Dear Family and Friends,
We would like to just fill you in on how the Taperillas mini-Bible conference (or "cursillo" in Spanish) went this last week. First off, thank you so much to those who prayed...it really went very well. We had good weather and therefore just about everyone who was invited, was able to come. In all there were about fifteen Simba who came from about 6 or 7 communities. For the most part, these were believers who have showed promise as teachers. We were, however, surprised at the unexpected appearance of two men from the village of Tentayapi. This particular village is probably one of the most remote and definitely one of the most traditional of all the Simba villages in our area. When I say traditional, I mean that they do not speak Spanish and have fiercely resisted any kind of outside influence including medical care, schools, churches, etc... Their dress is very distinct and on the whole they are more withdrawn. However, the Spirit of the living God has been at work softening hardened hearts and creating an openness to Him where before there wasn't any really to speak of. The three days of teaching were focused on the first chapters of the Bible and after a day of teaching, one of the men from Tentayapi indicated that he wanted to get right with God. Just how much of the Gospel this man really understands is questionable, but we rejoice still at his openness to his Creator. His challenges will be many, as he is completely illiterate and has no kind of regular discipleship or fellowship opportunities. Please pray for him (his name is Kare) and the village of Tentayapi...it has been a stronghold of darkness for eons. The feedback from the Simba who came to the conference was very positive...and right now plans are in the works for another one in the not too distant future when hopefully we will have a little more in the line of facilities to accommodate more people. We (the NTM missionaries here in Taperillas) have begun construction on a building for the cursillos, as well as a kitchen area and bathroom. In the future, we hope to build some simple dormitories as well. We are also praying about and considering how to implement a tape ministry in the future, which would especially benefit those who cannot read.
This time around, really, we felt little more that just observers. I (Bill) attended all of the morning sessions, and even though I understood little, it was a great opportunity to begin getting used to the sound of the language and listening for the often repeated words and phrases. Our language study has only just begun and it is taking the bulk of our days, but some days it is difficult to put in as many hours as we would like, as life just "happens" here with many unexpected interruptions. One thing for which we are very grateful is that one of our co-workers, Jack Russell, has learned the language and is always available to answer our questions. Here is a little example of the challenge of this language that we have already encountered. In learning the words for various body parts, we found out that there are many words for each part, depending on who it belongs to. :( Prefixes are added to show possession and suffixes for prepositions, and by the time all this is added, sometimes it's very hard to hear the little root in the middle that tells you which body part is being referred to!
eg. "cherai" ("my teeth"), "ndenerai" ("your teeth"), "jaejai" ("his teeth")
"ndepue jaejaire" ("point to his teeth")
Well, you know how much we need your prayers as we work to learn this language!
With much gratefulness to the Lord for all your support, prayers, and encouragement,
Bill and Kathleen Mann