Emails from Don as he serves in Liberia 

Liberia-location

July 10, 2017

Dear family & friends, Today was somewhat frustrating. I expected to meet the Dan team at 8:30 this morning, but only one team member came at 10. He said the other one was on his way. He never arrived. Hopefully he will come tomorrow. It rained fairly hard all day, so it affected the travel of the translators. Pray all goes well tomorrow. I was able to check Psalms 9-10 with the one translator and a friend he invited. Of course, I was hoping to accomplish much more. I learned that in a driving rainstorm a good umbrella is not very helpful. My Liberian colleagues told me to close the umbrella, so that it would not be blown apart. I listened to their advice and saved the umbrella, but got wet. Fortunately my computer stayed dry in my backpack. The wind blows harder as you get closer to the ocean. I have someone wash my clothes by hand about once a week. I told him to wash my towel also and asked for another one while my first one dried. It takes a long time to dry clothes outside while it’s raining. When I came back from the office today, I found a bed sheet to replace my towel. I’ll have to see how well that works. A chance to try something new. The woman who cooks lunch for me and the translators is ill with malaria. Pray she recovers well. From personal experience I know that malaria really weakens a person. I was surprised she even came, especially with all the rain also.

In Christ, Don Slager

 

July 9, 2017

Dear family & friends,
     As I was going to church this morning, I was asked by a young man if I wanted to buy a stolen American Express card. That’s a first. I’ve been approached many times by people asking if I wanted to buy any diamonds and gold. Of course, many ask for money. Yesterday a young man holding a large smart phone asked for food money, saying he was hungry. Hard for me to believe him since he was well dressed and looked very well fed.
     For most of the day we did not have electricity. I’m glad we have it tonight. The refrigerator has not been working well, so my food doesn’t stay very cool. In fact, yesterday when I opened my cheese it was covered by a colony of very small ants. I didn’t realize ants like cheese. They do. I brushed off as many as I could, but some got stuck on the cheese. Ate it anyway. Extra protein.
Tomorrow I begin working with the Dan team. One translator has made it to Monrovia. The other is still traveling. Pray he reaches safely.
     I’m attaching a couple photos of the Gola team.
In Christ,
Don Slager

Gola team 1    Gola team 2

July 6, 2017
Dear family & friends,
Today was mostly sunny, so I was able to run this evening. It felt good to run with the ocean breeze. I will need to run whenever I have a chance since it rains most days.
I enjoy listening to the BBC on the radio early in the morning and just before I go to bed. The BBC news is more international in flavor than anything in the US. It gives me a better perspective on what is happening in the world.
We made good progress on the Gola New Testament again. We finished James and reached the middle of Matthew 3. James 5.2 speaks about clothes eaten by moths in the Greek text. The Gola translators changed this to clothes eaten by termites since they don’t know about moths. I didn’t realize termites ate clothes. The translators also mentioned that cockroaches eat their clothes also. Not sure I would care for that.
In the afternoon my colleague Becky Grossmann joined us via Skype and a link to the translation software. She was able to listen to my suggestions and see them applied on the translator’s computer. Eventually we hope to do some consultant checking without having to travel to Liberia. It looks like it is possible since the internet service is improving here.

In Christ,
Don Slager

July 5, 2017
Dear family & friends,
Paul Stevens, the director of the Liberian Bible Society, is regaining his strength. Thanks for your prayers. He plans to rest at home this week, which his doctor recommended.
The temperature has averaged around 80 degrees F the whole time I have been here, both during the day and night. I find it amusing when I see many Liberians wearing stocking caps and winter gloves in this weather. Some of them are even shivering in the “cold” of rainy season. One of the Gola translators does not have an umbrella, so his colleagues liken him to a bald man who has to go in the direct sun without a hat. They predict he will buy an umbrella, once he gets thoroughly soaked. He has owned umbrellas before, but usually forgets them in the taxis.
I saw a convoy of eight large SUVs going past the office today. They were campaigning for one of the political parties, the one with the soccer star running for president. I’m sure I’ll see a lot more of this.
We made good progress on the Gola New Testament again, almost completing James. We will begin Matthew tomorrow. I’m thankful the translators are always on time despite the rain and the long commute for them by taxi.

In Christ,
Don Slager

 

July 4, 2017
Dear family & friends,
Happy Independence Day to those of you in the US. Liberians celebrate theirs on July 26 (becoming a nation in 1847). However, fireworks and firecrackers have been outlawed here for over 30 years. Thieves were using them to scare marketers away and then steal their goods.
I forgot how violent an African rainstorm can be. On my way home today I almost lost my umbrella in the wind. It turned upside down, so I had to hold it down tight, but it still tried to blow away. I finally made it home, just a little wet. I wanted to make sure my computer did not get soaked. The Gola translators decided to leave their computers in the office since they got very wet this morning as they came to the office. One of the translators had to walk through ankle-deep water. He simply rolled up his pants and got his shoes wet. I avoided most of the water on the streets by taking an alternate route. However, I have decided to buy a stronger umbrella.
We made good progress on the Gola New Testament today. We finished 1-3 John. I realize they are short books, but it was the first work of a new translator. Tomorrow we will start work on James, the first work of the other new translator. Pray all goes well.

In Christ,
Don Slager

July 3, 2017
Dear family & friends,
I can use my normal email address again. I was prevented from using it due to a poor internet connection. Hopefully the one I have now will work consistently.
I worked with the Gola team today. In the morning I helped to migrate their translation work to the new software program. It took more time than I thought since the two new Gola translators are not that computer literate. They did not even have email addresses, so I set them up on Google mail. An email address is essential for working on the new software. One of the translators, Morris, cannot access the internet from his location, so we will need to think of a way to make this possible. Please keep this in prayer.
In the afternoon we started working on 1 John, instead of Matthew. The new translators want me to give them feedback on their work before translating more. Morris’ work on 1 John was good. I was pleasantly surprised.
The traffic light at the intersection I cross each day is only working in one direction, so it has become more dangerous crossing the street there. Now I look for any chance I have to cross to avoid getting hit.
Please keep Paul Stevens, the director of the Liberian Bible Society, in your prayers. It sounds like he suffered a slight stroke due to high blood pressure. His doctor has advised him to rest for a week. Pray he does it. He is a very gifted leader and has really helped the Bible Society become more self-sufficient. May God grant him a full recovery. Life is very precarious here, so many people have high blood pressure. It was good to meet with many of my Liberian friends to pray for Paul. They also prayed for me and my family. Their prayers are a great encouragement to me.

In Christ,
Don Slager

July 1, 2017
Dear family & friends,
I arrived safely in Liberia last night. The trip went smoothly, just long, about 36 hours. I slept well last night, so I feel refreshed this morning. Thanks for your prayers.
I don’t have my regular internet connection, so I’m having trouble with the internet. Hopefully I can get my regular connection by Monday. I know I’m missing some contacts with this message. I’ll see what I can do to correct this.
Last night when I arrived, the guesthouse I planned to stay at was overbooked, so I had to find another place to stay. I hope to move to my regular guesthouse later today. Pray it can happen since my Liberian friends are expecting me there.
I will begin working with the translation teams on Monday. Pray they can arrive safely since it is rainy season and the roads are not in good shape. I arrived in pouring rain and got a little wet last night.
I probably will not be able to make contact again until Monday. Thanks again for your faithful support of my ministry.

