Early Birthday

Two or so years ago in Cameroon, while having my hair cut under a mango tree by a friend, my friend and I started discussing our birthdays.  Her birthday is four days after mine and we were born in the same year.  What makes it significant is that this year means we are both turning 40!  We said on that day that we would like to be able to celebrate turning 40 together, if possible.

She ended up being in Canada with her family and we realized we were on the same continent around our birthdays, so there may be a way to celebrate together.  Another friend who lives near the US border on the Canadian side, who is a friend, who also served in Cameroon with her family and who we visited in 2012 in Canada, also could get together.  It was a plan!

Since the one friend returns to Cameroon in July, July is pretty much out, we have vacation in June and swim team, so June was looking like a no go, however, the last weekend in May was looking promising.  So, the date was set.  After discussions, the place was set.  I flew into Detriot and my friends picked me up and we had a great weekend talking into the wee hours of the morning, eating lots of yummy food, shopping and just being together.  It was great to be with others who knew me in Cameroon and who know me out of Cameroon.  Thanks ladies for a great time together!

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Two and Five

Today marks the two and five year anniversaries of pivotal moments in our lives – two years ago on this day we boarded a plane and said goodbye to Cameroon.  Five years ago on this day, Jonah had a serious accident and needed emergency surgery in Cameroon with follow-up surgeries in the USA.

While learning French, one of our duties at the school was to participate in some capacity at daily chapel.  There was a lesson that spoke to David from a passage in Matthew, Mark & John about two fish and five loaves.  We were blessed to have our French vocabulary multiple beyond five verbs and two adjectives.

It was two years ago today that we said goodbye and boarded a plane to leave Cameroon.  In some ways it feels forever ago and in other ways it feels like yesterday.  We have to admit we don’t miss the harder daily life aspects or the traffic, but we greatly miss people!  We miss friends, people we consider family members, the drop-in visitor’s, the borrowing of DVD’s from one another and the priority of people interaction.

*****WARNING*******GRAPHIC PICTURES******

Five years ago today, Jonah had a freak accident that almost completely severed his left ring finger and shattered the left middle finger.  If the emergency surgery wasn’t traumatic enough, he had to endure horrific twice a week bandage changes.  The graphic picture below is from one of his bandage changes that shows what his hand looked like one week after the accident.

Our six years overseas is a pivotal point in our lives, we talk in the BC (Before Cameroon) and AC (After Cameroon) terms.

In 2012 when we returned to the USA for four months, I was numb and it all seems and feels like a blur.  We went from surgery to surgery and therapy to therapy.  I remember seeing the x-rays that showed finger bones were pretty much shoved back in and the skin somewhat sewn around them.  I also remember a few months later on a follow-up x-ray seeing how the bones had pretty much disappeared due to bone infection.  I’ll always remember every detail of Jonah’s amputation surgery.

Here we are two and five years later.  Jonah was born with a left hand with five full digits, however, due to an accident, two of those digits were severely injured.  The Lord has helped him and us these past five years to process the grief, trauma and struggles that accompanied his accident.  Even though we are still adjusting trying to figure out how to “fit into”our old/new environment, the Lord has helped us these last two years to process the grief, struggles, transitions and new roles.

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Graduations

The last day of our school year was May 18th.  Joshua finished his eighth grade year – so he’ll be heading to High School in August.  Jonah finished his sixth grade year – so he’ll be heading to Middle School in August.  It’s hard to believe!  There are times when I look at them and still see the little boys who once wanted to cuddle tight, grip my hand and look at me admirably.

Joshua “graduated” from sixth grade in Cameroon.  He had a great celebration gathering with his classmates, parents and teacher.  It was a great closure for him too, since we were preparing to leave Cameroon.

Jonah’s school doesn’t have a graduation, but our new Children’s Pastor at church and the Youth Pastor, started a sixth grade “graduation” with Jonah’s class being the first class to have this celebration.  The celebration was held in the evening of May 18th – the same day as his last day of school – how cool is that!?!  It was great to be able to celebrate this milestone with Jonah.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, so I can’t share a picture, but I’ll paint a word picture.  The majority of the sixth graders who were at the celebration have been at the church since their birth.  I remember these kiddos from my days serving in the church nursery.  The parents presented their child with encouragement of how they see their kiddo and dreams they have for their child.  It was a blessed time!

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Joshua

We are so happy to see Joshua blossom this year.  Last year was a tough year for him – he didn’t want to be in the USA (he kept asking when we would go home – meaning Cameroon).  He had to leave behind friends from around the world who he had things in common with.  It’s been a hard transition for him to the USA and being a middle schooler with new emotions and hormones only compounded the difficulty.

This school year, he was a little more outgoing.  He made friends and has a good group of boys he mingles with.  One of his friends is moving to Colorado and Joshua told us about it, but could frame it and process it with the experiences he’s continually had of moving around, friends in and out of your life, etc…. he understands the importance to enjoy friends who are in front of you and with you because transition is up ahead.

We are so incredibly grateful to a specific teacher at the Middle School who began reaching out to him the second half of his seventh grade year and throughout his eighth grade year.  She’s helped encourage him, draw him out and encouraged him to express himself.  We were notified that Joshua would be receiving an award at an end of the year award assembly on May 18th.  We went and were thrilled when he was given an award not only in her class, but in other classes to.  He’s a great student and gets good grades, however, it was such a thrill that they could see him and his character.  We are proud of him, not because he received awards, but because he’s blossoming not only in front of us, but in front of others and others are recognizing who he is.

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May

May is a month of celebration for us.

We met in May of 1996.

We married in May of 1999.

We were accepted as Wycliffe members on our wedding anniversary in May of 2008.

Lots of milestones are in the month of May.  We are looking forward to celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary this weekend.  Yes, I’m still falling for David, but hopefully won’t fall this weekend!

We are looking forward to celebrating our nine years of Wycliffe service this weekend.

Thank you for walking with us along the journey!

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Sign Language

I (DeAnna) have a dynamic couple I’m privileged to serve, who are in Romania.  This couple works with deaf Bible translation.  They are currently learning RoSL (Romanian Sign Language) and spoken Romanian.

There are over 100 different sign languages in the world and their passion is to translate God’s Word into many different sign languages to make it accessible to all deaf peoples.

It’s neat how David recently received a comment from a man in the USA who shared his phone with the YouVersion Bible App set to Romanian with a family on Easter and I get the privilege to work with a couple who are in Romania working on deaf Bible translation.

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Sunday morning language barrier

One of the verses that impacted us in becoming members of Wycliffe and serving in Bible translation is Revelation 7:9.  After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb.

How can every language stand before the throne if not everyone who speaks the languages has heard?  That’s part of what lit a fire in us.

David answers technological help questions for YouVersion Bible App.  He does have many technological questions that come in, however, he also has theological questions that he’s asked, moral questions, comments, angry people, etc…   Some comments are odd and some are encouraging.

He received an encouraging comment on Monday.  On Easter Sunday a man at a U.S. church sat next to a family that recently arrived in the United States.  The man could tell that this family couldn’t fully understand everything that was being shared.  When the preacher shared the verses he’d been preaching from, the man searched on his phone in the YouVersion Bible App and found the Romanian translation, switched it to Romanian and handed his phone to the family sitting next to him.  The family lit up, very grateful for this precious gift of reading God’s Word in their language so they could fully understand the Easter message.

 

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