As my first post about our _country_ trip, here’s a copy of an update we just sent out to friends, family, and supporters. It gives a good overview of our trip. I have linked parts of the letter to pictures that I posted on Flickr. (There are TONS more pictures on my flickr page if you want to see more.) Later, I’ll add more detailed entries about what we did.


We’re back! Bryan and I returned from our trip to _country_ on the day before Easter. We had a wonderful trip, and we have spent the past week getting over jet lag and getting used to life in the U.S. again. We learned so much about _country_, about traveling overseas together, and about what our future life might be like. We want to share with you some of the highlights of our trip and tell you the things we discovered while we were there.

Our journey into _country_ began in a town called _larger city_. The first few days of our time there were spent helping our teammate, Brad, organize a workshop to train literacy teachers in the __ language. During the last few days, as the literacy workshop was held, Bryan and I distributed Bibles and New Testaments to local pastors. Some of these pastors had traveled almost forty miles by bicycle in the heat of the day to receive the gifts. We gave out about 1,600 Bibles and New Testaments in the __ language, and while we were so excited to be able to help in this way, we continually saw the need for more to be done. As we were giving out the Bibles, we performed a survey of the pastors, asking about literacy in their communities, availability of Scripture, and number of literacy teachers. We learned that while they have many people attending their churches, most of them cannot read, and if they can, they do not have access to a Bible. We also heard many stories of the terrible tragedies that the __ people have gone through during the civil war of the past 20 years.

The training course for literacy teachers in _larger city_ was a great success, and the participants completed the course with great excitement and with plans to begin a literacy program in the church right away. They received their certificates of completion and their new Bibles with joy!

Our next stop was in _city_, a smaller town a little north of _larger city_. We joined two other __[our organization’s name]__ ladies, Marsha and Stevanie. Marsha led two literacy-teacher training courses, and Stevanie led two trauma healing workshops. The trauma healing class was meant to train counselors to help others through the traumatic experiences they have dealt with during the war, but it also ministered to the participants who had also experienced trauma. Since Bryan and I did not have a survey goal in this town, we used the few days there to continue to prepare for our upcoming language survey.

A few days after arriving in _city_, Brad, Bryan and I traveled to a tiny town called _town_. We met with the leaders of the town, including the man who brought the gospel there and started the church when he was young. He was now over 70 years old, and although he had retired and there was a new pastor, he was still the spiritual leader of the people there. Most of the leaders also belonged to the translation committee for the __ language which is spoken in _town_. These people have wanted a Bible translation in their own language since the 1960s, and the current translation committee has been meeting since 1996. Another Bible translation had been completed in a similar language nearby, and we were there to figure out if that translation could be used along with a computer program to speed up the translation in __. We also wanted to find out if this would work for a group of neighboring languages.

Bryan and I gathered data from local people, and everyone was very interested in what we were doing. We often had a group of Morokodo people sitting and listening as we gathered wordlists, sentence lists, or other information about the local languages. While we were doing this, Brad worked with the Morokodo translation committee to translate three chapters of the Bible in the other language into __, simulating what the computer will eventually be able to do. By the end of the week and a half that we were there, they had completed the first chapter of Mark and the first two chapters of Matthew! Bryan and I had also gathered enough data to make a preliminary hypothesis about the possibility of using the computer program with the other related languages.

It was such a blessing to be with the __ people! They were so welcoming and hospitable, and they were so excited about the possibility of finally having God’s Word in their own language. They have wanted this for so long, and they just need someone to come alongside them to give them the tools to make it possible. We are praying that God would raise up a family who will live with this people group and who will be able to finish the work that has been started.

We went back to _city_ for a few days before leaving _country_, and then we spent about a week in _large city_,_another country_. We visited the office of a sister organization, we debriefed on the trip, and we also had time to explore. This was a good time for Bryan and me to begin to process all that we had learned while we were in _country_.

One thing we were hoping for from this trip was to receive a little more direction about where we might be located when we go to _country_ full-time. During this trip, we saw how many churches are already established in southern _country_, and how much is already known about the languages in the area. While there are still survey needs in southern _country_ that we could work on in the future, we have always wanted to go somewhere that is more unreached. One such area in _country_ is _________, an area that I studied for a class project in February. Another __[our organization]__ couple is interested in doing church planting and literacy in this area, and so our survey skills are already needed to gather information to help them make an allocation decision. We are so excited about the possibility of living there and of being able to work closely with this other family. Please pray for us as we begin to make plans for the future!

Published in: on April 20, 2007 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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