In Christ,
Don Slager

 

December 13, 2016 –  Dear family & friends,

    Thank you for your prayers. I arrived home about 7pm last night. I met some snow here and it’s very cold compared to Liberia. I’m glad the snow was cleared before my flight arrived yesterday. Now I just need to catch up on my sleep and get back into the rhythm here.
    On Sunday morning before I left Liberia I was able to see the first container I helped to pack here in early October. It took us a whole day to pack it, but only an hour for 15 young men to unpack it. I’m glad all the goods arrived safely. I’m attaching a photo of the container and myself.
don-container-4

Day 20 – 12/8/16    Dear family & friends,            Each day has its own challenges. Today Charlie, one of the Mann translators, came with a bad case of diarrhea (called “running stomach” here). He tried to work with us since we were checking his work on Exodus. After just seven verses of chapter 25, he decided to go to the hospital. There he was admitted and placed on IV. Surprisingly he came back after lunch and decided to work with us again. I told him he should go home, but he insisted on staying. However, I decided to work on 1 Samuel, which was done by another translator, so that Charlie would feel free to go. He stayed until the end. He is a very gifted person, translating faster than anyone I have ever met. Keep Charlie in your prayers that he will have a good night of rest.

    This evening I was able to run in a light rain. It was refreshing. I wish I had a light rain every time I ran here since it is much cooler. I just have to be careful that I don’t slip and fall. Last night there was a huge rainstorm, which woke me up since rain was falling on my bed through the windows. I pray I have a more restful night.
    The Italians are still here. They are trying to make spaghetti again. They may succeed this time. However, they discovered that their bread and cookies were taken over by the ants. They are here to report on how Liberia has recovered from ebola. Liberia remains ebola free, for which I’m thankful.

Day 19 – 12/7/16  Dear family & friends,                  We did not make as much progress in Exodus today as the day before. I could tell the Mann team is tired already. Pray that the Lord gives them an extra measure of strength the next two days. Today we encountered a small problem in Exodus 24.10. There it says God stood on a platform of sapphire as blue as the sky. The translator transliterated sapphire, and said the platform was as black as the sky since the Mann word for blue includes the color black also. We decided to say that the platform was the color of the sky, without specifying the color. That way a light blue color will be in view. This evening I learned about a sad situation involving a close Liberian friend of mine. He is the pastor of a church, but recently resigned since he is being threatened by some members in the church. He is also being accused of misusing church funds even though he doesn’t have access to them (funds are managed by the deacons) and he only makes sixty dollars per month. He already suffers from high blood pressure and doesn’t want to put himself under too much stress. One of the deacons of the church came to me asking for prayer since he would like the pastor to come back, but realizes that cannot happen in the present situation. In the past that church has caused several other pastors to leave. Pray for this pastor and church that there be peace. As I was returning from work today, I saw a vendor pushing a small cart that said “sweet cow meat.” He was selling shish kabobs. I’ve never tried them to avoid food that might make me sick. Sure smells good though.

Day 17 – 12/5/16 Dear family & friends,
Today I began checking with the Mann team. We worked on Exodus 17-18. At first we discussed the name that should be used for their language. Internationally their language is called Mano, but they prefer Mann or Maan. So in the future I’m hoping that Maan will be the accepted name in Liberia. The name used makes a big difference to the people who speak the language. They feel the name Mano is imposed from the outside. I’m attaching a photo of my work with the team today.
Several days ago I received a draft copy of the Bassa dictionary. I’ve been promoting this dictionary for many years. It’s good to see it finally get off the ground. Pray that it can finalized soon and made available.

mann-team

Day 16 – 12/4/16 Dear family & friends,
The church service today lasted two hours with the sermon alone being over an hour. It was hard to concentrate since the heat and humidity made me sleepy. However, I did take notice when the pastor announced that the women should not use their lipstick or other makeup on the walls of their bathroom. They should honor the house of God. Not sure why women would do that here. I heard that when a pastor goes on too long here the people begin to clap after every point he makes. However, sometimes such clapping can encourage a pastor to preach even longer.
I had lunch today at a restaurant with a Danish friend named Ingrid and a Norwegian friend named Rhea. I first came to know Ingrid and her family in Sierra Leone. Her children and mine attended the same boarding school there. I’ve come to know Rhea while running since she often runs with me. After lunch a young man followed us asking for money so that he could eat. He claimed that both his parents died from ebola and he had no one to help him. He definitely looked hungry. At first I simply wanted to ignore him, but he was very insistent. Finally Rhea told him that he should respect our wishes of not wanting to be bothered. In that interaction we realized he was probably telling the truth. Wisely Rhea told him to follow us and she would buy him some food at a cook shop. There she bought food and suggested to the owner that he allow the young man to work for food in the future. Surprisingly the owner agreed. Often I simply ignore such people, but this time something was different. Pray for this young man named Amos.

Day 15 – 12/3/16 Dear family & friends,
Saturday was a full day. It started with my colleague, Becky Grossmann, and I going to some artisan shops. We bought a few things there, but heard that more artifacts were being sold at a Christmas bazaar. Usually this bazaar is held at the US embassy, but it was cancelled there this year, so I assumed it would not be held. I’m glad it was at a different location. I bought some baskets, dolls, Christmas ornaments and cards. We came an hour early to the bazaar since it was a cleaning Saturday in Monrovia, a day on which none of the shops open until 10 am, so the streets can be cleaned (didn’t see any cleaning taking place). I’m glad we came early since we got to choose everything first. Before the bazaar was opened, the leader led in prayer for God’s blessing. Then she asked me to open it officially since I had bought the first item. I was a little surprised.
At lunchtime I went to the mission compound called ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa). I had lunch with Amy Glaybo and her family. She made me palm butter soup with chicken over rice and plantain chips. Then I visited Sue Befus, whose husband Steve had been a doctor at the ELWA Hospital for many years until he died. Steve and I loved to play tennis together at ELWA. Sue reminded me that we often played until we could no longer see the ball. Sue was able to show me the new hospital there, built by Samaritan’s Purse. It’s a beautiful facility, much bigger than the old next to it where my son Ben was born.
In the evening I had supper at a nearby restaurant with some ELWA folks to honor Sue’s time in Liberia. I sat across the table from Nancy Writebol, one of the ebola survivors. She is now involved in trauma healing. It’s good to see God using her to reach out to victims of ebola and the civil war.

Day 14 – 12/2/16 Dear family & friends,
The workshop on the new translation software went smoothly today. I would attach a photo but the internet is very slow tonight. I’ll try later. We found an HDMI cable. Thanks for your prayers. All the translators made it to the workshop even though some traveled from quite a distance. It was good to see everyone together. They expressed concern about the delay in being paid. The director explained that income is dependent on the sales of Bibles. He tries to pay everyone on time despite slow sales now and then. I’m thankful for the patience of the translators in this area, but they have real physical needs that must be addressed. Pray that there is better support from the local churches.
There are two Italian reporters staying with me now. They just invited me to join them for spaghetti. They noticed that food is very expensive here. Three dollars for a can of tomato sauce that only costs 50 cents in Italy. The propane stove didn’t work at first since there was no gas in the tank. It took a few minutes to get another tank, but this tank seems to be almost empty also. Looks like there will be no spaghetti. The Italian cook is not too happy. I just said WAWA, which means West Africa Wins Again. The cook just gave up and decided to put the tomato sauce on slices of bread. He just said bread the WAWA way. Yes, life can be unpredictable. It’s good to know God is in control.

