Kala Gospel of Mark Dedication

Story: Mitchell & Janeen Michie
Photos: Janeen Michie

The Kala people recently dedicated the Gospel of Mark in print and audio format in the Kala Laugui dialect. Pastor Hosea encouraged the translators and talked about the value of the translation for the people. The three main churches from the area joined the celebration and prayed a blessing on the Scripture and audio recorders.

Children eagerly gathered around to watch picture Bible story videos in their language on a cell phone.

The men and women were emotional as they read and listened to the Gospel of Mark in their language. An elderly lady shared that it meant a lot to her that her people now had their first gospel.

More than a Computer Teacher

Story: Karen Weaver
Photos: Karen Weaver & Helen Sahl

After spending 15 years teaching computers at a university in Scotland, Bob was thankful to move to Papua New Guinea where he can use his experience by teaching computer skills to high schoolers. The parents of his students fly airplanes, work in the medical clinic, teach school, record Scripture, repair computers, maintain solar panels, translate the Bible into minority languages, and a host of other jobs.

Bob teaches the teenagers basic skills such as typing and creating documents in Word and Publisher, along with more advanced topics such as writing a website and computer programming.

But for Bob, living in Papua New Guinea is not only about teaching school. He also rubs shoulders with the local people by walking across the river to church on Sundays, chatting with PNG co-workers at his school, and visiting his adopted village during school breaks. Recently he was able to deliver to his village friends a box of Audibibles, which play Scripture in their local language and can be recharged in the sun.

Bob says, “It is a joy to be able to minister both to the students and to the local people here. It is such a privilege to be able to visit my adopted village and be treated as part of the clan. Through it all I hope and pray that individuals are being brought closer to Christ.”

Binumarien New Testament Recording

Story and Photo: Janeen Michie

Pastors and Bible translators from the Binumarien language group have been working hard to create a multi-voice recording of their New Testament. The organization Faith Comes by Hearing has provided funding and a trained audio technician for the task. They began recording in September 2019 and are expected to finish this month. Pray that God will use this New Testament audio drama in powerful ways among the people.

Sometimes It Is Hard

Story and Photo: Stephanie Ernandes

“It’s a remote area; you have to get on a dingy or a canoe to get to where I live. We live across the fjords. You cross one fjord, then cross another fjord and that is where I live.” Cyndi Guvama started working with the Korafe translation team when she was young, right after finishing school. She later got married, “At first my husband and I were teaching at the Christian Academic School.” She and her husband have 6 children now.

“My elder brother, who was deaf, was interested in translating. He worked with Jim Farr for 43 years at the translation work.” The Korafe New Testament was dedicated in 1984 and a revision was made and dedicated in 2006. “After the dedication of the revision my brother continued work all by himself. The other translators left. He wanted to translate the Old Testament and later asked me if I could come back again to work with him. I felt I needed to come alongside him in the work.”

“Sometimes it is very hard with the house work and all the kids. My firstborn is married. I have 3 grandchildren from her. The second boy is married and I have one grandchild from him. My third, fourth, fifth and sixth children are still in school. I need to give time to find money to pay for school fees, clothes for them, and school uniforms.”

“We are from the coastal side of Oro Province, so sometimes, from June to July-August, there will be a dry season. We face a very big drought. Sometimes we run out of food and water. During this time, we need to walk a mile’s distance to go and find water. That slows down the translation work.”

“We work twice a week Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8am to between 4 and 6pm. Sometimes we work without food, but when I make small gardens God always provides for us. I always tell the children that no matter how little we have, we have faith that we will still live. While working with the translation team I see that God helps a lot. Though we don’t have money, I tell the kids to have faith that God will always help us. I pray and ask God to help me to continue even when there are not enough materials to do the translation work. Then I continue to work at it with what I have.”

The Korafe translation team was just recently provided with a computer. “Paratext is a computer program that helps make the translation work easier. Rather than writing everything, everyday over and over, and doing the drafting with a book and pen, we can use the computer. Sometimes we run out of books.”

