Monday, 29 July 2013

Youth Night!

It’s almost dark and I finally get my fire to a full blaze with help of a little kerosene. (I know I’m a cheater!) I go inside my kitchen and make the popcorn on my camp stove as I hear the voices of Merafu and Lobia already around the fire.

 By the time the popcorn is salted and and transferred to a big blue bowl, there are six youth which in the next hour multiples into thirty-five, twelve to twenty-one year old's laughing, singing, eating popcorn and talking outside my Hut. Oh yeah, it’s Friday youth night!
 Youth group officially started just three weeks ago. It’s been amazing! Many of the youth who have come are the junior counselors and older kids from the camp we had in June.

After a game of UNO or watching a bit of the ‘Sound of Music’ everyone has arrived and gets as close to 
the fire as possible, then we begin to look into God’s word together. The past few weeks we have been talking about what it means to be a believer/ follower of Jesus. 

 I turn my head lamp so that I can see the notes in my Bible and begin to talk about the cost of following Christ. When Jesus said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” to his disciples, they left everything behind, gave up all, stopped living for this world and followed Jesus. And He made them ‘fishers of men.’ Their lives radically changed from the medial to the radical, from the necessary to survive to the purposeful life of trust, from a life of ability and control to one of suffering and complete reliance!  To be true follower of Jesus in Didinga culture (Well, in any) is very costly and yet precious beyond belief!

The hunger for God’s word among these youth, at this time, is just incredible! Many of them are involved in three different Bible studies every week and eager for more!

The other night around the fire I heard of few of the boys talking about what they learned at youth night, the subject that night was sexual purity, so hearing these teenage boys talk Joseph who ran from Potiphar's wife and about how they could be pure made me smile at the work God is doing in their hearts! 

Pray for these youth, who at this time seem so hungry for truth, pray for them!

And pray for me, that I would share God’s word accurately, passionately and effectively and not be afraid!  

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Missing words in Didinga…

Some words in our language have changed their meaning or take on another meaning as new generations emerge, such as gay, wicked or stoned, while some other words seem to disappear from our vocabulary entirely. Words are not simply how we communicate; they are also a vital part of telling us what is important to our culture and what is not.

 So far I have discovered six different words in the Didinga language for ‘carrying something on your head,’ In English we don't even have even one, why?  Because, we don’t carry things on our head, therefore it holds no relevance to us.

For a woman in Didinga, who almost constantly is transporting something on her head, having a word for a carrying a heavy load, or a light one, or for carrying something for a long period of time is significant because these words are a part of everyday life to a Didinga person.

As I have studied and asked, I have found missing words here in Didinga. Some have little to no significance, for example there is no word for dessert (thanks to the missionaries, it is known as ‘goody-goody’) Also, surprisingly, there is no word for flower yet there are thousands growing wild.

There is also no actual word for ‘ugly’ in Didinga. What does this tell me? Well, where most the world hangs great value in clothes, hair and a slim waistline, to a Didinga person, these things are just not as significant.

Some missing words throw us for a loop and cause a difficult time or a long time in translation as you cannot simply say the word (as it is not there) you have to describe it.
Like the missing Didinga word for faithfulness

I discovered this missing word one day as I was telling a friend about God’s faithfulness; he turned and translated for me but he used the word "love." I asked him later how to say ‘faithful’ in Didinga. He said, “Just use the Didinga word love.” However, feeling strongly that this was not a proper translation caused me to go on a search for this word ‘faithfulness’ and yet, I could not find it anywhere. The answer I received from everyone was "Maybe long ago we had a word that meant this, but we have long since forgotten it."

Coincidently, faithfulness is not only a missing word among the Didinga people; it is also a missing concept and action. No one trusts anyone with anything! There is a Didinga saying that goes like this, ‘Keep it in the dark, don’t tell your wife,’ in other words don’t trust anyone and sadly, it is often said with good reason.
One of the ways I explained faithfulness to my language helper was by explaining faithfulness in marriage (also no word for adulterer). She looked at me and laughed, yet with sadness in her eyes and said “Impossible, I have never met a man faithful to his wife.”

This is not simply a Didinga phenomenon, faithlessness is epidemic in the lives of people all over the globe. Because of my Didinga ‘faithfulness’ word search I have been studying the Old and New Testament for definitions of faithfulness. I have come up with so many references in God’s word that it would take pages to write down the findings, let alone what there is yet to find in its wealth.

I have been challenged. 

Am I faithful? It’s hard to tell, as time seems to be a critical test. I look back at my life and I have been passionate, I have made huge obedient decisions for Christ but in the every moment with unseen thoughts and behaviors have I really loved God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength?  O God, refine me so that your faithfulness is also in me!

Please pray with me that I would be faithful in every aspect of life. Pray for faithfulness in Didinga believers, pray they would let the Holy Spirit do His work in them and praise God for his unfailing faithfulness to the world!