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!

02 Jul

Termites and Evangelism

This past weekend, we decided not to attended a church, mostly for security reasons and we ended up meeting  with a few folks in a lounge at a guesthouse.  I wrote this while i was there.

Crc missionary Dr Van Der Stien (sp?) shared in our little family church meeting this morning a fascinating story.  There were 5 Wycliffe families / couples and a ywam family in this little room.  We read about who does God call from genesis covering the story of Jacob.

He was very pro using national language in church and training, he knew of Wycliffe and he was so encouraging about our work here in Nigeria and around the world.  He was talking about the NKST church movement being a huge success of pioneering mission work here in Nigeria and around the world.  He said that when he first came to the church, the pastor (who has since been recognised by the queen). Pastor Sye said ‘you must learn my language tiv so that way you will know my heart’. An interesting challenge but it started to dispel the ‘why don’t we teach them in english question’ in the Dr’s mind.  They had printed out 1,000,000 of the good news tracks used for evangelism in TIV to bring with them, but Pasteur Sye didn’t to want to use them because he said that his people should be out speaking to their people not simple giving them paper.  So eventually the termites ate all the copies of this booklet.  Dr Van Der Stein said that we don’t have all the answers coming to a place like this, in fact , the Nigerian pastor knew better how to work here.   How true is that! It is  encouraging to hear that people were learning that lesson all those years ago – I hope we don’t have to continue to re-learn that lesson when it comes to serving in cross cultural mission.


14 Aug

culture shock?

A funny thing happened today, I had my first sense of culture shock.   No electricity and no water haven’t bothered me as much as I thought it might.  Trying to sleep with next doors generator and dogs barking does get a little tiresome. Ever stranger than that though, today we did church for the first time.

We took the easy option and headed to the chapel at Hillcrest, Dan’s school which is 10 minutes walk down the road form our house, the service seems to be where most ex-pats head on a Sunday morning.  I had ben warned that the band isn’t up and running yet so I should expect hymns, there’ll be no Sunday school for Dan to go out to, but only 45 – 60 minutes long and a good bunch of friendly faces.    Spot on the money, Dan needed to loo so we entered during the first hymn, which I didn’t know, nor were any words projected, nor had anyone handed me a hymn book.  So it turns out there is only a limited number of hymn books, and they are distributed out along the chairs.  The row we sat on didn’t have any.  The serves was true to form and couple other songs I knew from previous churches and so I could engage, but Dan was bored senseless.  Unable to follow what was going on, unable to sing, unable to see, he was ready to go home.  The sermon was only 15 minutes, but dad was ready to leave about 5 minutes in, maybe he was expecting a longer service.  When it was over,  he exclaimed ‘is that it?’

I don’t need any persuading of the importance of the ministry we are involved in here -getting God’s word in languages of people that need it.  I felt like I had a small glimpse of what those people feel every week when they go to church.   There because that is what we Christians do – go to church on a Sunday morning. However as I sat or stood, unable to follow those songs, not knowing what words to sing or tune to hum, I realised I was totally unengaged, totally switched off, waiting for the next part of the service that I MIGHT be able to follow.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for people who have to do that week in and week out because of language barriers.   I guess I am in the right place to make a difference!  How about you?

Oh yeah, and I had to fix our water pumping system this afternoon too 🙂

13 Dec

Scripture in mission

We live in an ever-changing world and I LOVE technology and I love seeing how things change and adapt and I am often surprised by how far behind the rest of the technological world, mission agencies can be. Not all parts of every mission agency are in the dark ages by any means! One example is Wycliffe and it’s partners helping to provide scripture on mobile phones and listening devices. Freddie Boswell (The Executive director of SIL international, SIL is one of Wycliffe’s partners in Bible Translation) was one of the many delegates at the recent Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, and he participated in a cool sketch designed to challenge the mindset that it is “all about the printed word”

28 Nov

facebook and church

Just read a GREAT post about how to use facebook effectively,

fortunately i agree with it all lol.   I guess my churhc is trying it out withthe youth, but somehow they don’t connect with it.   To be hosnet it is becuase thye are an apethic ‘bunch of losers’.   as they would say …

Facebook and church 2

I’ve blogged on the subject of Facebook before,

Facebook and church
Facebook survey results
Is it the end for Facebook?

I know that people have mixed emotions when it comes to using it for their church. Based upon my previous research, observations and some personal reflections this is my opinion of how best to use Facebook as part of your church’s ministry.

Let’s start with the limitations of Facebook:
1 – Age: Facebook is mostly used by under 30s. OK there are some exceptions to this as a rule, but honestly, has this social networking thing really impacted your parents generation?

Read the rest at jouneyman’s blog.

13 Nov

$50 MILLION Dollars

OH MY WORD, this is SOO awesome …

Bob Creson the Wycliffe USA Executive director on CBN, having received a MASSIVE anonymous donation of $50 000 000 yup looks bigger in numbers!!

Join with me in praising God for this gift enabling MILLIONS of people to get God’s word in a language they understnad!    Read more about Bible Translation here.

JUST tried it in Firefox, the embeded video doesn’t work, but try the link a bit down the page 🙂

06 Aug

Glory fills the earth

Don’t get me wrong I love hearing and finding new worship songs. The thing is, sometimes I wonder how much is spent on finding nice words that fit the melody vs words that are scripturally sound and appropriate.

for example, listening to a CD from a popular youth orientate church meeting, and 1 lyric “The train of his robe fills the temple” now to you or i who are aware of the monarchy and what that might look like it is fine. The the less educated / foreign, trying to relate the 1036 to Bristol into worshiping our lord Jesus could be a bit harder.

“Washed by the blood of the lamb”. NOT knowing the full context of that statement does conjure up some rather disgusting images akin to gladiator or blade …

I was in a meeting yesterday busy singing a newer song that i actually quite like, but then i can across a line in the chorus …

Holy is the lord God almighty
The earth is filled with his glory
Holy is the lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with his glory

It stopped me in my tracks. YES the lord is holy. Can’t argue with that, great lyrics for a sound about lifting him him and glorifying him. BUT is the earth really filled with his glory? When i think of the word filled i think about every opening, nook cranny and crevice is filled. there is no gaps, no space, no extra bit can squeeze in. And to be honest i don’t think the earth is filled like that. Having just come back form Africa with a team visiting a translation project, we were constantly faced with needs. Poverty was everywhere, illness, death, dark spirituality. How is is possible for me to stand and try to declare to the world that the Lord’ God Almighty’s Glory is filling the earth?

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