Dedication After the Dedication

Story and photo by Stephanie Ernandes

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The Somba Siawari New Testament was dedicated in 1996.  About a year later Taitus Bauyan started up a school.  Zion Bible School was for adults who had completed grade 8 when they were younger, but didn’t get to finish grades 9 and 10.  Many people in Papua New Guinea (PNG) will stop school at grade 8 because of the expense of going to school for grades 9 and 10.  Most often schools in PNG are taught in English.  Zion Bible school taught in the Somba Siawari language, so this made it much easier for those attending to understand.  After graduation many moved on to Seminary or University.  Some students went on to be evangelists, some pastors. Some became primary or secondary teachers and nurses and doctors as well.  This school was open for three years before closing due to lack of finances.

In the mean-time Mila, Taitus’s wife, along with a few other Somba Siawara translators, started work on translating the Old Testament.  “The New Testament will come across more clearly when my people read the Old Testament in their mother tongue.  Since the Old Testament talks about things that will happen in the New Testament, it provides understanding, a foundation for the New Testament.  When they read the New Testament, it is good for them to know what the prophets talked about beforehand in the Old Testament.”  Mila shared that her people believe many different things.  It’s her hope that the truth of the New Testament will shine even brighter when they see that the Old Testament, written so long ago, speaks of God’s plans and all the events in the New Testament long before they happened.

Taitus began to notice one day that when people read the New Testament translated into Somba Siawari, it truly stirred their souls.  “They would jump up and sing praises to the Lord and were joyful.”  But it wasn’t the same when they read the Old Testament.  The Old Testament was hard to understand since their only choices were English or Tok Pisin (the local trade language). That was when his heart was moved to join his wife to help finish the OT translation work.

They now have a first draft of the entire Old Testament finished, but it must go through many long checking processes before the work is ready for publishing.  Taitus and Mila are currently attending a course on Old Testament back translation.  Back translation is a form of checking the translation work.  After translating material into a particular language, the words are then translated back into the original language to check and see its accuracy against the original material.

Taitus plans to open the school back up after the Old Testament translation is finished. Please pray over the continuation and finishing of their hard work so that the Somba Siawara can have the full Bible in their language.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Passing on Scripture to the Next Generation

Story by Janeen Michie, photo by James Post

This grandmother cherishes the Bible she received a generation ago in her heart language. Her 33 year old Bible is well used and worn out. She worried about how she would pass on the Good News to her daughter and granddaughter. She was excited to hear about the revised Binumarien New Testament with five Old Testament books. After the dedication she purchased new Bibles for her family. Now a new generation of Binumariens have God’s Word in their language and they can continue to teach it to their children as their parents and grandparents taught them.Binumarien Dedication Report_6x8JamesPost.jpg

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The Key to Healing

Story by Karen Weaver Photos by Faith Halverson

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Deeply compassionate and gifted to work with all ages and individuals, Betty Nawe was known for counseling and walking with individuals through difficult journeys. Her empathy and stability within the church drew many women in difficult situations to share with her and seek counsel for a variety of issues. Because of this, the women’s ministry at her church in Wewak selected Betty to take the Healing the Wounds of Trauma course in 2015.

Before taking the course, she assumed she was emotionally healthy and was simply there to gain knowledge in order to assist others. Once the week-long training began, however, she realized God could bring healing to her own past as well. She found freedom from pain suffered from family deaths and other difficulties throughout her life.

Through the teaching, she realized there had been a dual standard within the church of adhering to ancestral beliefs while attempting to follow God. Betty explained, “When we are afraid of those spirits we are not ready to meet God, and sin is holding us captive.” She found a new determination to follow the Word of God in every situation.

Approximately a year after her training in Healing the Wounds of Trauma, she was invited to assist in a three-week initiative to teach leaders in remote villages. Betty faced a few challenges on the journey. She recalled, “Many were confused because they didn’t know how to interpret Scripture, especially with regards to difficult and traumatic experiences.” As she shared with them principles she had learned in the Trauma Healing course, Betty witnessed elders and pastors weeping freely as the discussions, case studies, and the powerful application of Scripture imparted life-changing understanding to each of them.

