Greetings from Lizard City
I was taught by my Louisiana great grandmother, Dosia Iles, “Baby, don’t ever hurt a lizard.” Africa, like our Dry Creek Old House, is a place where lizards abound.
A word from Curt
Actually, three words:
We’re in a different part of Africa. So different from the countries we’ve become familiar with.
But different isn’t a bad thing.
We’ve been embraced by men and women of peace in the country we’re calling “Dido.”
Here in Lizard City, as I’m calling the capital, we’ve found smiles, heat, sand, kindness, crowded streets, and new friends.
So far in our sojourn, this is my favorite story:
Moved Beyond Words
The African believer, clad in the long white robe common to this culture, read slowly and carefully from the Book of Daniel. It was the lion’s den chapter.
I didn’t get one word of it. It’s a dialect of Arabic common in this country.
But the two hundred in attendance leaned forward in rapt attention.
My new friend, I’ll call him Francis*, leaned over. “He’s reading it very well.”
I nudged Francis. “I bet it’s special to hear someone reading from a Bible you’ve translated.”
He had a far off look in his eyes. He smiled. “It makes it worth it all.”
“Priceless.” It was the only word I could add. I was moved beyond words.
*I call him Francis because he’s from South Carolina. After Francis Marion, the famous Swamp Fox of our American History.
Francis has invested a good portion of his adult life in translating the Bible into this unique Arabic dialect.
So these folks could hear the Good News in their heart language.
Your heart language is the way you communicate most comfortably.
It’s the default language you fall back on.
I guess it’s the language you dream in.
Here in the African country of “Dido” the trade language is often French. This was a French colony and those in the city and with some education can speak or maybe read it.
However, many cannot.
Earlier in the service, a man had read from the French Bible.
Francis nodded toward the women’s side of the church, “None of the women will understand French. They haven’t had the chances at education of the men.”
There was that term again.
Francis and his team completed the New Testament several years ago. He told me they’d distributed 25,000 copies. I told him, “That’s a bestseller.”
They published it in both Arabic script (written from right to left) and Roman alphabet (the letters we use in Western languages.)
They’re working hard on the Old Testament. Because of the country’s instability, they’re passing out OT books, like Daniel, as they finish. You never know what the next day may hold.
The language people dream in.
The language that the Gospel of Isa/Jesus walks into a heart on.
I got to see it in action.
And I was moved beyond words.
Last week, I walked home in Uganda as the Equatorial Sun dropped past the horizon. (On the Equator, the sun doesn’t set; it just goes plop.)
An older woman sat in front of her duka (shop). She held an open Bible in her lap.
She looked up and smiled.
I waved. “The Word is sweet.”
She repeated in the soft British/Ugandan accent I’ve come to love.
“The Word is sweet.”
Especially when it’s in your heart language.
Pray for DeDe and I this week:
Monday we have a host of meetings with officials, police, satraps, and commissioners. Pray that we’ll be a good witness.
Our team leader, David Crane, is in a strategic meeting in West Africa. Pray for David and our Sub-Saharan leadership.
Pray for our relationship with our translators.
Pray that we’ll meet men and women of peace. (This has already happened in our six days in country).