International Ministries

Learning words, learning the Word

August 13, 2008 Journal

Dear Family and friends,


Our summer has been so busy I don't really know where to begin. It is still busy! So many visitors, so many projects, and so much cleaning, cooking and cleaning to keep up with. Before our household swelled in June, the women's group I've been meeting with from Cinq also asked for summer reading classes. Given Cinq's abandonment by the church here, I really wanted to help the women realize their dream. I thought the project might also be fun for Elaina to participate in, and a way for Emily, our agricultural intern, to begin learning Kituba, so we have made it happen -- in spite of the complexities of this summer. I had so hoped to be able to include a reading teacher or two from Kikongo in the classes, but not a soul was interested in walking up to Cinq three mornings a week.

Not even one morning a week, in fact. Even for manioc. They wanted money … which the Cinq women didn't have. So, in spite of the fact that I wasn't able to get that piece in place, God has been doing some good things. We have had such enthusiastic response. The Cinq women are so excited to be learning to read. And, we are forming friendships with them that are redefining the church for them. A lot of the women are young women with whom we would not normally have a point of contact, since they have joined a sect in the village. Walking through the village three mornings a week has made us all feel like friends. The young village chief has a smile for us when we come now. I'm understanding him better and better too.


I have met the sect pastor.  After our second week he asked if we couldn't find different days and times for our classes since the very times that the women chose for the classes conflicted with special church fasts. Interestingly, the women could find no logic in his demands. They asked that we carry on as usual. The fasts never occurred. Though their pastor obviously feels threatened, we are cordial. He has forbidden his wife to take part in the classes though. That's sad for her.


In our brief devotional time before classes, I have found that I have assumed too much for most of these women. The Bible is unknown to them. They know what it is, but they don't know what it says. How can they choose wisely between churches when they don't know what the Bible teaches? Someday, maybe they will be able to read it for themselves.


Please continue to pray for us, Elaina, Emily, the Cinq women's president and I, as we work with the women of Cinq. Pray that the women would learn to read and that they would learn to love the Bible.