Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Snakes and Birthdays


May 25,

Every Fri. one of our colleagues who works among the Western Fulani sends out a photo of the week along with a story. She has been telling Chronological Bible stories in her guard’s village. She has Bob (her guard) and 5-7 others from his family who usually listens to the story. She has carefully laid a foundation of blood sacrifice (beginning with Abraham). This Fri. she told the story of Jesus’ baptism. This is a totally foreign concept to these Fulani. The only baptism they know is when the Muslim leaders in their village gives the name for a baby. But they do know the concept of sacrifice because when a baby is named a goat or sheep is slaughtered. This Fri. Bob put it together and knew that only God could forgive sin and that Jesus was God! Pray for him and others in his village. There is only one other known Christian in his village—Soumana our guard!

Pray for their village that others would want to hear these stories! They have been open and this is the first time someone from our team has gone out to this village!

May 25, 2007—Snakes in School

Today Alicia came in from school with this true story. Let me put you in the context. Day before yesterday one of the boys in Alicia’s class was coming back from the bathroom and ran into their French class yelling that there was a viper just outside their class. A viper is a poisonous snake.

Now Alicia comes home and says, “Guess what we found in our classroom today. Miss B. and three of the girls were in the class room. Sarah turns around from the black board and yells, “Oh my goodness there’s a snake.” Alicia was sitting next to Ruby and looked down and the snake was coming towards her desk. Alicia got up from her desk and went to the other side next to Ruby. Miss B. looks up and yells for the two girls to go and get Ray (a student) who had found the viper. They ran out to the basketball court and yelled for Ray to come and kill a snake in the classroom. When he got there he had most of the elementary kids with him! He and Miss B. killed the snake (non-poisonous) and called one of the gardeners to come and get it. How is that for an exciting day at school!

May 23, 2007,

Donuts and juice for breakfast with a big birthday banner on the table. Today was John’s birthday and I always try to make them special! The team from Arlington Texas brought out some neat gifts (K-Nex similar to Legos but a lot more fun! And a gel ant colony.) We as a family had gone shopping for John on Sat. so we were all set. He opened up one small gift at breakfast and then when he came home from school he opened another one. Then it was supper out at John’s favorite Chinese Restaurant! He worked on putting together a Lego NBA player while we waited on our food to come. When we got home we had chocolate cake and ice cream and he got to open the rest of his gifts. He plans to have a sleep over the last week of school (there is one day where there is no school) just before the last day of school.

Thanks Cindy and team for the super gifts!

April 2 Returning to Kandi and Translation Checking

If you were to ask any Fulani what “Matchoudo” means you would hear “That is a slave.” When we got to know Isaac Matchoudo we asked him one day how he came to be called Matchoudo since he was a “Pullo” and not a “Matchoudo”. He explained that his family was animists before they became Christians. His ancestors had a lot of problems with babies dying. They believe that evil spirits came and took their babies and that is why they died. So they decided to trick the evil spirits and they changed their name to “Matchoudo” because no spirit would waste their time killing a slave baby. That is how he got his family name. Isaac’s parents are Christians and if you ask him about his name, he admits freely that he is a bond servant or slave of Jesus Christ.

We first met Isaac back in 1994 when we arrived in Benin and we were asked to consider working among the Fulani. Isaac was a trained Bible translator and he had been chosen to work in Northern Benin to translate God’s Word into Fulfulde. We instantly felt a bond growing with him and his wife Marie-Claire. We became good friends and we moved to Kandi in January 1995 and began learning Fulfulde. Isaac moved to Kandi the same year and we welcomed them to Kandi with a meal together. We became close friends and that friendship deepened as we worked together to learn the dialect of Fulfulde spoken in the north.

We left Kandi in April 1996 and moved down to Bembereke where we continued to learn Fulfulde. Milton continued to work with Isaac even after we left Benin and began working in Fulfulde in Western Niger. They are part of the same larger translation project—the Fulfulde Harmonization Project. This huge project has translation teams in at least 7 different countries including Benin, 2 in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, and Guinea. The FHP meets yearly in Niger for a week of working together, praying together, and having fun together. We have become one big family as we work together to bring God’s Word to the Fulani people.

April 2-7 found us working with Isaac once again. This time Milton, translation consultant with SIL Niger, was able to consultant check the Gospel of Matthew with Isaac and his team. Knowing the language and how it works made the checking session a lot easier. Being good friends with Isaac and his family made our time in Kandi easier! We stayed with them in the house where we used to live, we ate our meals with them, and we prayed and worshiped together.

There is a plan to finish the New Testament this year! It has been translated and about 5 books remain to be consultant checked. But once all is checked, the team will need to do a lot of checks before the New Testament is ready to be printed. Then the huge task of typesetting and getting it ready for printing begins. Pray that there would be enough funds for all this to happen.

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