22 Oct

Are we a nation of liars?

2 weeks ago we started our Hausa course. Hausa is one of the major languages in Nigeria (out of 520) and it is the one spoken in the north where we are. I am not a big fan of language learning but I am getting on with it okay for now. There are 5 of us in the class, none of whom are linguists, none of whom are thriving in the environment, but we are doing it to honour our Nigerian hosts and enable us to greet properly – it is very important here.

The first thing we learnt is about greetings. There is none of this hi bye business, but there is a long series of greetings. The bold is a loose translation, don’t over analyse it – it doesn’t work believe me!

T: sannu. hi
A: yauwa sannu. hi to you too!
T: yaya gida. how is your household
A: lafia. fine
T: yaya maigida how is your husband
A: lafia lau. very fine
T: yaya aiki. how is your work
A: mun gode Allah. we thank God
T: yaya giyada. how is your tiredness
A: ba giyada. there is no tiredness

Etc etc. and so it goes on

T: Sai an jima. see you tomorrow
A: to yauwa sai an jima. yup see ya

It doesn’t matter how anybody is or if you are tired or if work is bad, you always answer in the positive. It occurred to me that we Brits often do the same thing.

T:Hi! How are you
A: Fine thanks and you?
T:Fine
A: Great cya.

Sometimes I get sick of the falseness.
Sometimes I’m glad to hide behind it.
Maybe we aren’t so different from the Nigerians.

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11 Oct

News from ‘home’

I’ve just had this message from our executive director in the Uk –

For over forty years, the Wycliffe Centre at Horsleys Green in Buckinghamshire has been the home of Wycliffe Bible Translators in the UK. The Centre proved ideal for accommodating the large numbers of students from Wycliffe and other missions who came each summer for linguistics and other pre-field missionary courses.

Times change. These days we have significantly fewer students passing through the doors than we used to and the Centre is much bigger than Wycliffe itself needs. We have been able to rent out some offices to other missions and charities and we have sought to expand the conference business which has always been part of our ministry here.

However, as time has moved on we find ourselves facing some major problems. Running the Centre is an increasingly complex business which inevitably distracts us somewhat from the core mission of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Also, as I’m sure you will understand, rising costs and a declining conference market mean that it is increasing difficult for us to make ends meet. The centre is in need of significant investment in the near future if we are to stay here as we are.

Please could you pray for us that God would give us a clear vision for the future ministry of Wycliffe and how the Centre should play a part in this. Pray too, that He would provide us with whatever it is that we need as we step into the future He has for us.

Eddie Arthur: Executive Director, Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Please do join with us in praying for the future of the site.

04 Oct

October Update

First of all, please accept our apologies for the lack of updates.  We have been hampered by what I shall call ‘transitional hiccups’.  A big adjustment has been in how we try and access the internet here.  All internet access in our part of the country is by way of 3G Cell phone network.  We pay for it on a sort of pre-pay process involving ‘phone credit’ that we scratch off the code and enter it to an SMS number similar to many pay-as-you-go systems in the UK.  You get the idea that it can be complex, and so we have had to figure out a couple of new ways of working and sharing with you all.  I have to extend my thanks to Dave Hewer who has been able to help us out!

How are we doing?   Dan is still doing well at school; he is enjoying the bigger environment, and has made some friends quickly.  He also enjoys our living environment, the compound we are on has plenty of people he interacts with and plays with and he feels very at home.  Ali has been interacting with some people in the office and has agreed to help out by becoming the curator of two databases holding information about the translation needs in Nigeria and the materials that have already been produced for Nigeria languages.  It isn’t what we were expecting her to get involved in, but as there isn’t a need for her teaching skills right now, she is looking forward to turning her hand to this and serving in this way, and the director responsible for it is thrilled to have her on board.  I (Tim) am settling into the office and starting to get my head around my various roles in the office.  The project funding cycle means the work comes and goes, but building good relationships with the people who I will relate to in that role has been going well.  As part of my special projects for the Director role, I have done a bunch of different things from setting up rooms, to creating booklets for meetings, to currently looking after visitors from Wycliffe UK.

You can find our latest set of pictures here including some of the projects I have visited with our UK visitors:    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150287960476914.334353.512536913&l=c648b596c8&type=1

One thing we are still trying to get our heads around here is the cost of living, and where to buy the things we need / want.  It can be something as simple as who sells the best bananas at a price we are happy with, all the way to – we have a water leak, how do we get it fixed?!  It is amazing that some things are so simple here like, for example, the ‘veg lady’ who sells right outside our compound, is extremely popular with most of the mission community, and we have her on the doorstep!  On the other hand however is the buying-a-car experience.  It is far more complex than in the UK and also FAR more expensive than in the UK.   We have been hugely blessed to have access to a car until mid-December when the owners return from the USA.  It does mean we need to get on with starting the process of buying our own car.   If you feel you would be able to financially help us with that, do please get in touch!

We had the immense privilege of attending a New Testament Dedication for a nomadic people earlier this week.   It was so exciting to be reminded of the impact of the ministry we are involved in out here.  Nigeria has 520 languages, maybe 300 of those have not a single word of scripture yet!  How are people to know Christ?  How are people to understand His Word for themselves?  How are churches supposed to grow and establish deep roots?    People need a Bible they can understand!

 

Praise:

  • Dan settling in well and loving Nigeria
  • Provision of housing in a compound with great people
  • Good relationships with other people in our mission community

Pray:

  • Wisdom as we look at purchasing a car that will meet our needs
  • Continued wisdom about our work roles and how best to employ our skills
01 Oct

Unexpected office life

So today i am sat in a van with a couple people on the way to visit 3 projects in 2 days. Our departure was a little delayed as when we got to the office, we heard news that one of our Nigerian colleagues had died in the night. She was our finance co-ordinator in the office and I hadn’t had much interaction with her as she had been Ill for a lot of the time I’ve been here. But she was a lovely Christian girl, excellent at her job, loved and respected by everyone in the office.

Odd to walk into that situation with 2 visitors, not knowing how to deal with it myself let alone help them understand what is going on. I think nigerians are a little more in touch with their emotions that us Brits, and I am probably even worse than the average Brit. There was a lot of crying and praying. The entire office was about to leave at the same time as us to go and visit her family and pay respects – I’m pretty sure that I would want to be left alone. At this moment I have no idea what sort of funeral / burial arrangements are like in our area, or even when they are to happen. Nigerian independence day is tomorrow and a public holiday on Monday – I guess I will have to wait and see how that works out.

Pry for her family.
Pray for the office staff.
Pray for wisdom in how to deal with our financial year end process.

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