LOS HYPKI

Church Planting among the Nahuatl


Leave a comment

The Peace He Gives

As the rain pours down on the window pane, and I sip steaming coffee reflecting on what the Lord is teaching me from His Word, and through life I am compelled to share with you.

Right now Pete and I are apart…just for a time. Pete is in Oklahoma, learning Cherokee and practicing the processes that we will use for language learning once we are working in Mexico. I am back in Wisconsin, for various reasons, church functions, weddings for friends, and more communication face to face with supporters and praying friends. It is hard being miles away from one another, but we know this is where God has us at this time and because of that we have a peace that only God gives.

Also, many of you are aware that I had been very sick. I had been dealing with stomach pain and issues when we left for Oklahoma on 8/24, ignored it, but things just got worse.  On 9/8, after about 4 days of severe pain and no energy Pete took me to the emergency room in Tahlequah, OK where tests were run, and I was given a diagnosis of “Colitis.” This is a bacterial infection in the intestines which causes much pain and inflammation. The cause of my Colitis… an allergic reaction to an antibiotic I was given for oral surgery I had earlier in August. Ugh…how depressing. And I’ll be honest, I was depressed, in pain, and lonely in our little 10×10 concrete room with no windows in Oklahoma. I was going crazy, my body felt like it wasn’t me, I could barely even make it for a walk outside with Pete, I just wanted to lay back down.

During this time I read…alot…and talked to God. I truly felt His presence there with me each day that I spent in that room while Pete was out learning language. I have started to read through Genesis, to prepare me for discipleship once we begin to teach the gospel in Mexico. On my most painful day I read the story of Noah, and his obedience to God in building the ark and bringing on the animals just as God had told him too. He had an overwhelming concept of faith and trust in a God who’s promises never fail. God protected Noah and gave him peace as he floated on the water for 40 days and nights. They were the only living things in sight for God had covered the rest of the earth with the flood waters. God promises to Noah did not fail, and when the waters receeded God gave Noah a promise with the rainbow to never again destroy the earth by flood…and Noah rejoiced in God’s goodness even though, he had been placed now on the earth with no one else but his family. He had to start over and had to trust God for everything.

During this time, not knowing what was going on with my body I felt completely out of control…but now looking back on it, I know this is exactly where God wanted me to be. Some entries from my journal on Sept. 7th and Sept. 8th, my worst time, encourage me even today as I read back through them.

“As miserable as I have felt Lord I know you still know and feel what is going on in my body. Help me trust you, and your plan, and help me to make decisions about my healthy and not worry about how we are going to pay for it, or where the provision will come from. (this was before we decided to go to the hospital) Lord, thanks for healing me. I know you will, because you do not desire for your children to hurt in ways to hinder them from serving you. Also God, thanks for your peace. Because of it I know right now, no matter how I feel that I am in your will. I may not enjoy it, but I pray I would focus not on me, but on you and what you would have for me to learn and experience about you through this time. It is your mighty power and majesty that updholds me even when Iam at my weakest. God you say you are my strength, hope, Savior, and healer, all is true, and I know Your  love. How can I not rejoice in all things, even this, when I feel weak and unable to do anything…for He is mine and I am His and nothing can take that hope away from me.”

It’s been two weeks since my visit to the ER, and I’m completely off of any antibiotics now, eating normal foods, and running again! I feel stronger everyday, and I know without a doubt the Lord is healing my body. Pete and I wanted to thank all of you who were praying for me, God hears, God listens, and the desires of our hearts become reality when they are in line with the desires of God’s heart.

I am encouraged that whatever valleys may come in my life that He is ALWAYS there. He does not walk away from me in the hard times, but lifts me up, and holds me, and reminds me that I am His and He will never leave me.

Advertisements


3 Comments

Two Weeks of ǰʌ’leɡi…

Osiyo from Oklahoma!  (Osiyo is the traditional Cherokee greeting.)  Liesl usually writes most of these posts.  I’m more the newsletter guy (email us if you’d like to be added to our distribution list!), but I thought I would drop by and give you a little insight about how our language sessions are going.

As most of you know, we arrived in Oklahoma on Saturday, August 29th, to begin our live language practicum studying the Cherokee language.  Why are we here?  Why study Cherokee?

Here’s why:  When we move into an unreached tribal group in Mexico in the next couple years, we will very likely be working with an unwritten language.  By working with the Cherokee here in Oklahoma (or the ǰʌ’leɡi, as they once called themselves), we have the opportunity to practice turning an oral language into a written one.  First, we write what we hear using a phonetic alphabet – one that represents each sound with a different letter.  Then we refine that alphabet so it looks more like what the people believe they are saying.  For example, if someone spelled “phone” as “fone” in English, even though it would be pronounced the same, we would definitely prefer to see it spelled “phone.”  Refining our phonetics will allow us to write the language in a way people prefer and can easily recognize.  After that refining, we will create an official orthography, or written alphabet.

