Just before Christmas, Steve and Gerdine Stanley took their long overdue language test. The two days were intense for their language consultants as they met with them and took them through their paces in language evaluations.
A high level of language is required so that they do not just teach the Bible and have all the lessons communicate at sentence level. Otherwise people hearing the lessons may not actually understand what the lesson was about, even though they hear the content correctly.
Steve’s vocabulary was right, his sentences were mostly right, but the big idea did not come across. He had communicated well, but that last necessary piece needed to make sure that the Bible teaching communicates as a whole was lacking.
He scored Capable Mid, leaving him with just one more level to achieve. Their next test will be scheduled for six months’ time, and Steve is hoping that will be the time he achieves the coveted Capable High level of speaking ability.
Gerdine has shown improvement, but just not enough to go up a level, meaning that she’s still at Progressing Low level. She is disappointed, but also not surprised. She only gets a couple of hours a week for language study, busy as she is home schooling a five year old while simultaneously caring for two two-year-olds! Steve is proud of her, and that she is sticking at the language study regardless and is making progress.
They took a week’s break for Christmas, attempting to hide in their house as much as possible to get away from “work” which is learning the Kovol language.
New Year’s Day was taken up with community meals. Three different villages wanted to cook a meal and eat it with them. The problem was that this takes about five to six hours each time, so they had to split up. Their co-worker Rhett went off to a nearby village to be with them while they stayed and ate with guests from a different village in the morning (from 7am!) and their village in the afternoon. It was exhausting, but it is good to be popular. One of the exciting things about getting to work in Kovol is how keen they are to hear and be taught God’s Word. It can sometimes be a bit too much for them to keep up with though! Rhett ended up getting sick from something he ate in the other village, so the Stous family had to spend a week fighting off a stomach bug.
Now it is back to language study. However, one side project that came up was a hike to a village an hour or so away, to give chainsaw lessons. The community was given a chainsaw and Alaskan mill by the district development office but did not know how to use it. After a day’s instruction, the chainsaw is out of action because all the bar oil has been used up. Pray that no one is hurt and that teaching them or going over to fix the saw does not become a regular event, as it could potentially be quite time-consuming for Steve and his co-workers.
A land dispute turned deadly recently when two Kovol teens took catapults and arrows and shot two men from another language group. It is a messy situation with bad behaviour on both sides. Pray for a peaceful resolution. This is all an-hour-and-a -half-or-more hike away and does not concern their village, meaning it is not threatened.