When Jack Russell recently returned to a Simba village to translate more of God’s Word, he ran into more than the usual problems.
In fact, it took a couple of weeks before he was even able to let his friends and family know what was going on. “It took me awhile to get the radio email going,” he wrote. “Mice had gotten in and chewed through the wires. Also lightning had struck my antenna and it had fallen.”
A bus dropped Jack off in the village at 2 a.m. “I had to carry my stuff from the road, down across the creek, and then out across a field, then up the hill to my house. It was about 78 degrees and very muggy,” he wrote. Then it started raining, but at least that cooled things off.
He really wanted a shower after the long trip to the village and struggle to his house, but the water was off.
“So I got a machete and started cutting a path up to the water tank. It's the middle of summer down here so the jungle had grown up a lot. Half an hour later I made it to the tank and got the water valve to the house open. But when I ran back down to the house I found I had a geyser.”
Jack settled for rinsing in the rain.
He decided that before he went to bed he should get the gas refrigerator going in order to keep the food he had brought in fresh.
“I got the bottle gas hooked up and it lit fine, but I thought I heard something and was crawling around the back for a closer look when – poof! The whole back suddenly burst into flames and there went all the hair from one arm. I rushed out and turned the gas off and decided I'd tackle that one in the morning.”
It wasn’t quite bedtime yet, however. First he had to kill all the spiders in the bedroom and make the bed.
“That's when I discovered that a small tub a margarine had broken open in the luggage and had gotten all over my sheets. No matter. I was so tired I slept until daylight.”
He might have slept longer, but it had started raining again, and the rain was coming into the bedroom through the roof. He went up in the attic and moved the cement tiles around, and that took care of the leaks.
After going back to work on the fridge– “and after burning the hair off of my other arm” – Jack discovered a torn seal that could not be fixed. With his fresh food going bad, he thought about going to town for more, except that his motorcycle is broken down and he’s still looking for parts for it.
Jack hired a man to mow around the house, because the grass was very tall. “He almost made it through the day before the lawn mower broke down. We have two but the other one … yeah, you know,” Jack wrote.
In spite of all the difficulties, Jack has been making a lot of progress on translation – just not at night. “I tried to work late one night, but the house batteries gave out. They are ten years old and are on borrowed time. I have a small generator so I went and got it out, but the cord snapped when I tried starting it,” he wrote.
This week, an NTM expert in Bible translation is supposed to come to the village to help check 1 Timothy.
Pray that Jack is able to continue to make good progress on translation and to keep a godly attitude in spite of the difficulties.