30 Jan

From imagination to creation.

There are a whole lot of languages in Nigeria – 512 or thereabouts – and only a handful of those have Bibles. Some have New Testaments and there is plenty of work in progress.

Every now and again, there is a real sense of excitement in our office at the prospect of a dedication. From the moment someone imagined translating the scripture into that language, to the moment a person opens up that book for the first time… In between those moments, there are years and years of work, thousands of combined man-hours by people often on multiple continents. They’ve all been part of the process to get that New Testament or Bible printed.

I was lucky enough to attend one such celebration last year and Wycliffe USA has just written a brilliant piece on the last part of the process.

Peter,* a member of the Fulani translation team in Nigeria, couldn’t understand why Heidi Rosendall wanted him and the other team members to sign her copy of the new Fulani New Testament. After all, they aren’t famous.

But to Heidi, those signatures are more precious than any celebrity’s. They represent the literal blood, sweat, and tears that Peter and others have sacrificed so that the Fulani could have God’s Word in their own language.

As a typesetter living in Jos, Nigeria, Heidi works with local translation teams from several language groups, putting their finished translations into printable formats—or, as she puts it, “making Bibles beautiful.”   (read the rest here)

Heidi’s office is about 4 doors down from mine. There is a constant stream of people going there, trying to get past the final hurdle, each with amazing stories of overcoming obstacles and confusion in order to see lives changed through the translated Word of God.

23 Jan

Prayer update – 23rd Jan 2014

Greetings from Jos (and Nairobi)!

Dan’s first week at school seems to have gone well.  He is however getting very tired and we are praying that this is just the adjustment back into busier and more structured days.  Getting homework is proving a challenge because he is so exhausted when he gets home. 

Our Danish neighbours returned over the Christmas break and Dan is delighted to have his playmate, Jonathan, back.  They spend pretty much every spare minute together, riding their bikes around outside, planning new “clubhouses”, playing with lego or on the Wii.  Jonathan is in the grade above Dan at school and we are so grateful for the way they get on so well together.

My first week back at the office has also gone well.  I have been working (on and off) on an Access database to help us keep better track of our language information for a couple of years now. It has been something that keeps getting put off because other, more urgent, things crop up but I have finally decided that the “other” things will just have to wait.  As a result it has made huge progress over the last week and I am hoping to have a working version up and running by the end of the month.  I am sure it will still require plenty of tweaks but it will feel like a triumph to have it populated and in working order!

Tim left Jos early Sunday morning to start his trek to Nairobi.  You might not think that it is such a long way (it is still in Africa after all!) but as he left Jos at 7.30 am and did not arrive in Nairobi until 11.15pm (1.15am Nairobi time) it makes for a very long day! Tim is mostly enjoy the interactions and chance to understand more about how the organisation operates at a higher level. 


Safe travel for Tim to Nairobi
Good start to the new year for Dan and Ali


More energy and stamina for Dan
Productive meetings and good energy for Tim

17 Jan

Prayer Update – 17th Jan 2014

Happy New Year!

cheeseChristmas can be a hard time when you are away from family.  However, we have felt very blessed this year by being surrounded by friends who have become like family.  Together with our upstairs neighbours we – okay, okay, to be honest it was really mostly Tim – masterminded a Christmas Day feast with five or six courses (depending on how technical you are in your definition of these things!).  We had 12 of us sat around the table (s) and I think I can safely say that a good time was had by all!  We interspersed courses with Bible readings reminding us what this was really all about.  Then we rounded up the day with some entertaining rounds of “Balderdash” – one person picks a very obscure word from the dictionary and everyone has to write a (reasonably ridiculous but hopefully convincing) definition.  The definitions are read out, along with the genuine definition, and people vote for the definition they think is the real one.  Points are gained by people voting for your definition and by you voting for the correct definition.  My favourite word was borborygmus – definitions on a postcard, please! 

Boxing Day we had a couple of families join us for a barbeque – definite advantage to living closer to the equator!  Then, after a few days to recover, we launched into our New Year’s adventure.  This involved a whole pig (well, minus the head, trotters and internal organs), a big hole, lots of rocks and several banana trees.  You guessed it – we had a luau-style affair!  Look out for a blog post with more details at some point!

January 2nd we headed off to Miango (a retreat centre about 30-45 mins drive away) for the SIM retreat.  SIM is probably the largest mission in Nigeria (used to stand for Sudan Inland Mission – now Serving in Mission).  They had asked Tim to help with the youth sessions and his inner youth worker was delighted to agree.  In fact he ended up co-ordinating the whole kids’ and youth programme as well as leading the youth sessions and drumming for the group worship times – what can I say? – he is multi-talented and likes to be kept busy!

Dan had a great time with all the kids sessions and hanging out with some of his SIM friends.  I enjoyed some down-time after the busyness of Christmas and New Year and it was nice to get to know some new people and hang out with others that I don’t often see a lot of.  I particularly enjoyed not having to even think about cooking or washing up!

We arrived back home on the afternoon of Tuesday the 7th.  Tim got stuck straight back in on Wednesday, giving a seminar at NBTT (Nigerian Bible Translation Trust) to language project staff on “Fundraising methods for good project management”.   

Tim is excited to have been invited to join some Africa Area meetings in Nairobi (19th – 30th Jan).  They will be working on future strategy and potential changes to our planning and funding models.  

Dan headed back to school on Thursday and I will be heading back to the office.  I’m still getting used to the idea that I will not be teaching this semester, but really looking forward to having a bit more time to get stuck into some data archiving tasks that have been dragging on.

I hope you can all look back on this Christmas past and see God’s blessings and look forward to the year to come with anticipation and hope.



A peaceful Christmas season in Jos.

Good times with good friends and good food!

A chance for Tim to scratch his youth-work itch at the SIM retreat


Tim will not crash after all the action and highs of the last few weeks

Tim will travel well and have good interactions during the meetings

Dan will start the new semester well and continue to build strong, godly, relationships at school

Good progress with my data archiving work now that I have more time to devote to it


God bless,

Ali (for Tim and Dan)

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