the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Filtering by Tag: books


The last few months I have been working with Aje on the publication of an Akha primer. Part of that work has meant that I have had the honor to listen in on the meetings of Akha leaders from Thailand, Myanmar, China and Laos as they discuss the newest Akha orthography.

Orthography: a method of representing the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols (Princeton Wordnet)

Akha Language Books The books that have just been published, and are shown here, use the historical Lewis Orthography, created by Dr. Paul Lewis - a dear friend and servant to the Akha for many years, and (perhaps) the most accomplished Akha linguist to date. Most Akha texts in Thailand currently use this writing system, and it will continue to be used for a number of years in the future until a more universal system can be incorporated, and existing texts (such as the Bible, Akha histories, medical texts, etc.) can be updated and republished. Lewis Orthography of Akha Language As you can see from the picture, the Lewis Orthography incorporates tone marks (such as ^ ^) in order to delineate Akha tones. However, since a unique font must be used for this writing system (making computer usage less universal) these Akha leaders from 4 countries are in the process of deciding upon a universal writing system which requires no additional font sets and instead uses ancillary Roman characters (such as q,v) to delineate tones.

OK, so it really is that dull. The exciting thing is that the Akha people are taking their language, their script, and their future into their own hands and making an effort to preserve it in a way that is relevant to the current world.

Because of those efforts, we are giving a lot of our time and energy in order to concurrently publish the primer of the unified script, and hope to see that work published and distributed by the end of May.

Akha Leaders Deciding on their Orthography

In other exciting news, we will also be working with Aje and Nancy on an English publication this year: the background story of Akha Outreach Foundation as it enters its tenth year of service to the Akha people.

So stay tuned!

Currently Reading...

Most of my recent reading attention has been focused on the dissertation: Leadership Development Within the Akha Cultural Context with Application to Akha Bible Institute as I have been helping our director finalize the editing for his doctorate program. At six hours a day for the past (and next) month, there has been little room or interest to add more reading into my daily schedule. However, when I get the chance there are dozens of missionary, news and special interest blogs and podcasts that I enjoy following. Some of these missionaries are listed in the links columns at the bottom left of this page and I want to encourage you to browse through those links when you have the opportunity. But, I have added a new way for Lori and I to share articles that we feel might be of interest to our readers.
Take a look at the Shared Articles Widget on the Left
Rather than introduce you to every blog we read at once, overwhelming all of you with the amount of information we are overwhelmed with, we are now able to share specific articles that interest, entertain or inspire us. You can find a new box (or widget) on the left column of this page, just below the Archived Notes box, entitled Shared Articles.

Currently, this Shared Articles widget is only on my blog (humblethorn), but it will soon be on Lori's blog as well. As of today, I am sharing two sports articles (of course) which discuss the firing of Marty Schottenheimer from the San Diego Chargers and the contract talks between Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees. I am also sharing a link from the Daveys in France, a blog we read often, which discusses countries where Christianity is most persecuted, as well as two articles from bloggers who are new to us with great cross-cultural confessions and insights from America and Japan.

We hope you enjoy this new feature to the Vernon Journal. Please let me know (with a comment or by contacting me) if you have any suggestions on how this system might be improved.

No more time for blogs today... I'm off to read a dissertation.

Regarding Space Travel and a Prostitute

The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy

Since we've gotten to the field, I've become one of those people that devours books, especially what Paul and I call "candy books" or books that are just for fun. Lately I've been reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series, by Douglas Adams. It originally started out as a British radio comedy program in the 70's, quickly progressing to the book format, then becoming a British TV program in the 80's. Just recently, it was made into a movie. The story centers on Arthur Dent, an Earthman, who's planet was casually demolished to make way for an interstellar by-pass. What follows are his adventures traveling through space with only the pajamas on his back and a towel to his name, meanwhile encountering all sorts of odd things (like the space ship powered by Bistro mathematics) and narrowly escaping horrible fates against all probability. This British comedy series is a must-read for any sci-fi nerd or sci-fi nerd wanna be!

Redeeming Love

From the other end of the galaxy, literarily speaking, of course, comes another book I just finished. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a re-telling of the Book of Hosea set in the California Gold Rush of the 1850's. Sold into prostitution as an orphaned child , Angel's hardened heart is patiently and lovingly restored through her unexpected marriage to pioneer-farmer Michael Hosea. In the past, I've avoided romance novels (unless you count classic romances like Pride & Prejudice), thinking that all contemporary romance novels were either trashy or unintelligent; neither of which I was interested in reading. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was neither. It was written with the skill of an award winning author, and told a beautiful, honest love-story without sullying the mystery of intimacy. While this book is marketed to women, Rivers captures the male character so amazingly well, I think that either sex will be entertained and edified by this book. Hope you get a chance to pick it up!