In the tribe, we will then be able to begin translating lessons and the Word into that tribal language. Here, though, since they already have a written language (as seen in the signs pictured below), we will simply write up our findings, turn them into our instructors, and hope for a good grade 🙂

Here is a stop sign outside the Cherokee Nation Complex showing the Cherokee alphabet

Here is a stop sign outside the Cherokee Nation Complex showing the Cherokee alphabet

Anyway…I’ve been meeting with  my Cherokee language helper for two weeks now.  Our helper is a 63-year old Cherokee man.  He actually belongs to the Keetoowah band of Cherokees, which is a more traditional band of Cherokee that seeks to keep their old beliefs and traditions alive.  They also require a higher percentage of Cherokee blood for membership.  Our helper, for example, is 7/8’s Cherokee. He is fun to work with, and knowledgable about the language.  Each time we thank him for his help, he reminds us that we are helping him by helping him to remember the language.  It seems a good exercise for both of us.

A picture of my language helper, my language-learning partner Sam, and me after a session

A picture of my language helper, my language-learning partner Sam, and me after a session

An average session lasts two hours.  We spend the first few minutes talking a bit, before diving into the session.  This week we spent a few days learning different nouns, then learning how to make them plural, or how to add adjectives to describe them. Here is an example of some of the nouns and adjectives we learned:

Phonetics

Literal Translation

Free Translation

dikwʌnyostʰ cɑrds/deck of cards cɑrds
utʌn biɡ biɡ
uwo:tiɡe brown brown
ɑkwʌnyostʰ cɑrd cɑrd
nʌ utʌn ɑkwʌnyostʰ ɑyʌ ɑwʌǰeli that biɡ cɑrd belongs to me my biɡ cɑrd
ɑyʌ utʌn dikwʌnyostʰ ɑyʌ diwʌǰeli those biɡ cɑrds belong to me my biɡ cɑrds
nʌ utʌn uwo:tiɡe ɑkwʌnyostʰ ɑyʌ ɑwʌǰeli that biɡ brown cɑrd belongs to me my biɡ brown cɑrd
ɑyʌ utʌn uniwo:tiɡe dikwʌnyostʰ ɑyʌ diwʌǰeli those biɡ brown cɑrds belong to me my biɡ brown cɑrds

We then spent a few days learning basic verbs, and constructing verb paradigms.  A verb paradigm is where you take the same verb and conjugate it for different actor persons (i.e. I run, you run, he runs, we run, etc).  Here is some of what we found:

Phonetics

Literal Translation

Free Translation

ɡɑLi’hɑ someone is sleepinɡ he is sleepinɡ
hiLi’hɑ you (sɡ) ɑre sleepinɡ you (sg) are sleepinɡ
čitLi’hɑ I am sleepinɡ I am sleepinɡ
dɑni:Li’hɑ they (dl) are sleepinɡ they (dl) are sleepinɡ
destʰiLihɑ you (dl) are sleepinɡ you (dl) are sleepinɡ
deniLi’hɑ we (dl inc) are sleepinɡ we (dl inc) are sleepinɡ
osti:Li’hɑ we (dl exc) are sleepinɡ we (dl exc) are sleepinɡ
ɑni:Lɩt’nɑ they (pl) are sleepinɡ they (pl) are sleepinɡ
iǰi:Lɩt’nɑ you (pl) are sleepinɡ you (pl) are sleepinɡ
idi:Li’hɑ we (pl inc) are sleepinɡ we (pl inc) are sleepinɡ
oǰi:Lɩt’nɑ we (pl exc) are sleepinɡ we (pl exc) are sleepinɡ

Over the remaining five weeks of our language study, we will look at other aspects of the language, beyond nouns and verbs. We will begin to study where verbs and nouns and adjectives go in sentences.  We will look at forming clauses, prepositions, relations between actors in sentences, proper agreement with words, and even paragraph construction and differences between spoken and written language.  The whole time we will be adding even more information, and deepening our understanding of the language.

It sounds like a lot, and it is, but we know that as we study, we are preparing, and being prepared, for our work on the field.  Spending time with a langauge helper like ours is a huge encouragement.  We have fun inside and outside of sessions, and get to see that our training the past two years is very practical.  Thank you for your continued support and prayers as we spend another five weeks here in Oklahoma.


Leave a comment

Welcome to Tahlequah!

