Is it worth 12 Kina? or 5 Aussie dollars? US$4.60? 30 Swedish Krona? 100,000 Vietnamese dong? What is the value of Scripture? Of course we would say its too valuable to put a price on Scripture but in a way we do. Some language development and Bible translation programs have to be curtailed because of lack of funds. Some translation advisers have to leave their language groups to go back to their home countries to raise more funds. So there is a cost associated with the production of mother-tongue Scripture. What if we had an auction for verses… what would we pay for John 3:16 or Philippians 4:6 or John 14:6. I wonder what John 11:35 (Jesus wept.) would go for ? So is it at least worth 12 Kina? It should be! Pray for the resources needed to complete the task of bringing Scripture to the languages that do not have them.
If you are reading this release then you are probably already familiar with the great stories that are coming out of the language development and Bible Translation effort in Papua New Guinea. The PNG Experience has been documenting these stories on a regular basis for almost two years. Now there are several other ways to receive these stories. The PNG Experience Volume 2 will be arriving shortly to the shores of PNG in a published book format. The 160 page book contains 75 stories from 2013 and has over 300 pictures. But you don’t have to wait for the book… you can see it now at the following link. Simply, go to https://thepngexperience.wordpress.com and click on the tab at the top that says “The PNG Experience Book Volume 2.”
While are there you can look at the recent 2014 blog entries, as well as look at the images that make up The PNG Experience. This blog is a great way to get almost daily updates about what is happening in PNG. Sign up for the blog and send the link to your friends so they can become aware of the needs, you challenges and successes that are part of Bible translation and the language development effort in PNG.
Would you rather watch videos? How about going to www.youtube.com/thepngexperience? There are over 30 videos on a variety of subjects mostly relating to the Bible translation and language development effort (and there are a few other fun ones as well.)
Finally, if you want PDF copies of the news releases, they can be found at www.issuu.com/thepngexperience. Send the link to friends so they can find out what is happening in PNG.
Too much to remember? Just go to www.silpng.org where you will find all this and more. Keeping informed and informing others is a great way to help all Papua New Guineans to have health and community information, culture and educational material and the Scriptures in their heart languages.
He repeated his name again… the eleventh time. I repeated it back. “Close,” he said. I smiled and said, “How about I just call you ‘W’?” He gave me a funny smile and said “Sure.” Later on, as he was telling his story he talked about his “willage.” He kept mentioning his “willage” and it wasn’t until he said “ad-wenture” that I realized that his language didn’t have the English “V” sound. This isn’t unusual. Many languages have sounds that are difficult to repeat when they are first learned. For some English speakers, the rolling “r” (rr) of Spanish is hard to duplicate. When language development and Bible translation workers in Papua New Guinea learn a language, one of the first things they do is document the sounds they hear. It takes patience and a good ear. When “W” finished his story, I asked him to say his name once more and spell it. Then I said, “How about I call you ‘V’ ?” A big small smile came across his face as he said “Now you got it!” Pray that those working on languages in PNG can get it!
Somewhere along the line, “10” become the score for perfection in many sporting events that required “judging”. In Olympic gymnastics, when a participant does a routine flawlessly, they receive a score of “10.” What if we had to receive scores for the routines we do? Language workers and Bible translators in Papua New Guinea work very hard to make sure that the work they do, rates a “10.” Pray for them as they labour for hours at a time and over a span of many years to get the words just right.
Take inventory, stock the shelves, try to stay on top of the supply and demand chain. This is the daily grind for employees at the SIL Store in Ukarumpa, Eastern Highlands Province. The small grocery store is one of several departments on the SIL Center that supports expatriate and national workers who are involved in Bible translation, literacy and language development throughout the country. Like most jobs, the reasons for the work often get buried under the demands of each day. That’s why store and shipping managers Todd Lindley, Ken Tobiana, and Tai Yari, along with their team of employees, decided to transform a basic grocery item – bread – into something worth celebrating.
After eight store employees attended a conference in January to determine how SIL would proceed with a new Multi-language Initiative (MLI), the staff was motivated to implement a plan that had been forming in their minds for a while – the Bread of Life Special. In an effort to remind their customers and themselves why the store exists in the first place, the team decided that when the next shipment of newly translated Scriptures arrived on their loading dock, they would increase their stock of sliced bread and sell it a fifty percent discount to customers as a way to celebrate the completion of another New Testament. The store usually receives these shipments from the printers prior to their being delivered to the language group. “Too often these Bibles come and there’s nothing made of it,” said one employee.
The day after the MLI conference ended, boxes of the Arop-Lokep New Testament appeared on the loading dock, ready for distribution later this year. It was the perfect opportunity to commemorate the arrival of God’s Word, the Bread of Life, in a public way. Over the next two days, word spread about the special and more than five times the normal amount of bread flew off the shelves. The store hopes to have many more occasions to offer discounted bread in the future and to celebrate giving Bread to those who have been waiting to eat it.
“A cat has 9 lives.” This common saying seems true because cats are so quick and adaptable. They seem to always be getting out of jams. While language workers and Bible translators may not be quite as quick, they are very adaptable. They often serve multiple roles when in the rural and remote settings of Papua New Guinea. They end up being everything from a mechanic to an electrician (with solar power) or being an adviser, teacher or counselor. These “other”roles are important in relationship building and just to live but they are time-consuming. Pray that they can balance these roles with their role as language workers.
When her mother, Deb Smucker, flew west to Yabru village to assist in a workshop for training teachers, nine-year-old Abigail went too. The mother/daughter pair traveled to the village by hiking, canoeing, and flying in a plane. After their plane touched down, smiling faces and waving hands greeted them. Many willing hands helped to carry the literacy materials, food, and other baggage over the trails and down the river to Yabru.
Papua New Guinean teaching supervisors instructed the teachers during the workshop, but Abigail was able to help the teachers, who live near the border of Indonesia, practice the language she knows best: English. In certain years of the curriculum, the teachers are required to teach English. As their young tutor pronounced the words, the adults mimicked what they heard.
During their two weeks in Yabru, young Abigail also contributed in other ways. She helped her mother organize nearly 1,500 pounds of literacy materials in the book room so that it could easily be sold to the teachers. The boxes had been covered in plastic to keep them dry during transport. Abigail’s jobs included cutting off the plastic and arranging the books on the shelves.
The time in Sandaun Province wasn’t all work. One of the teen girls, Sarah, was assigned to be with Abigail to make sure she had fun but also stayed safe. She discovered that paddling a canoe and getting a little wet was fun because it was quite hot in the afternoons. Sarah taught Abigail to catch fish with a net. Putting the nets out late in the afternoon, they checked for a catch the following morning. One day she watched the cooks prepare the fresh fish for lunch. Later, when asked why she wasn’t eating her fish, she answered, “If you had seen how they cut that fish, you wouldn’t be eating it either!”
Another highlight for Abigail was playing soccer with the local girls. Sports were a great way for her to connect with people. She lamented, “I will really miss my new friends when I go home.”