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!

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. 

11 Oct

Prayer Update 11th October 2013

Greetings from Jos!

Last week Tim did a road trip with Jono, a colleague and good mate of his. They travelled to Niger (sounds like tiger) State, not to be confused with Niger (sounds more like kneezjair with a French accent) the country! Niger State is found in the north west of Nigeria. There are a number of language projects that we are involved with in Niger State and Jono, as our Language Projects Co-ordinator, needed to go and visit them. Travelling on your own is not really recommended here, the prospect of a New Testament dedication and eager to try out his new camera, Tim jumped at the opportunity to accompany him. Despite a minor car problems involving leaking automatic transmission fluid on the way, they made it safely to their first stop. The second day’s travel involved heading further across the state towards to Benin border including a very poor section of road where it took nearly 3 hours to travel 90km, but once again they arrived safely and in plenty of time before dark. A couple of days later, having met local translators and heard about how the work is progressing, they headed back home. This time they did the whole distance in one day, leaving at 6am and making it back to Jos by 4.30pm. The distances they were travelling didn’t look all that far on our wall map of Nigeria but in reality it was a round trip of 850 miles, Nigeria really is a BIG country! One disappointment was that the community decided to postpone the dedication until November. We are quiet sure why but it is not uncommon over here!

For larger high quality pictures go to Tim's Flickr page. 

I have been tackling an update to one aspect of the Ethnologue (a book that describes, albeit briefly, all the languages of the world) this week. We are trying to describe the vitality (or “aliveness” if you like) of the different languages in Nigeria. The thing that really affects the alive status of a language is whether it is being passed on to the next generation. If parents are not teaching the language to their children then the language will become threatened and unless something changes, will eventually die out. One of the reasons we need to know about language vitality is so that we can make wise decisions about which languages to invest our limited resources in translation.

Thank you to all of you who e-mailed to say that you were praying for Dan. In general he has had a better week this week, in particular he has felt more included by the other kids at break times. He finds the less structured class time in Art difficult and this is often a trouble spot in the week for him. He has Art on a Tuesday afternoon so if you remember please do try and pray for him then. We have spent some time talking about (and drawing) the armour of God and Dan has come up with his own, personalised version, so rather than the sword of the Spirit he has the light-sabre of the Spirit! This has definitely helped him to be more conscious about calling on God’s help in difficult situations. Thank you so much to all of you who pray for us so faithfully, it makes a huge difference. We often forget how powerful prayer is!

Praise

• Dan has had a better week at school
• Tim’s road trip went well and they made it back safely

Prayer

• That Dan would have a better experience at school, especially during Art class
• That I can gather the necessary information about language vitality in time

12 Sep

Prayer Update 12th September 2013

Greetings one and all!

Rainy season is starting to ease off here, we are no longer having rain every day without fail and the sun is putting in more of an appearance. I like this time of year because after months of damp and cold (OK so at around 20oC I appreciate it is all relative!) the weather is warming up and drying up.

I am attempting a small vegetable growing area this year (hence at least part of my obsession with the weather!) and am currently having at least some success with radishes, broccoli, red bell peppers and butternut squash. Not so much with the beetroot sadly, only 2 of about 20 have germinated. Any suggestions from the experienced gardeners out there gratefully received!

Also on the domestic front, I had a Massively Meaty Saturday last weekend. I took a group of 9 ladies to the local Abattoir to buy beef and pork. We then returned to our house (where, in a rather embarrassing mishap, I had managed to lock us out!) and processed the meat, preparing most of the pork with curing salts to make ham and bacon. Looking forward to trying some of that in a few days once it has finished curing! I also made sausages using casings (for the uninitiated this is the outside bit that holds the sausage together) that I had brought from the UK. Last time I tried this I actually bought fresh intestines from the Abattoir, cleaned them and stripped them, but the smell and the amount of work was just too much, even considering the tastiness of the sausages! So this time I “cheated” and bought ready-made casings.After making about 5 kg of sausages our freezer is now full to bursting! 

Dan is enjoying fourth grade but does not seem to be quite himself at the moment. Some days he seems fine and is his usual cheery self but then the next day he will be easily upset and see even basic tasks as massive mountains that he can’t face. Please pray that we will have wisdom to know what the root issue is and how best to help him.

