Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Laundry is Not Fair!

When do you do the laundry?
We start every week on Tuesdays.
First step is sorting the laundry.

Then we carry the first load up the stairs to the attic (yes, the attic). Our water-saving front-load washer will take 1 1/2 hours for this load of "darks" on cold. Whites, even on the energy-saving setting of 60° C (140° F), take closer to 3 hours.

Next, we'll hang them out to dry--usually inside. As is typical in many Dutch homes, the drying racks hang over the steep, slightly spiral stairwell.

We do have a drier, but only use it for towels and emergencies. Air drying is better for the environment, the energy bill, the clothes, and our sinuses.

Does this seem like a lot of time and trouble to you? It doesn't to me. You see, on Tuesdays, I often think of our Roma sisters in Moldova.

One lady we visited recently was also doing laundry. She lived in this new house on the edge of the village.

She said she would really like to have a washing machine since doing laundry by hand for all five members of the household was difficult.

I wondered whether she even had running water connected to her house.

And, even if she did, would she be able to pay for the water and electricity a washing machine would take? Would there be room for it in the house?
Was there room for five people in that house?

I think of this woman, as I hang up my own laundry in a well-insulated house with central heating as well as hot and cold running water, all of which we can easily afford. Life is not fair. Laundry is not fair.

But one day she and I may sit down to the same banqueting table dressed in spotless clothes which we will never have to launder!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Three Generations Read One Story

This past Friday Keith had a unique recording experience. He has been working with a Romany church in Germany to record a bilingual children's Bible story book. It all began with this girl. When she was just a toddler, her mother read her Bible stories at bedtime . . . in German. She asked, "Mama, "Aren't there any Bible story books in our language?" Her mother spoke one language; her father another; the child was fluent in both.

Her mother started pasting translations into Romani into German Bible story book. Her grandmother (left) suggested actual translation project. Wycliffe/SIL Bible translators provided technical assistance.  The book has been printed. Now grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter are reading the stories for a CD so that many more children can hear . . . in their own language. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

One Lord, One Faith . . . not yet One Language

Olesea, helping me talk with
Romany sister (in Romanian)
The communion of the saints--the church I grew up in recited this phrase nearly every Sunday as part of the Apostles' Creed. The mission organization I work with now views community as so important that this is one of our mission commitments (see below). Last week in Moldova I saw a beautiful example of cultivating community.
Virginia, their
Romany translator
Usually, when I am there, someone translates the worship services from Romanian for me--the pastor's wife Olesea or a young person like Dana. This helps me be participate in the faith community. But what happens when a Romany pastor preaches in his own language? A Romany woman from the pew behind Olesea and Dana leaned forward and translated for the translators.

Dana, our translator
We cultivate communities of reconciliation and hospitality that serve as instruments, signs and  foretastes of the Kingdom of God.
We bear witness to the gospel through words that invite faith in Jesus and actions that embody the way of Jesus.
We seek to transform systems that suppress the capacity of individuals and communities in order to recognize, claim and celebrate the God-given gifts of all people and places.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Naaman Takes a Bath

These are the kids who heard that first "One Story" translation. They are making a Naaman puppet to remind them of it. The puppet takes a dip seven times in the Jordan River. The second photo shows SIL Roma Service Group guys acting out the story while it is being told in Romani (they understand enough Romani to know what to do when). Here the King of Israel is reading the letter Naaman brought from the King of Syria. King Israel is about to rent his (royal trash bag) robe. And behind Naaman (the post-it notes are his skin disease) you'll see the Jordan River that the actor
is going to dip in seven times. 
The children learned that God has the power to wash us clean. Naaman had to wash seven times (2 Kings 5). We only have to ask Jesus once. 

The kids counted outloud in their own language as "Naaman" dipped down:
  • 1 – yek
  • 2 – duy
  • 3 – trin
  • 4 – shtar
  • 5 – panj
  • 6 – shov
  • 7 – efta*

*Taken from http://www.languagesandnumbers.com/how-to-count-in-romani/en/rom/. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

One Story - Translation Made Easy?

Do you know a great story teller? This Roma woman is a great story teller. I find her entertaining--and we don't even have any languages in common. And even though she finished 11 grades of school, I suspect she would rather hear a story than read one. This is partly why the Wycliffe/SIL folks who are joining me in Moldova are going to do a trial translation project involving storytelling. They will work with a couple of people, like this lady, to translate several Bible stories into the local language. Then these storytellers will retell the stories in public--a women's Bible study, a mid-week church service, a children's gathering.
This approach has a lot of advantages. First, of course, is that people love to hear stories. Secondly, this particular Romani language has no standardized spelling system. Throw into that mix the fact that this woman would rather read Latin letters (like you are doing now) but prefers to write in Cyrillic letters (which I cannot do--can you?).
I'm looking forward to hearing the results!

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Story of the Bible Story Book

Bedtime stories are important--sometimes far more important than we initially realize. For example, a Sinti Romany* mother was reading Bible stories to her young daughter at bedtime. In German, because they live in Germany. The daughter asked, "Mama, is this in our language, too?" The mother started writing the stories in their language and pasting them into the book. But then the story of the storybook became even more interesting.
This mother is married to a Romany man from a different group who speaks Calderash, an entirely different Romani language. They attend a church with members of both groups. A Calderash mother wanted Bible stories in her own language for her own children. With help from Wycliffe Bible translators and a German Romany organization, this bilingual book was put together in both languages and published.
How do I know all this? Because now these enterprising Romany parents want to record the stories on CD--in both languages--with the church's children's choir singing in between the stories--in both languages. Keith and I visited them last week. This coming week (Friday, 6 October) Keith will be going back to this church in Germany to record one of the moms reading the stories in one of the languages. The rest will follow. Though we are not sure what the ultimate result of that "rest" will be. These parents started with bedtime stories for their own children in their own homes. Their goal is to reach many others in many different places--with CDs, books, songs, YouTube, Facebook, and face-to-face. God knows how far these bedtime stories will go!

If you feel led to pray for this project and want to receive more in depth requests and updates, please contact us.

*There are over 20 different related but distinctly different Romany languages. In this blog, we use "Romany" for the people of these related ethnic groups and "Romani" for the languages.