Bridging the gap

Bridging the gap
Essential bridges

This is just one of countless bridges that connect the Highlands to the coastal town of Madang. When any one of these bridges goes out, supplies traveling to and from are halted.  These bridges are essential. Bridges are essential in language learning as well, especially as people learn a second language. Research has found that learning to read in one’s heart language significantly improves one’s ability to learn a second language.  Pray for insights so that each language group can learn how to read first in their language and then “bridge” successfully to other languages.

Going batty…

Going batty
Going batty

Running behind today, so perhaps this is appropriate. Pray that the daily pressures of life don’t distract us from the peace that can be ours through our great God.

In the blink of an eye…

Eyes are the window to the soul
The “Eyes” have it

In the blink of an eye or in the  twinkling of an eye  is used to describe a sudden or very quick change or event. But did you know that it is used in the Bible? It talks of a very significant future event where change will occur very quickly. I Corinthians 15:52 says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” This is one change we should all be looking forward to. In Papua New Guinea, many changes are happening, some in the blink of an eye, some a bit more slowly. One change that is occurring is the technology that assists in the Bible translation and language development effort. Innovative usage of new technologies have made significant changes to the way languages are being translated. Pray that these technologies can be affordable and that they will work well in tough remote environments.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush


That’s for sure…  but how does this relate to language development and Bible translation? It is better to have a smaller project with a dedicated and committed group of community supported workers than a large project with ambivalent support.  When a language group initiates a project and has a team assigned and ready to participate, the potential that the project will be successful goes way up. If a language group expresses a lot of interest but doesn’t commit any of their own resources, the potential for success diminishes. Local interest is key. Pray for local interest for projects in Papua New Guinea.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

Let's get the ball rolling
Let’s get the ball rolling

When you want to see something important happen, you might just say “Let’s get the ball rolling!” In Papua New Guinea with about 200 languages having a New Testament and some work done in hundreds of other languages, you could say “The ball is rolling!”

However there is a sense of urgency for the remaining 300 languages that don’t have any work being done. What is the definition of urgency?

ur·gen·cy – ˈərjənsē/
1. importance requiring swift action
2. an earnest and persistent quality; insistence
Great words for the Bible translation and language development effort in PNG. Pray earnestly and persistently that this important work, that requires swift action, will be accomplished soon.

“The PNG Experience – Volume 2” – The Book


Example of 2 page spread in The PNG Experience book
A two-page spread in The PNG Experience book

The PNG Experience is now available in printed form. This 157 page book, with over 300+ photographs documents the stories and events that highlight the Bible translation and language development effort in PNG. These few layouts shown here are just an example of the more than 75 stories collected for this book.

The PNG Experience page 48-49 spread

The new “The PNG Experience – Volume 2″ book is now available in a larger 11″ x 13” layout. We are offering this book for $25 per book with a special limited time offer – buy 5 and get the 6th one free. For more information contact

Another two page example
26 inches of full color pictures

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you… Luke 1:1-3a –

Pictures are significantly reduced in quality for the blog.

A future in phonics


“I strongly believe this is the true way to teach language skills to children . . .”  – Elementary teacher trainer

Nothing else conjures up determination, passion and hard work like the desire to help our children succeed, and these qualities were in abundance when twenty-eight Master Teacher Trainers from all over Papua New Guinea gathered together at the Ukarumpa Training Centre in October and November for the Creative Phonics workshop. Administrators and teachers alike were energized as they learned how to use the Creative Phonics method of reading and writing in the mother tongue as a foundation for literacy.

During the three-week course, funded by AusAid, educators from nine different teacher colleges planned how to equip their teachers with the Creative Phonics curriculum using the local languages spoken in each school. With over 800 different languages in Papua New Guinea, and with most schools having limited access to resources and materials, the method is practical because teachers do not need to rely on formalized primers or other expensive materials, but can use what is locally and readily available. One teacher was so excited about the simplicity and creativity of the method that she said she was going to begin using it with her own children when she returned home.

Although long hours were spent developing training materials, working through potential difficulties and developing lesson plans to pass on to trainees, there was a spirit of encouragement and enthusiasm among colleagues, many of whom were taking precious time out of the school year to complete the training. The extra time and effort was worth it to one teacher from the Primary Teacher’s College who said, “I have learnt so much in these three weeks. I have been enriched so much by the wealth of knowledge gained . . . I know that this is the way to go to help the illiterate in this country.”

In the end, the Master Trainers walked away from their time together better equipped and inspired to ensure the success of the most important people of all — the future readers and leaders of their own country.

Learning  how to teach phonics
Learning how to teach phonics

Between a rock and a hard place

Between a rock and a hard place
Between a rock and a hard place

Getting the work done isn’t always about completing the job requirements.  It also includes building good relationships between the people that are working together. In Papua New Guinea, the value of keeping good relationships is extremely important. Most western countries put a high value on efficiency. Both values are important but at times they impact the way the work is accomplished. Pray that the clash of these two cultural values doesn’t hold up the work that needs to be done!

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight

Red skies at night
Red (orange) skies at night

Red skies in the morning, sailors take warning. Red skies at night sailor’s delight.

Okay perhaps this picture is a bit more orange than red. But the truth is that we all would like to know what the future holds, even if it’s just the weather. So what language will we speak when we get to heaven? While the answer to that question is not clear, what is clear, is that people from all languages will be there. “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne…” (Rev 7:9) About 300 of these languages in Papua New Guinea have a real need because there hasn’t been any translation work done. Pray for these languages and for the people who are advocating for them.

Getting connected

Using cell phones
Using cell phones

“My cell phone battery is empty again,” complained Jonah with a smile to the Webers. “I just charged it at the school yesterday, but my daughter used it to watch the Jesus video last night and used up all the power.”

Mobile phones can be found in even the most remote areas of Papua New Guinea. Everyone seems to have one—creating plenty of new opportunities for business. Phone-charging vendors spring up anywhere a solar panel and a car battery can be set up.

The primary school near Jonah’s home may lack electrical lighting for the classrooms, but it is equipped with a solar array to power the teachers’ computers and printer. For a small fee cell phone owners can also use the unit to charge their phones’ batteries.

Cell phones are also creating unexpected opportunities for language developers and Bible translators. In 2005, the JESUS film was dubbed into the Bim Weng language, and in 2008 the Bimin New Testament was completed. At that time, translators Thomas and Christiane Weber couldn’t have foreseen that people like Jonah would be watching the JESUS film on their cell phones.

Today the mini-SD cards in mobile phones make an ideal catalyst for circulating the translated material. The JESUS film and the audio version of the Bimin New Testament are easily copied onto the SD cards and inserted into a variety of phones. During a recent visit to Bimin, the Webers distributed 40 such mini-SD cards as well as 230 AudiBibles—solar-powered MP3 players with the spoken Bimin New Testament.

Fifty years ago, story-telling was vital to the Bimin way of life. After the sun crept over the horizon, families would assemble around the cooking-fires inside their homes and share local news and stories of old. Now the tradition continues as young and old alike gather together to listen to God’s Word in their own language or watch the JESUS film on their mobile phones.

Remote Cell Tower
Remote Cell Tower