Hi ya'all...how are things with you?  Well I am writing this between all
sorts of stuff on our "to do" list while we are out of the tribe.  The
mission's annual conference is starting late this next week, so we came out
early and hope to get everything done that we need to do before we head
back after the conference.  First on the list was to finalize our
paperwork, which thankfully now is done (it is absolutely amazing the red
tape and long wait that one must endure for even the simplest tasks in a
3rd world country!).  While we were in Cochabamba doing all the paperwork,
I was also able to straighten out a few computer problems we have been
having and in the meantime set up and begin work on the Simba / Guarani
verb project.  Now we are in Tambo where the conference will be, and the
boys are in "kid heaven"...it has been awhile since they have had other
English-speaking kids to play with and they are making the most of the
opportunity.

We are also trying to use the time to work through most of the recent
changes that are being implemented within the mission as to tribal language
and culture acquisition.  It has come at a perfect time for us, as we are
both to the point of wondering "just where to go from here" in our efforts
to speak the language better and to really understand how the Simba really
think and what exactly are their deep core beliefs.  We have been able to
glean some very good ideas and finalize a workable plan for us.  This is an
area of immense importance to us, not only because we want to communicate
the Gospel to them as clearly as possible, but also to prevent, as much as
possible, misunderstandings in our day to day life with them.  Our
tendency, it seems, is to always just assume that they see things as we
do...that their basic assumptions about life, death and everything else in
between are the same as ours.  But they're not at all.  Just one example of
something we have been seeing ...the Simba have no real concept of the
future, what matters to them is today.  Therefore, the idea of saving
(money or otherwise) is unknown and strange to them.  Not to say that they
exactly have much to save, as they are indeed very poor, but let's just say
that there is alot of money that goes into alcohol. So when someone in the
family gets sick and needs medical help, it is rare that they have any
resources to pay for it and they usually end up borrowing the money from
someone (even though the previous week they might have had plenty to
spare).   So when we begin trying to teach them about the Lord and we try
to instill in them a concern for what becomes of them after they die, why
should we expect that they should really care, as preparing for the future
is not their mind-set?  I really think much of the conversions in our
community and throughout the Simba, have come about more out of a desire to
relieve the burdens of day to day life, than out of a real conviction of
sin and sense of lostness before a Holy God.  We really want to be aware as
possible to how they see things so we can better focus our Bible
teaching.  If you think of us, please pray for us in regards to all
this...I can see that really understanding their culture is going to be a
long road and we desire very much for the Holy Spirit to lead us in our
efforts.