04 Feb

Pray for Nigeria during the election period.

On the 14th of February 2015 Nigeria will go to the polls to elect a President, a national House of Assembly and a national House of Representatives. On the 28th February they go back to the polls and elect all the State Governors. You may have already noticed in the news that tensions are high and trouble is possible. Pray with us as we enter this period of elections!

IMG_9853Abuja – Nigerian capital and centre of governance –
Pray that God would break all strongholds of self, greed and pride in this city so that God’s Kingdom would reign through effective governance. Declare God’s Names in prayer – Yahweh Tsidkenu (The LORD Our Righteousness), El Elyon (Most High God), God of Justice and Judge of the Earth. Raise up the cross of Christ, which puts to shame every principality and power setting itself up against a knowledge of God – and sets an example of mercy and forgiveness and the true way to our Father. Trust God for righteous leadership to be raised up as God raised up Biblical characters like Esther, Nehemiah and Daniel.

Justice + Righteousness in the Election System + Processes
Pray for the INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) for effective fulfilment of their duties in this election season. Pray for an equal opportunity for all to vote and for the uprooting of unrighteous practices in the electoral process. “When justice is done it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers” (Prov. 21:15).

IMG_9927A Right Understanding of Government –
Pray for the Church to have a right understanding of the government’s role and to be faithful in her prayer labors over the government as is commanded (I Tim. 2:1-4). Pray that critical and judgmental spirits would give way to the Spirit of intercession. Pray that the Gospel of Jesus and His mighty Presence would sweep across governmental buildings in this region tearing down every high place setting itself up against knowledge of God.

Strategic Governmental Partnerships to further God’s Purpose –
The history of the modern day Bible translation movement is filled with stories of how God worked in governments in the nations of the earth to fulfill His purpose for the peoples under the authority of those governments. Trust God with us for fresh strategic relationships to be born in this season.

Security Forces-
Pray for justice and righteousness to be established in this area of governmental service and that God would strengthen the hearts and hands of the righteous. Pray for open eyes and wisdom as they execute their duties. Pray also for a greater release of timely angelic help over this region during this election season (Psalm 91).

IMG_9963Election Days!
Stand with us against every evil plan and scheme to promote and spread violence during these election days. Pray that God would honor the faithful fasting + prayers of His watchmen so that massive peace would be enjoyed throughout the land + God’s Name will be honored. Pray for God’s perfect will to be done as people go to vote from the 36 states of the Federation -Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara.

CREDIT: Thanks to Alisha Carr our prayer coordinator for sharing the original material.

26 Jan

Ncham Bible Dedication, Bassar, Togo.

11-IMG_3629In 1998 I took the plunge and went on my first short-term missions trip. It was a little unusual in the big realm of short term trips, as it was to a Bible translation project in Togo, West Africa, a Francophone country. I didn’t speak a whole lot of French and having grown up in Wycliffe, I was sure I already ‘got’ the need for Bible translation. However, all the circumstances and gifts to make it happen were clearly leading me to go on the trip. I could write a TON more about that trip but I’ll have to save that for another day.

54-IMG_3937On the 14th January 2015, 16.5 years later, I started my journey back to that very same village. Before you think ‘ooo dramatic’, I had been back already, leading multiple other short term teams to the same project. It had, however, been 4.5 years since I last visited.

I left our home in Jos and drove to the capital, Abuja, picking Gareth Mort up in a town along the way. Gareth was my team leader from 1998, and is now my colleague here in Nigeria. The next day we flew direct to Lome where we successfully negotiated the Ebola check and the general health check (but only by God’s grace, due to Gareth’s missing Yellow Fever certificate!). We applied for and were granted visas in the airport in Lome.

The bus getting loaded up.

The bus getting loaded up.

