There are MANY pictures of the construction of the Oroi’io Madei (Living Word) Training Centre in Gulf Province. Most of the pictures show many more of the people involved, including the SIL-PNG construction staff who led the project and the many locals who gave of their time, resources, and sweat to make it happen.
Why this photo? Because it hints at the leadership, partnership, and long-term commitment that is so critical to the many and varying parts of language development. Servant leadership exemplified.
Languages matter! One reason they matter is because the people that speak them matter. For many, there is a strong link between language and identity, perhaps especially for those who speak minority languages.
PNG has more languages than any other country – over 800. Some are strong and spoken by many. Others are in decline. Planning for a language’s future begins with a clear understanding of where it is at today. This poster invites speakers of PNG’s languages to consider the value of their languages, their current situation, and where they want to take their languages in the future.
As the Mato New Testaments arrived, the people prayed blessings on them, considering them so precious that they would not let even one box touch the ground. People sang and danced as the Bibles were carried over palm branches to the translation office where they were stored for the upcoming dedication just a few days later. The Mato people now have access to the New Testament in their own language—in print and audio formats, as well as the Jesus Film and a series of videos on the Gospel of Mark.
During an Oral Bible Storying (OBS) workshop, opportunities were given for the men to practice their stories in front of the group, building confidence and helping them to see what parts of the story they needed to work on.
One of the Kwomtari participants wrote “OBS has strengthened my faith. It has taught me how to put a story well into my thoughts and keep it there. I have learned how to tell a story with an opening and closing. I feel OBS is teaching and enabling me to do my work as a church leader.”
Engan translator Nete Talian has been leading evangelistic meetings in the village of Immi. The meetings were held in Enga using the Enga Bible translation. During these meetings he showed the Enga Jesus Film, a film against tribal fighting, and a film promoting AIDS awareness. As a result, fifty-four people were baptized.
Recently some of the Nukna people were reading through the translation of Colossians with Matt Taylor, checking for accuracy and naturalness. After one particular passage, Matt noticed one of the Nukna men smiling and chuckling to himself. When Matt asked what was going on, he replied, “It’s just that for a minute there I forgot it was a translation. It’s like Paul knows the Nukna language and is speaking directly to me!”
Moments like these greatly encourage us to persevere in the task God has given us, to partner with the Nukna to translate the good news of Jesus into their heart language. It’s a long and complicated process, and there are no shortcuts to achieving a high-quality translation that speaks to the hearts of the Nukna while also remaining faithful to the original text.
Recently the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians and 1 & 2 Timothy have been checked by a translation consultant and given final approval for publication. Our translation team has also completed several stages in the translations of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus and Philemon. These books are now ready to be consultant checked as well. Our hope is to publish these 10 Pauline epistles later next year, in both printed and audio formats.
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.
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.”