Hello to all,

We just got back from spending a week and a half out of the tribe for our annual field conference.  It was held one last time at Tambo and now the school that has been NTM's boarding school for missionary's children for over 50 years will be shut down.  Meanwhile preparations are well underway to set up facilities in Santa Cruz to house the kids, our son Joshua included,  who will be attending the Santa Cruz Learning Center starting in August.  They have found a very nice property to rent with lots of room for the kids to run...a real blessing.

Our co-worker Jack Russell came back for a week to finish closing up his house, as they will be away for at least a year.  I did have a chance to sit down with him and work out how we will proceed with the OT translation work that he started.  He will continue with the rough draft while in the States which he will forward to me so I can check it with my Simba language helpers.  He is planning to come back alone in February for a month or so to do the final check on it all.  As it stands now the goal is to finish up the OT portions of scripture needed for the chronological Bible lessons by that time.  Please pray with us for the realization of that goal.  This week I will be working daily with Pedro...one of the leaders in the church.  He is often hard for me to understand, as he doesn't always speak clearly, but that can actually be helpful as it is a chance to stretch language skills.  I really like working with him as he is very keen to learn from God's word as he and seems to really enjoy it.

Kathleen is still hard at work preparing literacy materials...she has almost finished up work on a first primer and is starting on a second.  So far she is still teaching Martin and Cristina and they seem to be getting the hang of reading.  Martin has a little more difficulty being consistent as, for the men, there seems to always be a lot of things pulling them in different directions, particularly work.  Work is scarce in these parts and often men end up leaving families for periods of time to find work.  Not always the best situation when, for instance in the case of literacy, they really need consistency.

Concerning the church here, we are very encouraged lately as it is very obvious that the Lord is working in the hearts of many.  The individuals that we were having problems with have very much softened and the Lord has given us times of real openness with them.   We've recently become aware of some things we did which offended them, for which we needed to seek their forgiveness.  Such is the challenge of ministering cross-culturally....it's easy to offend without realizing it.   Anyway, thank you for praying with us...we are encouraged and looking to Him for a much closer relationship with them.

The boys are finished with their studies for the year now and are on to other things. The kids in the village have a winter break from school for two weeks and so are here a lot more during the day playing with our guys.  We just acquired a parrot which sits on a perch by our house, so all the kids are trying to teach him some words.  Supposedly he can talk, but all I've ever heard is gibberish so far.   Jon just bought a charango...a Bolivian instrument similar to a mandolin, and is strumming away as I write.  He has a friend in the village here who can play well and is showing him a few things. 

Well we hope that this finds you well and at rest in the wonderful grace of the Savior.

Bill, for the whole Mann clan .