At A Loss

Friday brought to a much-needed close the first half of what is now our third two week workshop on Luke’s gospel. In these workshops my colleagues and I, a translation consultant in training, gather together with the three translation teams that we’ve been working with for several years now and offer mentoring and training of the maturing translators as well as offer feedback on their evolving translations. Back in 2013 we started training these mostly beginner translators from three different languages, a group of about ten men and women all together. We’ve guided them through the process of drafting, testing, revising, checking, and publishing the Old Testament books of Ruth and Jonah. Since March of this year we have been steadily working our way through the gospel of Luke and are now nearing the halfway mark. The work rolls on.

This past Friday, however, was not kind to us. In the morning one of the translators received word from his wife that she had taken their sick son to the closest medical clinic for treatment for malaria only to find that he had already succumbed to his illness. The translator, who had traveled several hundred miles away from home, leaving his family behind in order to attend this workshop, was now faced with the grueling task of a two day’s journey home to the village without any prospect of his young son being there to welcome him back. I can’t imagine.


In every newsletter we remind you our faithful readers of the importance of praying for the translators we work with.  They give so much of their time and energy and personal means to trade it in for the first drafts of a new verse of holy scripture in their mother tongue. While they’re working, translating, life does not go on hold. Illness does not relent. Daily demands do not ease. Fields do not prepare and plant themselves. Life goes on and often takes away.

We mourn with our brother who is only today back at home with his family grieving the loss of their beloved boy. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.


Friday is for Foot

No better time than the end of the workweek to take to the terrain to stretch your legs in a game of soccer. That’s our Friday tradition. Guys from our organization and guys from the neighborhood get together for a weekly battle of the wannabe titans. The roughness of the pitch is only surpassed by the roughness of play that takes place on it. “Play the ball not the man” hasn’t translated well into the local language. Any newcomer to the game observing might be led to think that random handballs are just part of the deal.  Despite the undesirables we do manage to have fun and keep it relatively friendly.

While in the UK last year I had the privilege of jumping in to the weekly matches of a group of guys from church. We played right through the winter months and even when it rained or felt like it was cold enough to snow. While the pitch was far and away more friendly, the play often resembled that of the wannabe titans whom I had grown accustomed to playing with in Cameroon. Don’t get me wrong, I actually appreciate players who play hard and fight for a goal and a win as I consider one’s play-ethic (to coin a term) on the field to be reflective of one’s work-ethic off the field. What’s more, playing hard isn’t incompatible with good sportsmanship.

That brings me to my pal Ian, who plays hard and exhibits exemplary sportsmanship on the pitch . He not only sent me back to Africa with good memories of good times of playing football in freezing rain, but also gifted me a jersey of his hometown team, Scottish Premiership football club St Johnstone. This picture was taken today after Friday football for Ian. Here I am proudly rocking my St. Johnstone strip. (And if you’re curious, my team won tonight–thanks in part to my goal! Maybe I got a lucky jersey!?)



Well, I was going to go home for lunch but seeing as the road I have to cross to get there is blocked off for presidents to pass by, I thought I’d linger to blog just a little bit.

Not are we only the MaustsOnToast, but we’re also the MaustsOnTranslation. We still regularly get asked why the name MaustsOnToast. If you’ve been wondering, but too ashamed to ask, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve provided a response right here on toast. As for the why of MaustsOnTranslation, that should be a little more obvious seeing as we’re in Africa to help with language development and the translation of the Bible into local languages. More about that over here.

Is this a good time to note that we wished we blogged more? Well, we do. But four kids–including twins–really diverts our attention away from electronic screams to tend to energetic screams. We trust you’ll understand.

We have just succeeded in sending out a newsletter to keep you abreast of our goings-ons. We send out bimonthly newsletters to update you, thank you, encourage you, inspire you, and more directly connect you to what we’re up to. We hope your heart jumps with glee those moments when you notice that the newsletter fairy has magically delivered a new edition of ‘MaustsOnTranslation’ into your inbox. If that’s not currently happening, go sign yourself up so the fairy knows your inbox is lonely. In the meantime, give the latest edition a click, it’s hot off the press today just for your reading pleasure.

Taxi on Toast

Pick Your Pocket

Heading downtown—to the belly of the whale as I call it—is sure to lead to scintillating sights and curious encounters.

Today a friend and I grabbed a taxi and traveled the stress-free way down into town. Arriving at the photo lab where we wanted to get prints made, a man seated in the waiting area informed us that we better wear our bags in front. Beware of thieves the invisible sign on his forehead read. Forearmed with his forewarning we collected our prints and made our way to our next destination. So far so good, so far so safe.

“I’ve never been pickpocketed,” my friend boasted.

“…that you know of!” I quipped. We both assured the continued presence of our wallets.

Taxis on Toast

When it came time to head back home, we waded through the sea of pedestrians, peddlers, and prowling vehicles to reach our spoke of the major roundabout which would put us on the path out of the whale. The taxis pull up slowly to the curb, make eye contact, and listen attentively for your desired destination. A honk means you’ve been accepted as a client. Silence means try again.

After several ineffective tries, the voice of a smartly dressed mature mentor sounded, “This area is dangerous. Watch out for pickpockets.”

Turning towards the concerned citizen, I replied, “You mean like me?” and reached out my hand towards his back pocket, falling short as a result of the quick hop he executed in the opposite direction. The confused look on his face quickly turned to laughter.

I confess that I did steal a smile from that man; every once in a while you have to tickle the belly of the whale.