11 Apr

Firm Foundations

I am not a runner. It may seem that I do a lot of running, but I don’t love running. I do it more out of necessity, to keep the happy hormones flowing, to reduce the spare tyre from around my waist, and mostly, because well, I like eating. I run because I eat. Over the past few years I have learnt a lot about running, what to do and what not to do, how to avoid injuries and how a cold beer is a great source of much needed chromium. One thing has remained especially true all this time, if you are running, your feet need to be landing on a firm foundation in order for you to retain any forward momentum. This was hammered home the other day when I was chased by possibly rabid dogs. Dogs here aren’t pets, they are guard dogs, occasionally they will come out of a house or compound to make sure you keep on going past and not in. On this occasion, they kept coming at me. First I thought I’ll speed up, make sure they know I am just going past. I growled and hissed a bit and the first 2 ran off. But then they came back with 4 friends and were eyeing up my heels. They were getting much closer than I was happy with. Being bitten by a dog is something I was DESPERATE to avoid. So as one got closer (close your ears all you dog lovers out there) I had to kick him in the head. He scuppered off and took his friends with him. Phew, I thought, I’m not going to be bitten today. Then, next thing I know, I have hit the ground with my knees and not my feet. Yes, I tripped up. WHY did this happen I asked myself. Well, basically, I was completely distracted by the threat of the dogs coming at me. I looked at the dog as I kicked him and in so doing I took my eyes off where my feet were going to land. IMG_0680I was running fast, missed the firm ground, hit a bit of muddy sand, tripped up and fell over. Adrenaline pumping, I jumped up, saw ANOTHER dog coming at me and ran harder to get around the corner. The end result was a pounding heart, blood mixed with mud and the desire to puke, all because my feet didn’t hit a firm foundation.

As I was thinking about this later in the day and it hit home that this incident was as much about my spiritual life as my ‘running’ life. We need to take our steps based on a solid foundation. It isn’t okay, nor is it a great plan to just simply head out there and see what happens, pick up whatever mud hits us on the way. Our spirituality needs to be based on something solid, a firm foundation. God’s word, the Bible, Scripture, however you prefer to refer to it, IS that solid foundation. It is easy to get distracted from it when trouble is biting at your heels, it is easy in my life to look at the times when I have been grounded in the Word, but dipping in and out on special occasions – the results were the spiritual equivalent of bloody knees.

We are privileged in English to have so so many different versions of the Bible. It is possible I believe, to find one that you are able to read and understand well enough, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, the content can change you. For millions of people around the world and Nigeria, they are yet to have that version of any scripture at all, they have no foundation to base their life on.

26 Jul

Until all have heard

I wrote a blog post for the Elim Missions website about some of the impact of Bible Translation. bibl1

On the 24th May there was a great celebration on an island in the far south of Nigeria where the Obolo Bible was being dedicated! This was the result of over 30 years of hard work by a dedicated team of Obolo translators and committed support from the local churches and supporting agencies.

To read more about it head over to http://www.elimmissions.co.uk/

09 Mar

The Risk of Sovereignty

There has been plenty of Nigeria in the news of late and some of the incidents have provoked me to really, frankly… Well, how can I put it? I feel like I’ve had a kick up my complacent backside about why I am here, doing what I do.

Recently I was involved in some conversations that led to some friends looking at moving out here to join our ministry. BRILLIANT! Then I saw this post on facebook. At first, it made me giggle. 

loves her son, last night's take was "so there are no earthquakes, tsunamis or tornadoes in Nigeria" (me – not that I am aware), "so we just have to be careful about diseases and getting shot, that's good"…

It reminded me that everywhere has it’s up and downs. So I replied, twice.

 HAHAHAHA brill. no tornados or tsunamis — not liable to earthquakes.. all good!

 actually getting shot isn't too high a risk either!

Sometimes it just appears like a high risk, because that is all the information we are reading about. Someone else posted a comment in the same conversation

Malaria, mugging, kidnapping, rape and killings of white people are very high, in my stats, so why would you put ur lifes at risk?

My jovial thought about a 7 year old’s mind at work was brought to a resounding sudden halt. I decided that I could give an answer to that, but firstly was it my place to answer?

Then I remembered that of course it was. I am in said country that is being questioned. Maybe I could share my experience and help out.  So after a couple of drafts (yes maybe I should have got someone to proof read it for me!) this is how I responded.

GREAT question! I’m not sure the reality of where we are living is accurately reflected in the news and by other sources – Malaria is a problem everywhere, but mugging and kidnappings, rape and killing of Ex-pats is none- existent in Jos. Yes such things have happen elsewhere in the country and there is a risk attached to living and working here.   Personally for us, God hasn't called us to a safe life.  He has called us to minister in this country of HUGE need.  We believe our lives belong to God and when we pray, 'God let your will be done' we are re-asserting his sovereignty over our lives.  If harm came to us  yes it would devastate some people it would probably affect our ministry here (maybe for the better) – BUT that doesn't change God's status of sovereign. And besides we'd be in Glory with him 🙂  We live with the risk because the people here causing the trouble are exactly the ones who need to know God for themselves, i also appreciate that everyone has different levels of acceptable risk, living out here isn't for everyone and that is okay, because God can use you where you are!  People are in need everywhere.  Hope that TINY insight helps – if not, sorry for wasting your time reading this comment.

As I pondered it even further I realise more and more that my life is not my own and maybe it has taken getting my butt out to risky Nigeria for me to truly give it up.

