25 June, 2013 – Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea – Written by Tim Scott
“These are exciting days to be part of the Bible translation and language development task here in PNG.” – Jeff D’Jernes
Recently SIL-PNG held its biennial conference and elected new leaders to lead the organisation as it moves forward in the language development and Bible translation effort. The PNG organisation is led by a Director who oversees the day-to-day operations and reports to an Executive Committee which meets periodically to assure compliance to the goals and ends of the organisation.
Paul Minter is the newly elected Director. He is a translator and translation consultant. He and his wife, Jennie, have worked among the Iyo people of Madang Province for 17 years, seeing the Iyo NT dedicated in 2009. Since then he has served in administrative roles both in PNG and in the SIL Pacific Area. He agreed to stand for Branch Director in order to see the Branch move in new directions which would revitalize SIL-PNG recruitment and retention and effectively engage Papua New Guineans for the remaining translation task in the country. About his Multi-Language Initiative (MLI), he says, “I want the Branch to develop a method by which we as an organisation can design, implement and resource multi-language projects in PNG.”
Jeff D’Jernes was elected to chair the Executive Committee. Jeff and his wife, Sissie, first came to Papua New Guinea in 1981. Since 1987 they have been working among the Arop-Lokep people on Long Island & Crown Island of Madang Province, and Tolokiwa Island & Umboi Island of Morobe Province. The entire New Testament has now been translated into the Arop dialect of the Arop-Lokep language and a dedication ceremony is planned for June 2014. They have trained 2 literacy supervisors and 45 local teachers and launched 14 vernacular language prep schools for the children of Long Island. They have also facilitated adult literacy classes in several villages.
As PNG undergoes rapid technological and cultural changes, SIL-PNG is responding by developing fresh strategies and trying new methods for reaching the last 300 language groups needing a translation.
Both leaders expressed their appreciation to outgoing Director, Tim Lithgow and Executive Chairperson, Alan Brown for their significant accomplishments over the past four years.