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Help us keep the lights on (and the fans running!)

September 22, 2015

The country of Zambia is facing an electricity crisis. To make a very long story short, there is not enough water captured behind the hydroelectric dams that provide more than 90% of the country’s electricity. Not enough water = not enough power. solar-panels

Right now, we have 7-8 hours of scheduled power cuts (called euphemistically “load shedding”) every day. It’s a rotating schedule – 4am to 11am one day, 11am to 6pm the next, and then 8pm to 4am on day three, then we start over. These power cuts are affecting homes, businesses and industries across the country. Businesses are losing money, and industries are laying people off because they can’t run their machinery.

We are now entering the driest and hottest part of the year, when fans go from a luxury to a necessity (especially when trying to sleep under a mosquito net). Also, our refrigerator will not be able to keep up with the hot Zambian weather without sufficient power.

We don’t count on seeing any significant rainfall until Christmas, at the earliest. Between now and then, we will likely face more and longer power cuts. Even once the rains come, experts warn that it may take several years before the power generation infrastructure catches up with Zambia’s growing demand. Power cuts will likely become the “new normal” for the foreseeable future.

All of this is to ask you, our friends and supporters, to help fund the Pluger Solar Project. We hope to buy a solar system capable of running our fridge, fans, and computers for at least 10 hours a day. We know that there are many people who sacrifice a lot to keep us in the field, working to bring the Bible into the Nsenga language. We are now asking you to consider a special over-and-above gift, so that we can continue that translation work with adequate electricity.

Click on the solar panels tofive-solar-panel-arrays give a gift online, or write to:

Lutheran Bible Translators, PO Box 789, Concordia MO 64020 (please designate “Pluger Solar Project” on your check)

Thank you! And may Jesus shine on you with the light that no darkness can overcome!


Really Big News!

August 7, 2015


On July 1st, 2015, the Nsenga Bible Translation Project team made their last upload of data to the United Bible Society servers. This marks the end of local office work on the Nsenga New Testament! This final upload happened three years to the day after the beginning of translation work with the team. Praise God!

Now Bible Society will digitally typeset the manuscript and send us a proof copy back for one last check. The NT will then be printed and shipped.

With God’s blessing, dedication and launch of the Nsenga New Testament will take place on July 14th, 2016.

In the meantime, the Nsenga committee has hired two new translators.  They will join the team in late September and begin training, including university-level coursework in Kenya. Translation work on the Old Testament will begin in November.

Pray with us that one day more than a million more precious souls will be able to read the entire Word of God in their own heart language. Your financial support and prayers will help this project to continue.

New Translator Selection

July 13, 2015

Please pray for the Nsenga Bible Translation Project. On Tuesday July 14, they will be interviewing 4 candidates for the position of translator. Once this final position is filled, we will have three translators ready for training so that work can begin on Old Testament translation later this year.


UPDATE: The Nsenga Bible Translation Project Committee has chosen Rev Father Sekeleti Kapomba of the Anglican church to be the third Nsenga translator when we begin OT translation work later this year. He joins Rev Enock Nkhoma and Ms Fanely Phiri on the translation team. We welcome him and pray for the entire project.

Newsletter Summer 2015

June 23, 2015

Read our summer newsletter by clicking the link. If you’re tired of reading what Chris has to say, take heart! There is a special guest writer featured in this edition.


“Sunday Community Outreach”

June 18, 2015

On Sunday, Chris went to an Nsenga-speaking church in a village, along with the pastor and three members of the Nsenga Bible Translation Project. The goal was to read some excerpts from the Nsenga New Testament to the church members, and get comments and questions from them that might help improve the translation, while at the same time building enthusiasm and community involvement in the project. P1060056

After the service, the committee members and the pastor took turns reading. They read portions of Matthew 4, John 3, Acts 2, Romans 8, and Revelation 1. A church member also read the first ten verses of Ephesians 2.

The readings were very well received. After each one, there was discussion about certain words that had been chosen, and some suggestions for improvement. (Why did you use “cisomo” for “grace”? Couldn’t you use “shuko” instead?) In the Matthew reading, we had made an embarrassing mistake – we had Satan asking Jesus to “throw himself off” of the high mountain, instead of just “bowing (himself) down” to worship Satan on the mountaintop.

