Getting home

Coastal waves
Coastal waves

What do you do when the only road from the coast has a bridge go out and you need to get home? Check the flight schedule! The van that took us to Madang was scheduled to drive back today but that didn’t look like an option with the road out. There was a flight scheduled on Friday but not everyone would be able to go. Fortunately a helicopter was needed to transport translators from a remote setting to Madang. Once in Madang, it was empty and would return to Ukarumpa empty, costing the translators even more. So we got a ride home on a helicopter and the translators didn’t have to pay as much for their trip from the village. Best of all the helicopter is a great place to take pictures. My fingers actually cramped up taking so many. So, the moral of the story? God is always in control and He always has a way and it is usually a way that we haven’t planned for.

Home & Garden
Home & Garden

How do you say…

Reading the open book
The Open Book

August 30, 2013 – Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea – Mack Graham with Tim Scott

One of the steps in translating the Bible is discovering the meaning of words through investigation only, and not by asking, “How do you say ’righteousness’ (or ‘sponge,’ or ‘lean’)?” For instance, in a language community with no English speakers, the translator listens to, records and then transcribes a text and then asks further questions about the use of words.

Mack Graham, a translator working with the Kandawo people, thought that he could perhaps use the English idiom “to lean on someone” to denote “trust”. When Mack heard the word for leaning a pole against a house he asked the pastor why he’d never heard anyone use this word from the pulpit denoting “trust/lean on Jesus”. It was obvious from his reaction that the pastor had never thought of it before, and he said he didn’t know why they didn’t use the term in that context.

Later, Mack was at another village at election time; candidates were speaking and making promises. The local man who was running for office said that though he didn’t want to, he would have to ”lean” on his fellow clansmen. Did he mean that he would “trust” his fellow clansmen? Mack asked someone what the candidate meant by “leaning on” his fellow clansmen; the answer was, “He needs their support: money, food, cooking, housing people . . .”

So the term “leaning on” really meant “leeching off of” others. No wonder no one uses this word to denote trusting in Jesus! “Leeching off of” Jesus doesn’t make much sense.

But though the term was not useful to denote “trust/dependence”, it was useful in 1 Corinthians 11:9 where Paul reminds the Corinthians that he has not been a burden to them and he will continue to not be a burden to them. Paul did not eat their food or require them to use their money to look after him; instead, he worked as a tentmaker and supported himself.

While searching for just the right Kandawo word for leaning on Jesus, Mack found the perfect word for a completely different context! That’s just part of the adventure of Bible translation.

Sleeping Baby
The peace of a sleeping baby

Madang embraces the power

Engaging Madang
Engaging Madang

Madang is currently holding a conference entitled “The Power of the Word”. The purpose of the conference is to encourage the church and community leaders to use the Word, especially the Word in their heart language. They were shown how embracing their culture and their language through the lens of the Word is an important part of reaching their communities. Pray for clarity and unity for the churches in the province of Madang.

National day of repentance


Monday, was the National Day of Repentance. A day when PNGers took time to repent of their sins and asked God to forgive their people and land. Pray for lasting impact.

So happy to read Solos

New Words
New Words

27 August, 2013 – Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea – Written by Larry Doyle with Tim Scott

The Solos people had long worked, waited and prayed for the day when they would translate the Bible into their own vernacular. The 10,000 speakers of this vibrant language, who live mainly on Buka Island, have now taken their first steps toward this exciting goal.

The Solos community selected nine men and women to participate in the Translator’s Training Course (TTC) at SIL’s Bougainville Regional Training Centre.  TTC is a 4-module course providing training in translation principles, Bible background, study skills and language discovery.  TTC1 is the introductory module; at the end, the participants are given an assignment to complete before moving to the next module.  The Solos team and their mentor, SIL’s Larry Doyle, successfully completed TTC1 and returned home equipped to begin translating the Bible into their own language.

Upon returning to their home villages, eight translators met to begin their assignment: translating Joshua 1-12 into Solos. They formed two groups and divided the work between them, translating the assigned text over the next four days.  Others in the two Solos villages watched the work progress and were thrilled to see a passage of the Bible being drafted in their own language.

Six weeks later, the team has successfully drafted half of their assignment, well ahead of schedule.  People in the villages have supported the translation effort by providing meals and good places to work; others sit in on translation sessions and help with the drafting.  It appears that the team will be ready for the next module of the Translator’s Training Course, and the Solos people are well on their way to reading the Bible in their own language.

Ere o toh, o hiring tarih teno.  Hahiring, kou tout puo jia harunrut puo, tanasah, i Natohi, Sunahan teno, na kapean naeno tani pan aobot ka na mao.  Joshua 1:9 Solos. The actual word to word translation of this from Solos is – Here say strong my to you be strong don’t fear or discourage because Lord God of you go hold on you at place every which go.

English translation – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Just one of the family…

Just part of the family
Just part of the family

Pigs are prized in PNG. They are often treated as well as a family member… until it is time for a celebration. More than one pig has met its demise at a Bible dedication. What is your thought or comment?

The PNG Experience ABCs – Now what?

The PNG Experience ABCs
The PNG Experience ABCs

Well…  you can’t work with languages without an alphabet. So here is the whole thing. Enjoy! But what do I do next?

Media in PNG

Using the camera
Using the camera – photos by Dilen Doiki & Nate Jayne

Ukarumpa, PNG Written by Tim Scott

“This was the first practical workshop that I have attended that addressed electronic media usage in PNG, especially in the area of video. I am excited to get back and use what I have learned.” – Paula Kari, Communications Officer, World Vision

What is needed to conduct an effective media workshop in PNG? This was the question posed to a group of twelve attendees at the UNESCO Media workshop hosted by the Centre for Social and Creative Media (CSCM) at the University of Goroka.   The purpose of the workshop was to bring media practitioners together to discuss media production in Papua New Guinea and come up with ideas for media training and media capacity building. They came from several organisations including NBC, Kundu TV, Media for Development Initiative, National Film Institute, World Vision, SIL and University of Goroka (UOG). Workshop leaders Mark Eby and Dr. Verena Thomas (UOG) lead the participants through a series of lectures, activities and discussions.

One activity had the participants produce video interviews. Teams of four, using state of the art cameras and sound equipment, conducted individual workshop interviews. Each participant produced a short video using professional editing software. Despite the fact that most of the participants had little post-production editing experience, they successfully completed the videos in just two days. The videos were critiqued and all the participants were encouraged by the work they had completed.

A presentation on “Using Social Media” focused on how to create a social media platform. A model was presented by Tim Scott, Chief Communications Officer, SIL-PNG and participants saw how different social media elements could be integrated to distribute information to a variety of social media users. One participant said, “I use Facebook but I didn’t realise how I could use different types of social media together to get my information out.”

Leaders and participants alike agreed that the workshop was a success. The coordinators plan to use information from this workshop to create materials to train Papua New Guineans on how to become effective media producers.

“The rural people in Papua New Guinea need access to information, especially information about important social issues. This workshop helped me learn more tools to do my job better.”  – Sara Mumugao, Senior Broadcast Editor, NBC.

Z is for Zero

Z is for Zero
Z is for Zero

This and every generation deserves to have the Scriptures in their heart language. The goal? Zero languages without a language project at least started by 2025.  Impossible? Yes, without God. In Papua New Guinea alone the number of languages without a project has not one but two zeros – 300. Pray that we can make these zeros disappear until the only number left standing is zero.