Sunday, February 16, 2020

Translator Challenges

We finished our training in S. Asia on Thursday and flew to Indonesia on Saturday. The brothers and sisters in S. Asia are very dear to us and made gallant efforts to grow. Some of my men did great, others still seem to not understand the basics, a product of very low educational benefit. Still I was pleased with their attitude and the progress we made. Edie had some real God sighting moments with the women which I will detail later in our next newsletter. That area of the world is always exhausting but we have had a few slow days here in Indonesia to get back on top. The people here are the most gracious and hospitable we have ever worked with. It will be a joy to begin training tomorrow. One problem is that our training partner, who was with us in S. Asia is stuck there. They are giving him all kinds of trouble to get a new passport even though he is a native citizen. It is either harassment for being a Christian or bureaucratic incompetence. At any rate he and his wife cannot be with us this week and she is Edie’s translator so we will see how all this goes. It appears the lady who helped me last year with translate for Edie and I will get a couple of new ones. I met the first and he looks good but the second may be a problem. God knows… 


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

South Asia Adventures

We had a wonderful time with the Lahu pastors in Chiang Mai Thailand. It was great to see them again after a few years away. It was good to hear of their efforts to preach the Word well for their congregations. We studied John 17 and part of Ephesians 1 to help them see how to use their study skills to improve their theology. I think they all profited from our time. They all begged us to come back again. They bought me a formal Thai shirt but it was much too small for me. So, I told them to take it back and try to get a much larger one. Then when we return, they can give it to me.

We had no problems returning to Bangkok and then the next day on to S. Asia. We have such a good relationship with a family there that we have trained with over the past 12 years. It is always a bit challenging here because of the conditions. We have not had internet most of the time and even our phones are sporadically able to send texts or to get news. Everything is a little more complicated here. I travelled on Saturday 4 ½ hours to visit with a group of pastors who started our program but have not had any more workshops for over a year. The leader there is a really quality man, very godly and intelligent. I think we were able to encourage them and to begin to develop plans to start up the training once again. Edie stayed back and trained ladies on both Friday and Saturday for 4 hours each. It was a joy for her to reconnect with friends and meet new ladies. She felt they profited from the study.

Our partner here invited a number of pastor/leaders to come to our training this week, some from nearby states and two are from Indonesia and will be in our training next week. They do not speak the language here and their English is very limited so communication is difficult. They sang in church on Sunday and although we could not understand the words, their lives showed true worship. After they sang, they left before I preached and I thought that was because they would not understand any way. Later I found out that they went to another church to preach there. A translator was there to help them but chickened out at the last minute. So, they used their google translation app to preach. One would speak in to his phone, get the translation and the other would say it in English. We laughed together when they told the story.

We left late Sunday night to travel 4 hours in another direction for our training where we are now. We were really tired when we arrived and finally went to bed around 1 am. The hotel is nice and new but…we found we had no toilet paper and asked for some. They did not have any, but said they would get some in the morning. The next morning, they came with a packet of napkins. We had to laugh; such is life here. Our bathroom is clean and nice but the pedestal sink was leaking on the floor. I looked and they had not installed piping so the sink just drains to the floor against the wall and runs to a drain at the end of the bathroom.  I joked that you can wash your hands and feet at the same time, what will they think of next.

The training is going well here with the pastors really engaged. But none had done their homework so I had to talk with them about that. It is going a bit slower than I had hoped but we are making progress in studying the Psalms. Edie is taking the ladies through Esther and it is going very well. She is so good at helping the ladies think through the passage and make really good applications to their lives. 

We walked 15 minutes last night on a crowded street to a restaurant we ate at last year and were proud we actually found it and ordered all without help. We walked 5 minutes this morning for breakfast. Little victories in our cultural adjustment. We now have an internet modem so we can finally communicate. It is warm, almost 90 by afternoon, but not oppressive. We look forward to a good day today.


Monday, February 3, 2020

Myanmar to Thailand

We had a good time in Myanmar. The people were quiet and reserved, especially at first. The men seemed to warm up as the workshop went on, seeming to have fun toward the end. The women were a bit more challenging for Edie. They are not used to studying and thought it was a lot of work. Some strange ideas showing some lack of biblical understanding. One woman said she admired Jonah for standing up to God. So there is still more work to be done. I felt the men were more biblically aware and made good progress in learning the study skills. They all seem excited to have the next workshop in June. 

The one challenge for the men is that the pastors only preach once a month, while elders and lay preachers do the rest. The elders may be resistant to the new way of study and preaching and learning from younger pastors. We discussed this and we will see how they do. 

We are now in Thailand and preparing for the refresher and theological training tomorrow. We planned to go to church today but somehow missed the connection with missionary friends. We were disappointed at that.