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 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 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 Africa Christian Missions Culture God’s Work in Cameroon Video

Marriage: The Beginning of a Revolution

Yesterday was packed with joy from the first rooster crow until people fell into their beds exhausted from all the yipping, cheering, and dancing they did in celebration of something that the Lord holds dear: marriage. It was a day that, I believe, mirrored a celebration in Heaven. Two young believers (Koo and Mami) have taken up their crosses, turned their backs on the ways of their culture, and followed God’s will for marriage. One Kwakum friend told me that he had never heard of two young Kwakum people getting married. This occasion therefore merited the song (composed in Kwakum)…

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Posted in Africa Christian Missions Culture Culture Shock Encouragements and Exhortations

“Culturally Competent” Yet Still on the Outside

This last week, Dave’s drafting team was working in our village. Watching them work and talk, I was reminded how I have come to consider them to be some of my closest friends. We are united in the Lord, in the work, and in our love for one another. During our shared meal, this group of guys started telling some of their traditional folktales, full of wild arm movements, animal imitations, and silly faces. They were cracking up to the point of crying, sometimes having a hard time getting the words out, and slapping each other on the back for…

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Posted in Africa Christian Missions Culture

What Should Christians Think About the Bride Price?

We have experienced a lot of joy in discipling a couple who recently became Christians. They have been together for a few years now and have a son who will be 1 year old in May. When they were baptized they decided that they should not live together until they could be married. We have spent the last few months watching them prepare for the wedding, and they have been giddy! Throughout the whole process it was acknowledged that before they could be officially married the man would have to pay a bride price. A bride price is when the…

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Posted in Africa Culture

Tim Challies is Coming to Cameroon! (and you can help)

Some of you will be familiar with the Christian blogger Tim Challies who sometimes links to our blog. Challies is working on a new project with a mission organization called Frontline Missions and will be travelling with Tim Keesee. The project is called “Worship Around the World.” This is a documentary film series that will explore the different ways that God’s people worship him on Sunday all over the world. Challies contacted me to see if we thought the Kwakum church would be a good place to make a stop. I recommended that he visit the Baka church instead. The…

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