15 Jul

Togo Team Update 5

Monday 7th
Our final language lesson with Samuel was good, we learnt about numbers,
money and counting money, which is different from other counting. We learnt
‘power tools’ which are key phrases and questions to help us learn more
Ncham vocab. So things like, what is that called? Where is _____? How
do you say _________ in Ncham? We then headed for a walk around town to
buy a few supplies and practice a few phrases, we even stopped off for a
Coke. In the afternoon the girls had their hair braided and the boys
headed over to visit Samuel’s farm. In the evening we did our daily devotionals.
Every evening we look at a part of Jesus ministry as an example for our
own lives and ministries. Each team member takes a few turns during the
trip to lead the devotional, share a bit about the passage and ask a few
discussion questions. We talk about the day, sing some songs, do some
bible declarations and pray before bed.

Tuesday 8th
This was the first of our 2 day family visits. We spilt the team into 2
groups, the first group headed to Madame Pierre’s house, she is the lady
who is doing the cooking for us. They headed out to the market, peeled
Yams, pounded FooFoo, ground Tomatoes to make the sauce and eventually ate
it all. They also made Bean cakes, which are white beans cooked off,
added to flour and water, whisked up then deep fried. The second group
headed to Samuel’s house to spend the day with his family, they also
headed off to the market, then they made the dough for doughnuts so that
it would rise. They learnt how to sweep, to wash and how to cut up fish
to cook, and rice, all done on a charcoal fire! After lunch, everyone
gathered at Samuel’s house to fry and taste the doughnuts. Late in the
afternoon we all headed back to the guesthouse for a debrief looking at
how much vocab we had learnt. We talked a lot about the lifestyle and
everyone’s simple lack of ‘stuff’. Just before dinner arrived, the tailor
and seamstress turned up to take our orders, joy was had in trying to
describe what wondrous creations had been drawn and making sure all the
correct measurements were with the correct designs and the correct cloth!
The prices were excellent and everyone was excited to see how they would
turn out!

Wednesday 9th
Today the two teams swapped houses so that everyone could get a full
experience, but also to be able to compare the two houses and lifestyles.
When Madame Pierre isn’t cooking for us, she runs a hair salon in town
with a good number of apprentices. Her husband used to be the keyboardist
for the translation team but now runs a women’s development NGO in Bassar.
They are quite well off in comparison to Samuel’s family. They are also
a bit older and have been working for much longer! As if the day hadn’t
been long enough, we had an early supper and then headed out by motorbike
relay taking the team to the Church of Pentecost on the road out of town
for a 1800 service. Much fun is had on the bikes and an evening service
quite suits the team! At the start of the service there was literally
about 8 people and the team in the church. As the sun went down, it got
darker, and after only a couple songs it was time for Tim’s 3rd preach.
Just as he started to preach, one of the ladies on the front row handed him
a torch, it became apparent there was no electricity in this church
building! Not exactly a carols by candlelight and certainly a new
experience having to preach whilst holding notes and a torch to see them!
Samuel was in good form and the team appreciated only having to sit through 1
translation this time. The pastor however was not an Ncham speaker and so
he had someone sat beside him translating from Samuel’s Ncham into his
native Ewe! I guess that is not so uncommon here. The motorbike relay
home was a little more exciting, in the dark and also the rain! Just as
the pastor was saying the closing prayer the rain fell, and boy was it loud.
As soon as we stepped outside we discovered it wasn’t as bad as expected,
the tin roof made it seem a lot worse!

Thursday 10th
At every church service we have made an offer to the congregation to
reduce the price of the Ncham new testament to make it more affordable for
more people. When it was first published it was 1000cfa (approx 800cfa =
£1) then they reduced it to 500 because no-one was buying them, so we
made the offer to reduce it to 300cfa and cover the extra costs ourselves.
Thursday morning was the day we had set for people to come to the
translation office to buy the New Testaments or any of the 4 Old Testament
book that have been published. It seemed like a long morning 0800 – 1130
but at the end of the morning, 150 had been sold! It was a tremendous
encouragement to the team, and also to the translators. Word had even
spread so that a few people from the Catholic Church bought some and even a
non-believer who was fixing the car of another guy who was buying bibles,
wanted one! The only downer was half the team getting sun burnt. So
the afternoon was spent slapping on the after-sun, drinking lots of water
and relaxing!

