God has brought me safely through the first week in Mali! I was pleasantly surprised to feel moderate temperatures when I stepped off the plane Sunday night. But the days warm up quite quickly. We are consistently getting above 100 each day, but thankfully it cools down to the low 70s at night.
There are around 10 involved in this Songhai NT workshop: me, the missionary coordinator, and 8 Songhai speakers. There are 7 adults who are consistently connected to the workshop, and I’ve invited a Bible school student to join us as she is able. Four of the 7 adults are married women, and the 3 men are also married. Two of the 3 men are the main translators, so the others are part of our Read-and-Review Committee (RRC) and do their work voluntarily. I think they are all enjoying being away from responsibilities at home and fellowshipping together. The 4 women are staying in one bedroom on the other side of the main room where the consulting takes place, and they talk so much in there that I wonder if they get hardly any sleep! The 3 men are staying with friends off the mission compound.
Since the RRC is part of this workshop, things move more slowly. They have to evaluate the Songhai for a little while before I can ask my questions to make sure the Songhai conforms to the Greek. We usually end up meshing together their questions and mine as we go. It usually takes a few days to get into a good rhythm, and this workshop was no exception. We finished only 1 Peter and most of 2 Peter last week, so pray we can pick up the pace. We will start into Revelation at some point tomorrow, and I hope to get at least half done this week. That will only leave the second half and the book of Hebrews for this project. But the missionary is going on a year-long furlough beginning in June.
It’s been a joy to be with these first-generation believers. All were saved out of Islam—not an easy conversion! Rebels continue to roam the north and sometimes cause problems further south, but drones are helping to clear out some of them. Bamako, where I am, was never affected by the unrest of last year, except that many northerners fled here. The workshop should take place in Timbuktu, but it’s not safe up there yet, and things need to be rebuilt.