Brad left today via a small mission aircraft to Nairobi, Kenya where he will be attending a seminar for the first three weeks of February. It is called the Bantu Conference. There are a very large number of languages spoken in central Africa that belong to the family called Bantu. They have a lot of similarities, not unlike how the Romance languages of Europe have similarities; e.g. French, Spanish, Italian. The Bantu family of languages streaches from the West Coast of Africa all the way to the East Coast and from Northern Congo and Cameroon all the way down to South Africa. Those involved in this conference are hoping and expecting that the Lord will show how Bible translation can be done more effectively and efficently by pooling the resources of the several organizations involved in Bible Translation among the various Bantu family languages throughout East Africa.
The first couple of weeks of the conference will concentrate on the mechanics of analyzing the grammars and phonologies of the, as yet, unwritten Bantu languages. The Bantu language experts will be sharing their expertise by describing many of the similarities found throughout the Bantu language family and other regional similarities. As Assistant Director of PBT's East Africa Branch's (future) language projects, Brad will gain valuable information and resources to assist PBT's language teams (Bible Translation and Literacy) develop strategies and resources for their individual projects. After two weeks of nuts and bolts teaching on Bantu languages, the thrid week of the conference is a symposium for the various organizations' leaders to discuss a unified strategy for reaching the people groups in East Africa who are still in need of Bible Translation and Literacy in their languages.
The first step in a language development program involves analyzing the grammar and phonology and creating an alphabet and dictionary for the language so the Bible Translation and Literacy programs can get into full swing. That is why the first few years in a Translation Project can be so slow going; you can see how sharing information on similarities already discovered in a family of languages can be a huge advantage to each translator/language developer and literally can save him/her years of work.
While in Nairobi, Brad will also be collecting information from people/organizations overseeing work on language projects in Congo (former Zaire) that are being carried out at a distance or on a displaced basis (eg. The missionary and Congolese translator live in Uganda or another bordering country while continuing the Bible Translation project.) As we begin assessing the feasibility of continuing the Bali translation project from here in Tanzania, one of the first steps will be to find a route of communication with the Bali national translator. He finished Bible college before the second round of war broke out, but we lost communication with him just after his graduation when the boarder closed, due to the war. It had been arranged for him to travel here to Tanzania to meet with us; his flight was scheduled for Aug. 6, 1998, but the border closed Aug. 4.
- Pray for God to make clear a way in which we might continue the Bali Translation Project from here in Tanzania when we return here from our home assignment in January 2001.
- Pray for the kids and I as Brad is traveling... once again! That Morrie wouldn't forget him again, that Daddy won't miss her first solo steps and especially that the kids would stay healthy as I begin sorting, listing, storing and packing for our home assignment.
- Pray for our upcoming branch spiritual retreat and annual meeting the second week in March (we leave Dodoma for the US the 3rd week of March) where the branch will be prioritizing recruiting needs for language projects, based on the survey research that has been carried out during the last couple of years.
- Praise for everyone's current good health.
- Praise for the gift of a car to use during our 9 month home assignment.
- Praise and Prayer as our Branch moves into a new phase, from the set up team to recruiting for our first Bible Translation and Literacy teams to work in individual language groups.
* Brad Harvey is travelling to Nairobi and will be spending three weeks there at the Bantu conference. Pray that he'll make the contacts needed and will obtain helpful information on Bantu languages.
* We pray for the families of the victims of the recent Air Kenya tragedy in West Africa.
* Edson's mother is still missing. Please pray for her protection, and also for the family and the decisions they must make.
* Linda is in her last month on furlough. Pray for her travel, time with family, and preparations for return.
* We pray for the Farmers who are in the midst of travel in the States.
* We pray for safe travel for Naomi's family members who are travelling all over America this week.
* Edson's house is still in progress. He's thankful that they've negotiated a 3-month agreement on their current rental, but is unsure about what the status of the new house will be when the 3 months are up.