Jun2 30, 1998

Status of Work Report


Well, a little more than a month ago the Lord blessed us with the privilege of witnessing Him begin a congregation in the village of Koyoxwe (the "x" is pronounced like an "h").  There have now been fifteen souls born again there.  Two other people, who had long ago been Christians, have rededicated themselves to the Lord and identified with the Koyoxwe congregation.


The Baileys and we have set a goal of one church planted and three preaching points by the end of June.   The Lord has already surpassed that goal.  Here is a brief summary of what is going on right now.



Koyoxwe:  Richard and Cyndi have been working in this village since  mid-February.  The meetings take place at the "agbo" (gate or main opening) to the village in sight of people walking to and from farms and neighboring villages.  Besides the seventeen members, six to fifteen other adults attend Friday evening and Sunday morning evangelistic meetings.  Last week maturation lessons replaced evangelistic messages at the Friday meetings.



Avejin:  Greg and Melanie have met with people of this village for six weeks.  It is the home of relatives

of Joseph, the Baileys language teacher.  It was difficult to get people to come to the first several meetings, but the past two meetings Greg says have been attended well.


Jumaxu:  Greg had his first meeting there two weeks ago.  More than thirty adults attended.  Two men from this village have accompanied Greg to meetings at Avejin prior to the first meeting here.  Interest seems very high.  The hosts are also Joseph's relatives.


Kadaxwe:  Seventeen adults, a half dozen teenagers, and many children attended the first evangelistic meeting.  There were fewer at the meeting last week.  This is the home village of Jacque and Josephine who were baptized five weeks ago at Koyoxwe.  They invited the Chownings to work with them to start a congregation here.  Meetings will take place here each week.


Dandjixwe:  This preaching point was begun as a result of the Chownings and visitors from the States stopping along the road to greet strangers.  There have been five evangelistic meetings here.  Four members of the Koyoxwe congregation have been assisting in the teaching.  At the last meeting the villagers said, "we want to start a church here."  Many older people attend.  The people are poorer and more illiterate than any of the other preaching points the Chownings are working with.  But their interest and attention is tops.


Hugbame:  Emile, who attends meetings at Koyoxwe, took the Chownings to this village.  When we first pulled into the path to the village, we were met by a dead dog hanging on a rope on a pole which was laying across two ten foot poles (sort of like a dog hanging by a rope from a football goal).  We drove around the sacrifice and preached about God's power as illustrated in Elijah's encounter with the prophets of Baal.  The people enthusiastically asked us to return.   More people attended the second meeting and they asked many questions.  Meetings will continue each Tuesday. 



Kaiteme:  Greg has been preaching in Joseph's village.  These people have not decided yet to become part of us or to continue as Baptists. 


Pascal:  Most Friday evenings Richard studies with this secondary school student.   It is an unplanned time of a basic introduction to the Bible using Aja.



Business Meetings take place every Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Prayer Meetings take place on Thursdays (men at 7:15 a.m. and women at 2 p.m.)


LANGUAGE STUDY and TRANSLATION WORK take place at least five days a week.  We are really feeling the reality of what it is like to work among people who do not have a translation of the scriptures in their own language.  It is a real challenge.  I personally have two new meeting preparations each week for Koyoxwe.  Scripture must be translated for each of those lessons even before I begin to outline the lesson.  Cyndi, Hilaire and I look at the several resources while we do the translation.  We compare the texts collected by Kelton Hinton to the French (two versions), English (two versions), and Mina.  Only a few verses, over the months, have gone without any changes.  Many verses are completely rewritten.  Some verses are not in Kelton's collection at all.   That collection is composed of scripture pieces (individual texts) translated by a Catholic priests for lessons they gave back in the 60s.  The orthography (the letters and marking used to represent sounds) is different from what we use today.  Kelton paid various Aja people a franc a word to translate the passages that were not translated by the priests.  The quality varies greatly and again they are different orthographies.  The Baileys and we have become resigned to the fact that translation work will be a major part of our activities for several years.  The first usable scripture pieces from SIL are several years off, and the entire NT will not be ready for at least ten years.  TEAM, GET READY, mentally and spiritually to translate scriptures.