Friday 11th
Due to sun burn problems some of the planned excursions were put on hold,
a few did make it out to visit the bakery. They met with the baker and
then headed out towards the mill. The wheat gets ground in one room, then
in the next room, it is made into dough. Every baker has their own
recipe, and ours likes to add a bit of nutmeg which of course must be
ground before adding. Water and yeast and sugar and salt and a tablet of
bicarbonate of soda is all mixed up and then slowly added to the flour in
the mixer. The mixer has three parts. 1 – the motor linked to 2- car
axle with a fly wheel on it, adapted to take a dough hook instead of a
drive shaft. Which sat in 3- the bowl with a raised middle which sat on
a pillar so the operator could turn the bowl whilst the hook mixed the
dough. When everyone has had a good debate and is happy, it is pulled
out and slapped though a machine that can only be described as a giant
wrangler, which kneads the dough. From there, into a cloth sack and onto
a motorbike, off to the bakers house where it is made into 200 loaves of
bread. Some of which took the form of crocodiles, an elephant and even a
mobile phone! Post lunch was time to rest before we headed out to the
local gospel Radio station. Not something a team has done before, but
GREAT fun. We introduced ourselves live on radio and after a little
explanation as to why the team was here, we introduced ourselves in Ncham.
We then sang a couple of songs and got REALLY hot in a tiny studioesque room
in the back of someone’s house! The station covers 4300km2 which is
pretty large, but no-one can know the number of listeners. Having
motorbike relayed the team back to the guesthouse; Tim and Samuel go off
to the station to record a sermon. A wonderful opportunity to give the
gospel and make an appeal, encouraging people if they have responded to go and
find a church to get involved in. As we settle into Devotions the tailor and
seamstress arrive with the finished clothes. The team are very pleased
bar 1 dress that isn’t finished yet, due to some design questions and
discussion!

Saturday 12th
The few who made bread, rise early (see what I did there?) to go and bake
it, but upon arrival we find it has already all been baked, they started
at 0100 and were done by the time we go there at 0630. A little
disappointing, but we did leave with 3000cfa worth of
bread we had helped make
which is probably far too much bread for a small team to eat! We didn’t
want that much, but we didn’t have the right amount of money, and so they
piled more bread onto the pile!

Sunday 13th
We headed out early to go to Tatale (tan-ta-lea) at 0730 to go visit a
church. Tatale is an Ncham speaking town over the border in Ghana.
Languages aren’t always restricted to country boundaries in fact there are
more Ncham speakers in Ghana than Togo. They are slightly different
dialects, but the Ghanaians can fully understand and read the Togolese.
We crossed the border fine, and got to the church to find everyone
emptying out and carrying everything to town. After further investigation
we find that one of the church members died early in the morning and the
whole church is going to run the funeral and the burial. So we go and
find a different church to attend and share there instead! We hung out
for a long while eating our packed lunch at the first church waiting for
the pastor to turn up so we can have a brief meeting with him before
heading home.

And so here we are!

08 Jul

Togo Team Update 4 (July 1st – July 6th)

We have been busy, hot, tired, wet and excited but not all the same time!
Tim’s throat infection has cleared up, and bar a wee headache here and
there we are all in good health.

Tuesday
We managed to get out in the morning to visit all the people we were
supposed to see on Monday. We started with a Mototaxi relay up to the
traditional chief, only to find he had popped out to see the Prefet. 90
minutes later he arrived back to welcome us in his ‘palace’. It is the
one situation requiring the best practised etiquette. The team did really
well, helped by Samuel doing all the hard work for us! From there we
visited the Prefet, he is the government representative in the area,
responsible for the implementation of policy. He is not however a
representative of the people to the government like our MP’s at home. From
there we visited the Police chief, who was very happy to see us, and even
happier to identify that Ryan Giggs who plays for his team, Manchester
United, was from Wales like Richy and Beth! From there we headed up the
road a bit to visit Christof at his house. He is one of the translators
and he has been off sick for 8 months dealing with cancer. From there
home for a late lunch!
In the afternoon we relaxed and played lots of cards!
PRAY for Christof, Samuel’s prayer is that he will get
to know God for sure before he dies.
PRAY for the rest of the team working without him and trying to
sensitively plan for the future.

