|Theology & Philosophy Newsletter
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How quickly the years pass: I have now completed 31 years at Whitworth. I continue to enjoy my teaching and my students as much as ever. This year I taught New Testament, Old Testament, Paul's Letters, and Introduction to the Global Christian Movement. Next year I shall once again be immersed in New Testament Greek I, II.
The highlight of my year was my return to Nigeria last summer after 34 years away. I left the village of Michika in 1974, after spending five wonderful years working on the translation of the Kamwe New Testament and helping to develop a small literacy program. Then, in the 1990s, I devoted five years to coordinating the revision of the Kamwe New Testament as I was teaching at Whitworth. Now the Kamwe Bible Translation Committee has decided to translate the Old Testament, and has repeatedly asked me to come help as a translation consultant.
When I arrived in Nigeria, to my surprise, I realized how much they wanted to use the opportunity to express their gratitude to me. In addition to organizing two large receptions, they arranged for me to be interviewed on two different state television stations and to speak to large groups of people throughout my four weeks in Michika. My Kamwe name (Zira Gapa) seems to have become part of local legend, so there were endless streams of people wanting to greet me and have their pictures taken with me wherever I went.
The most amazing thing for me was the realization that, in the last 50 years, since the Gospel was first brought in the 1950s (by converted Kamwe lepers and a blind man, primarily), 95 percent of the entire Kamwe community (perhaps half a million people altogether) have come to call themselves Christians. There are churches everywhere, and very little of the old paganism is still seen. Christ has done a remarkable work in this group on the border of Northern Nigerian Islam, and it's wonderful to see the role the New Testament translation has played in that. It was a deep joy to see so many Kamwe walking around with their New Testaments in hand, and to hear so many reading it fluently.
Present plans are for me to return to Nigeria every summer, until the Old Testament translation is complete and the entire Kamwe Bible is published. This could well take the better part of the next 10 years.
Dottie continues to love her mentoring and her work in the Whitworth Certification for Ministry Program. This year her saintly mother died, and we greatly miss her. Our son, Mark, and his wife, Summer, are responsible for worship, discipleship and outreach at Sanctuary, a new church plant in Greenwood, in north-central Seattle. Our daughter, Becky, is in her third year as a teacher with International Schools of China, serving in Wuhan. We thank God for them.
Be strong for Christ - and whenever you're in Spokane, do drop by!
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