Steve and Gerdine Stanley’s recent language evaluation was a good test of their abilities.

Steve scored Capable Low (level 7/9), up one level from four months ago and Gerdine scored Progressing Low (level 4/9), up two levels.

Steve had to use the Kovol language to explain what Valentine’s Day was all about, and that communicated spot on perfectly. Then he had to have a go at explaining the Olympics. After Steve finished explaining the bullet points he had been asked to talk on, including, “People who win go home and receive praise and fame and this motivates others to train for years to be an Olympic athlete.” His consultant asked his Kovol language helpers, in Tok Pisin, “So, what happens when a winner goes home?” The answer came back, “Well next time they have to do the Olympics in their country.” Oh dear! Not quite.

With Graham and Carol Townley living with them in Kovol for two months Gerdine was able to quadruple the hours she could put into language study and made a burst of progress. For Steve the end is on the distant horizon and that is encouraging, but there is still a long way to go so pray for endurance!

Steve and Gerdine’s Kovol friends are very excited at their progress. “Two levels left!” they keep telling Steve. They think they probably have one more year of language study before some of the team start finishing. They need to be able to communicate at a higher level, and have several large papers that they need to write on Kovol culture and language. Next step in the journey will be to start a literacy class, and they are eager to get there!

The whole family have been so blessed by Graham and Carol’s help these last months, and they are wondering how they will cope now they have returned to the UK! Graham worked away on a list of projects around their house and has put them about a year ahead of schedule. The tasks included a loft conversion and new furniture so that Oscar now has his own room, an office space under the house for Steve to use as they transition into more office work that will include Kovol contributors, a bookcase for home-school things, and general maintenance and repairs.

Carol has been busy being Grandma to their three kids

Life in the bush for the Kovol people can be very hard. The newborn baby that they previously shared about did not survive. Babies die so frequently that it is not even news worthy. Currently the team do not know their language well enough to communicate with clarity and they need to invest quite a bit of time in laying the right foundations so the people can understand what the Bible has to say. Death is the great enemy, and they see this so clearly in Kovol. They are looking forward to being able to share how God has sent His Son to conquer death and how what he has done has turned death from an enemy into the gateway to resurrection life. Pray God’s Spirit would be at work in all these tragedies preparing people to hear His Word.

Steve and Gerdine are currently out in town taking a break for a few weeks.