Currently Reading

I started an amazing book this morning. Talking Animals. Magic. Giants. Nomads. Wars. Murder. Adventure. Emerging Culture. Emerging Language. And all of that is just the introduction. The stage. The first 15 chapters of the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Many of you heard me share about my struggles with literacy in culture and how it's affected my approach to the Bible in my walk. As modern-day (postmodern?) believers we put so much pressure into the term "quiet time". Even the term "quiet", designed to emphasize a quieting of the soul to hear from the Lord, can place a tremendous burden on the time we set aside to spend with the Lord. Devotionals? Prayer Time? All these terms place an emphasis on a discipline. Worship, prayer, the Word and the disciplines are all critical in the life of the believer. It's how we plug in, but the routine can become routine.

I was too overwhelmed to study, too tired to seek truth or to examine the depths of my soul. This morning I picked up a book. A great story that I want to share with my friends. I had forgotten that.

Oh, the Places You will Go!

Oh the Places you will go

Inspired by the harrison ford super bowl commercial and the innumberable similar blogs throughout the world which posted these lists I have compiled my very own

places i slept in 2005

salem, or
portland, or
bend, or
napa, ca
los angeles, ca
palmdale, ca
arvada, co
seattle, wa
taipei, tw (not overnight, but i was asleep)
krunthep (bangkok), th
chiang rai, th
doi mae salong, th
doi chang, th
chiang mai, th
fang, th
somewhere down south in thailand

Amazing. The people and places we saw over this last year were incredible. Of course I must recommend Thailand to anyone looking for a place to visit (or for a place to have a "vacation with a purpose"), but the time in each of these cities was wonderful.

Now, I'm off to add to my 2006 list...

Anne of Green Gables...

This excerpt is Anne speaking about the new minister's wife , Mrs. Allan.

"Mrs. Allan said we ought always to try to influence other people for good. She talked so nice about everything. I never knew before that religion was such a cheerful thing. I always thought it was kind of melancholy, but Mrs. Allan's isn't, and I'd like to be a Christian if I could be one like her. I wouldn't want to be one like Mr. Superintendent Bell."

"It's very naughty of you to speak so about Mr. Bell," said Marilla severely. "Mr. Bell is a real good man."

"Oh, of course he's good," agreed Anne, "but he doesn't seem to get any comfort out of it. If I could be good I'd dance and sing all day because I was glad of it. I suppose Mrs. Allan is too old to dance and sing and of course it wouldn't be dignified in a minister's wife. But I can just feel she's glad she's a Christian and that she'd be one even if she could get to heaven without it."

I love how Anne states things so bluntly. Especially, where Christian subjects are concerned, she's always being reprimanded by Marilla for saying something "inappropriate." More often than not, she has actually stumbled upon a great truth, but she just says it so differently that she tends to make Christians uncomfortable.

I think that's the case with this quote. Anne says, "Oh of course he's good, but he doesn't seem to get any comfort out of it." As Christians we've been given the greatest gift. Anne calls it being "good", but I think most Christians would use the word "righteous". The word "righteousness" has many connonations among Christians, but most simply it means that our relationship with the Father God has been made right! Our renewed relationship with the Father certianly effects eternity, but we sometimes forget that it also effects the present. So maybe today I'll join Anne and "dance and sing all day" because of the great gift of relationship that we've been given.

Currently Reading...

It is so easy to find "great quotes" all over the web, but rarely do we see great writing.

It was a blazing hot day in August. Baker Street was like an oven, and the glare of the sunlight upon the yellow brickwork of the house across the road was painful to the eye."
The Adventure of the Cardboard Box by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Inspired by Lori's post, I've been reading some classics lately. It's lines like this that make me want to erase everything I've ever written. Great writers take you into their world in such a way that you squint at such descriptions. Well, if I have not been called to be a great writer, at least I can read the works of those who are.

Right now on the nightstand? A Study in Scarlett by Doyle and, for laughs, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (admittedly not a 'classic' - yet).

For those of you who would love to read some classics but just can't find the time, Project Gutenberg has released many wonderful books (by Doyle, Shakespeare, Twain, Wells et al) in audio format. Download and enjoy!


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