Waiting for Rescue!!!
I want to see my children read and write Mengaka- Papa Isaac (One of the notables in Bagam village).
They invited CABTAL to partner with them in other to develop their language, Mengaka, which has steadily been phasing out.Mengaka is spoken in Bagam, one of the villages in the Bamboutous Division of the West Region, Cameroon. Bolak Mekwi, Sandrine Fotso, Clotair Njapa, Wango Barnabas, Isaac Forchie, etc were among the fact finding team that went to glean information about this language "We want to see all books (including the Bible) written in our own language....." one of them said. One leading Evangelist (Ev. Abraham) present at the event said "your (CABTAL) visit has given us hope, that at last we can think of having a tool for evangelism in the future"
The commuity is still deeply rooted in traditional practices but the presence of some few churches (The Evangelical Church of Cameroon-EEC, the True Church of God, The Catholic church..) is noticeable.
Giving them the Gospel in Mengaka, the language of their hearts, will turn things around for the Glory of the most high.
Prayer Request: That God will bless this community with His Word and that funds would be found to carry on this.
Friday, 16 June: The best way to get there is to be born there, but we came from Yaounde, in four-wheel-drive vehicles. Good thing, because the rocky, muddy road from Guzzang to Banteng had received a good deal of rain and some sections were more of a challenge than others. But after a couple hours of ?galloping,? and some pushing, all four vehicles reached the end of the road with 24 delegates and eight boxes of Mundani New Testaments! This would be the fourth of such dedications celebrated now by CABTAL. But, the trip in was much easier than the trip out after two more days with rain and in the dark the next night.
We had been assured that porters would be available to carry the heavy boxes down the steep slopes to the bottom of the mountain and the village of Talong in the Wabane Sub division (sounds like wabahnee). What a shock for this Westerner to see children standing by the boxes getting ready to hoist the 50 pounds (25 kilos) onto their heads! Some said they were between 15 and 17 years of age, but they looked more like 12 or 13 to me. (When you get to be a great-grandmother, everyone looks really young!)
See, when you live in a place that is still developing, everything you have has to be carried in. So everyone is accustomed to this mode. The most common greetings are, ?Where are you up from?? Or, ?Where are you down from??
Off we went with the children carrying the boxes ahead of us. All of them were very sure footed, though it had been raining off and on, and it continued to do so during the two-hour trek down into the crevice between mountains, where the Mundani speakers live. They were far more capable than we city slickers, nearly all of us taking our turn to slip and fall on the steep slopes, at least once, some more spectacularly than others! Yes, me too. The climb back out of there would take about four hours the next day.
Finally to the bottom, we crossed the Meyi River on a wobbly-log footbridge, still following the children carrying the boxes as well as others who carried our luggage. Then we began up hill after crossing the river yet again, this time on rocks, to finally arrive at a hilltop where we found the auberge (hotel) where we would spend the night. Which we did after a scrumptious meal of chicken stew on rice and cooked, mixed vegetable greens, prepared by the welcoming committee.
June 17, 2006 God is in the midst of the Mundani people
17 June 2006: A continental breakfast was ready for us at 8 a.m. in a home another kilometer or two down the other side of the hill. Double thick slices of square bread had been spread with either margarine or chocolate. We had our choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. About 9 a.m. we moved down to the primary school where the dedication would take place in the yard. Plastic chairs were still being placed as people carried them in on their heads. We had all prayed that there would be no rain, and God blessed ? until it was all over!
Such events can start as much as three hours late, which is regarded as normal and not given a thought. But realizing that we would have a long trek back up out of this place, with ever-threatening rain, officials were careful to start on time, and keep things moving well. We were glad they did as there was a major rain dump after our meal, and it would be dusk by the time we started down the now muddier yet ?road? back to Bamenda where we would spend the night. Two local drivers and their helpers would spin tires and push until we were clear.
The new Waka stick is here!
The emcee started the meeting by holding up his walking stick and reminding us of how much we each needed such an aid to help us move about this mountainous place. No matter whether old or young, everyone has his waka stick, as they say it in the local pidgin, as we are dead without it. Today we have a new walka stick ? the Mundani New Testament! We need it daily to know how to move about in our Christian walk, a walk of life! It?s been 28 years in the coming!