Wednesday
After a relaxed start to the day and a quick supply run, we headed down to
the translation office to spend some time with the team learning more
about the process they go through to do the translation. They were in the
process of checking the first draft of 1 Samuel 29. The first translator
had translated from French and a couple of other versions into Ncham. The
checking process gets more people involved and compares the text to the
original Hebrew to make sure it is as accurate as possible. There is
plenty of discussion over terms and words and meanings until they agree
the correct way to explain the situation in Ncham.
In the afternoon we started to do some language learning. Basic greetings
are a little complex. There is morning, afternoon and evening greetings
in both singular and plural. There are a few changes required with
respect to generations too! The team did great and then we did a small
walk about to practice our greetings.
PRAISE for being able to start speaking Ncham.
PRAY for patience as we move on from basic greetings.
PRAISE for 1 Samuel now done in second draft!

Thursday
Anthropology is the study of people and culture and at a very basic level
is about observing and for us, comparing. So first thing in the morning we
headed out for a long walk around town, practising all our greetings as we
went. After the walk we stopped and had a fab discussion about the
difference between Bassar and home, and some of the culture we had
observed and how people dress and behave and what work they do. IT is
HOT and sticky by the time we get home, thank God for running water today!
In the afternoon we do our second bout of language learning looking at
things like yes and no, please and thank you, sorry, excuse me, and my name
is, and what is your name. These are a bit harder and take more
practice, but we get there and have even been given Ncham names!!
PRAISE for being able to safely go around town, welcomed by so many people.

Friday
Folks are feeling a bit tired, a bit sick of red sauce and ready for a
break. It is okay, people get by with the delightful thoughts of Kara on
Saturday, a swimming pool and some shopping! After breakfast we do a walk
around another part of town, and attempt to draw some maps. This helps us
to recognise what is at the centre of town and get some idea of what
people might consider important. In Bassar, it is the market! Afternoon
is spent sleeping by most and relaxing by the rest.
PRAY for the energy levels of the team

Saturday
Had a day over in Kara which is about an hour and a half away from Bassar.
Kara is the home of the SIL headquarters in Togo, also the home of
Sheila Crunden. SIL is Wycliffe’s partner in Togo, they are involved in Bible
Translation and literacy work out here. Sheila is a Wycliffe UK
member working here in Togo and she was part of the Ncham New Testament
project way back in the 70’s. It was wonderful to hear her testimony
and hear how God has challenged her and used her here in Togo, a great
encouragement to the team. We picked up Becky that we met on the journey
up last week and headed to the market to buy cloth. It was a nice market,
not much hassle and a vast array of cloth. Lunch was at the hotel Kara,
chicken and chips went down a treat and were followed by a swim in
the hotel pool!
PRAISE for the opportunity to chill out for a day.

Sunday
This morning we were at the AOG (Assemblies of God) church that Samuel attends, it was like 3
½ hours long, lots of choirs and groups singing, 45 minutes of sermon by
Tim, but only because he was translated into French and then into Ncham!
Then there was a massive storm which made it almost impossible to hear
what was going on. We eventually discover the pastor teaching about
communion, which then followed! The afternoon was spent sleeping and
chilling, and the evening meeting we were going to attend got moved until
Wednesday. We also made an offer to the people in the church to buy
discounted New Testaments at the office on Thursday. We shall see what
comes of that later in the week!

01 Jul

Togo team update 3

Hey folks we are up in Bassar!

Monday afternoon as we write this email, we are all a little bored and
slightly claustrophobic because it has been raining since 0300 in the
morning and we haven’t been able to leave the house yet!

Friday we were still in Lomé, we did some cultural orientation in the
morning then Tim and Samuel ran around town exchanging money and buying
supplies. Bassar has a population of around 40,000(?) but there are
something’s you simply can’t buy. Jam for example. In the afternoon we
visited the Togo Bible Society office to find our selves in the middle of
their postponed weekly chapel meeting! It was wonderful to find out more
about what they do in Togo, especially as they are partners in the Bassar
project. We then headed off to the Wycliffe Togo office only to find
that the head of the office (Napo) who is an Ncham (the language in Bassar) speaker
was in the north of the country. Maybe we will try him again at the end of
the trip.

a.. PRAY for the Togo Bible society, they are looking to expand their
team so that can do more translation and more distribution.
b.. PRAY for Napo the head of Wycliffe Togo as he travels that he will
clearly communicate the need to have bibles in mother tongues.

