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 Africa African Traditional Religion Poverty Prosperity Theology

Animism and Corruption

Most people that live around us live in constant uncertainty. They work hard: clear their fields, plant crops, frequently go out as the crop grows to clear the weeds, and hope for a good harvest. However, they never know if their crop will fail due to out of control fires, rodents, torrential rains, thieves, or for no discernable reason in particular. It is crushing when they come to us at a loss, all their efforts and money spent, with nothing in return. So, many turn to witchcraft. They speak to a “witch doctor” and figure out what sort of offering…

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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 Mobilization

Help Keep Missionaries on the Field: Urgent Need for Highschool Teachers at RFIS

This Thanksgiving, we were invited to celebrate with a missionary couple, Barry and Desma Abbott who work among the Baka people. We piled into our car and drove along bumpy, dusty, dirt roads for hours. When large trucks would pass, the dust was so bad, we had to pull over until it cleared up so I could see the road. We drove, and drove, and drove, and then we started to feel…lost. We pulled over several times and asked people where we could find the Abbott’s village. We knew we were in trouble when they started to look at us…

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Posted in Africa Bible Translation Christian Missions Oral Bible Storying Video

[VIDEO] Kwakum Translation: Step 2b: Drafting

In this video Patrice (one of our translators) describes more about the Drafting step of the process.

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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 Common Objections FAQ

FAQ: Aren’t Missionaries Really Just Colonists?

Someone recently asked us to address this accusation: “By developing an alphabet and insisting these indigenous peoples of color learn a written language, you are acting as oppressive Western colonists.” While it is true that there are some similarities between missionaries and colonists (i.e. both left their home cultures and both come to bring about change) there are enormous differences. Here are a few: We come to give. Have you ever heard of King Leopold II of Belgium? If not, check out Dave’s blog HERE. King Leopold boldly came into Africa (specifically the region of the Congo) and claimed it…

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Posted in Africa Current Events Encouragements and Exhortations

When does a protest become village-burning?

People have asked us for our take on the racial tensions in the US and although I haven’t spent much time following it, this week I watched a video of people vandalizing a Target. The images I saw were strikingly similar to the violence we constantly hear about on the English-speaking side of Cameroon. I think the burning, pillaging, and violence we find here could shed some light on the conflict currently taking place in the States. The Anglophone Crisis: A Little History Relations between the former British colonies and the former French colonies have been tense since the independence…

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