“It was a crazy journey, complete with a flat tire, a snowstorm, extra COVID tests, and very tired children, but we are here!” said Rev. Carl Grulke. He, wife Kelsey, and their five children finally made it back to Botswana on December 31.
Carl has been serving as exegete and project coordinator and Kelsey as Scripture engagement coordinator with Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT) since 2018. Based in the city of Maun, Botswana, they work primarily with the Shekgalagari and Wayeyi people.
The Grulkes were preparing to return to the U.S. for furlough in early 2020. Then COVID-19 changed everything. In May, just as they reconciled themselves to the postponement of their plans, a repatriation flight (a special charter flight organized by the U.S. Department of State) became available. Carl and Kelsey had only two days to decide whether or not to take the opportunity to return to the U.S. Knowing that commercial flights might not resume until 2021, they spent a hectic 24 hours organizing and packing in order to be ready in time for the special flight.
Though they enjoyed their time in the U.S.—with family and friends, speaking with donors, and presenting when possible to churches—the Grulkes are happy to be back in Maun. After a couple of weeks of quarantine, they are back to work, meeting with church leaders and making plans (all masked and socially distanced).
I can’t begin to detail for you the scope of their work, and luckily, I don’t have to. Carl and Kelsey were the featured speakers in Transforming Lives, a recent LBT podcast. Their enthusiasm for God’s Work through Bible translation is very evident. I urge you to listen if you haven’t already. In addition to describing life in Maun as a family of seven, the Grulkes do a wonderful job explaining the importance and impact of translation and Scripture engagement, using real life examples to illustrate their points. Kelsey provides an overview of monolinguistic versus multilinguistic cultures that is thought-provoking. Don’t worry, she does a great job of clearly explaining the issue for those of us not well versed in language studies.
Please pray for the Grulkes as they resume life and work in Botswana. And pray for others who have returned (Amy Formella, Sierra Leone) or will be returning to the mission field soon (Michael and Naomi Ersland, Ghana). Though many restrictions have lifted, COVID-19 continues to challenge language teams as they try to find the safest, most effective ways to work together.
“It is God’s Word that transforms lives, and we want to make sure that whatever resources are necessary for that are available and are easily accessible to people that need them,” says Kelsey. You can help! Click here for a complete list of LBT missionaries and language projects, then click on one (or all!) for more details about the work, goals, impact and prayer requests.