Hello <<First Name>>,

Greetings from Guinea, West Africa!

September and October were busy and eventful months. I had left the village at the end of September to go to Senegal. However, prior to leaving the village I had lost contact with my language helper for some time. In his absence I was able to take care of my peanut field, work on my final paper for my Ethnography project and help my co-worker with content-checking for some bible passages she had translated.

Prayer for vehicle: There has been difficulty in obtaining a vehicle because of logistics and exorbitant taxes (about 37% on top of the price). Since I plan to go on Home Assignment next year I am considering waiting until my return to get the vehicle. I will appreciate your prayers in this matter.

Prayer for new solar batteries: An urgent need is for new solar batteries (that is how I get electricity in my house). I expected the batteries to last to the end of this year but they are very low and I now use my flashlight and candles in the evening. The cost is approximately 2,500 USD. Kindly pray for wisdom in getting the batteries and that I find someone to install them.

In October I attended two Ethnos360 workshops. Our Christian mission organization generally provides missionaries with education before entering the field. This includes Bible School training and Missionary Training like Linguistics and Technology. They also focus on continued education. On-the-field training consists of Literacy Development, Bible Translation, Bible Lesson Development, and Language and Communication. The first workshop I attended focused on Culture Study, as we desire to develop a more systematic and pragmatic way for missionaries on the field to learn key cultural aspects of the people groups they are working with. The second workshop focused on Lesson Development and tailoring the chronological Bible lessons to an Islamic context. In the past I have shared that Ethnos360 focuses on teaching the Bible chronologically, starting from the creation of the world. Our main curriculum comes from Trevor McIlwain who developed the “Building on Firm Foundations” Bible curriculum. This consists of seven phases and can be adapted to any given context, including outdoor evangelism, church, Sunday school, and youth groups.

Another initiative by Ethnos360 is the opportunity for missionaries to do graduate studies. One of the options is a master’s degree in Intercultural Studies at Southern California Seminary in San Diego. I participated in this program online. It focuses on studying the culture of a specific people group and writing an Ethnography Project with a focus on developing a church planting strategy. My project was on the ‘Wey People’ that I am currently serving. It has been a very interesting journey in spite of a few setbacks and delays but I thank God for helping me complete this program. It was extremely valuable in exploring certain aspects of the people that I may have overlooked. I also gained more clarity on the topic of ‘Critical Contextualization’ and its importance in developing Bible lessons and working amongst ethnic groups. If we are not aware of our cultural biases and assumptions about our own culture and the foreign culture, it leaves the door open for miscommunication and misunderstanding. The role of the missionary (cross-cultural worker) is not to save anyone since only the Holy Spirit can do that, but to present the Gospel in the most comprehensive way that can be valued by the people. Incomplete understanding of the core, cultural assumptions of the people and their worldview leads to poor communication, misrepresentation of the truth and a less effective ministry. The method in which Ethnos360 goes about its teaching is a long process. We believe that people should not only hear God’s word in their language but that the message needs to be adapted to their context (contextualized) for greater understanding and to reduce the chance of syncretism (a mixing of their old beliefs with the new beliefs of the Gospel).

I am grateful that Ethnos360 provided the opportunity to further my studies and that Shadow Mountain Community Church supplied huge scholarships to us missionaries.

Thank you all for your continued support and faithful prayers. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Philippians 4:23