Kompaore Ministry Update, Ouagadougou, December 14, 2011
Christmas Day feels like a Thanksgiving Day - Remembering God's incredible love for us by sending us Jesus Christ. Receiving God's love in our live enables us to spread that love around to others, so that they too can know that God loves them too. May your Christmas be a time of praising God for how he has shown His love to you this past year, but also a time of God's love pouring out of your hearts to those around you.
God's Love for the Sicite People
Last October, I had the opportunity to visit several Sicite villages, including some new church plants. In Sokouraba, where the Mennonite Church from Orodara had done some evangelism and AIDS awareness campaign, we discovered a scattered group of Christians worshiping in different locations adhering to different denominations (none Mennonite) all because of conflict and lack of a mature Bible teacher and leader, where at one time, they had all worshiped together.
The following weekend, I went to Kotoura for the wedding of Sidi and Thérèse Traoré. Sidi is the most highly educated Bible student that we have had so far, coming with a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Ouaga. Instead of hanging out in the big city looking for a job, he returned to his home village, lived with his family, and served in the Kotoura Mennonite Church for a year. His vision is to become a Bible teacher.
The day after the wedding, I went to Sarakanjala for Sunday morning worship at a tiny grass roofed church. Amidou Traoré (son of the first believer in Kotoura, Cheba), was shepherding the flock for a few months as pastoral intern from the Mennonite Bible school in Orodara. Again I heard of conflict and the falling out of a number of young believers. Amidou's presence and teaching was helping to rebuild the church community on a firm foundation.
After a wonderful meal with the host family, I travelled to Sunturu, where I taught a small group of new believers from Sunday evening to Tuesday morning. And once again, I heard the sorry story of division, of a mud brick church that had been built but then fallen down for lack of use and maintenance, and most importantly, lack of follow-up after Lois and Rachel Traoré (Amidou's sisters) so effectively evangelized and taught there several years ago*. Walking through the village on Monday, I discovered women who knew me from Kotoura. More people showed up for the teaching in the evening, and the next morning three women expressed their desire to become followers of Jesus. Just before we left, I went with my interpreter, Larito Traoré, to pray with and encourage an elderly man who was so discouraged with the drinking problem of his only son.
My 'hotel' in Sunturu was very clean, with a private shower out back walled with freshly cut palm branches! Along with plenty of food - perfect hospitality!
The need is great and yet the workers are few. I sense that everywhere there is a growing openness to God's love, but for lack of shepherds and teachers, these young believers are floundering. Pray for the raising up and training of lay workers and pastoral leaders who can provide constant guidance, teaching, and encouragement for each of these groups. There are at least half a dozen of groups of believers in other Sicite villages who are waiting, not to speak of the many who do not yet know of God's wonderful love.
The challenge of communicating God's Word
It was the last day of our workshop (in Orodara, Oct. 14) on learning how to find the meaning and translate key theological terms in the Bible. Pastor Abdias Coulibaly, Nicodème Coulibaly, Bala Sourabié and several Siamou speakers joined the translators of the Sicite, Siamou, and the Dzuungo languages as they presented their findings on the meaning and translation of key terms in the ten commandments. At the end of the presentations, Pastor Abdias of the Orodara Mennonite Church was clearly impressed, declaring that he had subject matter for future sermons.
Translators are confronted with such questions as - how can God be a jealous God, and yet tell us not to be jealous? Or is it maybe that our word 'jealous' not quite match the sense of the Hebrew word? And then how to translate 'bow down' when a woman 'bows' in Sicite differently from the way a man 'bows'? In understanding the Hebrew context, they realized that the bowing down of a Muslim in prayer is probably a very close equivalent to the Hebrew gesture, but some translators feared that that word used in their language gives too much of a connotation of Muslim prayer. They also learned that the Hebrew expression for 'in vain' actually has a broader meaning of - Do not abuse the name of the Lord. Once we understand that, suddenly many examples of how people do terrible things in God's name come to mind. Understanding the original Hebrew and then finding just the right word in one's own language is a hugely complex task. This workshop aimed at providing translators with the tools to do just that.
Translation Consultants Needed!
The last week in November found me back in Ouaga at my home checking the translation of selections of Exodus in the Siamou language**, followed by two weeks of translation consultant training at the SIL centre here in Ouaga. It was fantastic connecting with others from Francophone West Africa engaged in the same task, and mentoring a consultant-in-training. There is a desparate need for more than a 100 more translation consultants to cover all of the current needs in Africa. At the same time I hear that the financial upheaval currently affecting the United Bible Societies worldwide will have a direct and negative impact on UBS translation consultants, including my Bible Society colleagues working in Africa. Pray that consultants currently serving translation projects be able to continue and that appropriate funding be found, and that even more be trained and join the ranks. Translation consultants provide training for translators and ensure the quality of the translated Bible.
Learning to use translator's software Participants included people of numerous nationalities
Thank you for your prayers and support! God has been good to us. He continues to be faithful through all of our joys and trials. May the love of Christ dwell richly with each one of you this Christmas season! In our next newsletter you will hear about our Apostolic Mission Church activities, including the rebuilding of the Teedpaosgo church after the windstorm last May.
Anne and Daniel Kompaoré
Sharing the Word Services Partageons la Parole
Commission to Every Nation and Mennonite Mission Network
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*Read the story of Rachel and Lois Traoré in United We Stand http://www.aegk.finespun.net/newsletter_november27_2007.php5.
**I have just received wonderful words of encouragement from Evangelical Mennonite Church colleague, Paul Thiessen concerning my involvement in the Siamou project: "'My highlight was a growing awareness that God provided Anne Garber Kompaoré to help us with our Siamou Bible Translation Project.' As I thought about the five events that I was involved in, I realized that your input was significant in each one of them. As I thought about being in Canada for another 8 months (with Lillian also in Canada till May 2012), I knew that you would continue your involvement by helping Solo."