10 Sep

Ministry Update – 9th September 2015


Delightfully damp greetings from Jos,
I know that rain is a blessing as I sit here watching the rain fall this morning. All living things need water (trust me, I have been a Biology teacher, I know these things!). However, sometimes the actual coming down of the rain does not feel like a blessing.
Thought that I am now pondering . . . are there other blessings in our lives that don’t always feel like blessings? That we forget to thank God for as a result? Your fellow musings on a postcard (or by e-mail) gratefully received.

Reading through the last update we sent out, not much seems to have changed. We are still having issues with securing group cash, please do continue to pray for a good resolution for that. I am still wading through my e-mail backlog. Dan is keeping his head above water at school but is struggling a bit with organisation and keeps losing things.

There are two things that I (Ali) was involved in over the last two weeks that I wanted to share with you. One of the things that I do is to maintain a database of all the translation projects in N1geria and all the materials (especially scripture) that have been produced. I nicknamed the database NigeL as it is the Nigerian Languages database and it is a lot easier to say NigeL. 😉

At the end of last week, a friend of mine who works for a partner organisation told me that he was travelling to a state north of Jos to work with a people group called the Polci for a few days. As a result of my work with the database I was able to tell him that there was a language project working on translating the New Testament into a closely related language. When he came back from his trip he told me that the people he was working with said that they also wanted the New Testament in their language and wanted to know how to go about it. In fact one of the people he was working with was so desperate to meet with him that he swam across a fast-flowing swollen river to talk about translating God’s Word into his language!

Another Nigerian friend, a colleague at SIL N1geria, has been working on raising financial and prayer support amongst Nigerians and Nigerian churches. One of his supporters is passionate about getting the Bible in his language (Esan) and wanted to know if anything had been translated yet in his language. After a bit of research I found that some ground work had been done by a partner organisation but nothing was published before the project ground to a halt. This supporter is rapidly mobilising people to get involved with the project so that they can finally get God’s Word in their language.

It is this evidence of hunger for God’s Word among N1gerians that inspires us as we work. Please pray that God’s will is done as these two people groups seek to take the next step towards the scriptures in their languages.

I(Tim) held a meeting with all my operations team a couple of weeks ago and we had a wonderful time together. We spent time exploring who we are, what we do as part of

‘Seeing Nigerian communities have access to scriptures in their language and be using them to transform their communities’

and also spent some time praying together.

We are blessed with abundant rain!
Many N1gerians are hungry for God’s Word in their language

Financial issues to be resolved completely and in a way that honours God
That Dan will find the things that he has lost and will be able to tighten up his organisation!
That the Esan and Polci will be able to make progress towards the scriptures in their languages.

15 Aug

Ministry Update – 15th August 2015


Greetings once again from Jos!

We are safely back to our N1gerian home and settling in well. Dan has started school and despite tiredness and a definite increase in the volume of homework, he is remaining positive and doing well.

Rainy season is in full flow, we get rain most afternoons. In fact the last three days, the rain has started pretty much on the dot of 3pm, right when I need to leave to collect Dan from school, and when it rains here, it does not mess around! The road becomes a river, masking the deceptively deep potholes and making travel by kekenapep (N1geria’s version of the tuk-tuk, aka motorised rickshaw) a rather damp adventure.

Tim and I are back at work. I am battling large volumes of e-mail and processing some possible changes to my role, more on that another time.
Tim has come back into some very tricky situations relating to our group finances. Praise God it is not any issue within the organisation but rather an external issue that is affecting our ability to get money transferred into the country. This in turn means that we can’t get enough cash as an organisation and therefore having to find alternative pay our bills in-country. When some of those bills relate to immigration charges it could also affect individuals’ ability to remain in the country! Please pray for God’s good and perfect will to be done so that the situation might be resolved in the best possible way, bringing glory to His name.

One piece of exciting news that we received just before we left the UK is that SIL N1geria (the group that we work with here) has finally been incorporated as an organisation. It is a bit of a long story (somewhat crazy details available on request) but the key thing is that this means that we are now officially recognised here and we are praying that God will use this to open more doors for us, to do things like working with the government to promote the use of minority languages in education.