Day 13 – 12/01/16   Dear family & friends,
Today was my last day of checking with the Dan team. They definitely were tired by the end of the day. We were able to work through 2 Samuel 3-15 during this trip. In 15.9 David tells his son Absalom to “go in peace” after his son asks for permission to go to Hebron to complete a vow to God there. I asked the translators what David meant by this expression. They did not know since it is not an expression they use. So we adjusted to make it clear that David gave his permission. In 11.9 David tells Uriah to “go down to his house and wash his feet.” The translators had no clue why David said this. I explained that David was simply telling Uriah to go home and relax.
There was a big funeral procession that went past the office today. It was for one of Liberia’s county representatives. Most of the people were walking, so that’s how fast the traffic went. At first the Dan translators thought it was a rally for one of the 20 plus presidential candidates (election to take place next year in October), since most of the people had shirts with their party’s logo on them. We realized later it was a funeral procession going to the Capitol a mile away. Men were playing drums, women were dancing and using shakers. The hearse came at the end.
Tomorrow I will be meeting with the three translation teams to introduce the new translation software to them. I have one small problem. I need an HDMI cable to connect my computer to the projector. I had left one here, but no one can find it. Pray we will be able to find one before my presentation.

Day 12 – 11/30/16  Dear family & friends,
The new Liberian Bible Society office was dedicated today. Several government and church leaders attended. The Liberian president sent a representative since she was called out of the country for unexpected business. I also met a newspaper editor named Kenneth Best. He is a fascinating man. He started the Daily Observer in 1981 in reaction to the military coup of 1980. He mentioned that his paper was closed five times and he was imprisoned several times. He’s not afraid to speak out against injustice. Even during the dedication ceremony he lamented that there were not more church leaders present, even mentioning some missing denominations by name. He has been asked by the church community to address the future of the church in Liberia. He mentioned three areas where the church needs to change: more self-reliance (not so dependent on Western aid), more cooperation between churches, and acceptance of some cultural items that fit with Christianity (for example, style of music). He also said the church needs to take a strong stance against witchcraft. An interesting conversation as we waited for the dedication service to begin.
In 2 Samuel 10.19 it says the Syrians made peace with the Israelites after being defeated by them. The idiomatic expression used by the Dan translator in this context for making peace is “giving a white chicken.” When people offer a white chicken, they accept defeat. The victorious party is expected to accept the chicken to show that they will not retaliate. It’s important that the chicken be white, not any other color, and that its legs not be tied (showing freedom). It would be great if more white chickens were given in our world today.
Thanks for your prayers for water. It came back this morning.

Day 11 – 11/29/16  Dear family & friends,

Thank you for your prayers. The Dan translator who was sick yesterday came today. He felt stronger as the day went by. He is sitting to my left in the photo I’m attaching of the Dan team. In the past two days we have checked 2 Samuel 3-7. It has gone a little slower due to his illness.

Today is a national holiday in Liberia, celebrating William Tubman’s birthday, who served as their president from 1944 until he died in 1971. People have good memories of him. There were a lot of students marching in the streets today in celebration. They played drums and carried the Liberian flag. It’s good there wasn’t much traffic today.

There is no water in my place now since the pump is broken. Not sure how long it will take to repair it. Nothing will happen today since it is a holiday. I’ll have to be patient. Pray that it can be repaired tomorrow.

dan-team

 

Day 9 – 11/27/16  Dear family & friends,

I attended another unusual Liberian church service. I went to a large nearby United Methodist Church this morning. Most of the service was led by blind and deaf people. This church has a good ministry with these people. A blind person read the liturgy for the first advent candle, but the candle was lit by someone who could see. Then a deaf choir signed a song for us. Amazing what they could do with their bodies moving back and forth together. We clapped by waving our hands after they finished. Then a blind man preached from the first chapter of Job. He used braille to read the passage. His sermon title was “The devil is watching you.” He often elicited verbal responses from us to know that he was communicating well. Just an amazing service. I’ve never been part of such a service before here or in the US. It’s good to see the whole body of Christ involved in praising him.

Day 7 – 11/25/16  Dear family & friends, My checking with the Gola team went very smoothly today. We reached the end of John 10. The Gola are now on their way back home. Pray that their travel goes well. One translation challenge we had was how to distinguish the expressions for Temple, synagogue, and church. For synagogue they have Jewish prayer house. For both Temple and church they used prayer house. We decided to refer to the Temple as “God’ prayer house” to distinguish it from a church. Yesterday when I ran for exercise, the bottom of one of my running shoes fell off. I stopped running, not sure what I would do. I asked my Liberian friends if the shoe could be repaired here. They said of course, so I decided to have both shoes repaired. It only cost $2. Not only did the shoemaker glue the shoes but also sewed them all around. He did an excellent job. I can see that they have people here to keep their shoes working for a long time. The power just went off, so I’ll have to close for now. For the most part the electricity has been good. I can’t say the same for the water.

Day 6 – 11/24/16  Dear family & friends, I did not make much progress on John today with the Gola team since we concentrated on preparing the book of Mark for publication. I’m glad we were able to finish this task. Tomorrow it will be submitted to the Digital Bible Library, so it can be available on You Version. Pray this goes smoothly. The prime minister of Canada is visiting Liberia today and tomorrow. The traffic was bad since the main road into Monrovia was blocked for the prime minister. It should improve once he leaves. He is staying at a hotel only three blocks from me. I happened to visit that hotel yesterday since it opened recently. I learned that an executive suite goes for $600 a night. Out of my price range by far. When I told some of my friends here how much it cost a night, they could believe it. Many of them live on $100 a month. Two very different worlds. I didn’t have turkey today. Hopefully many of you enjoyed it. I had cabbage and fish sauce on rice, pineapple, oranges, and avocadoes. I enjoy these foods, so I didn’t suffer.

Day 5 – 11/23/16  Dear family & friends, Some of you have asked for photos while I’m here in Liberia, so I’m attaching one of the Gola team. Today we reached the middle of John 6. During our time today we discussed their rendering for “Son of God” since this is a sensitive phrase in their predominately Muslim context. They feel strongly that it should be rendered literally since this is one area in which it clear how they differ from their Muslim brothers and sisters. They also noted that even Muslims realize that the birth of Jesus was very unusual. Muslims have a festival celebrating his birth. So the translators feel that most of the Muslims in their context are not extremely offended by the phrase “Son of God.” Today I received a different modem that is working much better. That allows me to attach a photo. It’s the same modem I used on previous trips. I’m glad to have it back. A slow internet connection is very frustrating. Pray for the two members of the Dan team. They are trying to get visas to go to Israel. They hope to go there in February to learn more about Israel, which will help them in their translation of the Bible. It can be very difficult for Africans to receive Israeli visas. I’ve learned that from my past experience with the Klao team.

gola-team

 

Day 4 – 11/22/16 Dear family & friends, My checking with the Gola went very smoothly today. We reached the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John. I’m enjoying the new Bible Society office since it has air conditioning when the electricity is on. I definitely have more energy when it is cooler. Liberians learn to have patience. My Liberian colleague who assists us on the computer will be graduating soon from the University of Liberia. The past two days he had to wait in a long line for his cap and gown. There are about 3,000 people graduating and they all have to go to the same person for their caps and gowns. He was fortunate to get to the head of the line today. But now he has to have his photo taken for the Yearbook in another line. I’m not sure the photo would be worth it. I learned today that last night it took the Gola translators five hours to travel about five miles by taxi to reach their lodging place. The traffic is really heavy in Monrovia right now. I’m thankful that my place is only three blocks away. Please pray that the translators don’t have to be in taxis for so long. It definitely is tiring.