On Friday we were due to catch a nice coach up country, but there were no seats left. So we took ‘public’, aka a mini-bus with 4 people squished onto every three seats and more luggage on top of the bus than capacity inside. I was thankful for Gareth’s thinness! We weren’t so thankful for the bus stopping every 10 miles looking for more passengers. It took nearly 10 hours to get to Sokode, not even the town we were finally destined for. We arrived in Bassar late, in the dark, to a very warm welcome from Samuel’s family. In 1998, Samuel had only just joined the translation team, he was young and unmarried. We were blessed that he spoke English, both then and now!
Samuel and his family

Samuel and his family

Saturday at 07:20 Gareth and I left the house and wandered into town. We were hoping to come across the parades headed to the football stadium where the Dedication was to be held. We saw what we thought was probably one of the 3 parades, but they were headed in the wrong direction, so we carried on to the stadium.

One of the brass band parades

One of the brass band parades

It was fantastic to see banners and greet some people, slightly odd to be ignored by most of the other white faces – it wasn’t like they could miss us!

The dedication itself was marvellous. There were LOADS of people. There were some very high profile folks out there too. The national director of AOG, the chief, the Prefet, the representative of the local government, pastors, preachers, most of the Catholic diocese, the church association committee (ACEB), SIL, Wycliffe, Bible Society, 2 brass bands and people of literally ALL ages came out to join the celebration.

The chairman of ACEB

The chairman of ACEB

Now I do probably suffer from a bit of attention deficit disorder, I doubted I could sit still for 6 hours and listen to speeches in 2 different languages neither of which I spoke. So I tried to find out what people were saying and I took to live tweeting the event. You can go to http://twitter.com/hashtag/nchambible and see the event as it unfolded. You could tell when people appreciated what was said by the enormous cheer that was let out.

The most enormous cheer certainly came when Sheila Crunden was giving her speech.

Sheila giving her speech

Sheila giving her speech

Sheila is a Brit who arrived in Bassar, Togo in 1969 and was very involved in translating the New Testament with a whole string of people including Monica Cox who was also in attendance at the dedication. These two remarkable ladies, now in their mid seventies and eighties, had returned specially for the Dedication but still trekked to church and to visit houses. During one dinner we shared with them, they engaged in a healthy discussion about how to mark tones in translation. Monica, who worked on literacy, and Sheila who worked on the translation entered what seems to me to be an age-old debate about marking them all or only marking some of them. I admit I didn’t follow all the technicalities, but it was fun!

46-IMG_3887After about 3 hours of speeches the Bibles were finally revealed and prayed over and paraded around the stadium and then distribution begun. It started with an offer for the “big” ie important people to buy the very first copy for a lot of money. Then the price reduced bit by bit and eventually swarms of people came to buy. It was funny, even knowing this was going to happen, 39-IMG_3804
the boxes were being held on the edge of the stadium and the seller kept running out at his table! It was wonderful to see so many people desperate to get their hands on the Bible in their own language.

You can see more pictures at my Facebook album, or high res collection here on Flickr.

We attended church with Samuel the next morning and it was brilliant seeing so many people clutching their new Bibles. It was sad that so many people were struggling to actually read it fluently – it reinforced to me the need to be doing literacy as soon as is possible in our projects.44-IMG_3842 There was a couple who were married 3 weeks before and were brought to the front of the church and introduced (it seems that is customary in this church) and when they came they were clutching a copy of the new Bible. The groom, despite not being a native Ncham speaker, received huge applause as he tried to read a couple of verses. People DO love hearing and having God’s word in their own language!

33-IMG_3760 Monday we relaxed, although actually I think Gareth worked on one of his projects from Nigeria. Then on Tuesday we started the long journey home in reverse. We did get to travel in the nice coach this time, though we also had to fly Lome to Lagos to Abuja, the last leg of which was delayed a couple of hours. But we got home safe and glad to have made the trip and been part of the dedication. The people in Bassar and particularly Samuel and his family have been part of my life for nearly 17 years. They will always have a place in my heart, my email inbox and my Whatsapp.

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/

16 Jun

Week of prayer for Nigeria

Christian Solidarity Worldwide have declared a week o prayer for Nigeria. 

http://www.csw.org.uk/prayfornigeria – a TON of great resources on here.  

From thier website: 

Prayers to inspire you…

Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, has asked us to use this special prayer for Nigeria:

Almighty and everlasting God,

We praise and glorify You for the creation of the world.