Saturday we were up early, breakfast at 6, the bus was an hour late to
pick us up, some would say “that is Africa”. We loaded up and headed north.
The driver was very good, knowing all the best places to buy more supplies
especially fruit along the way. We got stocked up with bananas, mangoes,
pineapples and oranges. The first three are not really available in Bassar.

Along the way we stopped for lunch in Sokodé, and met up with Becky Snead
who is a Wycliffe UK member working on a dictionary project. It was a
welcome break from the bus! We arrived in Bassar at 1600 which gave us a
couple hours to check the place out, set up the mozzie nets, get the water
filter going and connect up the newly bought gas cooker. Bar a tap that
wouldn’t turn off and a bit of tape required for the window screen, the
house was wonderful.

a.. Pray for Becky, she is trying to get the dictionary in a state to
publish by December.
b.. PRAISE for the safe, trouble free journey.

Sunday was our first church experience. We attended Bassar Baptist
church, which was a wonderful gentle introduction to African church life. The
service was a bit hot, but not too long, and Tim preached for the first
time on this trip. The whole team were clapping and moving in the worship,
even recognising some of the songs we could sing along in English. We even had
a chuckle when they pulled the hymn books out for two songs!

Mid afternoon we popped over to Samuel’s house to meet and greet his
family and present the gifts we bought for the kids. It was a warm afternoon
but good to meet the rest of Samuel’s clan. A little odd watching Tom and
Jerry in French though!

Post evening devo’s Tim and Richie managed to run back to Samuel’s house
to watch the last 15 minutes of Spain beating Germany for the Euro 2008
title.

a.. PRAY for Samuel, for protection over his family,
b.. PRAY he finds the time and finance to finish building his new house.
c.. PRAY as he embarks on a pig farming income generation project.

Monday the rain started during the night, lightning and thunder right over
head, somehow some of the team managed to sleep though it! After lunch
the rain actually stopped enough for Samuel to take Tim to the doctor. Tim
has managed to pick up a throat infection which is limiting his ability to
swallow. The doc has prescribed some anti-biotic tablets and some
anti-inflammatory; he should be fine in 5 days time.

a.. PRAY the medicine works.
b.. PRAY for Jenny as she keeps the team working

27 Jun

Togo Update 2


Well we made it! Everyone and all their bags arrived and made it though the airport! We were delayed 2 hours sat on the tarmac in Paris, they
were having problems with the bag scanning machines, so it was taking FOREVER for people to get through the system and onto the various
planes, air france decided to hold all the flights until the passengers were on. 🙁 But apart from that, the flight was good.
Richie had never flown before and apart from sore ears whilst landing enjoyed himself!

Togo is currently 1 hour behind the UK time zone, and we had a MASSIVE thunderstorm last night, nothing like English storms , far louder,
rain was far heavier, but the plus side is that it brings the temperature down a bit so it will only be 30oC today! As they say it won’t be the heat that kills you, it will be the humidity!

Keep praying for the team as we spend time adjusting to the climate out here and visit various people today, and travel tomorrow.

The picture is a quick snap of the guest house where we are staying in Lome.

26 Jun

Tim and the Togo team get set

Bit of a delay in gettin it on here but here is the first update from Tim and the Togo team . . .

So the team has been together for a whole 30 hours now and we are now
at a hotel right near Heathrow so we can check in at 0530 Thursday
morning. Orientation has gone very well, and we can’t wait to get
out there to see African life in full swing.

*Pray for safe travels to Lome (Capitol of Togo).
*Pray for the 1 visa we need to get in the airport!

We land in Lome Thursday 1735, and Samuel who is our contact on the
translation team will be meeting us at the airport and we will head
out to the SIL guest house. SIL is Wycliffe’s partner organisation in
Togo and many other places around the world.

Friday we’ll be doing some cultural orientation and aclimatisation,
we’ll be visiting a couple of other partner’s offices and generally
absorbing the African atmosphere! Tim will be off getting money
changed and buying supplies.

*Pray for safety in the supply buying and money changing.

Saturday we will head up to Bassar in a minibus stopping to visit a UK
short-termer who is making dictionaries. She also happens to live
next door to a lady who sells cloth so we will have our first cloth
buying experience.

*Pray for safe travels on the roads

Then we settle down in Bassar for the majority of our stay! I hope
to pop a quick message out to let you know we have arrived okay.

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