After a variety of other opening comments, prayers and songs, we heard from the General Director of CABTAL, Dr Michel Kenmogne. He expressed the joy of the hour, and rather apologized that it was not the whole counsel of God. However, he said that CABTAL will not even consider doing an Old Testament translation until there is clear evidence in the community that the NT is being well used. That is, until lives are being changed and churches are seeing good growth in both numbers and individual conduct, there will be no Old Testament.
The people spontaneously began singing, ?♪ He?s got the Mundani people in His hands ♫?.? Then we heard from the General Director of SIL Cameroon who gave a similar charge, adding some history, and that those who read and hear and do are the more blessed.
Having asked how the first people came there, I was happy to hear Jacob Taku?s brief history. That people started migrating to this valley as long ago as 200 years. The process of settling included some relocation in the early years depending on food availability and enemy threat. During the First World War, for instance, some ran to hide from the German Army. Even recently a major mudslide moved all the lowest dwellers to higher ground.
A brief history
Eighty years ago the German Basel Mission came to bring the Gospel to the Mundani. But they could see that the majority language in the area was Duala, so that is the one they chose to use in the schools and all literacy efforts. They reasoned that since the children are the future church, that is the place to start with evangelization. However, the teachers were not really well prepared for that aspect of their work. So finally an evangelist came and 15 years later, 16 people were baptized. ?After many other efforts over the years, we failed to see any significant impact.?
Jacob asked, ?Why did God choose the Mundani to receive His Word? Why was it that SIL, then new to Cameroon, put the Mundani language as a high priority?? Then the next choir sang of this history and blessing saying, ?80 years later, God speaks our dialect. The time has come for us to read and study and preach the Word. We are grateful to the Lord, to CABTAL and to SIL. What good news for the Mundani people!?
The pastor I sat next to at breakfast had answered my question that the greatest challenge he has in discipling the Mundani today is their practice of ancestor worship. Since the Gospel has been in a foreign language all these years, it has penetrated very little.
We were happy to hear a bit more history and challenge from Mary (Annett) Endersby who found her way down the hand-cut path into Bamumbu in 1978. She and Elizabeth Parker began language learning and later translation, though they had to do their work in Bamenda or elsewhere during the five months of rainy season. Elizabeth and Christine Durrant, who served for about two years, both had to leave because of health reasons. And Mary also left the project in 1994 when mother-tongue translator James Ndam became the project coordinator. After his seeming untimely death in 1997, he was replaced by Jacob Taku in 2000 who brought the project to completion last year.
Other speeches followed including one by the Premier Fon of Bamumbu who crowned Mary Endersby with a specially made traditional hat and gave her the title of Mafon Mbooma. That can be translated either Queen Mother or God?s Spokeswoman. Whatever way you say it, it was a very high honor and one rarely conferred on any woman in this society, especially one from Northern Ireland.
The Fon is ready to help
The Fon declared that the people will not develop without a moral message. ?We need moral leadership! SIL and CABTAL have brought us a wonderful instrument.? He also promised to donate a tract of land for the establishment of a Christian Community Center. So a prayer request is for the Christians to find funding to build a meeting house where literacy classes can be held and Scripture use, showing of the Jesus film and evangelistic training, all of which would be uniting factors for the churches. Some of the pastors alluded to this need of unity in their speeches or prayers. ?After 80 years of Christianity since the Basel Mission, the time is now to begin seeing the difference as pastors begin using the Mundani Scriptures.?
The District Officer declared that our nation has been plagued by bribery and other corruption. ?Ignorance is an ignominious hindrance: touch it and you?re done! We have walked in ignorance long enough, but now we have God?s Word. The New Testament in Mundani is God?s Word made simple.?
After a skit demonstrating the understanding that comes with hearing in the heart language, a choir of children came singing as they maintained their rhythm step. They were wearing clothing made from the locally designed blue fabric. But a little girl was in the middle wearing white satin, and carrying a basket on her back by a strap across her forehead. The choir stopped an appropriate distance away and the girl with the basket continued to where the directors of SIL and CABTAL were waiting.