“I pray in my heart that God will help me to attend the Paratext Course at the training center. I need your prayers. Please also pray that God will provide the resources we need, like power – solar power to charge the laptops. Sometimes we must borrow a car battery from our friends to charge the computers. I know and hope that God will continue to provide for us to complete the Korafe Old Testament.”

A Light Passed Before Us

Story and Photos: Karen Weaver

Bennis, an audio technician, noticed the change in the speaker’s voice and pressed the “pause” button. He had been watching the lines on the computer screen as a Siarlak youth read the voice of Jesus for the recording. Looking up, Bennis saw tears in the eyes of the young man. His voice choked as he explained to the recording team, “I can’t read this Jesus part. My heart is not ready for this role. Jesus touches my life too much!”

Others in the recording felt the same way. For some of them it was the first time reading the Bible aloud in their heart language and they were moved to tears at the beauty of the words.

When the Jesus Film recording was finished and Bennis and his teammate had dubbed the voices onto the video, it was time for the Siarlak people to watch the film in their language. As the movie began and they saw men and women on the screen playing the parts from the Gospel of Luke, the crowd was filled with murmurings, asking each other, “When did these foreigners learn our language?” The recording team explained to them that it was actually some of their own people who were speaking the words.

The movie continued under the night sky as men, women, and children sat on the ground and watched the drama unfold on a large portable screen. When they saw Jesus being nailed to the cross, the whole group watching the film fell silent. Bennis, testified, “I could feel the emotion in the crowd and I knew the Holy Spirit was working.”

Afterwards, Bennis asked some of the women, “How was the movie?” They answered, “In our local language the message is so simple and we can understand the meaning much more clearly than before. It was like a light passed before us!”

A Second Generation Translator

Story and Photo: Stephanie Ernandes

Translators Jim and Jaki Parlier came from the US and completed the New Testament in the Ese language in 1976. Taylor Tioja (photo above) was raised as one of their kids while they translated in the village. Taylor went straight into Bible college after finishing High School and studied there for 6 years. Towards the end of school he prayed and asked God what He wanted him to do when he was done with college.

“My people in the Ese language, we love the Ese New Testament so much that we use it in the church every Sunday. We use it for Bible studies and for personal daily readings. My people really wanted to know the Old Testament.  Many were asking when the Old Testament translation would be finished. They wanted to have a complete Bible to study. The people were talking a lot about that during the time that I was praying. The Lord asked me to become involved in the translation work. Now I am the translation project leader and I have been doing translation work for 8 years.”

“The Translator Training Course (TTC) has helped me a lot and now I have been able to train men who’ve gotten involved in the translation work as well. Through the training that I got I was able to go back and teach and mentor them. These teachings enabled them to be mentally equipped and prepared to be able to do accurate translation work. I now have a lot of manpower. They are trained well and are prepared to help me with the translation.”

All of the men that Taylor has recruited to be a part of his team have come to know Jesus because they saw the change in Taylor’s life while he grew in the Lord. “Those that our team has recruited to work with us are people that my life has impacted through the work of translation and the training that I got from the training center. We have recruited people that I have given the Gospel to and showed them the love of Christ; people who have changed from their old way of life and who’ve come to know the Lord.”

“We work independently of any outside organization. Working independently is a great challenge. Back at home, we come from very poor churches in the village.  The only support that our people are able to give to us is food offerings and prayer. The finances to get the translation moving has been a very big challenge for us. Also, the Ese Translation Project doesn’t have computers of its own. If we have computers for our translation work it will make our work much faster.”

Taylor is also a Scripture Use Coordinator for his community. He is a motivational speaker seeking to promote scripture use amidst his people. The Ese language includes around 18,000 people. He loves to promote and encourage people, and to set them on fire to read their scriptures in their mother tongue. “Pray for the scripture use work in the Ese language and pray for revival. Please also pray that the Lord will bring funds for the Ese Old Testament Translation Project.”

Photo from the Mussau-Emira Language group on Mussau Island

For most of his life, this man only had God’s Word available to him in a language not his own. Praise God that his granddaughter will grow up reading and hearing the message of salvation in her own heart language!