Days 1-3 ~ 11/21/2016  Dear family & friends, It looks like I will be using my gmail account while I’m in Liberia this time. For some reason compuserve refuses to work due to the poor internet connection.

Today I began working with the Gola team for the first time. They are translating the New Testament. There is only one active translator for this team now. We’re hoping to find another translator soon, so that we can finish this project within five years as planned. There is a potential candidate who is participating in the checking this week. Pray that the right person may be found. I checked most of the first chapter of John today. In some ways it is an easy chapter to translate, but the imagery can be difficult (for example, Word of God and Lamb of God). We kept the imagery since it occurs often in the Bible. We leave it to the pastors to explain it fully.

Yesterday I attended an interesting church service. It’s a church I’ve gone to before, Monrovia Christian Fellowship. They use contemporary English songs (for example, “Open the Eyes of My Heart”). I find it a little hard to sing these songs since they repeat the lines so much. But the enthusiasm of the people who sing them is very evident. Most of the people who attend this church are 30 years old or younger. What really caught my attention was the sermon. The pastor preached on the Antichrist in Daniel 8.9-14. Toward the end of the sermon he mentioned Donald Trump. At first I thought he was equating Trump with the Antichrist, but then he clarified that he was simply saying the Trump may be causing the Antichrist to come. He was mostly upset with Trump because of his association with Putin of Russia. He sees Putin as representing the country that will attack Israel from the north. Most Liberians I speak with are concerned and fearful of what a Trump presidency will mean for them. I’ve never heard such a political sermon about the US here. I keep all this in prayer.    I’ve seen many of my Liberian friends over the past three days. It’s been good to have fellowship with them. Thank you for your prayers in making this possible.

Friday 11/18/16 – Don called and reported he has safely arrived in Liberia! Praise God!

Thursday 11/17/16 –  Dear family & friends,

    I’m packed, ready for another trip to Liberia. I leave my home in an hour. Pray that all goes well. I will reach Liberia in about 36 hours. I plan to keep in daily contact, if possible. It will depend on the internet service. I’ve heard that some people there have flooded the system with junk messages, so that it crashes for several hours at a time. I have a feeling that has happened in the past. Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday 11/13/16 –Dear family & friends,

    I arrived home safely last night. Thanks for your prayers. My flight from Tokyo to Chicago was cancelled, but I was able to find another flight without much trouble. It actually arrived earlier than my original flight. Now I will begin to pack for my trip to Liberia. I leave on Thursday. I will keep in touch while there.

Thur 11/10/2016 – Dear family & friends, I finally slept well last night. Tomorrow I return home. Pray the flights back go smoothly. I can’t say I’m looking forward to another 20 hours on planes, but it was good to be at this workshop. I learned a lot about the new translation software. Soon I will share it with the Liberian translators. One of my colleagues and I took a long walk along the beach Passengers sit in the cabin of an IndiGo Airlines aircraft as a flight attendant serves snacks after takeoff from Kolkatalast night. It was a beautiful night. We heard birds calling (probably hornbills) and saw bats flying. I found a restaurant that serves black pepper crab, but the price is quite high. There is a lot of wealth. Quite a contrast with Liberia, where I will be soon.

 

Wed 11/9/2016 – Dear family & friends,

The second day of the computer workshop went smoothly. We spent some time on setting translation plans and tracking them within the software. I find that part of the software complex since it can become very detailed. I pray that the software does not become too complex for the translators. It can happen since the programmers do not live in the same world as the translators. Pray for software that is user friendly.
    m-cardLast night we had supper at the Singapore Bible Society. It was good to meet our colleagues. This Bible Society is doing very well in bringing God’s
Word to the people. They have an excellent devotional series. We had a surprise while eating. The musician Michael Card came to play his song Jubilee for us. He is in Singapore doing some concerts. Small world.

Tue 11/8/2016 – Dear family & friends,

img_8636Last night a group called the China Partners, working with the distribution of God’s Word in this area, invited us for a Chinese meal. The food was excellent. A lot of variety. It was good to hear about their work. After that we were able to explore the downtown area a little. I’m attaching a photo taken of what I call a mer lion. It’s a symbol of Singapore.

Today we began our translation computer workshop. I learned that some work still needs to be done on the software, so I will not be able to share it fully with the teams in Liberia in two weeks. Pray that all the glitches can be solved soon. Hopefully it will be available early next year.

I’m certainly dragging from jet lag. I pray I get better sleep tonight.

Mon 11/7/2016 – Dear Family & friends,

After my nap this morning I took a long walk (about two hours) along the beach close to my hotel (Village Hotel Changi, located on the northeast corner of the island). I almost rented a bike, but it started to rain. It’s quite humid here, but not more than Liberia. The temperature isn’t too bad, in the 80s. I saw a lot of pigeons along the coast, no seagulls. Several men were on three-wheel bicycles picking up trash. It’s quite clean. I walked in a park along the beach. It had a lot of places where people can grill. Some people were fishing. Fresh grilled fish sounds good. I may have walked a little too much since one of my calves began bothering me. I think it is mostly caused by sitting on planes for more than 20 hours.   Tomorrow the Bible translation computer workshop will begin. I’m looking forward to learning the new software, so I can help the Liberian translators use it when I’m in Liberia later this month.

Sun 11/6/2016 – Dear family & friends,

I’m safely at my hotel in Singapore. I arrived here about four hours ago. Thanks for your prayers. Took a nap, but now I want to take a walk, so that my body gets used to the 12 hour time change. Not sure if it will agree. Just before we landed we were told that chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. Good thing I don’t chew gum.

Sun 11/6/2016 – Dear family & friends,

I’m in Tokyo right now, waiting for my flight to Singapore. I was hoping to be on my way to Singapore already, but I missed my flight since my plane left Chicago three hours late. But I should make it to Singapore eventually, just a few hours later than I expected.

One plus of being delayed is that I met someone on the plane who invited me to United Airlines’ lounge as a friend. Now I’m enjoying excellent Japanese food. Best airline lounge I’ve ever been in.

Hopefully I’ll be awake enough to enjoy Singapore a little before our Bible translation computer workshop begins on Tuesday. My son J has given me some ideas of what to do. I heard that black pepper crab is a good dish to try.

Thanks for your prayers as I travel. I’ll keep in touch.

November 1, 2016 – Dear family and friends,
I will be traveling a fair amount in November and December, so I would appreciate your
prayers for safety and stamina. First, I will attend a translation computer workshop in
Singapore November 5-12. At this workshop we will receive the latest update of Paratext,
which is the primary software program we use in Bible translation. With this program
translators can have their own text on the screen, along with the original text and several
Bible versions in major languages. They also have access to commentaries, Bible dictionaries,
and other resources. This program also runs checks on their text to ensure that their vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation are correct. It can even generate a back translation of their text into English or other major language, so that I can check the quality of the translation before I meet with the team. It’s amazing how much the computer helps with the translation, both to improve it and to accelerate it.
After this workshop I will travel to Liberia (November 17 – December 12) to work with
the three translation teams there. First with the Gola on John, then with Dan on 2 Samuel, and finally with the Mann on Exodus. Two weeks ago I met a Dan translator in the Minneapolis area, working on Genesis. I’m thankful this was possible since there is a lot of material to be checked by consultants in these languages. It’s good to see the steady progress being made. While in Liberia I’ll also train the teams on how to use the updated Paratext software.