God's gift to His people
The New Testament was wrapped in a square meter of the same blue fabric, and was raised into the air by both Dr Michel Kenmogne, Director of CABTAL and Nelis van den Berg, Director of SIL Cameroon, with a declaration that God speaks Mundani! The people responded with applause and cheers of joy! The name of the book: ?A New, Strongly Binding Covenant from God.? The reason the book was brought in by children is because they are the future leaders of Mundaniland. They chose a girl to carry this precious cargo, because it is the women who bear the heavy daily loads.
A great event in the Mundani land
This was lauded as the greatest international meeting ever in Mundaniland, counting at least six foreign countries, including yours truly from the US, plus people from other parts of Cameroon. The closing remarks included a story about a sick, old mother who had no money to buy medicine. Her son was in the United States but all he ever sent her were green pictures of men and buildings. Finally one day, someone told her that was money! So don?t wait until you are dying to pick up your New Testament. Recognize it for the treasure that it is. It?s your walking stick and without your waka stick, you are dead!
God is brought closer to the Bakossi Man
Bakossi New Testament Dedicated
God is brought closer to the Bakossi man
Saturday November 19th, 2011 forever remains in the minds of the Christian community in Tombel. The event was the dedication of the Bakossi New Testament Bible that brought together brethren from far and wide. The Christians kept their denominational status at the background as their choirs filed out in a long line, chanting songs of joy and accomplishment. From the PCC, the Baptist, the Catholics, to name but these, they welcomed the New Testament with joy.
A memorable moment at the dedication came when a member of a secret society came out and confessed Christ in broad day light. He was dressed in animal skin and came along with skulls and horns of animals, plus some frightening bags. He said such things are never brought out in the day but he did that day to get rid of them and to follow the ways of Christ. This openly declared conversion is just one of the several transformations that might have occurred as the Holy Spirit works in ways we can not tell.
A college of clergies led by Rev Fr Ngalema of Buea placed their hands on the Holy Book as they dedicated it unto the Lord for His and His work alone.
CABTAL celebrates 25 years of service
CABTAL at Silver
The Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy, CABTAL, has rounded off activities that marked the 25th anniversary of the Christian Ministry. Created in 1987, CABTAL has meandered through good and bad moments. This movement has a vision to see churches and individuals having access to the Holy Scriptures in a language and format they understand best, in order to allow spiritual transformation in their lives. Bible translation, Scripture engagement, Linguistic research, multilingual education, literacy and community development are the activities they carry on, in order to see the above dream come true.
Amongst CABTAL’s happiest moments, are events that marked the dedication of some nine New Testament Bibles that they have translated into Cameroonian Languages and transformation testimonies in the communities that they serve. They have in addition, increased mother tongue literacy among Cameroonians. It would always nearly go without saying that the past 25 years of service to the church in Cameroon; CABTAL has put in a lot in the area of Community development, through its functional literacy programme. And above all, lives have truly been transformed as people listen to God’s word in their mother tongues. The organization is involved is currently working in 35 language communities in Cameroon.
Activities that marked the event featured Conferences, a mother tongue worship evening, project and departmental presentations, open doors and above all, a hysterical closing ceremony that brought together local and international partners. The venue was the CABTAL Chapmen center and the date, January 23rd to 27th, 2012. The event also saw the transition of power from the out going General Director (GD), Michel Kenmogne to Efi Walters Tembon, who should pilot the Association for the next four years.
Speaking at the event, the new GD, Efi Walters observed “….it’s been great. We cannot work without partners” as he acknowledged local churches, individuals and international partners who have been supporting the Ministry of Bible translation in Cameroon. Orators at the event included Bob Christian, who is president of Wycliffe USA; Wayne Johnson, President of One Book Canada; Bruce Smith of Wycliffe Associated; Rev. Mbom William, interchurch committee Chair for Babanki and Nellis Van Den Berg, GD –SIL Cameroon. The event that ended with a banquet offered much to the eyes than what ears could be told.
Foundation stone laid for CABTAL regional training center in Bamenda
The Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy, CABTAL, has laid the foundation stone of its Bamenda Regional Training Center (BRTC). Upon completion, the center that would have office space, a conference facility, classrooms, dormitories and a helipad is expected to serve the West, South West and North West Regions. The project that costs several millions of francs CFA is funded by Wycliffe Associates, one of its partners. The foundation stone was laid on June 18th in context with on-going celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the association this year. A march for mother-tongue scriptures and a mother tongue worship evening marked part of the celebrations.
