Aug 23, 2014

Life in Africa part II: Mr. Slugworth

Well I realize that slugs are not centralized to Africa, but it's only been in Africa where we sort of have a slug as a pet; or he has us, not sure. But almost every night, Mr. Slugworth slips (slides? slithers? scoots?) his way under our back door and on to our tile floor. I guess he just wants to see what the humans are doing, because he comes in, hangs out at the door for a while and then leaves. At first it was "oh yuk!", but now it rather amusing and we even look to see if he's there. 

Jun 17, 2014

Panoramas from my latest trip

Here are two 360x360 interactive panoramas from my trip to Ndu. Once on the website, click & drag to see fully up/down and left/right.

Click to view the pano shot from a hill above the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary.

Click to view the pano shot inside the seminary in Ndu. 

Jun 10, 2014

Bible translations gen neXt

I recently returned from a story-gathering trip about the next generation of Bible translators enrolled in the Bible Translation Degree Program of the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary in Ndu.

With only 26 hours of electricity that week (24 one day, 2 three days later), it was especially challenging since the tools of my trade rely on batteries (cameras, flashes, phone, voice recorder, computer etc).

I got little sleep and worked hard gathering photos (lugging 30 pounds of camera gear around) and interviewing people from the President, adjunct faculty and students. In the photo above I was interviewing Vice President Johnson of the seminary.

One student, Joseph Nkwelle who is six months from graduation, stands out in my mind because of his sleeve-worn passion to see lives changed by Christ. Joseph says "It's important to have scripture in the mother tongue to give people an opportunity to hear God speaking in a way that they will be challenged, and in this way the message will get to their hearts."

Joseph's mother tongue is Akoose, a language group which already has the New Testament but desires the Old Testament as well. But when he considers which language project God may be leading him to, Joseph's heart is elsewhere. He says "they [a People with no Bible] need a New Testament more than my own people need the Old."

Jun 4, 2014

Storm over Yaounde

This time of the year there are no shortage of thunder storms in our area. And for this Southern California boy who is used to a mere 12"/yr of rain, I welcome violent storms. During a power outage on Monday I looked out the window to see if the next quartier had electricity, and I noticed this storm south of our house. But what caught my eye were the stars. It's not often that I am able to witness a storm and see the stars at the same time. This meant a mad dash for my camera, tripod and all the other little bits I'd need for long exposures. Et voila!

Now the photo below is the same as above with the exception of the lightening bolt, which by the way really happened. However, it actually occurred 8 frames earlier. Since this photos' composition/exposure were better, I brought the bolt over in PS. A little cheating, but I get points for honesty right?

Unfortunately Blogger dumbs down the quality of the photos, so you can see pixelated mess in the dark sky. If you know how to fix this then I would love to hear from you.

May 22, 2014

Sun halo in Yaounde Cameroon

May 12, 2014

Going solo

I leave in the morning for Ndu on my first solo trip for work. I'm working on a story of a Bible translation degree program largely taught by Cameroonian's as part of the curriculum at the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary. Then I'll head back down to Bamenda to visit an orphanage before heading home.

Mar 28, 2014

My photos used for aviation recruitment

Some of my photos are featured in the current recruitment eLetter by JAARS aviation. The article, written by one of our neighbors in Cameroon, can be found here.

Feb 8, 2014

An Unusable Bible

"If Deaf people can read, why do they need a Bible translation?" Good question. For Deaf people, sign language is their 'mother tongue', the language that speaks to their heart. And sign languages have a unique vocabulary and structure that doesn't resemble the spoken language where they live. Translators explain that since most Deaf people have never heard words and their associated sounds, learning to read is like memorizing a phone number for each word.

With an estimated 400 unique sign languages worldwide, Wycliffe and several other organizations are translating the Bible into sign languages where the end result would be a video Bible (see below).

As a hearing person I was surprised at my own reaction to the above video. Not only is it uncomfortable as my ears strain for sound, but since I know nothing of sign language I feel totally disconnected from it, rendering this Bible unusable to me. Simply put, it's in a language that does not speak to my heart.

And this is why we press on in Bible translation, because there are hundreds of millions of people who still have no scripture in the language they understand best. 

You may remember the story we did about Diane Lovell and her work with the South African Sign Language project. See a larger version of the video here on

Jan 30, 2014

You might be a missionary if...

-your kids ask if the power is on before they open the fridge door (they're not allowed to open the fridge if the power is off)
-your kids think the electricity has been cut when you turn a light off.
-when the electricity comes back on, everyone in the neighborhood yells "YEAAA!"
-you're kinda excited over a $3 can of Ragu sauce because it means you don't have to make pasta sauce from scratch today!
-you don't know whether to greet someone in French or English, not knowing which is their first language
-you go to the hangar and use jet fuel to clean your bike
-your daily beauty regimen includes mosquito spray and sunscreen
-your Valentine's day gift includes a much revered imported can of Dr. Pepper!
-in the course of a walk, you smell ripe guavas, breakfast cooking over someone's fire, and their pit toilet!
-your dining table's centerpiece is an emergency lantern
-your kids are in awe when they see their breath in the morning (West African MK's that is)

Jan 24, 2014

A few more spherical panos...

On the grounds of Collegiale de Neuchâtel

On the grounds 2 of Collegiale de Neuchâtel. And no, that is not a cigarette hanging out of my some tourists mouth, just some white stuff on the roof in the background. Honest!

The same bum in the Collegiale grounds pano showed up in the Rlle William-Mayor tunnel. Was he following me or was I following him?

Which pano is your favorite? So far Le Cabinet d'Amateur has gotten the most feedback. The candle-soot ceiling writings are unique and give the bookshop that 'special something'. Reading the writing, some of which is nearly 300 years old, I can't help but wonder what their lives were like back then in that 17th century winery.