time set apart to thank God for some of the myriad blessings we have.  While we often celebrate by gathering together for a feast with family in the US, our church here has also been celebrating the bounty of God’s provisions but with song and dance and giving of gifts for the next year.

Children dance and sing their way to bring gifts for the church.

And we were able to enjoy a (sort of) traditional Thanksgiving feast with some friends who are becoming like family.  We ate chicken instead of turkey and a type of orange squash instead of sweet potatoes, but it was delicious all the same.

Leaves made by Eila

Give Thanks

We are especially appreciative of the great team of partners, which includes our awesome family and friends, who support, encourage, and work with us to help make God’s Word accessible to all people in their heart language.

J’exprime à mon Dieu ma reconnaissance chaque fois que je pense à vous. ~Philippiens 1.3 (BDS)

 

Les Chenilles

One morning, a few weeks ago, we went outside and sat at our new picnic table. At that time, it was under a tree. It was a nice location since the tree provided shade against the tropical sun.

However, that morning we noticed a number of caterpillars (chenilles) all over the table. We brushed them off and sat down at the table. Then a caterpillar fell from the tree and landed near Eila.  Hrm. And these just weren’t any little caterpillars, these were large (2-3 inch) black ones with yellow spikes.

We started to move them into a bucket we had around. Remembering that I’ve seen similar caterpillars live in the open air markets here in Cameroon, I brought the few we had collected to the guard at our compound and asked if he would want them. “Well, yes, but there’d have to be more”, he said to us (in French) — but he would stop by at the end of his shift and pick up what we had.

So we went back and noticed that more had fallen from the tree above. We scooped those up into the bucket. Soon, every time we went by there were more caterpillars to be collected and by the end of the morning, we had quite a number writhing in the bottom of our bucket.

We ended up with more than this.

At the end of the day, the guard stopped by and we gave what we had in the bucket to the guard in a baggie.

The next day we asked him how they were , and he said they were very delicious. His son knew how to prepare them, and they are them with tomato, garlic, and lots and lots of piment (hot sauce).

We’re glad someone could use them.