Dear Friends, three years ago an earthquake shook the country where we work.
It changed many peoples’ lives, including our family and our project here. I would like to focus this newsletter on our Trauma Healing Storying work, which we began because of that massive earthquake that traumatized so many people.
Prophet and Loss – A number of prophets and people in the Bible complain to God: David, Job, Moses - Jeremiah wrote a whole book of lamentations. One of the things we learn in our Trauma Healing lessons is: crying out to God when we suffer is ok!
We tell the story of Job – a man who lost everything. His friends tried to help, by insisting that he confess whatever great sin he had committed to bring this grief on himself. They were wrong, and Job called them “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2)! This still happens today. When Elina’s sister Lydia was dying of cancer, many Christians around her were saying the same thing – “Confess your sin, and God will heal you!” – it just added pain, it didn’t help. The story of Job teaches us that sometimes we don’t know why we suffer (tragedy ≠ punishment), but God is still good and in control.
Trauma Healing and Bible Translation – Until now, all of our Trauma Healing Bible training has been done in the national language. In early May, our whole team got trained to 1) Train others to lead these workshops, and 2) Help groups to translate our materials into their own languages, for even deeper impact! Not only will our efforts begin to reach far beyond us, but people will have a new way to see the value of God’s Word in their own language.
First Aid for the Heart – Our team has discovered that, for many people (even Christian leaders and pastors), our trauma healing training is revolutionary. We teach people about why God allows suffering, how to express grief, how to listen well, that it’s okay to lament to God, to bring our pain to Jesus, to forgive those who hurt us, etc.. While we don’t pretend to be professional counselors, our goal is to help people take the first basic steps toward emotional health.
Update on our regular Bible Storying – over the last 1 ½ years, we’ve been working with 7 languages. Two of them finished all their work in March – 35 Bible stories each. The remaining 5 languages each drafted 37 Bible stories, and we’ll have one more workshop in June to do final recordings. Some of our participants will go on to become mother-tongue Bible translators in their languages. We will encourage all of them to continue sharing Bible stories among their own people. 255 Bible stories were finished in the 7 different languages – God is good!
Visa Surprise! – In March, we went to apply for a 6-month student visa so that we could stay in the country. We walked out with a 5-YEAR visa! A new rule for US citizens came into effect just days before we applied, so we were among the first to get this amazing new visa. Please pray that we fulfill the visa requirements – it’s so new that nobody is quite sure what the requirements are. It shouldn’t affect us for these next 5 years, but if we need to get visas after that, we want to make sure we can. Meanwhile, praise the LORD with us – we are still gasping in awe of His bounty!
Model/Madal Students – Linus has just finished 5th grade, and Jane turned 8 in April and is getting close to finishing 3rd grade. Elina is a student at the music school again for our (5-year!) visa, and she’s learning to play a 2-ended drum, called a “madal” (pronounced just like “model” – clever, eh?). Livy and I are students of life – Livy is as curious as a kid can be, and recently I have been learning how to keep better account of our project expenses (yay). Please pray that we all learn the right lessons, and bring glory to God!
Thank you for taking time to read about our Wycliffe ministry and us, and thank you for your prayers, gifts and notes. We are grateful for your friendship and partnership!
The T Family