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This has been a crazy year, and it has been a while since we updated you. I am glad to let you know that we have seen some great progress! 

Bible Translation

In the area of Bible translation, you probably know that we have decided to work on Old Testament Bible Storying. We started working on some stories at the end of last year. Then, we went through the process of translator selection, choosing seven men and one woman to work on the project. We had a training time, working through topics such as: basic translation principles, how to deal with unknown concepts, and translation of metaphors and idioms.

Since the training, we have gone back to review the stories that we had worked on before the training (Creation, Fall, Cain and Abel, and the Flood). We also have begun translation on new stories: Babel, the Call of Abram, the Reaffirmation of the Covenant with Abram, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Here is a chart to gauge our progress since March. The checkmarks are completed steps and the arrow circles represent ongoing steps (see the bottom of the email for an explanation of the steps of translation).


We have also been working hard to start Kwakum literacy in the villages. Stacey has worked with many Kwakum people, but especially our literacy director Simon Ndengue. Together they have developed two literacy curriculum: 1) for those who already know how to read and write in French (Transitional Literacy), and 2) for those who do not know how to read in French (Mother-Tongue Literacy). 

We have begun transitional literacy in several villages: Dimako, Sibita, Mendim, and Kobila. For transitional literacy we do Friday/Saturday classes from 8am-5pm each of the two days, four weekends in a row. At the end of the class we do a thorough examination. Currently we have had 15 people who have passed and received a T-shirt and a diploma.

This weekend Stacey started in Kobila. On the very first day she said that people came in, unable to read anything in Kwakum, and left reading! One man commented at the beginning of class, “I want to learn to read and write in my language. I have thoughts and ideas in my mind that I just want to be able to write down.” Imagine being in a place where you have thoughts and ideas that you are completely unable to write down. More and more people are overcoming that problem right now.

Church Planting

You may know that Stacey and I are with World Team because we believe that Bible translation should be seen as a part of the overall plan of church planting. In our current situation, we are not looking to start a new church, but to help the churches in our area to grow. Our translators are all church-goers and represent 7 different churches between the 8 of them, several in leadership positions. So a big part of our job is working with them to understand and rightly interpret Scripture.

We have also done several Bible studies with neighbors and friends. Currently we are doing a study for new believers. We have six recently baptized believers that come every Sunday night to study at our house. Topics include: faith, assurance of salvation, prayer, and the battle against the flesh. A surprising aspect of this study is how often issues come up that would NEVER be talked about in an American Bible study. For instance, two weeks ago we discussed whether or not Elijah was a witch doctor because he was able to pray for the rain to stop and it did. Then he prayed again and it started raining. In Cameroon, when people want rain (or lack of rain) they go to the local Kaa (which could be translated as 'witch doctor').

So, we discussed the difference between 'magic' and prayer. With magic, the practitioner is the boss, deciding what they want and don't want. Prayer is asking your Father for what is good and knowing that he will always answer according to what is best. But what we are doing when we are praying is asking. That is what Elijah did, and he was a man just like us.

It has been exciting to watch these new believers grow in their faith. One couple (Koo and Mami) have recently taken in a distant relative names Yanik. Yanik's mother is blind and his dad is not in the picture. So, they have welcomed him, paid for his school, and just today asked us for advice on discipline. They are new creations and it is such a joy to watch God working in them.

The Challenges of Village Life

A friend recently asked me how he could pray for our family. I told him that village life can be very difficult. Just the other day one of our neighbor's adult sons drank too much and flew into a jealous rage. After hearing shouting I went out to see what has happening. This man (we will call him Mark) was screaming at his family. He picked up a very large 2x4 and started swinging it at everyone close to him. I was following him at a distance as he walked around the village. At one point he turned and started to come at me. This was the first time in the village I actually feared that someone would hurt me. He genuinely could have killed someone, and I think he wanted to.

There were around 10 people around him, trying to get him to calm down. One man took a chance when he saw it and tackled him. Mark hit this man with the 2x4 as he approached and then bit him. Everyone else gathered around and tied Mark up. He eventually calmed down, and is much more reasonable when he his not drunk. I mention this not to sensationalize living here. This sort of violent encounter only happens a few times a year. But I do want you all to know how to pray, and I believe that prayers for our safety were involved that night. God is with us, and he hears your prayers for our family.

As much as village life can be difficult for us, this is the only life many people have ever known. Pray for us, of course, but also pray for the Kwakum. Without Christ jealousy often leads to drinking, which leads to fighting, which leads to violence. But with Christ, these same people care for the needy and show God's grace to their community. Whole life change is what we desire, and are seeing. Pray that the Gospel would increase, and it would lead to peace and hope.

