News Update - August 2010

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News from Mark and Diane Vanderkooi

August 7,  2010

Africa filigri outline with Chad 2  


Milestones in Translation

These past few weeks saw us achieve two milestones. First, the book of Luke came off the press at the TEAM print shop and is now for sale ($1.89). It is a very attractive volume of 144 pages, 41,00 words (compared with 25,000 words for the NIV text of Luke – yes, Kwong is verbose), and over 200 explanatory footnotes. We have already recorded an audio version of it in its entirety for broadcast on the Voice of Chageen. We are thrilled to be able to offer this work to the Kwong people.

Second, two weeks ago we finished getting the book of Genesis consultant checked and it is now approved for publication. Many thanks to Antje Maass of SIL who took three weeks out of her busy schedule to do this for us.  In the coming month, Mark, Joseph, and François will write the explanatory notes for this volume before sending it to press.

Milestones in Music

After almost a year of work, Diane and a committee of musically inclined Kwong men reaped the fruit of their labors when they took delivery of the new Kwong protestant hymnal from the TEAM print shop, (Our local catholic catechist was one of the first to purchase it, incidentally.) They collected over 50 hymns from the two main protestant denominations, edited them, and then joined them to 25 golden oldies which we first published 12 years ago.

As soon as the books came off the press, Diane and her musicians began the task of recording them for broadcast on the radio. Since written music doesn’t exist, the only way for people to learn an unfamiliar tune is to hear it, and the best way for them to hear it is over the radio. We trust these songs will bring spiritual encouragement to many generations of Kwong men and women.

Milestones in Mud and Water

Normally, we park our car around June 1 and hunker down through the rainy season until October. If we want to go somewhere, we call the good folks at Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and they oblige us by taking us wherever we want to go. No such luck this rainy season. MAF sold their gasoline powered Cessna 206 in favor of a diesel powered Cessna 185 which is much cheaper to operate, but which, alas, has not been delivered yet.

So we broke with our usual policy and drove to N’Djamena by road (notwithstanding that we had a broken main-spring on our rear axle). After all, the Chinese, in their quest to monopolize the natural resources of Africa have built an “all-weather” road to a new oil field which passes only 16 miles from our home. Why not use it?  Our return trip a few days ago proved to be the sternest of reminders that it is not for nothing that we fly at this time of year. It also revealed that the Chinese do not have the faintest notion of maintaining such a road during this season. The accompanying pictures explain the rest. The car is now parked – and we are trusting the Lord that in the absence of reliable air service, no medical emergency will arise during the coming three months. You may pray likewise.

Diane’s approval rating hits all-time high

After fecundity, peanuts are the measure of a woman in Chageen. So when Diane decided, in a bid to better commiserate with the hardship of a Kwong woman’s life, to plant a small spread of this legume a mile or so outside of Chageen, her approval rating soared to unheard of heights. Her main agricultural innovation so far is that it is better to work the thorn infested soil with shoes than without. Of course Kwong tradition dictates the contrary, but our house worker Rachel (who made the arrangements for Diane’s field) registered (along with her admission that the thorns do poke them quite a lot) her admiration for such a revolutionary technique. Meanwhile, Mark’s approval rating continues to plummet as he obstinately refuses to kill himself doing a millet field – which after fecundity is the measure of a Kwong man.

The future

On October 27, we will – if the parsimonious, conniving folks at Air France’s frequent-flyer program don’t throw us yet another curve ball – board a flight to Chicago for a 6 or 7 month furlough. We are looking forward to seeing many of you again. It will be 2 years since we last said good-bye. Between now and then, we continue to translate (Psalms or Acts), teach the children with Jonas, produce programs for the radio station, and do everything we can to help prepare the Kwong for the Great Day of the Lord.




Mark, Joseph and François display some of our recent handiwork – (L to R) two books of Jesus’ parables, the hymn book, and the Gospel of Luke


Checking Genesis (L to R) with Antje, Fançois,
Frederick, and Sabir


Recording the new hymnal for broadcast


The “all weather” road to the Chinese oil field


The 16 miles from the oil road to Chageen weren’t much better – but at least we had the road to ourselves.


Watch those peanuts grow!



 Waiting expectantly for it. Your fellow servants,

Mark and Diane


Serving with the Evangelical Alliance Mission




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Last modified: December 20, 2010