Thank you for all your prayers and support, we are able to be here because of you.

Settled back into life here quickly and with minimal disruption
Dan is tackling middle school with a positive attitude
SIL N1geria now incorporated

Good resolution for the financial issues facing SIL N1geria
Dan to adjust to the increased responsibility he needs to take at school and to the more challenging homework
Godly wisdom for me as I process how my role might change

31 Jul

Ministry update – 31st July 2015


Greetings from our last few days in the UK.

Tomorrow our iceberg sets sail for home (if you have no idea why I am talking about icebergs, take a look at our previous update). It has been great to see so many people who are integral parts of our iceberg and I hope that we have been able to be part of your icebergs too. We are floating high and really looking forward to getting back to N1geria, looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues again, looking forward to getting stuck back into work, and to be honest, looking forward to sleeping in our own beds again!CLQsKT0W8AATwTC

I has been a bit of a whirlwind and we are tired, but sharing about God’s work in N1geria and our small part in it has had the slightly unexpected side-effect of re-enthusing us! It has helped us to lift our heads and remember the big picture and see more clearly how our little corner fits in.

A good, re-envisioning time in the UK with a remarkably good balance of times of rest and times of busyness
Looking forward to heading home to Nigeria

Safe travels flying to Abuja and then by road to Jos
For a good settling in time and not to much work to do on the house

11 Jul

4 bed in 4 nights – Ministry Update – 10th June 2015


Greetings from Thame / Gateshead!
So far in our whistle-stop tour of the UK we have been to:
Thame, Saunderton, Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Altringham (Manchester), Soulby (Cumbria), Lancaster, High Wycombe, Polegate, Eastbourne, Iden Green, Maidstone, London, Rugby, Corsham, Bristol, Malvern, Worcester Stroud, Weston-super-Mare AND Gloucester.
I think our record so far is four different beds in four nights. Thankfully God has been very gracious and our schedule really has not felt too hectic. We have had great times hanging out with old friends, renewing friendships (Richard – here is your mention), making new friends, living with family.

Still to come (at time of writing) we have:
Lincoln, Preston, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, Horley, Redhill, Reigate, Henley, and probably some others that I have forgotten!

Someone at one of the churches we visited asked a really interesting question that made me stop and think. She asked “Why is it important for you to remain connected with people in the UK?”
We are putting a lot of energy and time into visiting as many people and churches as we can while we are in the UK and being asked this question helped me to really think through why. Firstly, of course it is great to catch up with all y’all (as some of our American friends would say). But it actually goes a lot deeper than that.
I have this picture in my head of an iceberg. Weird, you might say, I thought you were based in N1geria, not the Antarctic? Bear with me. Tim and Dan and I are the tip of the iceberg, the bit that sticks up out of the water, that sticks into N1geria. That tip of the iceberg can’t stay above the water, can’t stay in N1geria, unless there is a whole lot more of the iceberg sitting below the surface. We need a vast team of people, praying for us, supporting us financially and generally being there for us in order for our family to be above the water in N1geria. This means that every single one of you who prays for us, who supports us, are just as much a part of the iceberg as we are, just as much a part of what God is doing through Bible translation in N1geria. So next time you are tempted to think that your life is boring, or that nothing you are doing is impacting the world, remember the iceberg!
If you don’t really feel like you are part of the iceberg yet and would like to join our iceberg, please do drop us a line, we would love to have you on board (or should that be on ice?)!
We have just heard that there has been another twin bombing in Jos on Sunday night. Please pray for peace and unity in our home city. Pray for those who have lost friends and family that they will turn to their loving heavenly Father for comfort.

06 Jun

Ministry Update – 6th June 2015


Greetings from actually surprisingly sunny England!

We are here! Tim, Dan and I landed in the UK about 2 weeks ago.

A few of the things we have been up to so far:
Finding our feet – including buying new shoes
Dealing with essentials – visiting the dentist (no fillings needed – yahoo!)
Visiting the new Wycliffe office – strange, but friendly faces lessened the weirdness.
1-IMG_4354Holidaying with family – staying in Cumbria for a few days with my (Ali’s) folks, and my brother and sister in law, along with their lovely brood.
Catching up with family – sharing a yummy cream tea with Tim’s Mum, staying for a couple of nights with Tim’s Dad, Jacqueline and Sarah.
Shopping – so many clothes to buy for a growing boy!

