Ok, so Iam going to try to catch you up to today, now that I seem to have good internet and a moment to breathe.
Thanks to all that prayed for my time in Ndu. I had been warned about the spiritual darkness that hung over that area, all the things that push back adainst the church and seminary in that area. Thanks to the hedge of protection, I saw very little of this influence, and it didn’t seem to touch those around me. Just after I left, I heard reports that there were traditional religious leaders surrounding the seminary campus and that they had attacked one of the students. As I said on Facebook, don’t stop praying for the seminary where I was teaching, Cameroon Theological Baptist Seminary. There is so much hope flowing through all those students who soon will be Christian leaders in churches and Bible translation.
Language Technology Class:
Class went very well, despite the power problems in the evening and the general lack of Internet since September. Most days that I had class (M/T/T/F), there was power during class. This was as encouraging as it was useful for teaching a computer class. As I said before, I had 8 students, and 2 students ended the class with a perfect score. We spent a lot of time on Paratext, the main Bible-translation software. Even though it was all new to them, they followed and learned quite well. Critical thinking skills, though not what they were used to using in class, made a strong showing. In just a few weeks, they became (mostly) confident users of the application, and were in general very excited to learn about any way the computer could help them.
You must understand that the computer can not do the translation for them, but the powerful tools make it much easier to type, read, analyze, research, check, share, and print every word. Beyond class, the guys and lady were very encouraging. When you put a prayer request in front of a roomful of seminary students, there’s powerful prayer right there on the spot.
For a time, the outside world passed me by, my slow cellular internet allowed some email through and a few Facebook posts. When I was not teaching, grading, or preparing materials, I took the peaceful time as a retreat. The successes, challenges, and business of the past years slowed down. I took enough time to truly thank God for all the faithfulness he’s shown to me. He’s protected and guided me through French School. He’s given me angels as partners, who have continued to faithfully pray and support this ministry, even when I’ve been slow at feedback. He gave me the amazing chance to work under Jenni and learn from/with her. He brought Kevin into the Training Department, who has now inherited it from me. He gave us interesting challenges each day to solve with those that bore them. In prayer, I was able to process and think back to dealing with Shawn’s death, helping to keep the Peach Palace running in the interim, my colleague Jenni moving to Chad, struggles of single life, all the daily pulls of people needing support, and my second job of Field Security Officer. I don’t think I realized how much stress I’d internalized to keep moving until I was able to pass it all back to God.
After some time of quiet solitude, as explained above, God gave me the Petersen family. They were part of a Wycliffe Associates work team, and had stayed longer than the rest of their group. I was hanging out with Drew, Marie, and their 3 kids a LOT. They were such a blessing, getting me out of thinking about myself or my work and getting me to have fun. They took me in, fed me often, and for a time, they let me into their inner circle of love.
Kyle (known to me as “Avocado” due to a you-had-to-be-there joke) is a teenager who worked in the Library and sometimes worked with his dad doing concrete. We connected and had lots of fun talking about nerdy things. Ellie, 14 years old, was there to work with kids, and spent much of her time at the child-care center. She’s a little bookworm with an imagination as wild as her brothers’. Last but not least, there was Levi, the youngest. At first, his opinion of me was largely based on what i had brought to play with, but we got along quite well very soon.
Each Sunday was “Pancake and Praise” night. They started a new tradition that got the missionaries out for something a little more familiar. Drew and Kyle led worship as we went through praise songs.
They do story time each evening, and so I sat with them (with their 12-year old son curled up next to me like a cat) and listened to Drew read. The first book was a story about 2 knights playing out a story from Revelation. I would sit and draw an image from the story as he read, and then share it with the group at the end. They were closing up their 10 weeks here in Cameroon, so later we started the “Re-entry” book together. (“Re-entry” is a well-respected book designed to help missionaries return to their home countries and avoid some common pitfalls.) The idea of the book seemed a little “theoretical”, and I probably wouldn’t have read that on my own, but it was very helpful, so that was good. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one going through those challenges and questions. It makes me feel a little less solitary…but we’ll get to my re-entry in a later post.