Greetings from Steve and Mary
Serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators September, 2019
“This is going to be another garden supper,” Mary said as I sat down.
I smiled. The green beans were from sister Effies’s garden. Cousin Ruth gave us a salmon-colored tomato the size of two fists. Sweet corn came from a roadside stand run by another cousin. We also get peaches from there, with names like Contender and Fairhaven. Blueberries we pick ourselves in a patch that Mary’s parents started years ago.
Many friends and family have served up juicy American hamburgers with lots of ice cream. We had a memorable reunion with church friends in Florida and stopped in to see the house we still have there. We connected with former Wycliffe colleagues in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee where we slurped BBQ ribs, ate taquitos, and drank at least two quarts of Horchata.
Most of this furlough has been spent in eastern Ohio in the large Amish community where Mary grew up. Mary has enjoyed long chats with her brother Phil while driving him places beyond the range of Phil’s buggy or tractor. Another brother, Joel, remains the king of kitchen table dominoes.
When we return to Tanzania in October there will be many changes at the translation office. Six of our Mbeya area languages have now finished work on the New Testament and those language projects will close for now. Seventeen Tanzanian staff will be leaving us. Wycliffe remains optimistic about supporting Old Testament translation in those languages once local churches are ready to help shoulder that responsibility.
In the meantime, Bible translation, literacy, and linguistics will continue for seven languages spoken near our town of Mbeya. Bena, Nyiha, and Safwa will soon be nearing the last books of their New Testaments. The Pangwa and Bungu language teams have started well and have each finished two gospels. Finally, Kisi and Manda are almost ready to start translation work – alphabets are ready and candidate translators have been trained.
Back in Ohio, brother Phil thinks that fall will come early this year. Goldenrod is blooming thick on the roadsides and we already see noisy flocks of geese heading south. Though the hills and woods are still deep in summer green, an occasional maple tree is starting to show its famous red.
This morning Mary said, “My tootsies are cold. Soon we are going to start wearing socks and shoes.”
I looked down at the sandals I love and told Mary, “It’s time to head back to Africa.”
We thank all of you that make our return possible.
Steve, for Mary too
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