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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!