[Another email from Bruce Smith in Jos, Nigeria, on Thursday, March 10, nearing the end of the CSTF team’s journey deploying B-TAKs (Bible Translation Acceleration Kits) for The Seed Company’s translation projects there, in collaboration with the NBTT (Nigerian Bible Translation Trust).]
There has been a few days delay in sending this email due to the completion of our installations and training. We left our last BGAN unit with the Maya translation team on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday we made the long drive back to Jos. Thursday has been a day of meetings with leaders of our partner organizations in Jos. Friday I begin the return trip to the U.S., arriving Saturday.
Nigeria is known around the world as the source of fraudulent financial schemes. For most of the past 25 years the international airport in Lagos, Nigeria has been identified among the least secure airports in the entire world. The news in the mass media about Nigeria is overwhelmingly bad. I don’t dispute the truth of any of these points, but I want you to know that this is not the whole truth. Bad news travels farther and faster than good news, so I want to give the good news some travel assistance today.
The Nigerians I’ve met during this trip have without exception been men and women of tremendous faith, perseverance, wisdom, grace, courtesy, selflessness, humor, energy, optimism, generosity, humility, hospitality, and integrity. We never felt unsafe or even insecure. We were humbled by their care, concern, and sacrifice for us. In every exchange we felt that we were overwhelmingly blessed. Many of the people we met are leaders with community, regional, and even national prominence. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen more direct community and church ownership and investment in Bible translation programs. The physical and resource limitations under which these translation teams labor amazingly seems almost inversely proportional to their productivity. They have done so much for so long with so little that they seem able to do almost anything with nothing. While this is admirable, it is certainly not preferable. Almost any investment we make here in terms of time, training, service, or stewardship will have a major impact for them.
By tonight all of our Wycliffe Associates teams should be back in Jos for an evening of fellowship with our NBTT hosts. I’m anxious to hear the detailed reports from each of our teams. From the conversations I’ve had already with one volunteer from another WA training team I expect that the enthusiasm will be high. The challenges were many, but the progress was significant.
Inevitably after these unique experiences there is an emotional letdown. I’m sad that the week is already over, but excited about what lies ahead. As I frequently say, the reward for doing good work is the opportunity to do more. This is not the end of our partnership with these translation teams in Nigeria, but just the beginning. Our “to do” list here is growing!
During the remainder of 2011 NBTT expects to complete 7 New Testaments and start scripture translation in 10 new languages. Who knows what God has in mind for 2012, or for the next decade?
Thank you for your interest, support, and prayers. Next time you get mail, or hear news from, Nigeria perhaps it will be a reminder of the good news I’ve just shared.