Sunday, March 10, 2013

Primer Pro Workshop

Six languages. 12 Primers. 3 weeks. Sound impossible? It felt that way too when we began on February 18th with 13 literacy workers with minimal computer skills and a lot of sounds to teach to the preliterates in their communities! However, on Friday, March 8th, we gave 5 of the six groups complete primers that they had designed and written original stories for using limited graphemes (letters or letter combinations that represent a single sound). With an hour of break between 8am and 5pm, many working into the night, they succeeded! This is truly a working of God's grace, and we pray that these primers will be used to bless thousands of people with the great gift of literacy in their mother tongue.


We have seen God do great things in our Survey Team in the last few weeks. We praise God for partnerships that have been developing by His grace, and for the goals that we are forming together. We have a renewed dedication to prayer in our team meetings, which are rich times of oneness for us. We continue to pray for our upcoming Scripture Use Survey, and wisdom in selecting the language area where we will carry it out. May we listen to God, our partners, and each other with sensitivity and obedience.

Can God use Rap?

Years ago, God gave me a good friend who created raps for any number of occasions to spice them up or add a touch of depth. He inspired me, and I am always amazed at how many opportunities I have to share this with others! In Holland Public Schools, my students sang raps in spanish about simple machines, mammals, and plants. In Cameroon at the parent run school, my students rapped also about simple machines, but this time in English. They rapped about matter, magnetism, Scripture, and many, many other things. Five years later my students sang these raps to me when I was leaving Cameroon. At GIAL in Dallas, Texas my group performed an ironic rap on "Inhibition." In Cameroon I write raps before birthday parties to present to my single friends with choruses that everyone joined in on. I've carried this tradition on on Nigeria. In Nigeria we rapped for the work Christmas party about Jesus becoming taking on flesh. My neighbor Jerry joined me in this, and later I recorded a rap for him called "You're a Masterpiece" which appears on this first album. A couple of weeks ago I presented to a group of education students at a nearby seminary on interactive teaching methods. I had them write raps they could use in their classrooms. Finally, I resurrected an idea I did at GIAL a couple years ago at the Primer writing workshop at NBTT on "Functors." With natural rhythm and God given enthusiasm, the participants sang about "the, is, at, and -ing" with great gusto. I am thankful for this friend and how his gift passed on to me has blessed so many. Who ever knew God could use rap in so many powerful ways?

Ati Gideon and Asukutuk

Their creativity and perseverance while we struggled to create the first Primer in their language was encouraging. These two men stretched their minds and their abilities to do what "I never thought I could do," as Baba put it one day. Praise God! Now we have to make final corrections and write the teachers guide before we put it into good use in the Kice community!

Off to the Wildlife Park!

A freeing, uplifting, beautiful experience was granted to me on Saturday, the 12th of January. Nine children and my friend Christy Dixon loaded into the car loaned to us by our friend Marinne and we went to the Wildlife Park. I felt the beauty of my childhood rise in my heart and they squealed over the chimpanzees performance to receive the reward of our bananas, the length of the boa constrictor, and the spiky feel of the elephants trunk. We played on the playground, swinging on swings, climbing the monkey bars, and experiencing the teeter-totter. What a gift this day was, a refreshment for my heart. Before I left the house I said to Zach, "I want to share with them aspects of the faith through the animals, but I don't know what to do!"-Me "How about a lesson about the lion?"-Zach "That Lion is so lame, though, and not a good demonstration of Jesus being the Lion of Judah!"- Me God really proved me wrong as the children started screaming wildly will Thank you, God, for these dear small ones you've given me to disciple and grow with.

The Wildlife Park

What intense joy, wonder, and freedom I experienced on Saturday with the children from my neighborhood! We loaded excitedly in the car being lent to use by our friend Marinne, and we were off on an adventure. The highlights? The chimpanzee doing a handstand and then thrusting his hand out, palm ready for his reward. The new baby monkey clinging to the underside of his mama as she ran around being chased by another jealous hungry monkey. The elephant finally tempted by this group of young people holding treats and gracefully (for his size) sauntering toward us, ears out, mouth full of leaves to say hello. Feeling his trunk, watching him take our bananas, and curling up his long nose to put it into his mouth. The Lion, becoming agitated at the children’s closeness to his cage and pouncing off the fence growling. The squeals, the giggles, the learning moments…unforgettable. The lion was God’s gift to me because I had asked Zach what animal I should use for a lesson about God while we were there. When he said the lion, I responded, “But that lion is so lame, it just sits around!” On this, my 4th visit to the wildlife park, I couldn’t have been more wrong! The children experienced the fierceness of this lion, protecting his cub, and we had a great lesson on Jesus being the Lion and the Lamb. The snake offered lessons on confession offering freedom from our sin, and Christ’s blood washing us clean and giving us new skin as we saw the boa’s transparent old skin shed and left while his new one glistened in the sun. I praise God for this beautiful day!

Collaboration, vulnerabity and trust

From Tuesday through Thursday, leaders of 24 Bible Translation organizations have gathered to discuss how we can work together more intenti...