Thursday, June 16, 2016

JAARS -- The Harvest

Big Frog and I went to JAARS Day, once again on the hottest day possible.  We had a blast!

JAARS is currently running what it calls "A Campaign for Possible", which is not seeking funds but people for partnership.  Thing is, Jesus didn't say “The harvest is plentiful but money is lacking.” (Luke 10). The need is people.  

This visit we went off-roading(as passengers) on their course, which was designed to get missionaries ready for jungle living.  The key difference between that and adventure off-roading is that you trailer in your adventure vehicle behind your everyday vehicle and you can go rough-and-tumble with it with no repercussions except inconvenience.  But when you go off-roading in your primary vehicle, you drive "as slow as necessary" because from the middle of the jungle you still need to get back home1.

1 YouTube asked me if I wanted it to smooth out what it read as shaky camerawork. 

One of our cool discoveries in our visit last summer was the solar powered audio Bible.  They make it in many languages and use it in oral cultures, to be certain, and the JAARS staff can share anecdotes of people putting it on their hat brims to listen to as they work outdoors, or of kids quoting off entire chapters and books from ongoing repetition.

Our need for it was somewhat different.  Big Frog's dad read the Bible consistently and completely, all his life long, but by last summer he was at a point where his vision was beyond the giant print Bible he was using by the time I joined the family.  We considered getting him the Bible on CD, but to teach him to use a complex device like a CD player we knew would be a challenge.  This is the kind of gent who wouldn't get a TV for the house, and even when Big Frog's mom finally did smuggle one into the house (Big Frog was 13), it served as an end table, boxed up and with a tablecloth over it, any time it wasn't in use and certainly any time Big Frog's dad was home.  But the Megavoice is as close as you're going to get to a big green triangle and a red square.  Simple.  You don't even need to replace batteries in it.

And in his closing months Big Frog's dad made heavy use of that device.  We learned that Joshua was his go-to book.  And the words, in Joshua and in the whole of the Bible, brought him comfort.   

We didn't need it in a bilingual version, or a newly translated language.  What we needed for Big Frog's dad was the old-school King James Version.  As new translations proliferate, King James is sometimes shuffled aside.  But Big Frog grew up in a church where if you so much as read in a different version people looked askance at your theology.

So on this visit, I thanked the JAARS gift shop staffer for making that version available to my father-in-law.  For, in a place dedicated to world missions, having an easy-to-use device available in Spanish and African languages and Asian languages, but for sending it to him in King James, in a format he could make use of.  To this lovely older lady, whom I had never met before but who I felt certain would understand me even if she herself was a loyal KJV-er, I said that "it was, after all, 'the Bible Jesus read'".  And she gently commiserated with me, and then pierced the veil for me when she pointed out that "King James was his heart language"

Of course it was.  For the first time, I got it.  Just as much as the mother tongue of a tribal people group is a heart language, to this old dude who prayed "O Lord, help us to be humble, and help us to be oh so grateful" as a constant refrain, King James is what his soul knows.  And as he is face-to-face with Jesus now, he no doubt still worships in thees and thous.  I could stand to learn from such an example.

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