We have our Staff Conference coming up next week, Wednesday to Friday. Tim is involved in the logistics for this and will be helping to make sure that everything runs smoothly. I will be giving a brief presentation on one of the aspects of my job (REAP – Repository for Electronic Archiving and Publishing) to try and encourage people to use this resource to protect and share their work more widely. I am also hoping to run an after-hours hands-on session for people to come and get some help to get started on using it.

  • Praise Enjoying the improved weather Having fun in the garden and the kitchen!
  • Prayer Spiritual, emotional and physical heath for Dan Successful Staff Conference next week
03 Aug

Newish Beginnings

IMG_9286Newish number 1 -) These past few weeks have been hectic.  We came back form Nigeria for a scheduled 2 month break in June – and we had to jump headlong into fundraising.

It isn't our favourite activity, but when you find yourself £700 short of your ministry every month, you don't have much choice. You have to get on with it.

Almost all missionaries around the world (no matter what ministry they are involved in or who they are sent with) don't get paid a salary and have to raise support. It is one of those things that binds us missionaries together — along with Jesus, and sharing Jesus to people, and playing our part in growing God's kingdom… Sometimes I wonder if loathing fundraising doesn't bring us closer together sometimes, too!  

Anyway, we have chatted over coffee, dinner, coffee, lunch, and more coffee (which is okay, we LOVE coffee). We have shared and preached, laughed and cried, asked and prayed and prayed some more, then asked some more, then got miffed at God, not prayed then realized that telling God I'm miffed at him is in fact praying – and seen God continue his faithfulness regardless.

We haven't completely hit the target, but we are close enough, and there are enough things in place that we have been signed off to return to Nigeria.

It is not possible to properly express our gratitude to all the people and churches that are giving sacrificially so that we can serve God in Nigeria. We truly appreciate both your prayers and your pounds – we would honestly not be able to do what we do without you.  

Newish number 2 -) Before we first left for Nigeria 2 years ago, we started working on becoming part of our church denomination's mission structure.

I have thought long and hard how best to describe it, but basically, as of this week, we are signed up as Elim missionaries working in partnership with Wycliffe. We'll still be involved in all the same things we were before, but with the extra bonus of being backed by our denomination. We are in the VERY early stages of this partnership and we are looking forward to seeing what God does in this stage of our ministry. 

Newish number 3 -) I have uploaded a few pics of our time in the UK  

Newish number 4 -) Do you like our new website design?

04 Mar

Mother Tongue Lanuague Day

imagesYou may or may not know that last week UNESCO held their annual Mother Tongue Language day.  For most people the day passes every year mostly unnoticed and this year was probably no exception, at least for most of you.  Our ministry is all about helping to get Bible into those mother tongues.  I may seem simple or even unnecessary; we are sometimes asked why can’t they just use the English Bible?  The speak English in Nigeria right?  For some people that might be true but to be honest for the vast majority of people here, a Bible in English is completely unintelligible.  A Mother tongue language is the language that used at home from birth, it is the language that a person understands best of all, the language they think in, process in, pray in, some might say dream in.  

Nelson Mandela said “if I read in my mother tongue language, then I know exactly what the Bible means” so simple but so poignant.

Ali shared this story in our email update a couple weeks ago.

I recently heard of some translators from a Nigerian language group who were working on a translation of some portions of the gospels into their own language. They were blown away when they finally understood that Jesus had died for THEIR sins; they had always thought that he had died for his own sins.

A subtle miss-understanding but rather fundamental to understanding the Christian faith!  Something we probably take for granted when working with other Christians but in this case it was all because they had never before had it in their own mother tongue language.  That is EXACTLY why we are involved in Bible Translation ministry. 

A local Nigerian paper just featured an article all about Nigerian languages, it speaks very highly of the ministry we are involved in – it is quiet long, but an interesting read.

 

 

15 Sep

Foody Friday – Ham

I really enjoy Nigerian food, especially the street food (more on that another time ), but one thing I really miss from England is cured meat.  You know, ham and bacon and even sausages.  There is one place you can get ham and bacon, but it is over an hour’s drive away and not cheap when you get there.  Even I am not that desperate for them!

