Just a few more months until we are back in the States, but don't worry, we are staying busy.
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These past 6 months have been a time of great excitement, sprinkled with disappointments and sorrows throughout. We have continuing to study language and culture full time and are thankful to have welcomed a homeschool teacher, Megan, into our home for this school year so that we can have even more time to study. We have also worked with our field leadership to write Children’s Ministry into our job description. It is not because we lack things to do, but because we often find ourselves in our front yard with our children and about 30 of their village friends. We figure we might as well teach them the Word of God as best as we are able knowing that it is their generation who will one day hold the Bible we plan to translate. We consider our work with them to be laying the ground work for that day. Here are a couple highlights of our lives here these past few months:

Child Evangelism Fellowship training. I (Stacey) helped put on a two-week training that showed children’s ministry workers in the area how to teach children the Bible. On the one hand, this training was very encouraging because the Congolese missionary that came to lead the training was biblically solid, competent and patient with the participants. However, it really opened my eyes to just how much work there is to do. I realized that some of those in leadership in children’s ministry have a “works” view of the Gospel and may not know Christ at all themselves. Further, there were major language barriers as the training was conducted solely in French.

Children’s Bible Clubs. Dave and I were excited to take what was taught in the CEF training, translate it into Bakoum and start teaching in a couple Bakoum villages. We taught in Bakoum twice and then realized that we are far enough along in our language acquisition to be able to teach a 20 minutes Bible lesson. This set-back is compounded by the fact that we have yet to determine what theological terms to use in the Bakoum language for the ideas that are expressed in Scripture. For instance, they do not have the word of “Kingdom” in their language, so our language partners translate “The Kingdom of God” as “The Good News.” These are two overlapping, yet distinct, ideas that require two different terms. Also, we found that there is not a good word for sacrifice, grace, and the list goes on. We now realize that we need to start the translation project, determine theological terms, then start teaching people what they mean before we start teaching the Bible in Bakoum. Until then, Dave and I are teaching in French and we pray that there are some seeds being planted there.

Interest in the Word of God.There is a young mother named Laura that came to our pastor expressing interest in learning more about the Bible. He referred her to me and I have begun meeting with her weekly. We have been going over the very, very basics of the Bible (i.e. the Bible is the Word of God, who God is, who man is, etc). She is not Bakoum and so we study in French but she cannot read French and has a very low education level. Therefore she is learning very slowly. I am teaching her how to read in French, but this is difficult as she is more accustomed to working with her body and not as much with her mind. Laura, these past few weeks has stopped coming for Bible studies as frequently.

New Language Partner. After working with the same language partner for about a year and a half we have recently realized that he has a speech impediment. As one can imagine, this makes writing down the language and learning it that much more difficult. Thus, we have changed to a new language partner and our comprehension of the language has skyrocketed. Our relationship with our former language partner remains amiable (he comes over for a Bible study with Dave once a week) and we are LOVING this new working relationship that we are forming with our new language partner, Bosco. He also is a Bakoum pastor of an indigenous Bakoum church here (the only one).

Tone Workshop. We will be having a seasoned linguist come out at the end of October to lead a two-week workshop with Dave, me, and about 5 Bakoum language helpers in order to analyze the tone of this language. We are elated to have her help and pray that this workshop will bring a lot of clarity to our tonal analysis. Just as a reminder, if we do not analyze the language the correctly, the meaning of the Scriptures will not be conveyed correctly. That is why great care must be taken to understand the language well on the front end.

The Home Stretch.We plan to go on our first home assignment in March of 2016 so Dave and I have only 5 solid months of language learning ahead of us. We hope to make great strides in our language learning during this time and therefore we would ask for prayer that the Lord would bless our efforts. Whereas we are able to teach in French, it is the deep desire of my heart to be able to teach (well) in Bakoum so that we can reach those who do not speak French well. Only study and the grace of God will get us to this point.
- Praise the Lord with us…
- For bringing Megan here to help us homeschool our kids.
For our son Kaden’s soft heart towards the Lord.
- That Bakoum children are learning truths about who God is.
- For Ginger, the seasoned linguist, who is coming to help us analyze tone.
- For our new language partner, Bosco.
- My (Stacey’s) mom has recently been diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. Please pray that the treatment would be effective, that my mom would experience the peace of the Lord in suffering, and that we would get to spend time with her when we return to the States in March. Also, on a personal note, I am having a harder time concentrating on my studies in light of all this. Pray for grace to get through the next 5 months and that the Lord would establish the work of my hands in the midst of it all.
- Pray for Laura, that she would continue to come learn both how to read and learn the Bible with me (Stacey).
- Pray for the Lord to save all of our children, and especially Elias who is extraordinarily contrary and hard-hearted.
- Pray that we would reach our language requirements by March.
- Pray that we would one day be able to teach in this language well.
Thanks for the support and the prayers. We look forward to seeing you in just a few months.

Dave and Stacey
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