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July 2013

Range Life

News from Robert and Mical, Carsten and Annabelle Hilbert LBT Missionaries to Sierra Leone, West Africa

We are currently studying at the Concordia Seminary in Ft Wayne until the end of the month. We are also raising prayer and financial sup- port. We hope to move to Sierra Leone by the end of the year.

As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. -Ezekiel 34:17

Posing with Mical’s family (top right corner).
Posing with Mical’s family (top
right corner).



Our positions in the Mende complete Bible translation project will be as advisors. We will be a part of a team of national translators— not the sole, or even the main, translator. The individual roles that we will have on the team will vary depend- ing on it’s needs. After arriving in Sierra Leone, we will begin intensively studying the Mende language for six months while building relationships with our national coworkers and community. After that, we will be able to provide linguistic advice utilizing what we learned during our studies at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas. We will also provide technical advice - making use of our training in translation software and general word processing knowledge. Finally, we will provide exegetical guidance. By studying Hebrew at the Seminary this summer, we will be able to better read and interpret the Masoretic texts which are used as a basis for our trans- lation work. Subsequently, we will be able to better advise on linguistic and exegetical matters to our teammates.

We feel like Martin Luther once felt, that a good translation needs to be based on the Biblical languages. If we are going to produce an accurate and readable translation, we need it to not only be written in understandable Mende, but to contain with exactness, God’s true words.

Open sewer, after church in Kroo Bay slum. And back to the States: Annabelle is
Open sewer, after church in Kroo
Bay slum.
And back to the States:
Annabelle is 9 months old and
Our future office in Bo, Sierra Leone
practicing new skills.

If you would like to support our ministry, financial gifts (EFT, credit card, checks) can be directed to the LBT physical or web address below.

can be directed to the LBT physical or web address below. Lutheran Bible Translators makes the

Lutheran Bible Translators makes the Word of God accessible to those who do not yet have it in the language of their hearts.

Our permanent address:

Robert and Mical Hilbert 220 South Gore Avenue Saint Louis, MO 63119 Email: Phone: 260-602-6596 Send financial support to:

Lutheran Bible Translators 303 North Lake Street PO Box 2050 Aurora, IL 60507-2050 Or go online to:

Make checks payable to LBT and specify Hilbert Ministry

Hebrew and Africa

We heard from other former mis- sionaries that in general Africans can understand the Old Testament better than Americans can. The reasoning is based on the similarities in lifestyle between the ancient Hebrews and today’s Africans. For example, in many rural African villages people live with their livestock in close prox- imity, just as the Jews of the Old Tes- tament era did. Goats, sheep, cows and chickens share the same living space as their people. Because of this, the nuances and metaphors in which man is compared to livestock are more meaningful. See Ezekiel 34:11-17 for a good example of this.

We have also heard the story about a

translator who translated the book of Mark into the local vernacular only to find tepid interest. Frustrated, he finally asked what the people were interested in knowing about. They

what the people were interested in knowing about. They responded that they were still won- dering

responded that they were still won- dering about some things that they felt were of great importance. They asked, “Where do we come from? How did we get here?” Once the man translated Genesis for them, they spent hours every night pouring over it together. The story of Jesus is not complete without its beginning.

No vowels?!

Did you know that Hebrew was originally written without vowels? The vowels were added by a group of scribes starting around 600 A.D, and this is the text on which we base modern translations.

We have noticed some interesting patterns that make Hebrew vocabulary a little easier to memorize and understand. For instance, רֵפוֹס means scribe (n), רַפָס is count (v), but can be intensified to mean recount or relate (v), ריפס means scroll (n) and רָפסִמ is number (n). These words have the same con- sonants, but the vowels and context let you know the meanings. But also imagine learn- ing Hebrew and trying to read the Old Testa- ment without the help of the added vowels!

Of course, we can’t forget that it’s read left to right, too!

Carsten at practice
Carsten at practice
Carsten and Annabelle at the playground
Carsten and Annabelle at the playground

Family time!

Although Carsten (2.5) and Annabelle (almost 1) have been traveling most of their lives, we still try find time to do lots of activities with them. Carsten has been playing soccer in a beginner’s soccer league for 2-4 year olds. He loves to ‘kick ball-balls’ and ‘kick goal-goals’ with his spe- cial ‘ball-ball shoes’. Both Annabelle and Carsten have been able to attend story time at the excellent Allen County Public Library in down- town Ft. Wayne. They love being able to play with other kids and sing songs. We hope to be able to continue finding activities as we begin to travel in August seeking further support and while we’re in Africa too. I have a feeling soccer games will be pretty easy for Carsten to find there!

Future plans and prayers

Our Hebrew studies end on July 31st. We ask for your prayers for stam- ina and patience as we juggle work, kids, and study.

August will find us based out of St. Louis again, but spending time trav- eling to share about our ministry. Annabelle turns 1 on August 7th! Please pray for safe travels and transitions! In September and October, we will continue to speak but hope to be making more firm plans on a departure date. Please pray for wisdom in deciding on what to bring with us to Sierra Leone and what to leave behind, and for all that we need to accomplish before departing. We hope to depart sometime in the And last back quarter to the of States: 2013. We would appreciate prayers for our prayer, Annabelle financial, and is 9 months national old partners and and

ourselves as we all work towards practicing this goal! new skills.