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1 year anniversary

May 10, 2012

Exactly A year ago today myself and the rest of our Wycliffe short-term team landed in Yaounde, Cameroon!

As a team we saw God move powerfully and we all left with a deeper appreciation for His Word for us and His Word for us in our own first languages. We left with things He’d taught us through our time with the Oku people group and things we wanted to implant in our lives.

We each left Cameroon with “two words” to sum up what the trip was like for us. Some individuals “two words” were a “black and white rainbow”, “literacy restoration” or “colanut Juju”. I was recently talking with “B” one of the trip participants about what our “two words” are now with the passage of one year’s time. My words a year ago were “smoky intestines”…..but what are my “two words” NOW?

Two images are stuck in my mind.
Pastor Francis & “Rocky”

With those to images in mind my “two words” now a year later are:
Pushing Faithfulness

Perhaps I should explain.

Pastor Francis is one of the Bible translators for the Oku language people group. If anyone is the epitome of faithfulness, this man is. A man who is so passionate about God’s Word that he is juggling numerous roles to help His people have a greater understanding of our God – our God who not only speaks English and French, but ALSO Oku! Pastor Francis, is as his title suggests a Pastor, he’s on the Oku translation team, he teaches adult literacy classes so that adults can learn to read their language. The alphabet in Oku has only become available in written form in recent years so adult literacy classes are a big deal! Pastor Francis also hosts a 1 hour radio program twice a week – in which he is able to preach, talk about the scriptures to believers and non-believers! The radio is a powerful tool among the Oku as most homes continuously have their radio’s playing in the background. Ps. Francis also has a family and many other roles I’m leaving out. What hit me most strongly about his faithfulness is the fact that for him to go anywhere he walks. And in Oku walking is hard – you’re practically never walking on flat ground – you’re always either going UP or DOWN steep hills. He walks 1 ½ hours just to go to host the 1 hr radio show, and then has that return trip – another 1 ½ hours. He does a similar commute to his literacy classes and other commitments – rain or shine. And when it rains…you.get.muddy. The journey is longer than the radio program itself. Yet He knows it’s a powerful tool and believes His people need to know of Christ’s love for them and so he makes this sacrifice of time and energy. What a testament his life is to me. What things should I be doing that I’ve been thinking require too much work or don’t seem to be worth it? But really are worth it! What is He calling me to be faithful to? What is he calling you to be faithful to?

Pushing. Well in the Oku area, when it rains, the paths get muddy, the roads get muddy, your feet get muddy, homes get muddy, clothes become muddy…I think you get the picture. Which made things interesting, as we always traveled either on foot or in Rocky. Rocky was seemingly the easier choice – but often the journey didn’t quite look like what we had anticipated. Often the roads were too steep, or rocky, or slippery and so we had to get out and walk the rest of the way. And sometimes we got reeaalllly stuck. And so we had to push. Hard. And request help from passersby. And in the process become muddy, hot, sweaty, tired, and often this required a drastic change to our “program” for the day. These were definitely things we weren’t planning on having happen. We were in Cameroon for only 7 weeks – such a long-really-short time! We couldn’t afford for our schedule to be thrown off; the time we had to contribute was already limited.

How often does this happen in life? We are doing something we believe God wants us to do – anything – work, volunteering, ministry-related, spending time with friends or family – and something goes awry and our plans require altering. And suddenly our actions, or our jobs, or loving our family members doesn’t look like we planned. It becomes hard and sticky and sometimes just not fun and the cost not at all what we anticipated. Is this really what I signed up for we ask? Yet it is in the hard times or in the midst of our mistakes that the term “faithfulness” comes to be born. Well, it can be depending on the choices we make.

When things get hard and people challenge our faith, our work ethics, when jobs or school doesn’t go as planned, when God seems to have other things in mind with how our day unravels, when we sin – what do we do then? Do we decide to continue on with the hard or challenging or altered plans? Or do we give up because things are different and harder than we expected?

Sometimes for faithfulness to be part of our lives and faith, we just need to push. One foot at a time. One step at a time. And seek His voice for direction. Oh – and we need to be willing to get muddy. Because likely it’ll happen, whether we want it to or not. The question is, will we do it? Will we walk 1 ½ hrs if that’s what it takes? Will we “push faithfulness”?

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