The Newest Member of the Family
Camden brought home an abandoned duckling from the soccer field/cow pasture yesterday. He and the girls then began construction on a proper home for a baby duck, complete with in-ground swimming pool (a dog bowl). Later in the day I made eye contact with that duckling, and we had… a moment. There was mutual recognition in our eyes that living in the jungle with kids is, at times, exhausting. The duckling (its name is Ping) is now on day 2 of learning to live in a new environment with a new culture and language.
We, however, are on our third month of language and culture learning. It is both frustrating and rewarding, depending on the day (or even the hour). Why are we learning Sakalava? I mean, how many people even speak Sakalava? And why can’t someone just speak to these people in Official Malagasy or French, both of which many people understand, anyway?
This is why we are learning Sakalava:
No language or culture is so superior that it can claim exclusive access to the truth of God, and none is so inferior that it can be excluded. –Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message
Sanneh goes on to say that, “Being translatable into other languages, the Bible comes not as a book bound and sealed but as an open text ready to absorb what it finds, if only by stumbling upon it.” In other words the Bible, which is the word of God, has always been translated into new languages and cultures, taking what is good in those cultures and providing the true source of that goodness. And our team has officially begun the Sakalava chapter of the story… this week some of us started translating Luke 18:1-8, and others have begun to translate Sally Lloyd-Jone’s The Jesus Storybook Bible. I had a brilliant professor at Covenant (Dr. Perry) who provided me with this analogy:
God’s word, like a grapevine, is identifiable as a unique species. It produces wine, not milk. But, the vine is transplantable into new soil, which fully engages the climate, such that the wine it produces takes on its spices and scents while remaining God’s unique word.
We are here in Nosy Be with our grape seedling, and it is being planted. Pray with us that it will grow large, that many cuttings will be taken from it to start new vines, and that a wine will come from it that is pleasing to God.