Creativity Makes Recording Come Alive

Story by Karen WeaverJesusFilm02.JPG

The Jesus Film is a two-hour dramatization of the life of Christ, with the text taken directly from the Gospel of Luke. When the script for the film is recorded in the heart language of the people, it is very powerful.

To record the Jesus Film in the Doromu-Koki language, technician Jinhwan Kim traveled by plane to the capital city, then took a truck over bumpy roads to a rural area. Finally, he and his companions concluded the journey with a three hour hike down steep narrow trails. When they arrived in Kasonomu village, they were rewarded with refreshing coconut milk and sugar cane.

Jinhwan set up his recording equipment in a village house. Although it was a hot lowlands area, he kept the windows closed to block outside noise from the recording.

More than 30 village people participated, speaking lines for the various people in the story of Jesus. Jinhwan was persistent in encouraging them to repeat the reading when necessary so the end product would have natural speech and flow smoothly. Sometimes the speaker would have to talk faster or cut out a few words to make it fit the number of seconds allocated for that scene.

However, saying the words in the specified blocks of time wasn’t enough. Jinhwan also wanted the film to show the feelings and emotion of the New Testament characters. To do this, he instituted a few creative recording techniques.

During the recording of the crowd scene before Jesus’ death, Jinhwan had the people stand outside on the ground while he stood on the balcony of the house above them, where Pilate would have been. He directed the crowds to cry out, “Crucify him!” One of the people in the crowd, Robert, testified, “It sure sounds convincing in the movie!”

When it was time to record the words of the thief on the cross, Jinhwan was not satisfied with a monotone recording. He had the actor, Nicholas, do push-ups, and then more push-ups, in an effort to make him sound like he was struggling for breath. In the end, he recorded the lines while someone sat on Nicholas’s back. It certainly had the effect of communicating that the thief was in pain as he spoke from the cross.

Jinhwan took the audio recording of the voices and dubbed it onto the video. When the people watched the movie and heard Jesus and his disciples speaking in their heart language, adults and children alike sat riveted to the screen. Now they could see and hear Jesus as if they were present with him, with no barriers of time, place, or language.




Learning New Skills

IMG_5219-6x8.jpgStory by Janeen Michie, photo by Janeen Michie

Joanne Pawih, a Sunday school teacher from Neherneh language, believes that she will be a better Sunday school teacher with her new skills in critical thinking. Now she can research the meaning of words and ask questions to understand the text. She says that before taking the Initial Skills course, “I didn’t really know the meaning of the passage myself, but when I came and took this critical thinking course it gave me more ideas and it’s really meaningful to me and it will give me a great help to help my Sunday school children.”

Thirteen men and women from Manus, Eastern Highlands, Madang, Jiwaka, and Gulf provinces came together for the five week Initial Skills course at the Training Centre in Ukarumpa. The students learned English grammar, reading comprehension, pronunciation, critical thinking, and research skills.

A student said, “I realized there is a way to get to the right conclusion. The most important thing was learning to ask questions. We usually ask one question and no more. This will help us analyze better. It’s very helpful to us to learn to read a book and think about it and answer questions about the themes and the main points. This was very helpful.” Another student, Regina Milaura says, “The critical thinking course was useful because now the [translation] team can ask each other questions about the Bible and come to a better understanding of it.”


Trouble Getting River Stones

DSC02941cropbyNewbreakchurch.jpgStory by Adam Boyd, photos Newbreak Church and Nete Talian

As we were nearing the completion of building our house in the village, we realized that we needed to build a drain field for our septic tank. A drain field is basically a long, deep trench that is filled with large stones to give the septic water overflow a place to drain. We needed to collect a large number of stones from a river for the drain field. So our friend Benjamin told me to drive the truck down the road a short ways to a stream.

IMG_20170214_161721cropbyNewbreakchurch.jpgThe river was on the land of another tribe, and as we began pulling stones out, Malo, one of the local landowners, forbid us from taking any stones. Benjamin, and those who had come to help us, argued with the landowner trying to get him to change his mind. But no matter what they said, he wouldn’t budge.

In my flesh, I began contemplating what I could say to him. I began thinking negative thoughts and as I stood there, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and reminded me, “If you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have?” So, when it became clear that Malo wasn’t going to allow us to take any stones, I went to him and said the opposite of what I had been thinking. I told him, “You don’t want to help us, but that is okay. When I go to town, I will still stop and pick you up and take you if you want to go to town. There are no hard feelings.” I repeated myself and then shook his hand with a smile.

As we were walking back to the truck, Malo called to us, “Kuki mendalapo nyalapa,” which literally means, “Take just a few,” but in practical application means, “Go ahead and take whatever you want.” So we started filling up the truck with stones, and he even got into the river and helped us. Later Malo came by the house to see the progress, and I gave him a can of Coke, which is a sign of friendship in Enga. God is good!







Prayer and Determination Makes Progress

Story and photo by Stephanie ErnandesIMG_5002.jpg

What happens after a New Testament dedication?  Some organizations stay and help finish the Old Testament, other organizations pull out.  They have the desire that the language group take ownership, such that they continue the work of translating the Old Testament on their own using the skills they developed while helping to translate the New Testament.  Some language groups get right to it, others wait.  Every group has a different story.