I’m an aspie (Asperger's). It means there is a control freak in me and it rears its head worse when I am tired or hungry or under stress. But I survive because I maintain control – and so to give up that control is a REALLY super hard, super scary and super tiring. If I give up the control it only works if I completely trust the person I am giving it up to. Gaining that trust is hard. Re-gaining after it has been broken is even harder.

I have learnt that God is trust worthy. His sovereignty isn’t something I can really test, though. God can’t earn that status – it is simple fact of life. God is sovereign.

I got some more info from the original poster and I started pondering some more and eventually replied in a message.

I don’t know what it is like trying to relate to family who aren’t Christian, I can only imagine how ridiculously difficult it must be. I wasn’t trying to stir the water, just give an honest answer to her question. God’s sovereignty is a concept that non-believe (actually many believes for that matter) don’t’ grasp. It is a work his is doing in me at the moment! To live is Christ, but to die is gain – that hard to walk balance between effectiveness and risk.

Since coming to Nigeria I have become more and more aware of 2 things.
1 – The cost of missions goes FAR beyond my comfort level. It is also a cost/potential cost to other people. I have lived far too long ignorant of the cost my decision to be involved in mission is to other people.
2 – I cannot live any longer ashamed of the gospel, not my part in getting it to people who don’t have it. A great verse that has really come out fresh of late 1 Cor 1:18 “The cross is foolishness for those who don’t believe”. They are never going to understand why we do what we do where we do it. They are going to consider it foolishness. That is tough – on them and the result I guess is that they are tough on us.
But damn it, 300 languages without a single word of scripture, I have to do all I can in the time I have here – who knows how long that may be!

 

Right now I am re-ignited about why we are here doing what we do. I’ve been complacent about it. Maybe our lifestyle is too easy-going that I’m not being kept on my knees. But I have never been more convinced than I am now of the need for God’s word to be available – in a language that people can understand.

The only way to build trust is to get to know someone. The way to get to know God is in his word. If people can’t understand his word, they’ll never get to know him any better. How will they ever trust him and rely on him and be prepared to lay their lives down for him?   

Our family is here living with those risks – the instability, the crappy power and everything else – to help make that a reality for the millions of Nigerians in the 300+ languages that don’t currently have any scripture. 

14 Mar

Technological FAIL

Just a brief message to anyone who may have received 3 emails from me this morning contain a few sentences of good stuff then 8 pages of rubbish.

I’m aware that when we get out to Nigeria that internet access is going to become somewhat more restricted than I am used to here. I have been trying to set up my blog in a way so that I cam email it blog posts that it can then post. However as is often the case I came a cropper a few times. WordPress makes it sound so simple, yet digging deeper it really is not! I have now stopped trying. Sorry to have filled your inbox!

26 Nov

New Website

SOO many things need sorting and thinking about and organising before heading out to Nigeria.  1 such thing is this blog.

Sorry if this bores you, but it used to be hosted by the people who provided my internet at home in Chinnor.  When we head out to Nigeria, we will no longer have a supply company that can host the blog.   After a whole heap of research, I took the plunge and bought a new address www.robinsonta.org and some new server space.  I managed to take advantage of American thanksgiving sales!

You’ll notice  the site it almost identical, but a few kinks i am still trying to work out!

15 Sep

Nigerian's dedicate another Bible

My friends Chris and Christiebased out in Nigeria have just written about a wonderful Bible dedication seramony they attend in Nigeria. 

A few weekends ago, a little more than a year after we first moved here, we had the opportunity to attend a

 Scripture dedication right alongside the language community which was receiving the Bible in their own language: the Berom people of Plateau State, Nigeria.  This was a real privilege!

read the rest at their blog here

03 Sep

Wycliffe UK is 50 years old!

Wycliffe Bible Translators UK 50th Anniversary logoHappy birthday Wycliffe!  I find it slightly odd talking about an organisation in terms that we normally use for people.  BUT birthdays are a great time to reflect on what God has done, and may do in the future.



On 1st September 1960, 50 years ago today, Wycliffe Bible Translators was officially born in the UK.
The training of translators had been taking place in the UK since the early 50s, but 1960 was the year in which Wycliffe UK (named after John Wycliffe – an early Bible translator who wanted people to be able to learn about God in their own language) was formally recognised as part of this growing, world-wide family of translation organisations.
Back in 1960 the world population was estimated to be around 3 billion and the best guess was that there were about 1,000 languages that required a translation project of some kind.

You can read more about it on the Wycliffe UK Blog

23 Jan

Blog update

Well i have spent the morning playing around with a few things on the blog, hoping there will be a nice little re-tweet button appear for those on twitter, also i have moved across to feedburner to deliver my RSS feed and also a new email subscription function.

18 Jul

2 new bloggers

I have come across 2 new bloggers today.

1) John Hamilton and his john 20:21 blog

My name is John Hamilton and I have been a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators for over 20 years – first, with my wife Ruth, as teachers of missionary children at Vavoua International School in Ivory Coast for 8 years and latterly working with Wycliffe UK. My current role is Mobilisation Director for Wycliffe UK.

2) Philip Hewer and his hewersofwood blog.
Not only is he my father-in-law but he is also one fo the best writers i know.

In 1988 the Kasem New Testament was published, and later reprinted. Right now there is a team of pastors working in Ghana on translation of the Old Testament in to Kasem. Philip works from home on checking their translation for accuracy and clarity of communication. He visits Ghana a couple of times a year to work with the translators face-to-face, going through suggested changes.

06 May

Did Wycliffe Translate the Bible?

Nick page is a fantastic author he wrote an interesting blog post today, challenging something i thought i had simply always believed.

John Wycliffe was killed because he translated the Bible.    Maybe all is not as it seems .. READ the Post Here

%d bloggers like this: