We have just returned to Northern Ireland from a 10-week trip to West Africa. We had a great time. We had very limited internet connection so we were not able to post any updates. Here’s a brief summary of some of the things that took place.
Bible translation workshop
The workshop on the book of Revelation which took place in Burkina Faso in September was very intense, but helpful. It showed up some things that we still need to work on before the draft will be ready for checking. Working with 24 Bible translators from 5 West African countries who are translating the book of Revelation into 11 different languages was quite a privilege.
At the beginning of October three Ethnos360 (NTM) missionaries travelled from Senegal to Ivory Coast to conduct a week-long training course for almost a dozen Loron church leaders and Bible teachers. It helped the leaders to see and understand the role that the mission plays in West Africa in reaching unreached people groups, and also the responsibility that they have in that task. Pray for the Loron church as it continues to grow and mature and as it becomes engaged in cross-cultural evangelism.
Over the past two months we had opportunities to speak at several Loron churches and with numerous individuals. We were able to spend quite a bit of time interacting with Loron believers and Bible teachers considering biblical perspectives on various topics including baptism, the Lord’s Supper and church discipline. Some had questions about things that had us scurrying back to our commentaries and study Bibles. ‘Who is the person in Daniel 10?’, and ‘what does after the order of Melchisedec mean?’ being just a couple of the random questions coming at us.
Marina had literacy classes every weekday in our village from 7am until around noon. She also travelled some afternoons to classes in other villages to guide and encourage the literacy teachers there. There are several small literacy classes and reading groups meeting regularly in various villages. A literacy workshop in being planned to train new literacy teachers and will take place, Lord willing, when we return in January 2018.
Marina travelling to a nearby village for literacy class
Scripture reading class
Bible translation The Loron translation team has just completed a brand new version of the gospel of John in the Loron language and is hoping to meet with a translation consultant in January for the final check. We thank the Lord for the translation team, committee and helpers for all their efforts in going through the various stages of the translation process – initial exegesis and translation, content checks, comprehension checks with people of various ages, back translation into French, and formatting.
Evangelism Loron Bible teachers continue to reach out to new locations with the gospel. Some places are more receptive than others. Ongoing efforts include outreach to three local villages and another village about 90 minutes away by motorcycle. Joel, one of the teachers, in planning to travel to a large Loron village in Burkina Faso in January to follow up on contacts made on a previous trip.
Curriculum Development A young Loron man called Daniel, who spent ten years at school, recently impressed us with his knowledge and understanding of French. We asked him to translate some Bible study materials on 1 Thessalonians from French into the Loron language just to see how he would handle it. Even though he has never received any training in translation techniques he displayed a real flair and ability and did an excellent job in communicating the content in Loron. Seems like he has potential in helping to expand Bible teaching resources for the Loron teachers, church leaders and believers. Daniel’s father was Hovare, the Loron church leader who passed away last year.
Community Development Quite a number of people in the village expressed their appreciation for the lashings (abundance) of safe, clean water that is now available to everyone from the three newly-installed pumps.
Audio Many Loron people have mobile phones, radios or MP3 players that can take memory cards, and there is a growing interest in listening to recorded Scripture and Bible teaching. It is a great tool for evangelism and Bible teaching. We have been developing a library of Scripture and gospel recordings for the Loron language for teaching and review, and we also have audio in French and some Ivorian and Burkinabe languages that can be used to reach out to other people groups.
Reading materials Scores of Scripture and Bible teaching booklets and lesson packs were printed and distributed and sold over the past couple of months. Pray that the Lord would use all these audio and printed resources in the hearts and lives of the believers.