Saturday, February 20, 2016


Southern fried chicken you may know, but

this woman makes her own traditional food, Amala. You've probably never heard of that!

Mariama won't eat most foods, but she loves dark, sticky Amala, to the delight of the chef.

Our little girl may never really get excited about fried chicken, but she will probably squeal with delight her whole life when you offer her a ball of hot mush to dip in a sauce.

She's our Nigerian-American baby girl, with a love for the market, Amala, and greeting people along the road with smiles and waves.

Traveling to Kamuku

Beautiful to see our girls growing together.
Tomorrow, Zach, Christy, Mariama, and our colleague Rachel are traveling to Kamuku.  Have you ever heard of Kamuku before? Zach first heard of it when he lead his first survey headed to Kamuku eight years ago.  I first heard of Kamuku when she met Katharine and Gareth, when I visited in 2011 to see my friend Zach. Katharine was on that first survey with Zach, trying to decide if she would work there as a single missionary.  Now Katharine and Gareth, a linguistic powerteam, have been serving in Kamuku as a married couple (they now have two children) for about 6 years, and Zach is returning married to me (we now have one very adorable baby girl)! There is now a Bible translation project going on in Kamuku, and we are going there to learn how to test that translation alongside the translators and facilitate a discussion about next steps in Scripture use.  We will also facilitate an oral Bible study with the hope that they will catch the vision and start listening for personal study and in their families! 
After a few days in Kamuku, we will head to a neighboring language area for a few days where we will meet with area church leaders and encourage them to use the newly translated Luke, which is only in audio form. 

Eight years ago seems like a long time, but God has known the Kamuku speaking people since before time began, and this week we pray he speaks in a new way in their midst!

Please pray with us! 

Daso will be staying with friends so she can continue at school.  Please pray for peace in her heart as she has competition day on Wednesday, and we won't be around.

This is our first long trip out to a village since Mariama was born.  I don't know how to pray about that, pray as you feel lead.

This is our first time working with Rachel on a project.  Please pray for unity, vision, and good discussions with the Kamuku team and the other language group!

Pray that all we listen well, and facilitate well so that the leaders in these two language areas will feel encouraged and ready to engage their communities with the Words of the Most High!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Where in the World?

In Yaounde?  No, but I felt like it sometimes when my fun-loving sister from Cameroon came to visit! 


Remember one of Mariama's names is Etienette? This is the daughter of Mama Etienette Gado and her name is...Etienette!
In India? No, but we went to the Indian Restaurant in Jos with Eti, and my dear friend Mary Jane to celebrate Daso's return, Mariama's 6 months and Eti's visit!

 In Florida? No, but we did get the joy of staying in a really nice hotel that had a pool! Daso wanted to swim...all the time, from the moment we got up until late at night.  "Will the pool be shining if we go now?  Can we go see?" Daso wondered at 10pm.
 At a fancy health food cafe in a posh town in the US?  No, but we did get to drink smoothies that were advertised, "no sugar, no water added!" Mariama enjoyed them too.

 At Kroger in Indiana?  No, but I did get to push my two girls around in a cart where they could see all the yummy food shelved neatly, and freeze in the air conditioning!

 In Ethiopia eating Enjera and a variety of super yummy soups? No, but it was a first for me, and something I have to learn to make!
 In Michigan at Domino's and Cold Stone Creamery? No, but I was so blessed with this taste of home.  Oh, and the pizza really WAS ready in 9 minutes! We left on a Wednesday and got back on a Saturday, but we never left the country!

In Abuja, Nigeria, we got to go to an air conditioned movie theatre and watch Star Wars, a super market and buy Snickers, Domino's and Cold Stone, an Ehtiopian Restaurant, a Smoothie bar, and have tastes of Cameroon mixed in as we spoke in French, English, and Hausa!  What a wonderful experience it was! 