Plans are still somewhat in flux as we are waiting on a few people/churches to get back to us about possible dates. However, we hope to spend a week or so in the North East (based primarily in Gateshead), a week in Bristol, a few days on the south coast (based in Eastbourne), a few days in Surrey. If you are in one of those general areas, would like to see us and have not already let us know, get in touch!

We do have new UK numbers, drop us a line if you would like to have them.

Safe travel to the UK
Good times already with friends and family
Smooth transition to our time in the UK (there are lots of things that are so different here!)

Finalising of dates, especially for times with churches
The right connections with the right people at the right time
That our focus would continue to be on God and seeking His will

24 May

Summer 2015 Newsletter

Dear all who are near and far.

As we prepare to head to the capital in order to fly ‘home’ tomorrow here is the link to our latest newsletter. If you would like a high resolution print or email copy – let me know!

http://www.robinsonta.org/wp-admin/newsletter/summer2015web.pdf — 990kb



15 May

14th May 2015 – Ministry Update

Greetings from a joyfully damp and cloudy Jos!
The rains have come! Thank you so much for praying. The day after we sent out the last update asking you to pray for rain, it came! Every afternoon since then the sky has been pregnant with rain and most day the waters have broken (did I just take that analogy a little too far?!).

We are in the middle of the mad transition period of finishing up work key jobs at work, sorting out the house and finishing term prior to heading to the UK for the summer. As a result this is going to be a very brief update!
Please do pray for us during this transition, especially for Tim as he has several really important jobs he has to get done before we leave.
Please pray for me that I can also finish well here and start to look forward to there.
Pray for Dan that he can finish term well.

Much love,
Tim, Ali and Dan

07 May

7th May 2015 – Ministry Update


Greetings from a parched Jos,

IMG_4140Somehow the rainy season still has not started. It is really about a month overdue now. The last rainy season trickled to a stop around 7 months ago and water is now becoming increasingly hard to find. We are blessed to have a well on our compound that, although getting close, has not quite dried up yet. The city seems to have stopped providing water through the pipes and many people are really struggling to find enough water for their families. Please pray that the rains will start this week, they are desperately needed, not just for people now but also for their crops to provide for them for the rest of the year. This seems to be a problem across West Africa, not just in Nigeria. So, here is an opportunity to do that rather unusual thing and pray for rain!

Tim’s meetings in Kenya went well, thank you for praying! They were intense and he has come back with a bit of a backlog of work, but overall it was a positive time. Dan and I did fine, but were very happy to have him back safe and sound.

We are now in the final few weeks of Hillcrest term, school ends for the year on the 21st of May and will not resume until the 6th of August. We are also in our final few weeks of preparation for coming to the UK for the summer! We will leave Nigeria on the 25th of May, a few days after the end of term and plan to be in the UK until the 1st of August.

We hope to meet up with many of you who live in the UK while we are there! Once we have a better idea of where we will be when, we’ll let you know and hopefully you can fit us in! One big need we have for the time we will be in the UK is a car. We really can not afford to hire a car for the whole time but we need to do a lot of travelling around to see you all! If you happen to have a car you could lend us or know someone who might be willing to do so we would be hugely grateful. If you do not have such a thing at your disposal then please could you pray that someone else will! We know how powerful the prayers of God’s people are!


  • Helpful meetings for Tim in Kenya
  • Safety and peace for Dan and I while Tim was away
  • Tickets booked to come to the UK!
  • Prayer

  • Rain!!! Consistent rain across West Africa starting this week.
  • That Tim could deal with his build up of work and that he will have peace as he deals with it
  • Provision of a car for our time in the UK
  • 27 Apr

    Scripture Listening and Reading Groups


    This is a collection of stories that was shared with our group back in November. I re-read and got re-excited about the things that are gong on!