God is Providing a Team!

Stacey and I feel constantly overwhelmed with the amount of work there is to do among the Kwakum. We have prayed consistently for help, and we are excited to say that God is answering. For one, God has provided several capable Kwakum people to start teaching literacy classes, in addition to the director of literacy. Right now we are still accompanying them to all of the classes, but we hope in the future to see them leading all classes by themselves.

We also have had several Americans that have started working on jobs for us from a distance. Mike Stevens and Mary Beth Brice have been working to input, format, and clarify data in the Kwakum dictionary. And we have just begun to work with David Ernst (pictured to the left) as an illustrator for the upcoming Kwakum Storybook Bible. David will be working to produce art that will be customized to the Kwakum people. In many ways this is just like translation. He will be helping to provide images that will help Kwakum people to better understand the biblical message. We are anxious to see him get started and so are the Kwakum. Below is an example of David's art and you can see more on his website:

Prayer and Praise

  1. Praise the Lord with us for all of the progress mentioned above. We have so much to be thankful for as we press towards our goal of a full Bible in the Kwakum language, and a self-sustaining Kwakum church.
  2. Praise the Lord for all of the people now involved in our efforts. We also have a new tutor, Madison, who has arrived to lead our kids through the 6th grade.
  3. Praise the Lord for a successful internship. Two young women spent 4 weeks with us participating in a Bible Translation internship. They have helped with exegesis, literacy, and also been able to experience much of the process of Bible translation.
  4. Pray for those interns (Cherith and Sophia). Pray that the Lord would use this internship as a way to direct them to Bible translation as well. 
  5. Pray for Madison as she teaches our children. Our kids can be very active and chatty and keeping the class under control is difficult. 
  6. Pray for health and safety for all those Kwakum people involved in the translation and literacy projects. Pray for those who are already Christians, that they would grow in their walk with the Lord. And for those who are not Christians, that they could come to know Christ.
  7. Pray also for "Mark" and his family. His father is a faithful believer who mourns his son's actions. Mark apparently used to come to church regularly, but his life and behavior changed significantly as he started to abuse substances. Pray that Mark would see the faithfulness of his family and that it would lead him to repentance. 

The Steps of Translation

in case some of you want a bit of explanation of the 'Steps of Translation' mentioned in the above chart, here is the basic flow of how our translation works. 
  1. Exegesis. I (Dave) spend around 30-40 hours before we even begin translation working through a text. This is what we call 'Exegesis'. I study the text in the original language, I read commentaries and notes from other missionary translators discussing the issues they encountered.
  2. Front Translation. I then develop what is called a 'Front Translation'. This is a version of the text we are translating in French, in which I have made the exegetical decisions on sections that are ambiguous or unclear. I also add in Kwakum features to the French to make sure our translators follow the story. Because we are doing 'storying' and not full translation, I make the stories more concise. The end result is a French-Kwakum hybrid of basically a Children's Storybook version of the passage. 
  3. Drafting. Our first team of translators (Dave, Bosco, Michel, Koo, and Patrice) come together at the Kwakum translation center. I read the text in French and then we spend some time in a devotional discussion. We then work through the text orally, discussing difficult issues. We record an oral translation, write it down, and perform the first round of edits.
  4. Testing. We have a second team: Stacey, Raphael, Jules, Albert, and Brigitte. Their job is to first read through the text and check for naturalness. Then they do a series of checks on the text, looking to see if anything was removed, added, or changed. They do basics edits and then go out into the villages to test the stories with Kwakum people that were not involved in the translation. They then make recommendations to go back to the drafting team. If changes are needed they are made.
  5. Back Translation. After approval from both teams, the text is given to another Kwakum person that had not been involved in the previous steps. This person translates the text back into French, so that the consultants are able to interact with the text.
  6. Consulting. Currently we are working with Lisa Friesen, a missionary with World Team that worked through a translation of Genesis and the New Testament with another language group called the Oroko. She looks through the back translation and then gives feedback on questions to ask the team, and potential spots where changes might need to be made.
  7. Final Edits. With the feedback from all of the previous steps, our teams make final edits. We respond to the consultant questions. We also do final checks for grammar and punctuation. 
  8. Printing. We have several end goals for these stories: 1) oral retelling, 2) individual printing, 3) storybook Bible. With oral retelling we hope to teach people how to remember and retell each of the stories in small group contexts. We are going to also print the stories in single booklets, which will be incorporated into literacy classes, and distributed individually. We also are planning to print a storybook Bible with all of the stories. 
As always we would love to hear from you. Thank you so much for following our lives and for your prayers.

Dave and Stacey Hare
Copyright © 2020 World Team, All rights reserved.

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