(Ed: The following reports were prepared to inform our fellow missionaries at our annual conference of our doings. They are by no means exhaustive, but are intended to give a general feel for how we are doing in our ministry. As such, we thought maybe our friends back at home would enjoy them as well. Mark's report follows Diane's.)
Diane's Annual Report - 2000
On July 17, 1999 my career with TEAM began by first becoming a Vanderkooi. Meeting each other's churches, families and supporters filled the following five months (the close of 1999).
The year 2000 began with the completion of a Masters of Arts degree in Linguistics. “Cohesion and Salience in Niellim Narrative: A look at Discourse Particles and Participant Reference” titled the thesis that represented the close of my linguistic work on the Niellim language, a Niger Congo group near Sarh. I hope that some of this material will at least be helpful to Sosthene Dankoula, the Ngambai man who is continuing the work of evangelism and Bible translation in Niellim. Mark and I plan to continue to encourage him and the SMEET missionary Michel in this work.
We arrived in Chad on June 9, and our Land Cruiser made its first trip to Chageen on June 23-24. Mark and I set to making the house a place where we can live and work comfortably and be proud to entertain visitors. The urinal [ ed. which graced Mark's bedroom as a single guy for many years and was a field joke] resigned its honorable position and is awaiting the construction of a deluxe outhouse where it will once again receive recognition. Although our home is not on any principal route, we've had six different overnight guests on four occasions. And besides the constant flow of local folk, we've entertained the Maclures and another AIMer, two pilots, and the mechanic. By the way, the Chageen International Airport proudly boasted two Cessnas at one time! Mark wondered if we should put up signs announcing gates and terminals.
Besides making curtains and bread, ministry and work for me has involved getting acquainted with the people and learning the Kwong language (which, by the way, is not at all related to Niellim). Language learning is greatly facilitated by being the second learner in the family. Besides meeting with a language helper three days a week, I’m exposed to Kwong almost constantly because Mark speaks it with everyone. His dictionary, then, enables me to look up any new words as I hear them.
In addition to this, I've had my sights on two primary ministries for the immediate future: Literacy and Hymnology. I've been studying and recording Kwong music with the goal of helping the Kwong to write their own songs, i.e. not just translating the Gabri or Nancere songs. I am also developing literacy materials that we hope to begin testing and implementing with the local church women during Feb or March 2001.
The mamma of all reality checks (and there’s been a lot of them, believe me) was the tablecloth and the crystal-ware gracing the table. Even eating off Corelleware on a table was quite an innovation as far as that goes. “This, in Chageen?!” was my incredulous reaction. The incongruity of it all was almost too much, but it proved to be a very nice meal. Yes folks, Diane has arrived in Chageen, and some things just ain’t what they used to be.
For better or worse, most other things haven’t changed. The Kwong still need a Bible Translator, which means that I still have a job, It is also worth mentioning that they still want me - which is not something to take for granted in Chad these days.
The Kingdom of God Anthology (KGA) which has been the mainstay of our (meaning my three guys and I) translation efforts since April 98 is drawing to a close after having evolved from a single 40 page collection of Larry Gray’s sermons on the Kingdom of God to six 40 page booklets that you could legitimately pass off as a “Systematic Historical Theology” - sort of the Firm Foundations approach with a good dose of theology tossed in. I’ve lost count of how many passages we’ve exegeted, translated, checked and tested multiple times, and finally prepared for printing, but it must be upwards of 300 by now. I will be very relieved to see this wrapped up in the coming months.
Relieved, yes, but disappointed in a way. The evolution of the KGA has been so intertwined with the evolution of my own sense of wonder and love for God and his works, that the conclusion of the former will, at the least, mark a milestone in the latter. My original request to Larry to speak on the Kingdom of God was the fruit of the early stages of my pilgrimage. The ensuing marathon of translation and theologizing motivated by Larry’s lectures, turned right around and drove my thoughts (and devotion) farther than I ever imagined, aided and abetted by our pastor back in the States, and the writings of John Piper and Daniel Fuller.
Now that we are blessed with the headache of a LandCruiser, our intention is to spend as much time as practicable during the dry season living and teaching in the other major Kwong villages besides Chageen - something that was never possible with the motorcycle except at the cost of all creature comforts. It has always been my intention that when I say my final goodbye to the Kwong some day that I can declare in good faith “that I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole counsel of God” and that “I am innocent of the blood of all men” - staggering claims to be sure. Now that God has granted me the language, a theology, 2 tons of steel, and a talented helpmate, the satisfaction of such claims may just be achievable someday.
Send mail to The_Vanderkoois@yahoo.com
with questions or comments about this web site.