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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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Posted in Current Events Encouragements and Exhortations

3 Lessons From Abraham Piper

The other day, as I was looking for a John Piper quote, I came across the NY Times article A Pastor’s Son Becomes a Critic of Religion on TikTok. The article speaks of the rising popularity of Abraham Piper, son of John Piper. Abraham was originally excommunicated from Bethlehem Baptist, but then returned to the church four years later. Throughout the years I have seen some of his social media posts, and I have often found his attitude to be cynical and (honestly) concerning. So, now Abraham is rising in fame as an “Exvangelical.” His platform: criticizing evangelicals and the…

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Posted in Africa Christian Missions Culture Culture Shock

“Saving Face” is Lying

What an amazing Easter! Stacey and I had the privilege of seeing our co-worker and friend Jean Pierre (JP) baptized on Sunday. Baptism is always exciting in our village because the river is a long walk from our church building. That means that the whole congregation (and even a bunch of people not a part of the congregation) end up singing praises to God all along the way. Baptism to me has always felt solemn, sacred, quiet. But baptism here is a party, a time for rejoicing, and very much like the arrival of a newborn. One of the most…

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Posted in Bible Translation Christian Missions FAQ

Why Are We Staying?

I have seen an increase in missionaries coming to the field for a fixed term. That is to say, they come to the field with a particular term length in mind. Some will come for two, four, five, or ten years. Then, they return to their home country. From my experience, this seems to be the norm now. And when we talk to Americans, they usually ask us how long we are planning on staying. I will respond with, “our plan is to die in Cameroon (hopefully later rather than sooner).” Since this is a less common reply, I thought…

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