We are here, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma! Arrival was Saturday, August 29th, we rolled into Tahlequah at about 9:00pm a little later than we were expecting due to some vehicle trouble we had on our way down. Fortunately we were at the Missionary Training Center in Missouri when the problems occurred. Several of the staff were willing to help us locate parts and Pete was able to learn how to install a new crank shaft sensor and timing belt in the vehicle with the help of a friend who is very knowledgable and was willing to give up several hours of his time to help us. God is so faithful and truly blessed us in our time of need. Nothing that happened surprised Him and we are so grateful for all who gave of their time to get us back on the road.

Needless to say we made it to Tahlequah, set up our room quickly so we could get some sleep.

Now it is Monday, Sept. 7th and we have experienced our first week, Pete doing linguistics study of the Cherokee language and Liesl helping where needed with cleaning, cooking, errand running, etc. Things have gone well and we are adjusting to a new area and small living quarters.

Pete has been attending a two hour language session every week day, where he and his language learning partner Sam, meet with a Cherokee man and ask him about words, language patterns, and grammar in the Cherokee language. Pete also records his language helper saying the words, and then comes back after the session and works for anywhere from 2-4 hours on entering all of the language into his database and beginning analysis. It is a little harder for me, Liesl, to understand the whole process because I only hear Pete and the other students throwing around words and phrases when they all get back from their sessions. However, I do hope to come with Pete and Sam on one of their language sessions this week so I can meet their language helper and experience a bit of what they are doing.

Another important part of being here in Tahlequah, OK to study Cherokee is not only the language, but also the culture. Fortunately this last weekend was the Annual Cherokee Festival and we were able to attend many different cultural events and observe the Cherokee people celebrating some of their own heritage. Some of the events we were able to attend/learn about- a Cherokee Pow-Wow, traditional blow gun competition, cornstalk shoot, a stick ball game, and a traditional arts and crafts fair where the Cherokee sell alot of their homemade wares.

The Cornstalk Shoot with Cherokee crafted bows

The Cornstalk Shoot with Cherokee crafted bows

Blowgun competition

Blowgun competition

Pete and another linguistics student, Jeremy take a turn with the blowguns

Pete and another linguistics student, Jeremy take a turn with the blowguns

At the Cherokee Heritage Center they have a tradtional village set up so you can take walking tours. This was a traditional home they would have lived in.

At the Cherokee Heritage Center they have a tradtional village set up so you can take walking tours. This was a traditional home they would have lived in.

Some traditional baskets made by the Cherokee women. Alot of these were for sale at the arts and crafts area as well.

Some traditional baskets made by the Cherokee women. Alot of these were for sale at the arts and crafts area as well.

These are traditional dresses that the Cherokee women would wear for the festival.

These are traditional dresses that the Cherokee women would wear for the festival.

This is the Cherokee Heritage Center which was open free to the public just this weekend because of the festival. It was a great display of artifacts and history detailing the trail of tears as the Cherokee and other Indian were pushed westward.

This is the Cherokee Heritage Center which was open free to the public just this weekend because of the festival. It was a great display of artifacts and history detailing the trail of tears as the Cherokee and other Indian were pushed westward.

Pete also enjoyed his first Indian Taco, which was similar to a tradtional taco except instead of a tortilla it was served on a homemade round of fry bread.

Pete's Indian Taco!

Pete's Indian Taco!

We have been attending a Cherokee Baptist Church in the area on Sundays so Pete can try and pick up more of the language and so that we can build relationships and fellowship with some of the Cherokee believers here.

Tahlequah is an interesting town, and we are having a good time exploring when we have time on the evenings and weekends. Here are some other fun pictures for your enjoyment.

Liesl pretending to run with this hard core runner guy who apparently did over 3,000 miles back in the 1930s I think.

Liesl pretending to run with this hard core runner guy who apparently did over 3,000 miles back in the 1930s I think.

 

This restaurant is called "Sam & Ellas"...really it is

This restaurant is called "Sam & Ellas"...really it is

We found a small coffee house which is the most reliable for internet access in town. The owner is a Christian and one night he made me an extra french press pot of coffee because he wanted me to taste a certain roast. My motto, never turn down more coffee.

We found a small coffee house which is the most reliable for internet access in town. The owner is a Christian and one night he made me an extra french press pot of coffee because he wanted me to taste a certain roast. My motto, never turn down more coffee.

All in all we are enjoying our time and learning lots about the Cherokee language and culture, and about team work and love as sometimes it is challenging living in such close quarters with so many other people. We are trusting God that this time will be an intense learning experience and prepare us even further for what we will encounter in Mexico.

Thank you all for your prayers for us, and encouraging emails, we are so blessed to have you partnering with us. Hope you enjoy the update and we hope to post more about our Cherokee adventure soon!