    In Nigeria, our vision is “Seeing Nigerian communities have access to Scriptures in their own languages and be using them to transform their communities.” Through Scripture Listening and Reading Groups (SLRGs), this is exactly what we are seeing God do in the various language communities of Nigeria. The structure of the SLRG is simply listening to Scripture in the Mother Tongue, followed by discussion, and marked by prayer at the beginning and end. We teach people how to facilitate their groups through five discussion questions:

    1. Can someone retell in their own words what they understood from the Scriptures we have just listened to?
    2. What struck you particularly from what you heard? (e.g. something you liked, or were surprised by.)
    3. What did you learn about God or Jesus from what we heard?
    4. What is God saying to the people in what we heard?
    5. What do you think God is saying to us today in what we heard? What should we do in response?

    Training has taken place in five language communities with about 170 people trained to lead discussion groups. Six people have been trained as trainers. Here are some of the impacts we have seen from this initiative:

    SLRG11. Literacy: In Mwaghavul, the participants follow along in their Mwaghavul Bibles as they listen to the recording. One man was literate only in Hausa and English, but he learned to read in Mwaghavul through the SLRG training. Now when he attends any gathering in church, he is the one people call on to read the Scriptures in Mwaghavul because not many have that skill yet.

    2. Answered Prayers & Increased Faith: One elder, Isaac, meets regularly with the youth in a Mwaghavul community, facilitating a Scripture Listening and Reading Group. The youth were so excited about what they were learning that one of them prayed, “God, may you protect this man, make him to live long so he can continue to teach us your Word in our language.” A short time later, the man was in a collision with a truck carrying firewood. Surprisingly, it was the truck that got damaged instead of the small car Isaac was driving. The elder testifies to God’s protection in answer to prayer and is passionate about continuing his ministry with the youth.

    3. Real Understanding of Scripture: One woman in a listening group realized what the word of God really says. She explains, “I am seeing for the first time that before, we were not actually following God, we were only following men of God to understand. Because of our mother tongue audio scripture, now I’m hearing from God myself.”

    4. Evangelism: In one of the SLRGs, a woman in the group believed the facilitator when he affirmed, “If you have problems in your homes, God will use you to solve these problems.” She started praying that God would bring back her husband, who had left her many years before. Two months later, he came back. As he knelt and asked her to forgive him, she forgave him and led him to Christ.

    SLRG25. Increased Interest in Mother-Tongue Scripture Products: During the SLRG training in Kuteb land the participants got very excited. Seeing the power of using Scripture recordings in this way they asked, “When are we going to get these on SD cards, CDs, and mobile phones? We want to invite our people from all over to a launching of our Audio Scriptures so that everyone can have this!”

    6. Increased Demand for Translation: A man from the Obanliku language group attended a Church Leaders Scripture Summit. There is currently no published Scripture in his language. After listening to a presentation by the Scripture Engagement team on SLRGs, he asked with excitement, “How can we get the Scriptures in our own language?” SLRGs are sparking excitement among language groups where work is still needed!

    23 Apr

    Technology – Moving Ministry Forward


    I mostly love the impact that technology is having on our ministry and work. YES computers go wrong and cause huge headaches at times, but every now and then something happens that restore my .. umm ‘faith’ in the tech.

    Jonathan and a translation team.

    Jonathan and a translation team.

    Here is a note that my colleague Jonathan sent me about what he has been up to.

    Waci language development has been slow because there has not been much linguistic analysis done on the language. As a result, translators have always struggled to write their language consistently.
    Bruce is a linguist who resides in Canada, but has recently started to work with the Waci language to unravel its secrets! For three days, two Waci translators came to Jos to meet with Bruce. We met over Skype for the 3 days. Bruce directed the conversation to ask questions related to his research. Once he was comfortable that he understood the words, we would record them. When Bruce asked for a word, Baba Peter would recite the word twice and hum it twice. They would then move on to the next word.
    Once the words had been collected into a recording, I would drop the 200MB file into a folder on the network, and Bruce would upload it to his computer using a syncing program.

    It was a headache to figure out the uploading of such a big file. It had to be done overnight in Nigeria so as not to use ALL the bandwidth during the day. It slowed the process down for Bruce and the team. Several people were involved in finding the solution, but how amazing that Bruce who was unable to visit Nigeria at the time, WAS able to help the Waci team in such a significant way!

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