We thank You for Nigeria and her people; have mercy on all her people, especially the youth, women and children; forgive her sin and cover her shame; deliver and free Nigeria from violence, corruption and evil, deliver her from the sponsors of abduction, destruction and persecutions, bring speedily the days of peace and restoration.

Help Nigerians to build a nation strong, generous and prosperous, we pray in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

 

Each day I'll post on my twitter and my facebook a theme and a verse for inspiriing those prayers.  

For the next 7 days, please join us in praying for this mighty nation.  

27 May

Aramaic? Hebrew? What language DID Jesus speak?

I read an interesting article on the BBC today about which language Jesus spoke.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27587230

Follow me for a minute (remembering I am neither a Biblical scholar nor a linguist!)…..

The evidence suggests he spoke Aramaic or Hebrew and probably understood some Greek.  I live and work in a place where people regularly use 2, 3 or even 4 different languages.  It seems perfectly normal here to do so, yet each person seems to have 1 language that they understand best.  We refer to this language as their mother tongue or heart language.  

The New Testament was written in Ancient Greek so no matter what conclusion is drawn on the language Jesus spoke, it seems that Jesus words were translated when the Bible was first written down.  God seems very pro translation to me!   

I think God's desire to reach out to humanity is demonstrated in Revelation 7:9 "After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands"

Every language represented – it doesn't matter how big or how small that language group is and we have both here in Nigeria, they will be represented!  Brilliant.  

 

24 May

A prayer for Nigeria.

For those wondering how to pray for Nigeria – a friend posted this prayer from a friend of his.   I hope it inspires you.  

O God of the Nations, we praise You for your mighty and majestic power. There is no one like You, O God!



You rule over all the earth, and You are Lord of Nigeria. We ask that You demonstrate your awesome strength to all the people of that nation.



Lord, we first pray for every Nigerian girl who has been abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist organization. We ask that you release your angels from heaven to protect and defend them. Comfort their hearts when they are afraid, and give them unusual courage and peace. Do not let the enemy touch them. Surround these girls with songs of deliverance. You are the great defender of the orphan, the widow and anyone who is helpless. Hear their cry and answer them swiftly.

We pray also for the parents of these girls. We ask that they will call on Your name and look to You for help. Calm their fears and encourage their hearts.

We pray for Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, and for all other Nigerian government and military officials involved in looking for these girls. We ask for divine wisdom and guidance in this search mission. Shine Your supernatural light in the darkness, and expose the hidden plans and agendas of the enemy. Reveal the locations used to hide these girls, and don’t allow the terrorists to hide anywhere. If there are any Nigerian government officials who are covertly working to aide the terrorists, we pray You will expose corruption and bring all traitors to justice.

We pray for all American, European and Israeli government officials working in Nigeria to assist this mission. Guide their steps and use them to root out evil.

Finally, we ask you to deliver Nigeria from the dark forces that are bringing terror and death to that nation. In the name of Jesus we bind the spirit of militant Islam. Do not allow these terrorists to prosper. Dry up their funds, confuse their plans and cause them to lose courage. Release Your angels into the camp of the enemy. Just as Saul saw a vision of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus while he was persecuting Christians, stop these evil men in their tracks. Let them fall on their faces in fear of the Living God.

We remember the ancient prayer of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who said: “Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the Lord will judge the ends of the earth” (1 Sam. 2:10). We ask You, O God, to contend with Your enemies, shatter their power and—as the world watches—rescue these girls from their captors.

In the mighty name of Yeshua we pray. Amen.

20 May

Bomb explodes in Jos – we are all okay – May 2014

Thank you for your emails and Facebook comments – here is the latest. 

Around 3:00 pm this afternoon there were two bomb explosions in downtown Jos, Nigeria. At this point we do not know the numbers of killed or injured but it seems there may be many. To the best of our knowledge all Wycliffe staff and their families are safe

Please pray for our Wycliffe staff based in Jos that they would make wise decisions in response to this situation. Please pray also for the country of Nigeria which is facing trouble on many fronts at the moment.

