The gift of being present
By Alfinda Herman | Wycliffe Today Winter 2022 edition |
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)
After I dropped off my children at school, I was eager to get started on my long to-do list. I walked past my neighbour’s house and she was standing by her door. We greeted each other with the usual small talk. Then she said, ‘Come in, let’s have coffee’. One part of my brain was thinking about the clock and was tempted to say, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t today’. But a little voice said ‘Are you kidding? Go!’ I’m glad that voice won.
We have been living here in Skopje, Macedonia, since the middle of 2021 but this was my first time stepping inside my neighbour’s home. She served up some Turkish coffee (the standard drink here in the Balkans), orange juice and some sweets. She told me that her sister had recently, and suddenly, passed away at just 28 years of age. She recounted the day of her sister’s passing two or three times. She was clearly mourning, even if it was without tears. I was glad I could sit with her, listen to her, and keep her company. I didn’t have enough language ability to say anything profound, but perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing.
It would have been too easy for me to pass up a coffee and a chat in pursuit of more ‘productive’ work that day. This was a humbling reminder that the process of changing my mindset from being ‘task-oriented’ to ‘relationship-oriented’ is still far from finished. I’m challenged to keep training my instinct to prioritise ‘being’ over ‘doing’. After all, our God’s primary way of blessing people is through his presence. I want to be more like him.
For more information about the Scripture translation and literacy education work Alfinda and Aidan Herman are doing with the Roma people in Europe, go to https://wycliffe.org.au/member/aidan-alfinda/.
Friendship is the foundation
Rachel Borneman | Wycliffe Today October 2019
Rachel Borneman has been serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Northern Territory since 2009 and is currently serving in partnership with Scripture Union NT. She is also the Missions Interlink Coordinator for the region. Rachel explains what ministry among Indigenous communities involves:
I have relationships with the Indigenous people, so I’m not just another whitefella. They show me love and respect and call out my relationship term through the skin system. I carry on these relationships in all areas of life and worship. My Indigenous nannas look out for me. At times, I have a Kriol Bible story ready to share or a memory verse rap as part of fellowship. When I take people on journeys, Christian music is listened to along the way. We have recorded Christian raps that the kids and youth love.
It helps to hear from them about what they want to do, and when to do it, rather than doing something according to my schedule. There are always constant needs for food, power, transport — things that are basic but necessary. Being family means providing when I can. A lot of my time goes into these things but it also opens up conversations about God and how we can improve Scripture engagement in the community. To help people engage with Scripture, you need to ensure that the friendship is there first.
Check the videos out at https://www.youtube.com/user/AboriginalBibles/videos
Joseph Rap: https://youtu.be/DSZjReg8lOY
White cockatoo, black crow
By Rachel Borneman
My Indigenous nanna, Rachael, and I were sitting on a rug outside a Women’s Conference in 2009. Rachael was sharing about how she saw a black crow and white cockatoo flying together and it reminded her of God’s call for his people to work together in unity.
While she was still speaking, someone called out ‘Rachel’ and both of our heads turned. Because I am a muninga (whitefella), my nick name then became ‘white cockatoo’ and the other Rachael became known as ‘black crow’.
A few years later, Wendy (Rachael’s sister) shared with us, first to her sister Rachael W (black crow), ‘You know how you’re living in Adelaide? Well, you are learning whitefella way, just like how your last name starts with W.’
Then she turned to me, saying, ‘You know how your last name starts with B? Well, you’re learning blackfella way by living in Katherine, learning Kriol, and the Indigenous way of life.’
It is special to have a connection to my nanna Rachael, not just through our given names but also through the bond of friendship we share as the white cockatoo and black crow.