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The roads to Awairenda are typical of those in most Simba areas - very poor. On one trip, we were "well stuck" twice -- once (below) where the road collapsed as we drove over it near a washout, and again, in the "Fango" (like shallow quicksand) of a river crossing.
Because travel is so difficult in the Simba, the NTM Simba Missionary team has begun to build a Bible center in Taperillas, where Simba believers can come for discipleship and then return to teach in there own villages.
The first teaching in the language of the Simba has begun in Taperillas, as seen in the next two pictures. Most Sunday afternoons, when all the community gathers at the soccer field, a missionary teaches from the NTM chronological Bible lessons. The people also enjoy singing in there own language.
Sunday afternoons are also busy at our house, for many of the children come up from the soccer field to play with our boys. We usually serve popcorn and tell them a Bible story, along with the fun and games. (The majority of the children understand some Spanish, as their schoolteachers speak mainly Spanish). We have had up to 22 children in our yard on a given Sunday afternoon !
Our main task as newcomers to the Simba is to build relationships and become fluent in the Simba language. The Simba language is very different from either English or Spanish, and will likely require two to three years of full-time study to attain fluency. We will definitely be needing to look continually to the Lord for ability and perseverance.
Our boys are also learning the languages (both Spanish and Simba) as they play with the Simba children. Above, the children were enjoying making small adobe blocks and building with them!
There are a few small Simba churches, such as the one below, begun years ago by another Mission which evangelized in Spanish. these believers are hungry for the truth, but very hampered in their growth by the lack of teaching materials in their native language. Spanish is their trade language only, and the majority of the Simba are very limited in their understanding of spiritual concepts presented in Spanish. Once we become fluent in Simba language, we hope to help translate the Bible and teaching materials, as well as establish a literacy program for the many Simba who cannot read. these are the foundations for a strong Simba church.