 

Recently I completed my editorial work on the Ezekiel Handbook for translators. Soon it will be printed. It’s good to finish this Handbook since Ezekiel is one of the more difficult books to translate.
When I was in Minneapolis, where many Liberians live as immigrants, an elderly Dan
speaker came to visit me. He hugged me tightly and thanked me for what we were doing to make God’s Word available to his people. He left saying that he was looking forward to holding the Dan Bible in his own hands. I’m thankful that God has made his Word available to us in English and many other languages. I pray it will soon happen for the Dan, Gola, and Mann. Thank you for your support of my ministry to make this possible.
As we approach the Christmas season, we are reminded that God’s Word also came to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God that he sent his Son to live among us and to die for us.
Love,
Don SlagerP.S. My son J returned safely from the aircraft carrier this summer. Thanks for your prayers. In August my whole family enjoyed a vacation together in Door County for a week. My daughter-in-law Kim (Ben’s wife) is expecting another child in February, so
please keep her and the child in prayer. I will spend Christmas with J and his family in
Texas, and then I will help them move to Maryland, where J will be an instructor at the
Navy’s test pilot school.

don-family
Don Slager & family
 Last day in Turkey – 3/10/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
I’m slowly on the mend. Thanks for your prayers. I plan to take it easy today, so I can regain more of my strength. I leave the hotel very early tomorrow, so I hope to get to bed early.
I’ve really enjoyed the food here, especially cherries, yogurt, cheese, and fresh vegetables/fruit. They have a lot of different breads, but I don’t eat much bread.
This morning we will have devotions on the beach. I enjoy walking early in morning since the temperature is around 60 degrees then.
I’m ready to go home after traveling for four weeks. It will be good to see my grandkids again.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 4 in Turkey – 3/9/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Yesterday we were introduced to a new version of our Bible translation software (called Paratext 8.0). Unfortunately the rollout did not go very smoothly since there are a lot of bugs in the new version. Pray it goes better today. This software will help us to track better the progress made in each translation project. It also will provide the translators more resources for their work.
I have a cold that persists. I had a fever last night, but it broke during the night, and I’m feeling better now. Thanks for your prayers. I return to the US on Saturday, starting early in the morning. Pray the travels go well.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 3 in Turkey – 3/8/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Two days ago I saw a brief video that highlighted 90 Bibles published in 1000 days (2013-2015). Two of those Bibles were from Liberia. In this video Kisi Christians of Liberia praised God that not even ebola fever could prevent their Bible from reaching them. I’m thankful that God’s Word cannot be stopped by disease and war.
Yesterday in our meetings we discussed the importance of not creating dependency as we help people financially in Third World countries translate God’s Word in their own languages. I agree we should strive for independence, but then we should provide people with the necessary resources to make this possible. When we in the West take most of the resources for ourselves, I believe we are being hypocritical by talking about not creating dependency. May God help us to be servants to the people in need around us.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 2 in Turkey – 3/7/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Our workshop on Bible translation began yesterday. It is concentrating on cognitive grammar and its use for translation. David Tuggy from the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) is leading the workshop. For the most part I’m enjoying it, but there is a lot of new vocabulary to learn. I also enjoy spending time with my colleagues during meals and catching up with their lives. After the sessions yesterday it was relaxing to walk along the beach with one of them.
The Syrian refugee crisis is at the forefront of the news here. It’s sad to see so much human suffering. Pray for an end to the war here. I learned that European tourists are also avoiding Turkey because some were killed in a terrorist attack in Istanbul not long ago. That also explains the empty resorts here.
In Liberia I did not see anyone smoking cigarettes due to their high cost, but here many people smoke. I noticed it already outside the airport while I waited for my ride to the hotel. I also see a lot of cats here. We have signs on our dining tables telling us not to feed the cats roaming the dining area. I’m not sure how they get inside. I like cats so it’s hard not to give them a scrap from my plate.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 1/Turkey 3/6/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
I’m not sure how much I’ll write while I’m here in Turkey, but I’ll try when I can. Yesterday (Sunday) I walked along the beach for over an hour to enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea. Hills are in the background. Some fishermen cast their poles from the beach. I walked past at least ten large resorts that stood empty. This is the off season, but I was surprised to see so many empty ones. Later I was told that the Russian tourists are no longer coming here due to the downing of one of their military jets by a Turkish jet. There must have been many Russian tourists since the signs here are not only in English and Turkish, but also Russian. It’s sad to see the far reaching effects of the Syrian civil war in this area, especially with all the displaced people. My European colleagues tell me that each of their countries are beginning to place limits how many refugees can enter their countries now due to the large number of them. Pray for peace.In Christ,
Don Slager
3/6/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
I have reached Turkey safely. This morning I took a walk on the beach on the Mediterranean. It is beautiful here in Antalya. I hope to catch up on my sleep today before the translation workshop begins tomorrow. My trip from Liberia to Antalya went very smoothly. Thanks for your prayers. It is quite a contrast between Liberia and Turkey. Liberia – hot and humid; Turkey – cool and dry. Liberia – the sound of roosters in the morning; Turkey – the Muslim call to prayer at 5:15. Liberia – no hot water in the shower; Turkey – lots of water pressure with both cold and hot. Two very different worlds.
Just before I left Liberia I offered a small amount of money to a homeless woman that I often saw sitting by the side of the street where I passed on my way to office each day. To my surprise she refused the money and showed me a several bills in her hand, saying she had enough. This is the first time a Liberian declined my offer to help. Later someone shared that her mind may not be well enough to comprehend what I was trying to do. It’s sad to see such people simply left by the roadside.
I have met several of my colleagues here already. It will be good to touch base with many of them.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 21 – 3/4/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Soon I will leave to travel to Turkey. Pray for safety in travel. I thought I would have a fairly relaxing day in Liberia, but it has turned out to be busy as I help the Klao translator get his Bible ready for Bible apps. I’ll write more once I reach Turkey.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 20 – 3/3/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Today started with no water or electricity. It may be a fitting goodbye for my last full day in Liberia. A reminder of how things were several years ago. I’m thankful that the utilities have been fairly consistent this trip, especially since I have a computer with a battery that doesn’t work.
This morning I helped the Bassa team get started on their dictionary. They promise me when I return I will see a fairly complete dictionary. I’ve been wanting a good Bassa dictionary for a long time. There was a good one about 40 years ago, but it needs to be updated.
This afternoon I helped to get the Vai New Testament online. It went fairly well despite its non-Roman script. Tomorrow we will work on the Klao Bible. It was published in 2010, so it should be fairly easy to place online.
The Bassa translators gave me a 2016 Bassa calendar. It is well done, dealing with the farming cycle, month by month. While we were together, they lamented that the primary school curriculum in Bassa was never used. It was developed, but the non-government organization, CONCERN, decided not to launch it in the schools. It’s sad that they never even tried to test it in the schools for a couple years to see if it would work. I’m saddened when I see so much money spent on a project that is never tried. I believe it would work well. Liberians do not learn English well since they are taught English in the primary schools without the use of their mother tongues. As a result, they do poorly in English. Pray that this curriculum in Bassa will be tried at least.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 19 – 3/2/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
     I thought today would not be so busy, but it turned out differently than I thought when a translator for the Vai New Testament came to say I had called for  him. A missionary colleague asked him to meet him, but I was not aware of this. I’m glad he came so that he could help us prepare the Vai New Testament for use on smart phones. The Vai uses a non-Roman script, so it is a challenge for me. Here are some of its characters from Matthew: ꕉ ꔫꔤ ꕪꘋꗜꖺ. I just downloaded a Vai keyboard and font to help us correct the Vai New Testament tomorrow. Pray it goes well.