The Borong New Testament was dedicated in 2003.  Work for the Borong Old Testament did not start right away.  Kathy Tumaka explained that during the years since the New Testament was dedicated, the Borong people have been taking the time to understand it, asking questions like, “Who is this God?”  They learned more about Him.  They learned to see Him through the eyes of the Scriptures that they have.  When they began to really see God in their lives, they grew hungry.  They began to have the desire to have the Old Testament in the Borong Language.  They praise God for this time.

In 2009 Dan and Kathy Tumaka started to pray that God would open a door so that their people could begin the translation of the Old Testament.  After 4 years of prayer God opened that door.  In 2013 they were able to travel to a training center in the Eastern Highlands where they could take the Initial Skills Course needed learn how to begin translation work.

The road hasn’t been easy since then.  Time and time again plans to travel to the training center for further training have fallen through.  The translation work has taken much longer than expected as a result.  However, they didn’t give up.  They wanted the Old Testament in their mother tongue.  They have continued faithfully to pray and God in His good and perfect timing has continued to answer their prayers.

They prayed through 2014 and 2015, and in 2016 and 2107 God has provided so they could come and take four more courses.  They are rejoicing that they now have seven books of the Old Testament translated.

Please pray for Dan and Kathy and the Borong people for continued perseverance and hunger for God’s Word, for God’s strength and wisdom to carry on the rest of the enormous task of translating the remaining books of the Old Testament into the Borong language.

One Life at a Time

Story by Stephanie Ernandes, Photos by Jenny LeMahieu

One Life at at Time 5.jpg

The Goroka Show is the largest cultural festival in Papua New Guinea (PNG).  Around 100 people groups gather to display their traditional dress, music and dancing for all to see.  This event is unique in its brilliant displays of the roots of a culture unmatchable in diversity.  It draws many from both inside and outside of PNG.

Two Bible translation organizations joined forces this year and set up a display table/booth at the Goroka show to share and make known the many resources available to Papua New Guineans to access the Scriptures in their own languages.  With over 800 languages spoken in PNG and a population of over eight million people, any of which may show up at the festival, this was a prime opportunity to share the Good News!

They brought printed New Testaments (NT) and audio Bibles in five nearby/local languages. They put out coloring pages with Matthew 19:14 written on them in over 50 different languages along with colored pencils so kids could color them.  There were printouts on how to get involved with Bible translation as well as Gospel tracts in the local trade language.

One Life at at Time.jpg

The effort made was well received.  At least 25 people were able to download free New Testaments in their language onto their phones!

“It was fun to see people’s faces light up when they recognized their language on the coloring page with the Matthew Scripture.  Even high school boys were so excited they laughed when they read in their own language!” shared one of the group.

One young man from the Dano language group shared about finding a Dano New Testament in a local bookstore, but it was too expensive for him to buy.  The group had one available at a much lower cost. He quickly got out his money and bought one.  He’d been wanting one for quite some time.

An older man they spoke with was discouraged that the children in his village were not using their language, Kamano Kafe, very much anymore.  Julie Mare, one of those helping with the booth, was able to share some ideas about how to encourage the youth to use their language again.  In response the man purchased a New Testament and an Audio recording to help teach his grandchildren their language. His joy was evident!  Julie reminded him that he is imparting life into the next generation and they won’t easily forget what he is doing for them as they grow up.

What a beautiful thing to be able to spread the Word and make a difference, one life at a time!



My Father and the Crazy White People

Story by Helen Talo with Susan Freyfb-08122.jpgPhoto by Susan Frey

I was 15 years old when my father first met that crazy white man and his wife.  It was a formative age, when I was really beginning to differentiate bad from good.

My father would meet the white couple, Robbie and Debbie Petterson, in one of the vacant rooms at the hospital.  He would come home with stories that they had written in our own language, Mouwase.  The stories were fun and easy for me to understand.  Sometimes I would read them out loud and my family would laugh and enjoy hearing them.

They were translating the Word of God into our dialect, and it was lovely to hear.  Whenever dad finished translating a portion from the book of Luke, he would read it to us.   Our people still don’t understand the story of Jesus, because it is written in a foreign language.  I thank our Father in heaven that He brought these two crazy white people to translate the Gospel message from Luke into our dialect.  When I read it, it is easy to understand, and I really feel that Jesus speaks my language too.


Technology is Revolutionizing Access to God’s Word


Story by Adam Boyd, photo by Newbreak Church

Since Engan people are largely an oral culture, the translation team is creating audio recordings of each book of the New Testament as they are completed. Those audio records are then distributed in two main ways.

The first way is on solar-powered MP3 players. These audio players allow people to listen to God’s Word in Enga for hours at a time, and when the battery dies, they simply place the player in the sun to charge. We’ve heard stories of people saying, “When we read the Bible in Tok Pisin, we never read a whole chapter at a time. But we can listen to an entire book of the Enga Bible in one sitting without getting tired!”

Once people start listening to the Bible, there is a tendency for those with basic literacy skills to want to read along with a printed copy as they listen to the recording. In the process of doing so they teach themselves how to read their own language. As a result, we are also releasing audio recordings of the Enga Bible as an Android phone app that highlights the text sentence-by-sentence as the audio recording plays.

Even among people who live with no electricity or running water, Android phones are starting to become more and more common. And while an Engan may be reluctant to read a printed copy of the Bible in Enga, they will quite readily sit down and try to read along with the Android phone app. The other benefit of the Android phone app is that the distribution is completely free for anyone who has an Android phone. Technology is truly revolutionizing the way Engan people access God’s Word!