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 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…

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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 Africa Bible Translation Christian Missions Culture

How a theory of communication can help make disciples

Since our arrival in Cameroon in 2014, there have been a handful of people from our village that have attended church semi-regularly. The services are conducted in French and this group of people speaks almost exclusively Kwakum. These neighbors put on their nicest clothes, arrive at church, and…sleep through the services. This is very regrettable because our pastor just finished a very long series on the book of Romans where he clearly presented the Gospel of grace. When I asked my Kwakum-speaking friends what they understood at church, I would often get answers like, “I learned that we need to…

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Posted in Christian Missions Partnership Development The Hare Home

God has Provided a 7th Grade Homeschool Teacher, Already but Not Yet…

It is hard to believe that we are on the homestretch of homeschooling our children. The Lord has provided 6 different committed, godly young women to come homeschool our kids throughout our time on the field and this coming school year will be our last year of homeschooling our kids. After this year, we will be in the States for 8th grade, and then the kids will be in high school in the capital. The Lord has once again provided someone who is willing to spend a year with our family, making children do their math, and experiencing the discomforts…

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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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