Sierra Leone 4
1 week left! Hard to believe that we have been here in Bo for 2 weeks now and in less than a week we will be back in Freetown. Things are progressing well. As of this afternoon (Sunday November 14) we are very close to getting book 1 in both the Mende and Themne. Things are moving at a bit faster pace now that we have progressed this far.
The participants are doing very well. Occasionally, one or two of the participants will have to leave for a day or two in order to attend to business with their families or jobs. This is a little disruptive, especially for the Mende team. The Mende have been slowed by a couple of factors. First and foremost is that the Mende Bible is currently under revision. There are 5 different Mende dialects and the original translation was written in one of the minority dialects. So they are in the process of harmonizing the language so that it is familiar with all dialects. Since we rely so much on the Bible many of the words are debated as to whether or not they are acceptable. This problem is compounded by the fact that a few of the Mende team members are also involved in the Mende bible translation project. The arguments become very tedious at times and take up quite a bit of time. However, their presence is a blessing because we know that the final product will be of excellent quality. They all care very deeply about this primer construction and are so eager to bring literacy to their people. They fully understand that the Mende Bible translation work does not matter if the people cannot read!
As for the Themne, they are progress quite well. Early on our concern was with this team as they had the fewest members, especially those who are able to write the language. Praise God that the Bible Society here in Sierra Leone released one of their translators to come and join the primer construction. He is an invaluable asset to the team.
What about me? I’m doing really well. My health is strong. Though I have the occasional stomach issue that forces me into seclusion in my water closet for a time. I am doing my best to get up at 6:15 three days a week to go running. That is a very interesting adventure in itself. At night, sleeping can be a challenge as well, but each morning after I shower and dress I feel ready to take on the day. The filming and photographing are all going quite well. It is becoming a bit of a challenge at this stage because there are only so many hours of footage and only so many photos one can take of people sitting in a room writing. But there are many other things that keep me busy. One is working on laptops of the various participants. So many of them are infected with virus’ and other malicious internet bugs and things. It is very challenging to resolve most of the issues because the internet is slow if there at all and the resources are not available here that are best for taking care of these problems. This week I will also start a small project of capturing each of the LEI missionaries on video. I want them to share just a small segment of what they are doing as an introduction. I can tell you that these men are completely committed to the work of LEI. Literacy is so important to them and unfortunately we don’t get to hear their voices too often. Please pray that we are able to capture each one effectively and professionally.
Thanks so much for continuing to pray for us. As well as things are going here I still miss my family very much and can’t wait to be rejoined with them. I am getting so excited about the thought of that reunion coinciding with Thanksgiving and Eve’s birthday. What a celebration it will be!
God bless you all!
PS The photo is from yesterday (Saturday November 13th). Pastor Gregory and I spoke to this gathering of local pastors. I spoke to them about missions and Pastor Gregory talked about steadfastness. It was a great 1-2 punch. Gregory ended the time by offering to buy one pastor a bicycle if they would commit to planting a church in a village nearby in the next year. So a pastor was randomly selected and given $100 to buy a bicycle. It was a pretty neat experience!
In case you can’t tell, I’m the white guy in the back.