    This evening a friend came to say goodbye and pray with me. He shared with me that he has found the Bassa Bible very helpful in his study of God’s Word. For example, in English he read that the shaft of Goliath’s spear was as big as a weaver’s beam, which made no sense to him. In Bassa we said it was as big as a pestle, which he understood well. I’m thankful that God’s Word in the Liberian languages is being used by the people here.
    Today I finished my work with William Boen, importing the Bassa Bible into the Digital Bible Library, where it can be shared with different Bible apps. This work went smoothly. Thanks for your prayers. While we worked together, William shared with me that one of his sisters died in his home from a drug overdose near the end of last year. He explained that she received some pills from her boyfriend to help her with headaches. They helped him, so he assumed they would do the same for her. He found the pills in a bale of used clothes sent from the US. Sometimes in these clothes there are bottles of pills that are left in the pockets. William is not sure what kind of pills his sister received, but they definitely killed her since she started to shake violently after she took four of them. So please remove bottles of pills from your pockets before you donate clothes.
In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 18 – 3/1/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
It was cool and dry by Liberian standards this morning. I enjoyed walking to the office this morning without sweating. William and I were able to finish most of our work on the Bassa Bible today, preparing it for Bible apps. We hope to submit it tomorrow if all goes well. Please keep this in prayer.
Today I asked about paying taxes in Liberia. If you work for the government, a charitable organization, or a company, income taxes are automatically deducted from your salary. If you are self-employed, no taxes are collected. So farmers in the interior and those who make small markets here in Monrovia avoid income tax. Property tax is only collected on homes in the cities. In the past they also did it in the villages, but they no longer do it out of concern for security. William says he pays $30 per year on his house. However, they do not collect it every year. He only pays in the years they come to collect, which is about every other year. Many drivers do not register their vehicles to avoid fees. When police check vehicles for registration once or twice a year as a mass exercise, which is happening now, most of these drivers park their vehicles until the inspection is over, or drive where the inspection is not occurring. So if you are complaining about how much you pay in taxes, you might consider moving to Liberia.
On the way back from the office today I saw a small boy splashing happily in a large plastic bowl that was not much bigger than he was. He was taking a bath beside the road. He was enjoying the cool water on his body. It has not rained here since I came, which I find unusual.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 17 – 2/29/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Today it was a little cooler since it was overcast most of the day. We didn’t even turn on the fan in the office. I would have liked the fan, but I didn’t want to make my colleagues too cold. On my way to the office I noticed several taxi motorbike drivers wearing stocking hats, which is not unusual. It was already over 80 degrees when I saw this. One had a stocking hat in the form of a bear. Another had an army helmet. There is definitely a wide variety of hats worn here, mostly second hand from the US.
I met with William Boen to prepare the Bassa Bible for use on some Bible apps, such as YouVersion. He said he would come by 8 AM, but he was not able to make it until close to 10 AM due to the heavy traffic. It was more congested today since the police are stopping everyone to check whether their vehicles are registered. Many do not have registration since they buy their vehicles in a neighboring country and drive them across the border.
I hope I can finish the work on the Bassa Bible by Wednesday, so I have time to work on several other items before I leave for Turkey on Friday. I’m thankful it went fairly smoothly today, just tedious work to make sure everything is in good order.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 16 – 2/28/16 ~ Dear family and friends,
Today was another restful one. I went to a nearby church and then a restaurant, where they serve a buffet of a variety of food. I especially like the fish dishes they have. They had red snapper today, which I really like. They also have a variety of fresh vegetables, which I don’t get much of during the week.
A friend named Nelson Glaybo (son of Robert Glaybo, one of the Bassa translators) stopped by this afternoon, and we talked for some time. We talked about the government here. Pray that the new president selected next year will lead this country in a way that shows respect to everyone. We also talked about things “walking” (that is, disappearing). Here at the guesthouse I often miss spoons, so I keep a couple in my room for safekeeping. For Nelson the computer he received from my brother last year walked. The thieves were able to cut the screened window and use a long stick to slowly move the computer toward the window. He’s not sure they could use the computer for very long since they did not take the power supply, which cannot be found here. He keeps his tools a long distance from windows since they often walk. Another popular item for walking is cellphones. One of my friends had his cellphone taken recently after it fell accidentally through a hole in the floor of the taxi he was riding. He thought it fell on the floor, and could retrieve it easily, but then saw it fell all the way to the road under the taxi. By the time he realized what happened, a child had picked up the phone and ran off.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 15 – 2/27/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Today was a fairly restful day. In the morning I wrote reports about my consultant work with the Dan and Mann teams. For lunch I went to the home of Seokin and Esther Payne. Seokin was the translation coordinator for the Bassa Bible. It was good to see photos of their children (all grown) and their grandchildren, who all live in the US. Esther made ground pea (peanut) sauce and rice, which I enjoyed thoroughly. The sauce had chicken in it instead of fish, which I’ve had almost every day here. Seokin cannot eat fish right now since he is taking a medicine for a rash that does not interact well with seafood. He is also suffering from typhoid. Esther just recovered from it, but now has malaria. Sickness is a common part of life here.
Seokin and Esther shared some of the struggles they face here. For a year they have tried to connect to electricity, which is running past their house. They even put up a pole and wiring to make it easy for the utility company. Unfortunately, they have been told there are no electric meters in the country right now. Who knows how long they have to wait for electricity, something most of us take for granted. Esther would like a fan at night to escape from the constant heat. I’m thankful the electricity has been constant for me at the guesthouse this time. Sometimes I have to turn on the breaker, which the watchmen turn off while I’m gone. I have learned to check that first before entering my guestroom.
As Seokin drove me back to my place, I noticed a woman carrying a large pan of goods on her head. It must have been very heavy since she was struggling under its weight. I noted this to Seokin, so he started sharing with me what people carry on their heads while riding on the back of motorbikes. He once saw a man with a door on his head. Another person had a motorbike in his lap.In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 14 – 2/26/16 ~Dear family & friends,
    Today we checked 2 Samuel 1-2 in Dan. The checking went smoothly for the most part. Late in the morning I lost all my checking notes, not sure why. Never recovered them. Mystery to me. Computers are a great aid to the work, but sometimes they can slow us down as we encounter glitches on them. I saw a common translation problem today. The team followed the Hebrew literally by saying “the house of Judah,” which is often misunderstood as the house that Judah lived in. We changed this to “the people of Judah” to avoid the misunderstanding. In 2 Samuel 1.16 it says that the Amalekite who killed King Saul. However, in the next verse David speaks to him, so the Dan translator rendered the last part of verse 16 as “He struck him with a sword so that he would die.” It’s hard to speak to someone who is already dead.
    This morning I went to visit my sister organization, called LIBTRALO (Liberian Translation and Literacy Organization). I was saddened to see the large trees in front of their office being cut down with a chain saw. One of those trees towered at least 75 feet and must have been over 50 years old. It’s rare to see such large trees in Monrovia. I asked why it was being cut down. They told me the apartment complex in front of LIBTRALO wanted to build a high cement block wall for security and the trees were in the way. Sad. Several large mango trees on the road I take to work have also been cut down recently. Again I was told, “They need to build a fence.” Yesterday my Dan colleagues asked me if I have a big wall around my home in the US. Of course not. Most of the large expensive homes here have big walls around them with razor wire on top to keep out thieves. I told them we build such walls around our prisons. In response they said, “Yes, in a way such walls imprison the people who live behind them here. If thieves break in, there is no way for the inhabitants to escape.”
    I’ve enjoyed my time with the Dan team. They will travel back home tomorrow. Pray for safety in travel for them. It’s a long journey by public transport.
In Christ,
Don Slager