CABTAL is a movement of the Church in Cameroon, developing local languages and then translating the Bible and other literature into these mother-tongues. CABTAL has translated the New Testament Bible into 9 Cameroonian languages and are presently working 35 communities, producing mother-tongue literature on health, human rights, education etc.
Speaking at the event, CABTAL's General Director, Efi Walters, affirmed that they are committed to reaching out to all Cameroonians, where ever they may be. He further said the lack of space at the present office would come to an end when they move into this new site by April 2013. On his part, the Bamenda III Council mayor, Fongu Cletus saluted CABTAL for helping to develop his municipality, both infrastructural, mentally and spiritually. In a closing remark, the Bamenda III Sub Divisional officer noted that about 60% of NW citizens are non Christians and illiterates. Thus reaching them with the gospel requires the strategy CABTAL is using, but efforts, he said need to be added.
Seeking God for Bible Translation
The conference hall of the CABTAL Chapman center played host to over forty people on May 29th, as they gathered to pray for the ministry of Bible Translation on the occasion of the annual half day of prayer. The event began with a motivational devotion by Pastor Samuel Obeng of Light House Chapel, Obili, with theme “Too busy to pray, then you are really busy”. He read from Daniel 6:10. It was indeed a moment of worship, featuring five different prayer sessions given that the work of Bible Translation is far from being secular, but wholly spiritual. Speaking at the start, the General Director of CABTAL Efi Walters saluted all those who defied their busy schedules and fitted out to pray. The event ran from 1:30pm-5:30pm with over forty participants from SIL Cameroon, CABTAL and the church.
Similar events held in Douala and Bamenda on May 30th and 31st respectively. The event provided a rare accession for brethren to inter seek for the work of Bible translation. Prayer concerns were received from SIL Cameroon, CABTAL and the Church.
Bolak Kari Mekwi, Director of the Church Relations Department and Rev Ngole David, Language Programmes Manager are in presently in the field for an admin visit to the Moghamo Cluster. The visit runs from Monday July 2nd to Friday July 6th. Pray for then as they travel
Mother tongue scriptures transform
“My mother comes from Banso and my father from Noni. A few years before my mother’s death, she was yet to become a Christian. I took a copy of the Lamnso New Testament and through it, I learned how to read and write Lamnso. I went ahead and read the Lamnso Bible to my mother. She gave her life to Christ and started counseling us as a real mother would do. Before now, she knew there were two gods; one who responds to immediate needs and the other that is talked about in Churches. As she heard the scriptures in the mother tongue, she confessed that there is just one God and that is Jesus, who deserves all our worship and who cares for all our worries. I am so thankful to God for the work CABTAL is doing”
Mrs Mary Wamey, Calvary Chapel Bamenda
Secondary School teacher
WOCAL in Buea this Year
The world Congress of African Linguistics is taking place in Buea this year. This conference that would run from August 20th-24th,is bringing together renown linguist from around the world who have specialized in studying African languages.
CABTAL linguists Ndokobai Dadak and Jacquis Kongne Welaze, who both hold advanced degrees from the University of Yaoundé, will present research on grammatical features of the languages they work with. Dadak’s presentation, “Reduplication in Mafa and Cuvok, two Central Chadic languages of Cameroon,” examines the form, syntax and function of reduplication in these two languages, with observations on the role that this feature plays in the categorization of word classes. Dadak is a mother-tongue speaker of Mafa. Welaze’s presentation, “Documenting the information structure of the Tunen language,” describes the significance of deviations from the language’s standard word order and the impact of those variations on information structure. Welaze’s conclucsions are based on natural narrative, hortatory and expository texts collected in collaboration with native and fluent speakers of the Toboagn dialect of Tunen spoken in Ndikinimeki, Cameroon.
Working together in Christ
God has always
in his people coming
is one of the pillars of the
Christi an faith and lack of
fellowship has caused the
downfall of many. Psalm
133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s
people live together in unity!”
CABTAL annually brings together its enti re staff in a
gathering called “Personnel Forum”. During this ti me
the staff retreat together, talk about the business of
Bible Translati on and try to build a network of friends
that enable the staff to become united and thus foster
the work of Bible Translati on.