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Betty continues to impact many lives through her counseling, teaching, and bringing the gift of hope and healing to men and women across Papua New Guinea. “Many times they might hear this in church, but it is easy to forget, until application of the Word creates healing in their lives.”

Reflecting on the impact of the teaching in her own life, Betty reflected, “I changed through the course to begin to forgive others more easily. That is the key to healing. I know God is with me.”

Touched by the Scriptures

Story by Janeen Michie, photos by Janeen Michie

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Six weeks before the dedication, Namondi Unare, the translation team leader, brought the first copy of the revised Binumarien New Testament Bible into the village. He said, “The people cried and rejoiced. They thought they would never get [another printing] of the Bible again in their language, but God made a road and now they have it again.”

A week before the dedication, boxes of Bibles were sent ahead. As the Scriptures arrived there was an awareness of the holiness of God’s Word coming into their village. Fasu Ikuo said, “Many people were watching as the Bibles arrived and in their hearts they were happy. With tears of joy, they cried and wailed. Why? Because they knew that this good news is the power of God to redeem them and give them life. This made their hearts very sorry and some of them cried many tears. Then the people sang and celebrated.”

Early in the morning on the day of the dedication, the Binumarien people cried and wailed as the newly printed books were carried down to the site where the dedication was to be held. Fasu said, “They cried exceedingly. Why? Because life is in the Bible and it is the power of God.”

As the day continued it started to rain and then downpour. The people sang and danced inspite of the rain. Finally the sun pierced through the clouds and the dedication could proceed as planned.  Later, as Fasu reflected on that great day of celebration, he referred to Isaiah 55:10-11: “God’s Word has come down from heaven, and will not go back to heaven without results. When rain falls upon the ground, it does not return without results. It makes the earth soft and muddy and it makes things grow. It makes crops grow, and then later it goes back again. God’s Word has come down to us from heaven and when His Word falls upon the hearts of men, it will not go back without results. It takes the life of men back with it. This is the power of God to take people back.”

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Building a Bridge to Bible Literacy

Story and photo by Karen Weaver

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In some places it may seem there are insurmountable obstacles to using mother tongue Scriptures. However, sometimes it just takes a little brainstorming on the part of the local people to discover ways to overcome these obstacles.

Mary, Weti, Samson, and Edward visited the Anjam people with the goal of helping them discover ways to use their local language New Testaments more often.  As they led the community in discussion, people called out obstacles they saw to using the Anjam Scriptures:

“In school, we only learn to read in English and Tok Pisin. We want to read the Anjam Bible in our homes, but it’s very difficult to read Anjam when we don’t learn it in school!”

“We would prefer to use Anjam Scripture in our worship services, but we often have visitors who don’t speak Anjam.”

“Many women marry into our community and don’t speak the language well. We don’t want to exclude them during church!”

As each idea was shared, it was written down on a blue card. The cards were laid together to form a symbolic river, a river which blocked the way to using the Anjam New Testament.

Next, the group brainstormed possible solutions, which were written on brown cards:

“There are already schools here. We need the teachers to start teaching Anjam as well as English!”

“During church, we can read each Scripture passage twice, once in Anjam, once in Tok Pisin. That way everyone can understand, and people who understand both get to hear it twice.”

“We should write Anjam Scripture songs and teach them to our children! We can sing them during church.”

After several hours of lively discussion they had filled in many brown cards. Together these cards easily crossed over the river of obstacles to build a bridge to Bible literacy. As a community, they had discovered viable ways to incorporate the Anjam Scriptures into their lives.

The next day, the team helped specific members of the community see how they could implement the changes that had been suggested. Weti met with the primary school teachers about teaching mother-tongue literacy in their classrooms. Edward and Samson engaged the community in a Bible study using the Anjam New Testament. Mary mingled with the women and talked with them about how they could impact their children by using the Anjam language in daily activities.

As they team left the village, they knew they had given the community some powerful tools they could use to bridge obstacles and bring the Anjam New Testament into common use in their churches and in their everyday lives.