In a season of life where things are up in the air for so long, we are excited to share an announcement!
First, our language school plans are changing because of the current French lockdown. Borders remain closed to us, and rather than pushing our start date to September, we’ve been looking at other options with our supervisors. More on that to come soon!
Our supervisor felt that it would be wise to have an official assignment before beginning language school, and it has been so awesome to see God working in our hearts and in situations outside of our control to lead us to this decision.
So, without further ado... we’ve been invited to join the team in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire!
During our visit to this office in the summer of 2019, the Ivorian director of the office said with tears in her eyes, “We have been praying for more people to come.” And, in the village project that we visited, the lead national translator said to us, “Your place is here. God has been clear.”
At that time we were struggling to visualize our family in Abidjan, because the current expat missionaries living there all planned to retire very soon. We know that expat community is valuable, and we were hesitant to commit to something that we weren’t sure would be healthy for our family long-term. Our supervisors agreed. So, we prayed.
Since then, we’ve connected with another family (through Jack’s classes in Dallas) who are just a few months behind us in the process... also heading to French language school with us AND also assigned to the Abidjan office! They have three young kids as well, and we’ve so enjoyed getting to know them via Zoom as we prepare to be teammates on the field. What a joy and an answer to prayer!
Jack will be specializing in the beginning stages of translation projects, as a linguistics consultant. Basically, he will be listening to unwritten languages and helping to put that language into written form with an alphabet, grammar rules, and structure. Having a written language makes translation and literacy possible!
God has made this so clear for us, and we’re so thankful!
Some fun facts about Côte d’Ivoire...
“Côte d’Ivoire” translated into English is “Ivory Coast” — They prefer to be called by their French name, so Jack and I endeavor to do that as much as we can. But, it’s good to know that we’re talking about the same place.
The predominant religions are Islam (42%) and Christianity (33%), as well as the native religions of Western Africa.
There are over 70 individual languages in Côte d’Ivoire. As of our visit in 2019, there were nineteen active Bible translation projects and twenty more that need to begin.
French is the official language, and it is mostly spoken in the cities for business, as well as official documents and schools. There is a predominate local language in Abidjan that we will need to learn as well, called Jula or Dyoula.
Côte d’Ivoire was a French colony beginning in 1889. It gained independence in 1960, but hundreds of French citizens lived there until recently. So, the city of Abidjan looks very modern and has the “bones” of a French city. However, African culture fills those empty bones and makes for a unique city!
Abidjan is one of two capital cities. It is considered the economic capital because it’s a major port city on the ocean. The political (official) capital is Yamoussoukro.
See you soon, Abidjan!