It took me a minute to realize what had happened. I walked into my work space early Saturday morning, ready for a 12-hour workday that would wrap up my Cherokee linguistics write-up. After shutting the door behind me I carefully set my coffee cup on the table, then threw my jacket over the chair in the corner. Several minor details seemed oddly out of place, but only when ready to sit down did I finally realize the truth: my laptop, containing the only copy of my Cherokee grammar writeup, had been stolen!
The past 48 hours have passed in something of a blur! Several other valuable items were stolen from the training center, and there is evidence of breaking and entering. The Sheriff’s office informed us that the laptop is likely a lost cause, and we were sad to discover that this is the third or fourth recent theft from training center property. With the help of some friends, we are monitoring pawn shops and Craigslist to see if anything will turn up.
Our data was backed up in Washington ten weeks ago, so we have only lost our photos, email, and data accumulated since August. The loss of the computer as a ministry tool hurts, but we are thankful to still have Amy’s laptop. We are working to recover what we can, and plan to continue on with our existing plans for travel and ministry this calendar year.
As far as linguistics is concerned, my write-up is a total loss. While most of my raw data is recoverable, and my phonemic write-up was turned in earlier… all of the work done on my grammar write-up is gone. And although my poor overworked brain certainly needed a break instead of a 12-hour workday on Saturday, the cost of that rest is not one I would have chosen!
Please pray for us – there are several important decisions in front of us. At this point we have to choose between doing the grammar write-up over from scratch (which would require two full weeks of work), or taking an incomplete and not graduating from the linguistics program (which would not prohibit me from being the linguist on a tribal team). I also need a working laptop for ministry purposes, and we hold out hope the stolen one may be recovered despite the sheriff’s lack of confidence. After all, God knows exactly where it is!
All in all we are in very good spirits, and trust God to work out His best through these circumstances. We look forward to the work He has put before us for the next several weeks, and will update you on that in a couple days. In the meantime, please pray that we will continue to rest in the Lord. He has been so faithful throughout all of this, and we have no doubts that this will never change!
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