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The Kwakum have an alphabet!

"We are overjoyed that God has opened the door for a writing system in Kwakum! We are so happy with the letters that have come into Kwakum!"
A week ago, chiefs from various Kwakum villages, fellow missionaries, the town mayor, and hundreds of “regular” Kwakum people gathered together singing the words of the song that is written above. It was a time to celebrate two things: 1) The opening of the new Kwakum literacy and translation center, and 2) the dedication of the new Kwakum alphabet. The Kwakum literacy and translation center is a five room plus once conference room building which serves as a hub for literacy work, Oral Bible Storying, children’s ministry, and translation work. Two out of the five rooms are bedrooms which the Kwakum can stay in when taking literacy classes or participating in Oral Bible Storying workshops.

Our friends and neighbors were in awe of the center and they were equally in awe of their new alphabet. Twenty-six people danced their way into the main conference room proudly displaying their letters one by one. I gave a speech calling for the Kwakum to come and learn, to come and change, and to then go out and teach others. Dave talked about our future plans and explained to the Kwakum that the church in the United States has faithfully been giving their financial support every month so that we could do special projects like build the center. The group also learned the new Kwakum alphabet song (and people have been singing it outside of my window ever since) and we played games that had the people writing down Kwakum using the new alphabet. They wrote down all the words they could think of that started with ‘m’ and then proudly read what they wrote in front of the group. People ask me almost daily when literacy classes will begin and even people who are from different people groups want to come learn to read in Kwakum.

We had taken in faith that our labors in language acquisition, language analysis, as well as orthography development would one day be worth it. Our faith has now become sight! We see the fruit of our labors and the Lord has replaced laborious plodding with great joy. We are delighted and yet prayerfully await the day that Kwakum people will worship and praise Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth.
"Just as it was wrong for Americans to enslave Africans, so there are things in this culture that are wrong and are in need of change."


Not only is there joy in seeing the writing system come together, but there is even much more joy in seeing women in our village come to hear the Word of God each day. Between one to five women make their way to our porch each morning to learn their Kwakum letters and hear stories about the Bible in their own language. The women who I have worked most closely with, Mami, thinks deeply about what she has been taught. So much so that she has now started even asking questions about the Trinity. I had to dust off Grudem’s Systematic Theology book in French and go through it with her. Mami has also asked to be baptized to show that she wants to follow Jesus. However, there is some serious sin in her life that she has yet to repent of. For the next two weeks I am going through a study with her on “Who is Jesus and what does it mean to follow him?” Please pray that she would love Jesus more than the sin she is in entangled in.
Morning Bible study and literacy lesson with Kwakum women

Future plans

In regard to literacy, for the next two months, I (Stacey) along with our intern Jean-Yves, will be working to develop a reading and writing manual (AKA Translational Literacy Primer) with and for those who already speak French. In June, I hope to start formally teaching literacy classes. Informally, Dave and I will teach the village kids how to read and write in their language in the evenings. In time, we hope to see the Kwakum teaching literacy classes with us helping when necessary.

As for translation, for the next two months, Dave will continue his study in discourse analysis (AKA how the Kwakum tell stories). This study is crucial in being able to translate Bible truths into a “Kwakum-y” way of storytelling (See Dave’s blog on why discourse analysis is important). Dave is devoting his time to this so that we can be ready to start translation work.

In June, we plan to start Oral Bible Storying (OBS) workshops. This is where we will take twelve stories from the Old Testament and translate them in Kwakum for the purpose of preparing the people for the New Testament when it is translated. We simply can’t wait to spend hours in exegesis, helping our team of translators understand the passages, and then months taking these Bible stories to local villages. These stories will be used as tools to show people the character of God and the fallen state of man. Our desire is that the stories will take on the role of “John the Baptist” and be used to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. It will also be during these OBS workshops that we will start to look for those who would make capable, teachable, peaceable full-time translators. We plan to start written Bible translation in January 2019. 
Entry to the Kwakum center which reads, 'Here, we study, we change, we go out and teach others in a spirit of love.'

Huge thanks!

As we told our Kwakum friends, the mission of literacy and translation among the Kwakum is bigger than just those of us who are here in East Cameroon; it also includes the church abroad who prays and gives financially to that end. Thank you from us and thank you from the Kwakum for your partnership in bringing the Kingdom of God to this people. Let us continue to persevere in all of our labors until Jesus Christ is glorified in the hearts of the Kwakum through the message of the Gospel.
'We have a lot to the thankful for today - thankful to God, thankful to those who have sacrificed so that we can have this Kwakum literacy and translation center.'
Dancing in honor of the new alphabet!

Praise God for...

- the Kwakum writing system is finalized and accepted by the community! (Click HERE to see a draft of the write up for the Kwakum orthography)
- the Kwakum literacy and translation center!
- the women that are interested in hearing the Word of God each morning!
- our faithful, helpful, servant-hearted homeschool teacher, Hunter!

Stacey, Mami (back), Brigitte (purple head scarf), and Marianne (front)
Lord willing, the beginning.

Be praying that...

- we would understand how the Kwakum tell stories so we can make the Bible as understandable as possible for them.
- reading and writing manuals would be ready for publication by June.
- the Lord would bring faithful, teachable, humble men and women to work with us on Oral Bible Storying
that the Lord would save our children – Makyra, Elias, and Zoey (a helpful prayer guide for missionary children is found HERE).
- the Lord would save Mami, that she would repent of sin, and see Jesus as her greatest treasure.
- we would continue to grow in our language ability.
- the Lord would provide a competent, hard-working intern to work on the Kwakum dictionary.
- there would be peace in the anglophone region of Cameroon.

Psalm 20:5  "May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!"
As always, we are so thankful for you and your prayers. If there is anything we can be praying for you or your family, please hit reply and let us know.

Dave and Stacey Hare
Here are some more pictures from the dedication for your viewing pleasure:
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