MEET LOIS & TIM
The Hunters have spent over 30 years serving in various roles with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Tim grew up in Cameroon, West Africa, the son of missionaries who translated the New Testament for the Kapsiki people. Lois grew up in the USA, praying for missionaries. Both felt an early desire in life to be part of what God is doing to expand His kingdom around the world. They spent more than 10 years overseas in Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria. They are currently involved with the OneStory partnership facilitating the development of oral Bible stories in local languages. Tim serves on the OneStory international staff as a consultant and trainer. Lois helps with special projects and supports Tim in his ministry while also providing in-home care for her 93-year-old mother.
What do you love most about the people you've met in Africa while working with Wycliffe and OneStory?
People in Africa often feel inferior to those from the more “advanced” countries of the world, especially when it comes to education. They see the technology and know-how coming from those places and figure they’ll never be able to compete, or to measure up.
So when I talk to them about something they know very well--telling stories and other forms of oral communication--they get excited! When they realize that stories was how Jesus communicated, and that Paul on his missionary journeys spoke extemporaneously (not holding a big monster Bible, as they are used to seeing missionaries do today), as the Holy Spirit brought out Biblical (Old Testament) passages that he kept in his head, this wakes them up!!
They understand that, by spending some time to craft and learn Bible stories in a culturally relevant form, they can communicate God’s message and Jesus’ works to people in their society without having to rely on expensive books or complicated technology (e.g. Jesus Film).
Briefly, how did God call you to the mission field?
Lois: I grew up praying for missionaries every evening, around the dinner table, during family devotions. When I was 10 or 11 my Sunday School teacher challenged me to read the missionary biographies and stories in the church library. When I was 12 I was challenged during a missions conference to consider missions, specifically Bible translation, as a career. When I was 16 I made a public commitment, at our church missions conference, to a lifelong service in missions. Thirteen years later, just before we went overseas for the first time (1986), my mother told me that in high school she had felt she was to be a missionary. But my father never felt that, so Mom's prayer was that at least one of her children would grow up and be in full time Christian ministry. My eldest brother became a PCA pastor/USAF chaplain and I became a missionary. God answered Mom's prayers.
Tim: I grew up as the son of missionaries. My parents arrived in Cameroon, Africa, when I was 5 years old, to minister to the Kapsiki people and plant churches in the north of the country. I traveled with my father as he preached and taught local pastors. I saw first hand the need for the Gospel in the heart language of the people while I was growing up. My parents translated the New Testament into the Kapsiki language. As a teenager, I taught my best friend, a Cameroonian, to read in Kapsiki, his mother tongue. When I was in Bible school I thought I wanted to be a missionary but did not know if it was really a calling or just the easy thing to do since I grew up in it. One of my professors counseled me that giving people the Word of God in their own language would result in more eternal results than anything else I could do with my life. That's when I heard God's call to be involved in Bible translation.
What is a small way you have seen God at work during your time in Africa?
God has always provided for our needs, from our earliest days in Africa to the present. When we first arrived in Cameroon in 1986, we had 4 pre-school age children. We had spent 7 months in Belgium for Lois to learn some French, at least enough to survive shopping for groceries and getting around on her own. During our time in Europe, the bottom fell out of the US dollar and by the time we got to Cameroon our funds for living were no longer adequate for paying the rent and buying groceries, let alone buying new clothes as the kids grew. I knew God had called us to His work and that He had promised to provide, even for clothing for my four little ones. I also knew that folks in the USA were praying for us.
A few days later, our neighbor came to our door with a box. She and her husband were in charge of the three month orientation program that all new Wycliffe workers attended when they came to West Africa. She told me that three years prior, a family had come through the course on their way to serve in another West African country. They had completed the course and gone on but then had to leave the field and return to the US for some medical issues. Apparently, their home church had shipped them a box (three years prior) with items for their children. It was no use to forward it to them since their kids were now three years older.
My friend opened the box and asked me if my children needed any clothing. The clothes were the exact sizes for my kids. God knew what sizes my kids would need and when they would need them and had them sent three years in advance. He also watched over that box as it sat somewhere for those three years. YES, God answers prayer and He provides!
GET IN TOUCH
There are several ways you can get in touch with the Hunters. Wycliffe's website is www.wycliffe.org, and the Hunter's personal Wycliffe Missionary Page can be found here. The Hunters also encourage you to learn more about OneStory at www.onestory.org. You can also check out Lois's personal Facebook page (click here) or Tim's personal Twitter account (click here).