Recent Posts

Posted in Newsletter

[NEWSLETTER] Book of Good News

In my (Stacey’s) experience, there is nothing more depressing than Kwakum funerals. Why are they depressing? Many reasons. First of all, they occur frequently, often due to preventable causes. Secondly, they are long; around six days of wailing and sleeping in the dirt. Third, they are riddled with traditions that do not honor God. For instance, attendees often try to divine the person responsible for the death of the individual (because they believe that most if not all deaths are caused by witchcraft) and this leads to false accusations, screaming, and violence. There are also traditions forced upon the bereaved…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Encouragements and Exhortations FAQ Mobilization

Why are the Laborers Few? Part 3: Because it’s just hard to leave mom

Why are missionaries on the field so worn and spread so then? In the words of Jesus, it is because the laborers are few (Matt 9:37). But why are the laborers few? I believe that one of the reasons is because leaving the warmth and familiarity of one’s family is extremely difficult. The Kwakum people understand this. Many of them die in the same house that they are born in. Even if they do move to a different village, it is of utmost importance that they be buried in the front yard of their childhood home. Why? In part, it…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Bible Translation Christian Missions Common Objections Encouragements and Exhortations FAQ

Why are the Laborers Few? Part 2: Technology Induced Sleep

Stacey began a series last week discussing the question: Why are the laborers few? There are many answers to that question, one is that some people are unwilling to raise support, which is what Stacey discussed. This week I want to think through a different response: the rise of technology. Currently we live in a village in Cameroon, Africa and we are able to regularly see and talk to people all around the world. Just the other day I had a Zoom call on which I talked to someone in the Philippines, another in France, and another in Canada, all…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Christian Missions Common Objections Encouragements and Exhortations Partnership Development

Why are the Laborers Few? Part 1: “I Don’t Want to ‘Beg’ for Money”

It both pains me and brings me joy to say that more people are asking me to teach them the Bible than I have time to teach. I am a Bible translator in title and yet I am also teaching literacy, evangelism, discipleship, and caring for physical needs. I love my job, but I am tired. Every missionary I know would say the same thing. There is simply so much kingdom work to do on the field and not enough people to do it. Why is that? Why are missionaries pulled so thin? In a word, it is because we…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Bible Translation Christian Missions

Missionaries, We Are Not Professionals

Stacey and I were greatly blessed to be able to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary a number of years ago. Coming from Southern California, there was a bit of culture shock, walking down marble hallways surrounded by men in suits and ties. Near the end of our time in seminary, we were glad to have the opportunity to hear Pastor John Piper speak in chapel. He started his sermon with a pretty shocking phrase. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something like this: “While I am honored to come and speak at this great institution, I…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa Christian Missions Culture

The Angels in Sodom

These past two weeks have been filled with incredible disappointments. Bible translation To start with, I had been working alongside Kwakum colleagues in a particular village for over a year. We have been taking recently translated Scripture and then sit down with two people there, read them the story, and then ask them comprehension questions. These two individuals have learned to read in Kwakum and have begun to understand who God has revealed himself to be, specifically in the book of Genesis. Then, out of nowhere, both of them started avoiding my calls and were “busy” when we arrived in…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa African Traditional Religion Christian Missions Culture

Do You Believe in Magic (3/3) Magic for Americans

I often have trouble sleeping when we are in Cameroon. One of the many things that bothers my sleep is that I often hear people calling out to me in the night. I then find myself waking up while opening the front door, or calling back out the window. Of course, at that point I realize that there is no one there. When I talk to my neighbors about this, they often get very afraid. They tell me that when you hear someone calling out to you in your sleep, it is someone using magic against you. They warn me…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa African Traditional Religion Christian Missions Culture

Do You Believe in Magic? (2/3) Magic for Africans

I am not sure how many Africans read our blog, but if you do, this blog is for you. I don’t believe for a second that all Africans hold the same views. With over 1,500 languages in Africa, there is bound to be a great deal of diversity. That said, I have noticed some patterns in African cultures in regard to magic. The Bible has a great deal to say about magic, and I wanted to sum up three biblical truths that deal with the issue of magic. If your culture already agrees with these principles, praise the Lord! If…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Bible Translation Christian Missions Culture Newsletter

[NEWSLETTER] Bible Translation is Not the Goal

Years ago, while just beginning to learn about Kwakum culture, we asked a language partner for the worst thing he could imagine his son doing. His response was very telling. He said the worst thing he could imagine for his son was for him to get caught stealing. It was very interesting to me that he did not say “for my son to steal” but “for my son to get caught stealing.” This gave me an insight into the pressure of shame in the Kwakum culture. There is even a song that we sing sometimes in church that basically uses shame to…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa African Traditional Religion Christian Missions

Do You Believe in Magic? (Part 1/3)

When I ask the question, “Do you believe in magic?”, if you are like me, what comes to mind is either Disney or that one song by the Lovin’ Spoonful. But magic (or witchcraft/sorcery/juju) has a much different meaning to many people here in Cameroon. Here are some recent examples I have heard of: People will go to shamans (French: marabout, Kwakum: kaah, Anglophone Cameroon: ngambe man) for protection, or to have curses put on their enemies. So, at many funerals a special ritual is performed to determine who put a curse on the person that died. Also at funerals,…

Continue Reading...