We are physically fine, Tim stayed at work for longer than usual to try and get hold of all our staff and make some "what if" plans with the acting director.   This evening as i write, things ae calm, we ahven't heard news of folow up or retaliation.

This morning I posted this on Facebook "With all that is going on – I am once again convinced that nothing will change until people have God's word in a language they can understand."   I'm not comfortable right now, but I am convinced that I am involved in the ministry and in the location that God wants.  

Keep praying

For Nigeria and its leaders and residents. 
For Jos and its residents.
For all our staff and partners involved in Bible Translation minisitries. 

07 May

Prayer Update – 7th May 2014

 

Greetings from an increasingly green Jos.

The rains have really settled in now, the dust is dying down and the grass is shooting up. 

1-P1010241We also have a new compound wall sprouting.  Due to the construction of a new junction just outside our place we are losing the corner of our compound. Work is moving fast to build the new wall before the old one has to come down.

So, an update on the car situation.  Tony (our mechanic who was driving the car) is doing well (see our last update if you are not sure what I am on about!).  He is out of hospital following several surgeries and continuing to recuperate at home.  Although he is healing well physically he is still struggling emotionally.  Please pray for him that he would know God’s peace, joy and protection.

We are hoping to get a “second new” car in the next week or so, not a very straightforward process here.  Someone should haves gone to Benin to look at the imports of second hand cars from Europe and America and hopefully find one that will suit us. He however, was in hospital with suspected appendcitus over the weekend. Please pray for his speedy recovery and pray with us that he will be able to find something reliable and not too expensive!

These past two weeks have been thick with visitors and meetings.  Tim’s Dad was with us here for just over a week.  He was on a work trip but he stayed with us and so we were able to see a bit of him at least.  It was great to be able to show him a bit of our lives here.

We have also had visitors from Africa Area including the guy who co-ordinates quite a few of the work areas that I am involved in.  It meant that I spent a fair bit of the week in meetings but resulted in my having a better understanding of some of the trickier parts of my job (mainly Intellectual Property and Copyright!).  The bloke who was doing the job that Tim has now taken on (Director of Operations) was also in town so Tim has been very busy meeting with him.  All in all, it has been a busy couple of weeks and we are looking forward to settling back into a bit of normality!  Dan has been especially tired over the last few days and really struggling to get ready for school in the mornings.  Please pray that he will have the energy he needs.

Praise

Tony is healing well physically

Good times with Tim’s Dad

Prayer

Tony will heal emotionally

God will provide the right car for us

Dan will have strength and energy

20 Feb

Prayer Update – 20th Feb 2014

Hello from Jos!

Tim got back safely from Nairobi and we are settling back into the usual term-time routine of work and school.

The large junction right outside our compound is still under construction and changing daily. Of course in the UK we would not be allowed anywhere near it but here people wander through, right under the noses of the diggers. In fact, the last couple of weeks I have been walking Daniel and our neighbours’ kids to school, and we also walk through the construction site, but we do try to steer clear of the diggers! Our route through has to change on an almost daily basis as the work progresses and new areas get dug up. Our road now terminates in a trench so our first challenge in the morning is to clamber down into the trench and then to weave our way along.

1-IMG_0082We were a bit concerned about our water supply when they first dug this trench (right through where we believed our city water pipes to be) and it turned out we were right to be. One morning we arrived at the trench to discover that it was now a river. The city water supply is only switched on intermittently and that morning it had been switched on and the pipes that had been broken during the digging were spewing water everywhere. When you are in the middle of dry season and there has been no rain for 3 months that feels pretty criminal! As a result of the broken pipes we have had to order a tanker of water to refill our compound tanks, we are praying they will fix the pipes soon! I am guessing this may be hard to imagine with the massive over-abundance of water many of you are experiencing at the moment. We are praying for you!

Over the last few weeks there has been an increase in the number of robberies in Jos. We don’t feel in danger but please pray for wisdom and protection for us.

If you can spare a few minutes, please pray for us . . .

Praise
Tim was able to contribute well at the meetings in Nairobi and really benefited from the experience
Dan is doing better, feeling less exhausted by the end of the day

Prayer 
Protection and peace for all of us
That our water situation will not be a source of stress

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.

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