by Amanda Ernst

Otherwise Entitled: A Story That’s Maybe Slightly Confusing Because There Are Two Daves…

The Need

In 2019 Dave (Ernst) was contacted by his former student Dave (Hare), about helping with a Bible translation project he and his wife Stacey are working on for the Kwakum people in Cameroon, Africa. The villagers there had no written language and though many can speak some French, almost none can read it. 

In addition to that, the Kwakum have little to no understanding of many foundational Gospel concepts, such as Grace or gifts freely given (if they give something, they expect something in return). They don’t even have a word for hope! 

Kwakum villagers attending Bible study
Stacy Hare Teaching Bible Stories to Kwakum Women.
Kwakum children learning to read.
Kwakum Children Learning Their Brand New Alphabet

Dave and Stacey have worked tirelessly with the Kwakum to build an alphabet and literacy materials and are now beginning their Bible translation project with a storybook Bible (Read more about that on their website.) and they want it to be filled with high-quality artwork that is relevant to the Kwakum, and symbolism that is meaningful to their oral-story-telling culture. 

The Ask

In 2019 Dave (Hare) called to ask Dave (Ernst) if he would use his love of art and understanding of semiotics (the science of how pictures and symbols communicate meaning apart from written, or spoken, language) to create meaning-packed art that will bring Bible stories alive and help teach the Kwakum hard-to-translate Biblical concepts. Our dream is to begin with illustrations for the Storybook Bible project and later add many other projects including animated Gospel stories. 

The Adventure Begins

What followed this call was over two years of prayer, investigation and lots of discussion—with World Team leaders in Africa and in the US, with friends and family, and with our local church—as we worked out what this new concept and position might look like. In 2021, World Team offered and we accepted appointment as missionaries to Cameroon, though because of the need for stable electricity and internet we will be based in the US. In fact, we won’t move at all. We will make yearly or twice yearly trips to the village to work with the translation team, get to know the Kwakum, and understand their culture more thoroughly. 

Man in Kwakum Village
Dave In the Kwakum Village

But until then, we will focus on further training and partner development. We can’t begin full-time work until we have raised 100% of our support, and that means not only financial support, but also a team of committed prayer supporters.

How can I help?

God knew missionaries needed help to take the Good News of the Gospel to the far reaches of the earth, so He made missionaries to be sent. Your sacrifices of prayer, money, and time are what will make our ministry possible. You can actively participate in sharing the Gospel with the Kwakum people by becoming a dedicated prayer partner, a financial partner, a social networker, —or all three!

To let us know that you’ll be praying and receive our newsletters (so you know HOW to best pray) click the link below.

To support our ministry financially click the link below to go to the World Team page where you can donate to our account by filling in our names or account number (14139).You can sign up to give monthly, yearly, or give a one-time gift.

You probably know people we don’t! Click the link below to find out how to be a social networker and effectively share this unique ministry with your friends and family.

Of course we’d love to talk to you personally and answer questions. You can email us at dave.ernst (at) WorldTeam (dot) org or amanda.ernst (at) WorldTeam (dot) org

And you can read more about Visual Translation in this post: What Does Stained Glass Have to Do With Translating the Bible?

Thanks for helping give the gift of Hope to the people of Cameroon. 

—The Ernst Family

Dave Ernst, Dave Hare, Stacey Hare & Amanda Ernst in Cameroon with Kwakum friends from the local community.

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