This year’s Forum was held under the theme “Building
Christ in us” and the main speaker was the New Secretary
General of the Cameroon Bapti st Conventi on, Rev.
Ncham Godwill. This Forum was parti cularly sti rring
because the New General Director in CABTAL led its
business session and this event was held in Bamenda,
which normally holds in Yaoundé.
SIL on the other hand and for the same reasons had
their Annual Branch retreat and conference (which
takes place every four years). This year’s retreat was
led by Dr. Lingenfelter and during their Conference; a
new General Director was elected in the person of Mr.
It is really a good thing when God’s people live and fellowship
together in Unity!!!!
MTh COHORT SEMINAR IN NAIROBI
CABTAL’s ministry activities are
mostly intellectual. We manage, translate,
teach, and find creative ways of
how individuals and communities can
engage with Scripture in their heart language.
For that, almost all of us need
to be learning while working. We can
attend training events, or embark on
study programs in accredited training
institutions. For this, many of us are
embarked on long distance learning so,
we can gain more academic credentials
as we work. This would prepare us for
consultant position in many domains.
Since it is proved that there is a high
rate of drop out on distance learning, in
the community organizations (SIL and
Wycliff e), those registered in the same
training institutions gathered as from
May13-25, with the catchword MTh cohort.
South African Th eological Seminary
(SATS), a Bible based, Christ centered and
Spirit led institution, where a good number
of us are registered in. People came
from Ethiopia, Benin, Ghana, Mali,
Niger, and Cameroon and met in Nairobi
for 10 days of general orientation
and instruction. We were able to learn
basics on how to carry out a research
work, essentials on academic English,
how to make a presentation in a conference,
how to format an academic paper,
how to read a book and do a review of
it and so on. Although we were at different
levels of the study program, we
could encourage one another. And we
are committed to completing a given
amount of work before we meet again
next year. It was so encouraging and
we committed to pray for one another for
our work and studies, besides our family
Pray for our potential donnor
Two weeks ago we were at Light House Chapel, Obilli for a BTS. After a good presentation and a wonderfull message,One ladywho is member of the Church, took both the CABTAL commitment and the BRTC form home. In the course of the week, our point person in that Church called me to come get a mail destined for CABTAL. I went got it and in it, was her commitments. She filled both and took a commitment to contribute 5000F each month for the BRTC untill the project is completed. Her second pledge is to support the ministry of CABTAL with 5000F monthly. She adds that by the time she finds finds a job and husband, the amount will be increased and the support would be that of the entire family. She adds that "my prayer is that my children will continue the family support even after my death"
Pray for her that God will give her the grace to honour this commitment
Updates from WOCAL7 in Buea
Thank you for praying for us as we represent our organization at the World Congress of African Linguistic (WOCAL 7) holding here in Buea. So far things are going well and we are enjoying the beauty of this town located at the foot of Mt Cameroon.
Jacky, Ndokobai and myself had our presentations on Wednesday and it went very well. Mirjam will be presenting this Thursday . Pray for her as she puts finishing touches on her paper this night.
It is a wonderful experience for us to find ourselves dinning and interacting with great linguists from different parts of the world. Great linguists that we have so far, only heard of, and read their works. Here in Buea, we had many occasions to see, hear and even touch them. Wao...what a privilege!!.
I am particularly grateful to God for this privilege and again for a gift I received from a fellow linguist from Asia. I have never met him or had any contact but my work he found on the net helped him in his research and he decided to come to WOCAL with a gift for me. Who says linguistic does not pay?.
Thank you again for your continuous prayers for us and our SIL colleagues. Things will end here on Friday.
Platform for impact meeting in Buea
The Platform for impact meeting is roundiing off in Buea today(October 11th, 2012). It's bringing together, leaders from the Council of Pentecostal Churches in Cameroon, CEPCA, the Catholic Church and FOBAC.
Efi Walters, CABTAL's GD is leading the meeting. It is a crucial meeting as plans are on hand, to move to the next stage of signing a partnership with the different blocks of the Church in Cameroon.
Despite everything, we are encouraged
"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish."
CABTAL Christmas Party
It was fun last Friday December, 7th at the CABTAL Chapman Center
Last modified: 2013-03-20