You may remember before we left Equatorial Guinea we were helping to advance an audio translation of the book Spectacular Sins by John Piper. The book was being translated into the native Fang language and was being done in conjunction with The Gospel Coalition.
We are thrilled to let you know the project has been fully funded and has been finished. The audio book is now available for free download all over Equatorial Guinea. The Fang translators Luis and Gerónimo have been given a slot on the nation-wide radio to broadcast the audio book every Thursday evening.
This was a rare and very cool project to be part of. It is awesome to think the oral tradition Fang culture in Equatorial Guinea will be able to listen to a quality reformed author like John Piper in their own mother tongue. Praise God.
With great sadness and a plethora of emotions we say goodbye to our home in Equatorial Guinea. Life was certainly hard in Africa, but the ministry was sweet. What with water purification, unreliable electricity, bad internet, disease, poverty, heat, and emotions, our time here was very hard. But the ministry was so wonderful. We loved the work and the people.
With heavy hearts we say goodbye to our friends, our little church, and our hot little home. We wipe a few tears and thank God for the opportunity he gave us to serve him in Equatorial Guinea.
We leave Africa, not because we are tired of it or found something better. We leave Africa for the same reason we moved to Africa, because we are obedient. God called us to Africa and we followed. He is now calling us to start the new MTW, West Coast Hub, and we follow him again.
Many friends have insisted, “You must be thrilled to be leaving Africa?!” The honest answer is, no. Are we happy to move to a place where drinkable water comes out of the tap every time we turn the handle? Of course we are. Are we happy to turn on a light switch and not wonder if the lightbulb will illuminate? Yes. But, those are creature comforts. They mean very little.
We are sad to leave our home and we are thrilled to follow the Lord wherever he calls us.
This is the emotional part of this process we have been dreading. Not the packing up of things, but the closing of a chapter in our life. Packing is so permanent and serves as an emphatic exclamation mark of the transition in our life.
Ten-years ago we packed up our lives and moved to Costa Rica to start language school. A year later we packed everything up again to move to Honduras. Almost eight years later we again packed up our lives and moved to Central Africa. Each time we said goodbye to an old home, eliminated many of our possessions, and moved to a new life.
Now 10-years later we are moving again, this time to go back to where it all started. Each and every move and each and every goodbye has its own emotions and involves its own sadness. This time we are saying goodbye to life on the mission field, and that is a big, hairy, emotional deal. This packing is the hardest. Not only are we saying goodbye to Africa, but we are closing a 10-year chapter in our lives.
Pray for us, as this is really hard.
About a month ago all the taxi drivers in the country went on strike to protest low rate ceilings and unequal government enforcement of taxi permitting. The government responded buy canceling all taxi permits, and requiring everyone who wanted to drive a taxi to repaint their cars with a new paint scheme and to apply for a new permit.
For several weeks there were no legal taxis in the entire country. Kids couldn’t get to school, adults couldn’t get to work, and it was near impossible to buy food or pay bills. Private citizens saw a chance to make money by offering rides in private vehicles at elevated prices. The government responded by stationing lots of additional military on the streets to inspect cars with passengers. Many people were arrested operating a taxi without a permit. We refused to use the private vehicles, because it was so unpredictable.
Slowly, the new taxis have been rolling out onto the streets. The government raised the fare from 60 cents per person to $1 per person. This is a big hit on the citizens, as 70% of the people make less than $2/day. The legitimate taxi drivers are happier.
For us, it is a good thing. Some taxi drivers were driving in unlicensed and unsafe taxis. This meant anyone could drive a cab, and robberies in taxis were becoming too common. Now, only serious business owners are driving taxis. Only people who could afford to re-register and re-paint their cars. Taxi drivers, as a whole, are more professional and courteous than they were two months ago. There are currently much fewer cabs on the streets, meaning longer waits, but the experience is much less intimidating than it used to be.
On Wednesday our short-term medical team from Grace Community Church in Mobile, AL hosted their third medical clinic. The clinic was held at the church Iglesia Fuente de Vida. This church is pastored by Santiago Hgomo Edu, who is a professor in our seminary’s lower level program and a student in our master’s program.
Dr. Debbie and Erin treated 70 patients on the day. Lots of kids received treatment.
On Thursday the team helped us host the fourth and final medical clinic. This clinic was at the church Iglesia Reino de Dios. Victor Ando Edu is one of Mike’s students and is the pastor of this brand new church. Victor’s church is very rural, very poor, and very small. Pastor Victor is fighting the good fight in a hard community. Across the street from Victor’s church is a witch and a healer who tell the neighbors not to attend Victor’s church or they will die. While hosting the clinic we provided medical care to the witch and also encountered a demon possessed person, which resulted in an exorcism at the clinic.
In addition to the medical work, John and James helped Mike organize the seminary library. They put in lots of hours cleaning, organizing, and shelving thousands of theology books.
In four days of clinics over 250 people received free medical care and God’s free mercy. What a blessing it was to have the team from Grace here with us.