Martin has started to write Bible Lessons. He started off writing a draft in Isan which his helper then rewrote to ensure clarity in language. Things seemed to go well at first and then they had some ups and downs. To talk in another language is one thing, but Martin still has to learn how to write in Isan and improve his writing style. In the midst of doing so, the Lord directed them to existing Isan lessons that were written some 20-25 years ago and were completely forgotten. They are not used anymore but there were still some copies available. It is a set of 68 phase 1 lessons that back then were written using a typewriter. This set has helped them to learn the right style for writing lessons. The team that did the lessons had some excellent Isan speakers helping them to translate the lessons from another tribal language into the Isan language.
Martin and his helper have started to digitalise these lessons. Doing optical text recognition on this script is not as easy as doing it on English text but they found a programme that does a decent job. There is still some editing needed, which has been mainly Christiane’s job. The rest of the team then discuss the lessons together. They check whether the lessons convey what they want them to say, and also think through the cultural context in which they want to teach the Biblical truth. A very gifted young lady from their village then reads the lesson and summarises portions so that they can see whether she understands it. She then clarifies things that they don’t understand, and at times writes some additions to the existing lessons.
Martin and Christiane have been back in Asia-Pacific for three years. That means that they are planning for another home assignment this year. It was hard for them to make that decision right now, as they are getting closer to being able to present the Gospel in the village. But presenting the Gospel and then leaving for a yearlong home assignment has proven to be not ideal either. Their plan is to go home in April. They will then visit family, churches and friends especially in Switzerland for about three months. Then in August Samuel will start second grade in a Christian school close to where they will be based in Germany. The goal is for him to complete one full school year in Germany before they return to Asia-Pacific again in July 2017.