We wish you a Happy New Year in the shadow of Christ’s birth! As you step into 2016, we also wish you new beginnings! May you be surprised by God’s goodness and be at peace wherever He leads you. Priscilla and I (Doug) have enjoyed a sedentary December after all our travels this fall. We were finally able to spend some time with our boys in Michigan, and it was especially wonderful to be all together for the Christmas celebration.
2016 is a year of new beginnings for us. After serving in Europe for the past three years, we have felt God’s leading to move our base of operations to the US. Our goal of equipping Bible translators with the technology to accelerate their work remains the same, but the primary airport has changed from Basel, Switzerland to Grand Rapids, Michigan. We’ll be travelling together to training events, and between trips we’ll work out of our new office, complete with excellent Internet for our teleconferences.
You must know of our burden to get the Fulfulde Scriptures recorded. Having a printed New Testament is only relevant for people who know where to get it and who know how to read it. That isn’t saying much for a country and a people with an incredibly low literacy rate. While literacy training programs are one way to solve this problem, there are others. We’ve had our eyes set on solar powered audiobibles and on an audio Scripture app that works on cell phones. But in order for these devices to work, we need to record the text with mother-tongue Fulfulde speakers in West Africa, where we spent those years working on the translation.
God has opened the doors so that in just a few days (Jan. 7) we leave for five weeks to work closely with a recording team to get the job done! How does the recording work? (see video) Since we will be making a multi-voice dramatized version, we will need twenty or more different voices to read all the various characters in the text. As people read their parts, it is my job to check that the text is read correctly. If not, I say “Cut” and we back up and try again. Some of the participants can't read well and will need to be prompted verbally for their parts. In the end, the team from Faith Comes by Hearing are pros at arranging the recorded bits and adding sound effects like the rooster that crows after Peter denies Jesus three times. We will be sending updates out on our progress, to keep you informed and to encourage you to pray for the success of this endeavor!
We rejoice that the expenses for this trip are now covered from special gifts that several of you sent in response to our last newsletter. We continue to be thankful to the Lord for his provision and for your continued support.
As we have had opportunity to speak these past months, our message was based on Isaiah 55:3—Listen, and you will find life. It is our hope that the Fulani will indeed hear the Word and find abundant life in Jesus Christ.
Partners in the Gospel, (Phil 1:5)
Doug & Priscilla Higby