Strategic prayer 2: Courage

Have you ever sung the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," where each verse adds to the verses before it?  Well, perhaps you can pray through our strategic prayer points like that too!  Last week I started a series of blog posts on our "strategic prayer points".  Today's new point is: 

2. Courage to step into opportunities, even if we don't know exactly how it will all work out

Dancing in a traditional way!
One way God answered this prayer since October was the courage he gave us to continue partnering with the Nigeria Bible Translation Trust (NBTT) in planning a major Scripture Arts Festival, to be held in the capital this coming June.  Thank God that as a result, together we put on an EthnoArts workshop where speakers of a few languages learned to understand their own cultural arts and create Scripture songs.  Please continue to pray for boldness as we plan for a Scripture Arts Festival that is a bit bigger than any of us are really ready to pull off.

Here are some of the current opportunities of other things we might step into:
  • A closer partnership with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO) a Nigerian-founded missions organization
  • Partnering with local bookstores to make print and audio Scriptures more accessible
  • Sending some of our staff to a conference in Thailand to learn about how we
  • Partnering with OneStory to bring some teams to reach oral communities through retelling Bible stories in a natural way.  (Pray for me as I talk with one of our partners about this Tuesday this week... perhaps right as you are reading this!)
These kinds of opportunities are exciting, but they all require us to step out and try something that may not work.  Pray that God will give us wisdom to know which opportunities to follow, but even more the courage to step into them, even when we don't know if it will work.
    By the way, want to hear an example of an oral retelling of Creation from OneStory? Try this:

    Now you can continue praying with the first prayer point:

    1. Clarity and direction for us as an organization as our Nigerian Missionaries look for new Ministry Partners to pray for and support them financially. Related to this, pray for each member of our team to have all the ministry partners and the full support level they need. (Here is the blog post with more details) 

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

    Strategic prayer 1: Ministry Partners

    Back in October last year (2015), our team of twelve was just coming together again after having been focusing on looking for ministry partners here in Nigeria since May.  I was reminded of the vision I had when we returned to Nigeria to start leading this team:  begin with prayer.  So on the first day I could get our team together, the only thing we discussed was what we needed to commit to pray about if we wanted to accomplish our goals.

    We drafted a list of seven strategic prayer points and I posted this on the blog so that you all could join us in prayer.  Perhaps it felt too "boxy", or perhaps we just didn't meet often enough as a team (we only have met once since then) but I feel like we have never really come together in unity to consistently seek God with these prayer points.

    With that in mind could you pray that our Scripture Engagement team will become united in prayer?  I believe that God likes this kind of prayer, and as we seek him persistently together with this request, I believe he will answer.

    Also, until I have a new "Strategic prayer list" from our team, I am going to keep praying through our original seven items.  To help you pray with us, I want to comment on how God is answering these requests, and give you details so you can understand the requests better.

    Today, I start with the first request: 
    • Clarity and direction for us as an organization as our Nigerian Missionaries look for new Ministry Partners to pray for and support them financially.
      Related to this, pray for each member of our team to have all the ministry partners and the full support level they need.
    Thank God with us that since I first wrote this request we have seen God guiding us as an organization.  Now each of our smaller teams which are composed of only Nigerians are making their own plans and schedules for when to go out looking for new ministry partners and when to do their exciting primary ministries (for example, recording and editing the New Testament).  Thank God that many of our Nigerian Missionary colleagues have started seeing even more encouraging responses, especially in the month of December.

    We still seek his guidance as the road is still so rough.  Some staff on our team are in financially tough places, and really would like to see more partners get on board and start giving financially--as soon as possible!  Please pray that today and every day God will continue to provide for each of the members of the Scripture Engagement team.  If you want to pray by name we are: Peter, Janet, John, Iliya, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Luka, Rachel, Rachel (yes two Rachels), Frank, Zach, and Christy.

    Go Away!

    T here were children. Always so many children. Our children are a magnet for other children and so everywhere we go, they follow us giggling...