His name is John Mark Lomeri, and here is a picture of him with me:
John Mark is one of the few Ik whose vision is broader than survival or even the success of his own immediate family. Writing about all of humankind, the French Catholic priest Teilhard de Chardin said the following, which I adapt here to address the Ik:
"Even in this century, [Ik] are still living as chance circumstances decide for them, with no aim but their daily bread or a quiet old age. You can count the few who fall under the spell of a task that far exceeds the dimensions of their individual lives...After having for so long done no more than allow [themselves] to live, [the Ik] will one day understand that the time has come to undertake [their] own development and to mark [their] own road."
From what I know of him, John Mark is one of those 'under the spell'. And so we want to partner with him and support him however we can. We ask you to join us in praying for him, that he would be healthy and strong and faithful to whatever God leads him to do.
For the next two years, John Mark will be leading a project to help preserve the 'intangible culture' of the Ik: making audio and video records of cultural activities, customs, traditions, ceremonies; collecting and writing stories and histories; in general taking 'inventory' of all Ik culture, especially those aspects that are in danger of being forgotten. As part of this, and hopefully continuing beyond it, John Mark would like to see the Ik Bible translation picked up again and taken forward. We hope he and his team will be key partners in this endeavor, perhaps even taking over one day.
John Mark is also planning to buy our old (first) compound from us and use it as an office and private home. We're happy because it means this good friend will be our close neighbor for years to come!