Day 13 – 2/25/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Thank you for your prayers. I felt quite a bit better today. Still had trouble talking, so I limited what I said.
Today we checked the rest of Exodus 15 and all of 16 in Dan. We encountered two challenging translation problems. In Exodus 16.14 it says that manna was as delicate as frost. In Dan they said it was as delicate as hail since they don’t have frost here. However, I cautioned them that hail is not very delicate. So I suggested that they say the manna was as delicate as ashes. That has worked well in other languages here. In 16.16 the translator transliterated the Hebrew measurement called “omer,” but this has little meaning in Dan, so we made it clear that an omer is equivalent to about 2 kilos.
On the way back to the office after lunch several people were repairing a car that was emitting a lot of smoke. The car did not sound good. When I walked back to the guesthouse four hours later, they were still working on the same car. It still sounded and smoked the same. They were trying to fix a major problem with just a couple wrenches on the side of the road. I’m not sure they will succeed. When my brother Dick was here in August, he was amazed by what people could fix with so few tools, so he sent some tools with me this time for them to use at the compound where I stay. Often I have to be creative to fix something that breaks. I always take a roll of duct tape since it can be used to patch up many things temporarily.

In Christ,
Don Slager

Day 12 ~ 2/25/16 – Dear family & friends,
I had to go to bed early last night due to my cold. I wanted to be sure to get enough sleep to regain my energy and recover. By the middle of the day yesterday I lost my voice, so I had to whisper to the translators, which did not work the best. I still cannot speak normally, so pray that I can regain my voice soon.
I began work with the Dan team. We went through their alphabet, inventories, and check programs on the computer to make sure they were working correctly. Then we began working on Exodus at chapter 15
Since arriving here, two mothers have asked me if I could help their sons attend a local college, since their sons are applying to join the Liberian army. With few jobs here high school graduates have little to do. For most of them college is too expensive. So now they see the army as an alternative, which has begun recruiting in anticipation of the United Nations peace keeping force leaving later this year. There is a long line of people wanting to join the army. I understand that there is outside funding for part of the salaries of the Liberian soldiers, so the army looks attractive now.
During my last visit I shared that one of the Dan translators worked in a government school for three years without getting paid. Recently he put pressure on the government to pay him. Instead of paying him, they simply terminated him. They hired someone else, who also is not being paid. So I asked the translator, “Why would anyone take this job if their is no reimbursement?” He replied, “There is always hope you will be paid. It’s better than doing nothing.”

In Christ,
Don Slager

Day 11 – 2/23/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Today I finished my work with the Mann team. We concentrated on using the translation check programs, so we did not make much progress in actual checking. We only did Exodus 15. But I feel the team is better prepared to work fairly independently now. We did have one scare when the book of Judges was accidentally deleted. I was able to recover it from the project history, so all is well again. Mary Donkeh is a translator on the Mann team. She is the only female Liberian that has ever been appointed as a translator, so she feels a certain pressure to do well. Today she is no longer BBC, that is, Born Before Computers, since she feels fairly confident on the computer. She does very well. A year ago she was first introduced to a computer.
There is a traffic light at the major street I have to cross on my way to the Liberian Bible Society each day. Several cars usually go through the light after it turns red, so I wait at least 10 seconds before crossing. For motorbikes the light seems to be optional, so I especially look for them before crossing. Today a motorbike with a policewoman as a passenger went through the light long after it had turned red. I also saw a pickup truck leapfrog the traffic standing still at the red light. Hopefully a vehicle from the opposite direction doesn’t do it. Unfortunately, a number of pedestrians have been killed at traffic lights.
I came down with a cold today. Something the Mann team shared with me before they left. Pray I have strength tomorrow as I begin work with the Dan team.

In Christ,
Don Slager

Day 10 2/22/16 – Dear family & friends,
Today I met with the Mann team, mostly working on their spelling and punctuation conventions, so that the translation software can guide them better as they translate. We also worked on Genesis 39-40. In chapter 40 they said Pharaoh freed his head baker from prison and then had his head cut off. One translator asked why Pharaoh freed him from jail if he only had his head removed. So we adjusted the text to simply say that he had his head cut off.
We had some problems with the Mann alphabet on the computer. Pray that I can solve these problems tomorrow before the team returns home.
As I returned to the guesthouse after working with the team, I met the paralyzed young man (James) again. He was shaking violently, so I asked him what was wrong. He said he had malaria, so I went to the guesthouse to ask Eddie, one of the watchman, if it was okay for me to get malaria medicine for James. Eddie cautioned me not to give him the medicine without him going to a clinic first. He suggested that he go along with me to talk with James. As we walked together, Eddie shared that James often drank too much liquor. He also thought James may have been pretending the shaking to get my attention. He may be right since James was not shaking when we approached him. Before we reached James, Eddie recommended that I give him a small amount of money for a clinic. He also said the James was living with his mother, and he was born with his handicap. From this experience I have learned that James has not been completely honest with me. That can often happen here, but I prefer to err on the side of mercy. I’ve also learned anew that it is very helpful to ask my friends about people I see in need on the street.

In Christ,
Don Slager
Day 9 2/21/16 – Dear family & friends,
My first day of checking with the Mann team went very well. We checked Genesis 37-38. When we got to the story of Judah and Tamar, we had a few translation challenges. First, we had to find a polite way of “wasting semen on the ground.” The translator had a polite way of saying it, but her translation was not understood by the other translator, so we had to adjust it for understanding. If we become too polite, meaning can be lost. Instead of “temple prostitute,” the translator said simply “prostitute,” since she did not understand what such a person was. Once I explained what a temple prostitute did, she could render it well.
Continue to pray for the health of the translators. Some are now suffering from colds. We are sharing more than ideas.
Today (Sunday) three of my colleagues will be returning to the US. Pray that they return safely. Saying hello and goodbye is a common part of missionary life.
Yesterday I helped a woman whose husband has deserted her. There is no safety net here for such women. She wants to build a simple house for her family, so I gave her what was needed for the cement and zinc. She’s a hard worker, so I pray she can complete her house. The present place she has is starting to lean, so she cannot close some of the inside doors. Keep her in prayer.

