- Oregon is about 1/4th the land area of Nigeria.
- Oregon has a population of almost 4 million, whereas Nigeria has almost 180 million people living there.
- Oregon has around 24 indigenous people groups, not including immigrant or colonial populations.
Nigeria has around 300 indigenous people groups, not including immigrant or colonial populations.
The members of the Ut-Ma’in translation team have communicated to us that before they continue with translation, they really need and want literacy in the community. That is, it is their perception that if translation continues without people reading, they are not going to get the community support needed to finish and successfully use the translation. These team members have also communicated that they want literacy before the Bible comes because they want everyone in the community non-Christian and Christian alike to learn to read. They do not want the activity of reading to be perceived by non-Christians to be a “Christian” activity. We trust that Hugh will be able to give a boost to this literacy need while we are in Nigeria for Becky’s dissertation research. We are not exactly sure what form that will take at this point.
We are excited about some news from a coworker. A church in the US is partnering directly with the Ut-Ma’in translation team in order to facilitate the publication of the translation of Acts. This would be the second book of the Bible published for the Ut-Ma’in people; they currently have only the Gospel of Luke. Please pray for good communication in the process of getting this out to the people.
Yes, this is an announcement. We are excited to announce that we are expecting our first child in September. Becky has been recently acquainted with morning sickness… and juggling her teaching and research load. Thanks for praying with us through this time! No, we don’t yet know if the baby is a boy or girl, but all doctors’ reports are of a healthy baby.
Below are some praises and prayer requests related to this anticipated arrival and the months between now and September.
- A healthy baby!
- Significant ease of pregnancy symptoms now that Becky has reached the second trimester.
- God’s provision for our needs!
- Good health insurance coverage for all baby related medical care.
- Success for Becky’s Fulbright funding application in passing the preliminary rounds of the competition. See related prayer request below.
- Significant progress for Hugh on his MA thesis and an official notice from the University of North Dakota that he is still eligible to complete his degree this summer.
- A healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby!
- God’s provision for our monthly financial needs.
- Wisdom regarding buying a house. We have been looking for a house to buy as mentioned in our news in December. We have made several offers on various properties, but have not had any accepted by the sellers. Eugene has a very competitive housing market for the size/price house that we would like.
- A larger space. Since Hugh works from a home office and we have a baby on the way, our little two bedroom house will become rather cramped come September. Pray with us for the right space, whether that be renting at a different location, finding the right house to buy, or some other creative way to fit in the space we have. Our current lease is up at the end of June, but we must make a decision by June 1.
- Wisdom regarding timing for a return to Nigeria.
- Preparation for the soon to be parents.
- A peaceful transition of power in Nigeria. The president-elect is scheduled to take office on May 19, 2015.
- Favor with the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board who will decide on Becky’s funding application by some time in June. All of the paper work is in. We can only pray expectantly. This funding would cover most of our travel, equipment and research costs for 9 months in Nigeria, making her Ph.D. dissertation possible.
Above: Group photo – 46th Annual Conference on African Linguistics. Spot Hugh in the top right, next to a man in a blue shirt; Becky didn’t make the photo as she was setting up for the evening event at the time of the photo.
Recently we were asked these two questions. Perhaps you have been wondering the same thing…
What is your top priority for this coming year?
Working from a base in Eugene, Oregon, we aim to support the work of language development and Bible translation around the world. Hugh works with the SIL International’s Language Program Training Department doing continuity business planning for training programs, communications strategies for training, and curriculum delivery to people who are working in Bible translation. Becky’s focus is developing as a linguistics consultant and supporting the ongoing development of the ut-Ma’in language (Nigeria) by continuing her research on the language as part of her Ph.D. program in Linguistics.
We hope to return to Nigeria in early 2016. The political situation is tenuous and we appreciate your prayers for wisdom in the timing of our return. Praise God with us for the relatively calm presidential election that was held on March 28/29, the public concession of the incumbent president, and much less violence following the election than the last round of elections in 2011. As one BBC article states:
This is a hugely significant moment in Nigeria’s turbulent history. Never before has a sitting president been defeated in an election.
We are also praying for the first peaceful transfer of power on May 29, 2015.
What’s something that you have been up to recently?
Last week we both presented at the 46th Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL). The conference was hosted by the Linguistics Department here at the University of Oregon. Becky was one of the student organizers and helped with planning and registration.
Hugh was on tech support for the three day conference. Here is a link to a brief article about the conference from the SIL.org webpage. There were about 150 participants from all over the world. Hugh presented: African languages: Assessing the text input difficulty, based on the research for his MA thesis. Becky presented: The associative phrase in ut-Ma’in, based on research she has been conducting this academic year.
Thanks for partnering with us in this work. We have some more news to share in a few days, so be sure to check for Part 2 of this Spring Update. And a happy and blessed Resurrection celebration to you this Easter.
-Hugh and Becky