The use of mobile phones has increased significantly in Papua New Guinea in the past several years. Now corresponding with village workers is no longer totally reliant on shortwave radio. But coverage is not everywhere and in many areas it is a very weak signal. It is not unusual for villagers to know exactly where to stand to pick up the weak signal. Corresponding with village translators who are at work on translations while the lead translator is away is still a challenge. Pray for better communications between co-workers.
Market produce is a major income stream for many Papua New Guineans. At some training courses, villages provide food for the local translators who are getting trained in order to “partner” with them in translating the Scriptures into their heart language. Partnering happens at all levels. Pray for your role in partnering in order that all languages can read and hear God’s word.
Much of Papua New Guinea is experiencing a drought. There has been very little rain in Port Moresby for about seven months. Here in the Highlands spotty rain showers have provided relief but even here in Ukarumpa, many water tanks have run dry. Now the river which is a secondary source for water is running dangerously low. The impact on the neighboring gardens is starting to show. What does this have to do with translation and language development work? When the gardens dry up, gardening takes more effort and national translators must find other work in order to survive. This means less translation work is accomplished. Pray for rain for all of PNG so that the work can flow … along with the water.
‘Yesterday I called my wife and children together and shared lesson 2 of the SALT course: God Loves Us Like a Good Father. I asked them: “Have you seen in my behavior what I should have done, being a picture of God? Have I loved you in the same way God loves us?” They hadn’t seen it. I apologized for how I had been acting, and I asked for their forgiveness. A big change in my life and my family came up because of this SALT course!’
This testimony of a participant in the Scripture Application & Leadership Training (SALT) course held in Nobonob, Madang shows how God is at work in people’s hearts, bringing changes in their lives and communities.
The SALT course is a two-week intensive Bible course. With the help of local translators, SALT teachers seek to customize teaching topics and discussion times to meet the felt needs of local people, making the curriculum and method as culturally relevant as possible. Practical applications of the material and outreach opportunities are strongly encouraged, with the ultimate goal of changing lives and communities.
The SALT course is a tool to draw people closer to God, so the course is conducted after the Scriptures are translated into the local language. Because the SALT materials are also translated into the local language, the teaching shoots straight to the heart, equipping leaders and pastors who have limited access to Biblical training.
One of the participants wrote: ‘The SALT course really helped us leaders of today and tomorrow. It met our needs. All the lessons showed us our downfalls. We must be prepared to help ourselves and, to be in a position to help others, we have to look at ourselves first . . . It is time now to meet with Jesus Christ and take Him personally as our Lord and Savior– to eat the food He prepares for us, which is the Bible. We must eat until we are full and then feed those who are hungry. This is a great need in our community today.’
…no easy way across. As many as 150 inhabited islands (maybe more!*) are scattered around the mainland of Papua New Guinea. Some are more than 1500 km (900 miles) from PNG mainland. Rough seas and strong currents make it difficult to navigate. Changing landscapes, few navigational aids, along with boats insufficient for the task, create risky travel for many. On these islands are many language groups that need translation work. Pray for the islands of PNG today.
*conflicting numbers found for the number of inhabited islands
Another class completed! This group completed their final lessons and assignments yesterday. They are from several different areas of PNG. They are learning a software application called Paratext which allows them to be more effective in the translation of their heart language. Pray for recall and full understanding as they travel back to their homes to continue translating the Scriptures into their language.
September 24, 2013 – Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea – Karen Weaver with Tim Scott
Linguistics captivated Luai during her studies at Keravat National High School. Although she wanted to study advanced linguistics at the university level, she put that dream aside when she got married and began working at a bank.
Several years later, Luai’s pastor selected Luai and encouraged her to attend the New Ireland Tranlsation Institute (NITI) . Going to NITI rekindled Luai’s interest in linguistics and initiated her involvement in translating the Nalik New Testament.
Initially, Luai’s husband was pessimistic about her work with the Nalik translation, but he now supports her. This is a great encouragement to Luai.
Another encouragement came through an unexpected visitor. A lady came to the village and noticed that Luai’s home was disorderly and that she hadn’t raked the yard. When Luai explained that she spends many hours translating the New Testament and has little time for her own work, this visitor offered to send her daughter to help with housework. Luai testifies, “Her daughter has been a big help to me.”
Later, Luai heard that this same woman had become ill, so she went to visit her. While there, a group gathered in the house and Luai used the opportunity to check a portion of the translation with these people to see if the meaning was clear to them and if it sounded natural. As she left, her new friend requested, “Please come back again and check more Scripture in my house.” When Luai asked why, her friend explained, “I don’t have a Bible. I sometimes go to church and listen to sermons, but I have never read the Bible for myself.”
Following her request, Luai has returned several times. The group of listeners has expanded to include several students from a local trade school. Luai testifies, “I praise God who chose me to translate the Bible into my own language. As I translate I see God and my eyes are opened. He has given many promises to those who follow him. He is faithful!”
When I hear the Scriptures in my language “i sutim bel b’long mi!” Since I don’t know his heart language and he doesn’t know my heart language, English, we talk to each other in the trade language Tok Pisin. “I sutim bel b’long mi” means “it stabs me in my stomach.” Similarly, we may say in English, “I feel it in my heart.” In many Melanesian cultures, the stomach is the seat of emotions. If the scriptures are read in a different language than what they learned as a child, it often looses a lot of the meaning or even comes up with different meanings. So which is right, stomach or heart? Of course they are both right, it depends on your heart language… or should I say your stomach language!
You might have a problem with water in your basement after a heavy rain but I bet you don’t have this much water. However there is always a bright side. You never have to travel too far to go fishing.
Settlements like this often have pockets of people that speak the same language. Translation and language development work is actually being done in major cities because of easier access to people from a specific language group. Pray for more innovative and ingenious methods of reaching people with the Scriptures in their heart language.
Two cultures cannot coincide without one culture influencing the other. As language development work and Bible translation work occurs here in PNG, pray for positive change for both the indigenous and the visiting cultures as they work together to provide something that satisfies forever.