P1060065We took several of the suggestions from the congregation and incorporated them into our Nsenga draft. One in particular was the word for “sound” in Acts 2 – the “sound” of the rushing wind. Someone in the congregation suggested the perfect word for that idea.

For Chris, the best part was during the reading of Romans 8. The reader was doing a very good job – clearly he had practiced beforehand, and his Nsenga was very nice – and the congregation was just sitting very still and quiet. In other readings, there had been some moving around, maybe some smiles or whispered comments as people interacted with the reading, but not this one. No one was moving, no one was talking. The reader got a little uncomfortable, it seemed, with everyone looking at him. So he stopped and asked, “Are you understanding this? You’re not saying anything.” P1060068

It took a second for the people to respond. They had been sitting still, attentive, hanging on his every word. Then they collectively realized how quiet they had been, and laughed. “Oh yes!” people we saying. “We get it!” “We like it very much.” “It’s very nice to hear.”

How wonderful for a group of people who have been straining to understand the Bible in a different language, to finally be able to hear God’s Word in a way that they can’t help but pay attention to, on the edge of their seats, because He is finally speaking in their language too!

For more pictures and comments, follow this link:


Where are we, and what are we doing?

May 27, 2015

It’s been a while since many of you heard from us, and we want to keep you updated on our rapidly-changing lives over the next few weeks.

Right now, Chris is in Zambia. He returned on May 12, and is now getting settled and re-adjusted to African town life. He is back in the translation office helping the Nsenga team do final editing and checking on the New Testament. He is also making sure things are ship-shape at the house, including overseeing the replacement of the water tank.

Janine and Sean are still in the USA. Janine (among many other things), is running the household, writing thank-you notes, packing, and sewing lots and lots of nametags into all of Sean’s clothing in preparation for him to head off to boarding school.

Sean was confirmed on May 10th, Mother's Day

Sean was confirmed on May 10th, Mother’s Day

Sean, meanwhile, is finishing his last week of 7th grade and looking forward to summer vacation. He has a camping trip planned with some friends, and then a bunch of “one lasts,” before he and Janine leave the US on June 17th.

On the way back to Zambia, Janine and Sean will visit some friends in Italy. They are sure to have lots of great stories and pictures from this cool visit. Sean is particularly excited about the chance to visit the Lamborghini museum, and to get at least two stamps in his passport that Chris doesn’t (yet) have.

We are all looking forward to being reunited in Zambia on June 27th.

Greetings to all of you! Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and email!

~ The Plugers

Sean’s School

April 22, 2015

Many of you have been specifically praying about Sean’s schooling situation during our next term of missionary service. Thank you all so much for praying for Sean’s education! It really is one of the major factors that affect our lives in Zambia.


For our first term (grades 4-6), Sean was homeschooled in Petauke as a class of one. This year on furlough he has been in grade 7 at a small Lutheran grade school very near where we are staying in Ohio. He has enjoyed his classes and classmates. All this year, we have been exploring options and investigating different school opportunities for Sean upcoming in grade 8, and also looking ahead to high school.

But we haven’t had a definite answer about where Sean is going to attend school…

…until now.

This past Tuesday, we were told that Sean has been accepted for 8th grade at Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. RVA is a mission-run boarding school specifically for about 500 missionary kids (MKs) whose parents are serving in Africa.

We are very happy that Sean has the chance to attend school with a bunch of other kids in his same life situation, and to be surrounded by a supportive school family that understands the exigencies of missionary life and places a high value on providing a quality, American-style, Christian education to its students. RVA offers a full junior- and senior-high programme, so if RVA is a good fit for Sean he could conceivably attend there until his high school graduation in June 2020.

As a boarding school student, Sean (and his mom & dad!!) will have a lot to get used to, from putting name tags in all of his clothes, to tea breaks, dorm life, cheering for the rugby team, weekend trips, solo plane rides, phone calls home, and all the rest. Janine and Chris will have to get used to an “empty nest” for nine months every year, and all of us will look forward with great anticipation to Sean’s three term breaks each year.

But in spite of all the upcoming adjustments (for which we definitely ask your continuing prayers!), we give thanks to God that Sean has this opportunity, and we look forward to all of the educational adventures to come.

Please feel free to comment or email with any questions you have, and again a huge THANK YOU to all who have been and will be praying for Sean’s education and safe travels.