Black Sunday: Saying Goodbye to Bonnie

I am calling today “Black Sunday” because tomorrow our home school teacher, sister in Christ, and friend Bonnie Marcum will be flying out to go back home to the US. We are happy for all the opportunities and relationships that await her there, but we are all sad to see her go. Let me share a little bit about the impact that she has made on us this past year…

When Bonnie arrived here, we were all more-or-less dribbling, slobbering babies. Dave and I were barely able to put a sentence together in Bakoum and, on good days, were talking like little children. “I am walking!” “You are sitting!” “He is working!” “I am touching my nose!” “He is touching his tummy!” “Yay!” We had hoped to be further along, but having to home school our children took a lot out of our study time.

And then there were the children. We would hand them a lined sheet of paper and they would just start writing their “letters” everywhere, as if there were no lines at all on the paper. They were learning their letter sounds but their “reading” was nothing impressive. We could not let Elias look at books because he would just tear the pages out of them. And to imagine this group of children being able to work on their own one day would have been absurd. They needed supervision all the time.
And today, I think it is safe to say that all of us have grown up a little bit. While Dave and I still have a long way to go in our language learning, we have made considerable progress to the point that Bakoum is mainly the language I speak and I rarely have to switch to French. This has led to closer relationships between me and the women in the village and I think is helping us win the hearts of the Bakoum little by little.

And the children! The children are reading. Elias, who once just destroyed the books we gave him now sits in his room and reads for hours. Had you asked me if I thought this was possible a year ago, I would have responded, “Not on your life.” But it happened. I have also heard the children read to one another and the other day Kaden sat down started reading the book  of 1 John on the couch…just because. Not only that, but conversations in our home are now about storms on Jupiter and how much 9 + 8 makes. I feel like overnight this group of hyperactive, drooling, kindergartners has turned into serious students with a thirst for knowledge.

And to whom do we attribute these successes? To God. And to Bonnie. Without her, this year would have been Dave and I spinning our wheels working on home school and Bakoum and excelling in neither. We would have been spread way too thin to produce quality work on either front.

And so, it is with great sadness, but mostly great thankfulness, that we accept that this chapter of our lives is coming to a close. The Lord has answered our every prayer for our ministry and for our children in sending Bonnie to us this year.

Thank you Lord and thank you Bonnie.

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Author: Stacey Hare

Stacey is a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator. Right now she is working on the writing system for the Kwakum including how to mark tone. Literacy among the Kwakum is already beginning and translation is scheduled to begin in September 2019!

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