So I started to research (another of my pet hobbies, researching things on the internet.  Wow, I sound sad!).  I found out that making ham and bacon was remarkably simple, but to make it really safely you needed something variously called: pink salt, Prague powder, Instacure.  Nothing daunted, I asked Mum and Dad to bring some out with them.

Then last weekend I persuaded a friend of mine to come with me to the abattoir so we could buy the meat.  The abattoir is quite an experience, not for the squeamish or faint hearted.  We went on a Saturday morning which is the only time you can get pork.  All the meat is laid out on tables in the open air, it helps with the smell but not so much with the flies!  You can buy any part of the pig, from the whole head down to the trotters, not forgetting the lungs, intestines and stomach on the way.

I bought two big chunks of pork loin (thighs of the back legs as I now know) and half of the pig’s small intestine.  One chunk (with the leg bone still in and skin still on) was destined for a ham and the other (bone and skin removed) for making into sausage meat (more on that another time).  You can probably guess what the intestines were for, if not, I won’t spoil the surprise!

I dealt with the ham-to-be by mixing up a cure (½ cup salt, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon pink salt and enough water to cover the meat), sticking the meat and cure into a plastic tub and putting a small, heavy bowl on top of the meat to way it down.  For those who like science (which I most definitely do!), the salt and sugar content in the cure increases the density of the liquid so that it is actually more dense (a greater mass for the same volume) than the meat and as a result the meat will try to float unless you weigh it down with something like a bowl.

I put the ham into the fridge where it would lie for 5 days in its bed of brine.  Once well rested from its snooze I pulled it out and rinsed it off, soaking it in fresh water for a few hours.  The consistency of the meat was now much less squidgy (a good scientific term that!) but it still had a nice pink colour thanks to the Prague powder.

Next I boiled it for an hour and a half with some onion, cloves, peppercorns and a bay leaf, then pulled it out of the pan, poured a glaze (another random thing inherited with the house) over it and stuck it in the oven for half an hour.  Pulled it out, tasted a slice and got very excited!  Not only did it look like Ham and smell like Ham, it tasted like Ham!  We had ham sandwiches that night, deeeeelicious!

There is also a very similar process for Bacon – find a nice cut of meat, make up the cure – sure it – the slice it and cook it.  we have some with egg in English muffins the other morning they were AMAZING!  In a couple of weeks I’m going to get together with a few toher interested party and have a big ham making fest.

 

04 Jul

Cost of being a missionary – Family

This is the first in what I hope will be a series but who knows where it will go. I expect some may be more theological and others a bit more about everyday life, not that very day life isn’t about theology or the other way around, but I am not writing a PHD theological thesis, just a few observations about being a missionary.
So onto family. We have been in Nigeria for nearly a year, we have missed birthdays, Christmas, Easter, anniversaries, cousins, siblings and more. We have been blessed by a visit from my in-laws. But
every now and again, you wonder just exactly what Jesus meant when he said “follow me”. No matter what he calls you to do, there is going to be a cost involved. As a missionary leaving and working away from my passport country, we experience all sorts of cost, both financial and personal. Right now, we are feeling the cost of being away from family. The early disciples we called to drop everything, in some cases, abandon their family, their family’s expectations and even some family responsibilities in order to follow him. For us, we miss family especial at times we would normally be hanging out with family. Things I am sure are a lot easier than the old days, with email, Skype and cell phones you can be in touch fairly instantly. It was an SMS txt message from Ali’s mum saying that her mum, Ali’s nana had died on Saturday afternoon. She was 96 and a strong Christian women now in glory loving Jesus. But Ali is feeling the loss, while we are trying to figure out about her going to the UK to be with the much missed family for a time. People didn’t fly home in the old days, often because they didn’t receive news so readily, but if we do have the option should we take it. Much prayer needed as we feel this ‘cost’ right now

13 Feb

Feb Newsletter

It has been a long time in the pipeline, but here is our latest newsletter 🙂

Feb 2012 newsletter

25 Jun

Latest Newsletter

Well only a few weeks to go before we hope to leave for Nigeria 🙂

Here is out latest newsletter- newsletter july2011

You can find the archive HERE

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