Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hopeless But Not Serious!

One of the first things I did in our French “Welcome to Ouagadougou!” presentation this evening was inform everyone that Africa was a package containing 53 countries! How did I manage to do that? By allowing English to affect my pronunciation of the word “continent”, and thus using the wrong vowel in the middle of the word!

Well, that was just one of a number of goof-ups we made in pronunciation and grammar tonight. Fortunately, our situation is hopeless but not serious. From the feedback we got from people afterwards, it sure seems that God was able to use us to speak to them in spite of our mistakes. This is really His specialty, isn’t it? If we are willing to do what He asks, despite our limitations, He somehow seems to be able to use it to accomplish His will.

All in all, though, we had a great time. We had excellent help in preparations and set up, and in the takedown and clean up afterwards. A number of volunteers played roles as the Passport Canada officer, the Police at the entry to Burkina checkpoint, and as snack & drink vendors. The two guys playing the Police took their roles very seriously, questioning people as to their reasons for entering the country, and even frisking one man for concealed weapons, while detaining another for looking suspicious! Haha, the other people in line loved it! We also some good volunteers to take part in our various skits.

You know, it’s funny that in one of our skits, the “Support Workers” one, we emphasize that language development and Bible translation is the work of a team, not just a couple of individual linguists and translators. I just realized how often this is true of our presentation work here in Canada too! Without all the help from these other people at all stages of the programme, we could never pull it off.

The best part of the presentation was being able to talk with people, young and old, afterwards. It was neat to see how God had piqued their interest, revealed something they had not known or realized before (like how many languages still don’t have the Bible available to them), and or touched their hearts with a desire to know more or find a way to get involved.

Some of the most complimentary comments we received were from the pastor of a francophone Baptist church in Moncton. Originally from Cameroon, he appreciated the way we did not focus on the negative things in Africa. We showed how the Kusassi live without making it sound like they were poor and helpless. We also talked about how we are getting the Kusassi involved in the work we do, and what they are able to do as a result. But his reaction to the vendor and market skits was the best compliment of all: “That’s exactly the way they do it back in Africa! Watching and listening to you, I felt like I was right back at home in Cameroon!”

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