The birth of another booklet

I’m really still a teacher and literacy promoter at heart, even though I’ve been doing Bible translation for the past 15+ years. I want kids to learn to read and often I have a little project on the side of making a booklet of some type. What I pick to do just depends on if I sense a need for getting info out to the people (like about AIDS, for example) or if I see a cute book I want to do for the kids (like The Wide-mouth Frog).

This year, I got the idea to do a booklet for some couples who wanted to get pregnant and have children but haven’t been able to. I became aware of the need because of a big problem that arose in the village which involved my main translation helper’s family. I’ll write about that, then tell more about the booklet later.

When we returned to the village in May, I learned that Edgar, the kids’ Sunday school teacher, hadn’t been calling Sunday school for several months. After asking around a bit, I found out that his wife had accused him of having an affair with Lydia, a married woman. Turns out that he had been using his shamanistic abilities to try to get Lydia pregnant. I didn’t press to find out details of just how he could do that. Whatever it was, though, it had caused a big blow-up between the families involved, and the pressure on Lydia made her father, my translation helper, think about taking his family and leaving town. Not good from my perspective, since I had just arrived back to begin working with him.

Dealing with Lydia’s problem brought to my attention that there were several women in the village who were anxious to get pregnant but couldn’t. She has a sister-in-law and two aunts who had all been married for a year or more and have not gotten pregnant. So I decided to encourage them with God’s Word, prayer and knowledge of the rhythm method. I also wanted to point out to them that the problem could be with their husbands, and I wanted to encourage them to stay married and not give in to the pressure put on them to split up because of it.

In the booklet, I started by explaining the reproductive organs, ovulation, movement of the sperm, conception and that sort of stuff. I explained how they could keep track of their periods in order to estimate the days of the month when they would ovulate and be most likely to conceive. I listed some reasons why a woman might not get pregnant in spite of having intercourse during the ovulation period. I wrote the stories of six women recorded in the Bible who God helped conceive, and also some he stopped from having children. I suggested that the couples study the stories of those six women, spend time praying together and maybe even fasting, and that they trust in God completely and not go to the shaman or another man.

This was a joint project, as all our booklets are. I wrote it, Culinas corrected it, Jim formatted it, put in diagrams, made a calendar booklet to go along with it and printed it. Then I called the couples in to explain it to them, give them a copy of the booklet and pray with them. By the time we got it done and handed out, it was about time for us to leave the village and return to the city. So we are praying that they will take the advice, be encouraged, trust in God and see him answer. The name of the booklet is “Ejedeni icajinijinecca ima” which is “The story of how we will have children.”

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