Only one way in. Many villages in Papua New Guinea have only one way in – by air. When the planes circle over these strips, much of the community shows up in excitement. These airstrips are vital to the language development and Bible translation effort. Every year some strips have to be closed because of unsafe conditions. Ruts caused by water runoff, high grass, poor drainage, even ants can close a strip down until it is inspected and proclaimed safe again. The work falls on the community to keep the strip usable. Pray for the pilots that fly and for the communities that maintain these strips so that the work of Bible translation can continue.
Papua New Guineans are investing in the Bible translation and language development movement. Universities are actively training linguists, churches are partnering with translation organisations and communities are allocating resources to make this work happen. Pray that the momentum towards translating, learning and using tokples (heart language) Scriptures will accelerate the number of projects within the country.
A new fun video that shows God’s amazing creative power – “Under the Sea.” This was taken during some downtime after the Arop-Lokep New Testament was dedicated. It was almost like the sea exploded with color to welcome another language to God’s word.
When the pieces of a puzzle fit together smoothly, a beautiful picture is formed.
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, twelve-year-old Karissa was encouraged by her younger sister to write to Anessa, a girl her own age growing up in Papua New Guinea, where her parents served with SIL. Karissa accepted her sister’s advice, wrote an e-mail to Anessa, and a friend- ship began. The first piece of the puzzle was in place.
Anessa’s father serves in construction and maintenance at the SIL center in Ukarumpa. Her family is closely involved with Steve and Carol Jean Gallagher, translators for the Bariai people, helping them in any way they can. When the Barai New Testament was completed, Anessa and her family attended the celebration. The Voss family’s relationship with the Bariai people was another piece of the puzzle.
Back in South Dakota, Karissa’s home church was looking for a project to sponsor for their 2014 Easter offering. Through the Voss family, the church learned of the need for Bariai AudiBibles. The church decided to sponsor the project and covered the cost of 200 AudiBibles. The puzzle was coming together.
By this time, the girls had been pen pals for 4 years, and Karissa was hoping to visit PNG. She and her father were able to arrange their trip to coincide with the distribution of the AudiBibles. Karissa and Anessa, along with their fathers, spent a week living in Bambak Village. Each day they traveled on foot or by boat, visiting each of the eight Bariai villages. In each place they sold AudiBibles and updated ones that had been sold previously. Because of the generous gift of the church in South Dakota, people purchased the audio Scripture players for a fraction of their true cost.
Two girls who became pen pals . . . a family who supported a translation team . . . a church with a desire to get the Word of God to people . . . a father and daughter who traveled across the globe . . . each piece of the puzzle fit together perfectly to create a beautiful finished picture: men and women in every Bariai village listening to the life-giving words of God in their own heart language.
GoodNews always sounds better when viewed through the culture one understands. When translating the Bible, cultural context is important. Finding relevant clues within the indigenous culture helps make the the translation come alive. At the same time when cultures collide, it is important to maintain a connection to the culture one was born into. Teaching children the ways of the past helps them maintain this connection… especially when it is combined with the truth of God’s word. Singing the old songs with new words, using traditional instruments and dress to celebrate the arrival of the New Testaments in traditional ways, all help to bring the message of God’s love more clearly. Pray that as culture and God’s word come together, they represent His love and message accurately.
There comes a point where you have to take a leap of faith… like taking off from this airstrip. There is no turning back once you start. The takeoff has to happen. Translation projects at some point, also have to take a “leap of faith.” The research has been done, the necessary indicators point to success and the resources are in place, now the work must start. There may still be a lot of questions to be answered, unknowns to be discovered and challenges to overcome but the starting time has come. Pray for projects in Papua New Guinea that may be starting soon. Pray for wisdom for those in charge that they may be in tune with God’s timing.
“He who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Proverbs 13:11
Although the Maiwa people of Milne Bay Province do not have the book of Proverbs in their language, they often demonstrate the wisdom found there.
Takashi and Yaeko Nakamura came from Japan to live among the Maiwa people. From the time they started translation work in 1989, they always felt supported and encouraged by the Maiwas. They built friendships and often people would stop by their house for a visit.
In 2005, Gerold, a leader in the community, came to visit. He and Takashi chatted about village life and about the translation of the New Testament. Although the book would not be ready for several years, Gerold was curious to know the price. Takashi replied, “I do not know the price, but I think it will be around K10.” (At that time K10 was equal to about US $5.) Gerold leaned back in his chair and said with a smile, “I want to buy one for me and my family. The cost will be expensive.” Takashi also smiled and replied, “If you start saving money now, you will be able to buy one.”
Gerold followed that suggestion and began saving money little by little. The amount grew and grew. Other people in Biniguni Village saw his example and they started saving for the New Testament, too.
Meanwhile, Takashi and Yaeko and the translation team continued their work. Little by little the chapters were completed and checked for accuracy. When the finished Maiwa New Testament was ready, the price of the book was K5, instead of the K10 that Takashi had guessed.
By that time around 100 people in the community had saved enough money to pre-pay for a New Testament. When the dedication day arrived on April 18, 2012, each of these people was able to go home with a Maiwa New Testament of their own. And what about Gerold? He had saved enough that he was able not only to buy a book for himself, but to purchase one for each of his four children as well!