Preparing a Delicious Meal

By Rachel Greco

Drew Maust is, in some ways, a chef. As a translation consultant in Cameroon, he helps three Bible translation teams prepare life-sustaining ‘meals’ for their people. They aren’t meals that Drew will eat, since his ‘food’ is already available—Scripture in the language that speaks to him best, which is English. But he’s happy to assist teams in preparing meals that are delicious and appreciated by their communities. 

“Each culture has its own dishes, food, spices,” Drew said, “so I need to be careful that I don’t insist that the meal matches my preferences and conforms to the expectations of my culture. I’m there to assist translators so that they can prepare the meal that their community will savor with delight.” Drew will, of course, point out to the teams any passage that misses the point of the original Hebrew or misinterprets something. But overall, he seeks to listen to and learn from local language translators. 

For one of these teams, the Wamo*, help from JAARS-trained pilots serving with SIL Aviation in Cameroon was a vital ingredient in the process. Without this help they wouldn’t have been able to complete the first course of their meal—the New Testament in their language.  

With just two books left to check with Drew, the Wamo translators were almost finished with their New Testament translation. They needed to meet with Drew in the capital, Yaoundé, where Drew lives and works at the SIL center so he could check their translation against the original Greek text. They typically would take a two-day bus ride to Yaoundé, but … COVID-19 restrictions made that impossible. 

Reading from the New Testament!

Further complicating matters, Drew couldn’t go up to the team because of unrest in their region. So the only way this team was going to finish their New Testament was to somehow arrange private transportation that could take them down to the capital. 

Mark Spangler, a JAARS-trained pilot who serves with SIL Cameroon, saw this vital need and suggested to Drew, “What if aviation could go up and get these guys?” 

Drew agreed that would work, so the pilots prepared the plane, picked up the translators, and brought them down to Yaoundé to finish the final steps in preparing their New Testament. “This is nothing short of a miracle that they were able to fly down to the capital and work with me during COVID-19 with all the restrictions,” Drew said. 

The Wamo New Testament has now been typeset and sent off for printing. Praise the Lord that soon this community will have that delicious meal of Scripture to delight in! 

Drew helps another team who utilize the services of SIL Aviation in preparing their Scripture meal. The H* people, who live in the same area as the Wamo, have already begun tasting the richness of the Old Testament, which they are currently translating. They translated Numbers 6:24: “The Lord bless you and keep you” as “May Yawe spit his mouth upon [bless] you, may he watch over you!” 

A New Testament Dedication in Cameroon

During Drew’s consultant check of the book of Numbers, the translators recounted to him the joy of one local pastor when he heard this passage during a community feedback session. He was overjoyed, exclaiming, “I now have the words to bless my church!”

Many of the Wamo and H people would not have tasted the sweetness of Scripture in their lifetime without aviation. New governmental regulations stipulate that SIL Cameroon can no longer operate the commercial flights that had helped keep costs low for people like the Wamo and H translation teams who use their aviation service. Flight subsides provided by JAARS have begun to fill in the gaps for these trips. 

“Without the subsidy from JAARS, our department would no longer be able to offer flights to [this region] of Cameroon,” Brandon, a pilot for Cameroon Aviation, said.

Now, with help from people like you giving to JAARS Aviation Solutions, we can provide subsidies for Cameroon’s mission flights so people can taste those delicious Scripture meals in their most valued languages. 

Click here to help make flights like this happen in Cameroon and elsewhere! 

*Name removed for security reasons