In Christ,
Don Slager
.
Day 8 2/21/16 – Dear family & friends,
My first day of checking with the Mann team went very well. We checked Genesis 37-38. When we got to the story of Judah and Tamar, we had a few translation challenges. First, we had to find a polite way of “wasting semen on the ground.” The translator had a polite way of saying it, but her translation was not understood by the other translator, so we had to adjust it for understanding. If we become too polite, meaning can be lost. Instead of “temple prostitute,” the translator said simply “prostitute,” since she did not understand what such a person was. Once I explained what a temple prostitute did, she could render it well.
Continue to pray for the health of the translators. Some are now suffering from colds. We are sharing more than ideas.
Today (Sunday) three of my colleagues will be returning to the US. Pray that they return safely. Saying hello and goodbye is a common part of missionary life.
Yesterday I helped a woman whose husband has deserted her. There is no safety net here for such women. She wants to build a simple house for her family, so I gave her what was needed for the cement and zinc. She’s a hard worker, so I pray she can complete her house. The present place she has is starting to lean, so she cannot close some of the inside doors. Keep her in prayer.

In Christ,
Don Slager
.

Day Five 2/17/16 ~ Dear family and friends,
Today all the translators were at the workshop. However, two asked for prayer since they have not been feeling well for some time. One will be going to the doctor right after the workshop.
On my way to or from the office I often see a young man who is handicapped. His name is James. His legs are somewhat paralyzed, so it is hard for him to walk. His speech is also slurred. He always has a smile when he sees me. Yesterday he asked if I could buy him some decent clothes, so that he could go to church. I often help him with just a little money, but this time decided to give him more. He offered to carry one of the boxes of eyeglasses back to my room even though it is hard for him to walk. I let him do it, just so I could talk with him more. He shared that he missed his father, who died several years ago. So I asked him about his mother. Immediately he called her evil, saying she beat him so bad that he became paralyzed. He definitely had hard feelings about his mom. Pray for James. It’s a hard life here for him, without any support.
Today one of the translators showed me photos of his 18 year daughter who was beaten severely four days ago with a metal rod by her boyfriend. He beat her because he thought she had another boyfriend. It was hard to look at those photos. Her boyfriend was jailed for only one night. He asked the translator to drop the charges against him, giving him $800 to say nothing. His daughter would prefer to take the money since she still loves the man. The translator asked me what to do since it appears there may be little justice. I encouraged him to contact the missionary I met last night who helps abused children. There may be a possibility of justice through her. Please keep this in prayer.
Children are often abused here until they become adults. Once you are an adult you are given respect. Since many children die here from illness, some parents don’t even give them a real name until they are a few years old. I remember a small friend of my son J, whom they called Coconut Gut. I learned later that wasn’t his real name, simply a play name until he became old enough for a real name.
Thanks for your prayers for the workshop. It has been going well.

In Christ,
Don Slager

Day Four 2/16/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
All the translators came to the workshop today. Thanks for your prayers. I went an hour early with the eyeglasses I brought. Most of the translators were there already. They eagerly tried on glasses to see if any worked for them. Everyone found at least one pair, and took some extras for their families. One of the first questions I’m asked each time I come is whether I brought any glasses. I’m glad I can bring them. The Lions Club in my hometown provides them. I usually bring about 100-200 pair.
Today we concentrated on computer programs that can help the translators remove the errors from their work. These programs definitely help. One team saw immediately that they spelled the name Chronicles three different ways in just a couple chapters. It’s amazing what kinds of errors these programs can catch.
Tonight I went to a nearby restaurant with some missionary friends. It’s good to share our work with each other. One couple serves at ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa). They are here for a short period, the husband repairing generators and fixing other mechanical problems. Another reaches out to children who are abused. It’s great to see how God uses each of us to make his name known.

In Christ,
Don Slager


Day Three 2/15/16
~ Dear family and friends,
The first day of our translation software workshop went smoothly. However, three of the translators did not come due to illness or work. Pray that they come tomorrow. It’s essential that they all attend so that the work moves ahead smoothly.
This morning as I was walking to the office, a small child addressed me, saying, “Chinese man, Chinese man.” I guess my appearance has changed? Before the war children always called me “white man.” Now since the war a lot of Chinese have come here, so any strange person is viewed as being Chinese.
I enjoyed a great lunch today. Lunch is being catered for us by a cook shop owned by one of the Bible Society staff. We had the usual rice along with two possible sauces on top (either potato greens with shrimp or brown beans with fish). I had tried both. A little hot with pepper, but not bad. For dessert we had cassava cake and papaya pie, both of which I never had before. I really liked the cassava cake since it was sweet. I don’t get many sweets here, so it was a treat.
This evening several Liberia friends visited. It’s good to see people I have known for 35 years. We age, but we remain one in Christ.

In Christ,
Don Slager
Day Two 2/14/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
In the church service this morning there was a wedding at the end of it, so it went for over two hours. It was an interesting wedding. For the processional they played music from Beauty and the Beast. The little flower girl tossed out pieces of candy, each one she kissed before throwing. They had an arch of balloons that the bride and groom stood in during the ceremony. Special emphasis was placed on “forsaking all others” in the vows, and encouraging the congregation not to “divide asunder” the couple, whether it be mother, father, brother, sister, and so on. Then the pastor pronounced them husband and wife with the authority of the church of Christ, not the authority of the state. It’s the first time I’ve seen a wedding ceremony as part of a church service. I understand it is quite common in Liberia now. The congregation definitely enjoyed it. In fact, the pastor encouraged the audience to concentrate on the sermon, not thinking ahead to the wedding. Not sure if that worked.
A number of friends came to visit me this afternoon. It was good to see them. One shared that he has started teaching at a high school since October, but has not been paid yet. Not sure I would have that patience. He is starting to look for other possible jobs, but he is definitely needed in the school to teach science. It’s sad to see good teachers not being paid.
I’ve been able to rest well today, so I’m ready for the translation workshop this week. Pray that all the translators arrive safely and on time since the traffic is very heavy on work days.

In Christ,
Don Slager

Day One 2/14/16 ~ Dear family and friends,
It definitely is warmer here than in Wisconsin. In the mid 80s here all the time. I’m enjoying the warmer weather.
I moved from the hotel to the United Methodist guesthouse yesterday. There was a misunderstanding. I could have come here when I arrived, but at least I got to enjoy one night of air-conditioning. Now I can hear the ocean again.
My colleague arrived from upcountry yesterday She brought back some monkey/finger/small bananas and pineapple, so I’m enjoying lots of fruit. She also brought some plantain. We have to decide what to do with it since our cooking here is limited.
I’m hampered by planter fasciitis this time. It doesn’t seem to like lots of walking which I did yesterday. I’m trying to do stretches to relieve the pain. Please keep this in prayer that it heals. I’ve had for two months now. It’s bearable, but I’ve decided not to run, so the healing can take place. If any of you have suggestions for healing, let me know.

In Christ,
Don Slager

Arrival 2/13/16 ~ Dear family & friends,
Thank you for your prayers. I arrived in Liberia safely last night. All my luggage came through well. I had three pieces this time since my brother Dick provided a lot of gifts for people here. He wants to puts smiles on the faces of people here. He will succeed.
The one surprise I had coming this time is that my regular lodging place was not available. I usually stay at the United Methodist guesthouse since it is close to the Liberian Bible Society and is inexpensive. But it is full right now since the Methodists have an annual conference until tomorrow. Pray that I can move there early next week. I’m staying in a local hotel, which is very nice, but too expensive for long term. I must admit though that I enjoyed the air-conditioning last night while I slept. However, I missed the sound of the ocean.
I hope to write a little each day again.

Love in Christ,
Don Slager


 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s