Not every day is a good day in Papua New Guinea. Sometimes you feel like this fish! Pray that the language development and Bible translation workers would have a good day today. That their conversations would lead to productive work and that challenges would be resolved.
When we see God’s handiwork in nature, I like to think of Him as a master artisan, deliberately creating masterpieces for His and our enjoyment. His creative nature is obvious in so many different ways. It is also obvious in the way He created people with diverse cultures and languages. Praise Him today for His creative nature as you think of the 830+ languages in Papua New Guinea.
The task of Bible translation is a big one. The local church is a vital resource in helping that task be completed. No one speaks the language better than a member of that language community. Churches in Papua New Guinea are often the focal point of the communities but without the Scriptures in their heart language, the message of the Gospel is often misunderstood. Church leaders are embracing the fact that the need to get the Scriptures into the language of the community and that they can take the lead in making it happen. Pray for church leaders to come forward and help their congregations embrace the Bible translation process.
Papua New Guinea is a country with very rugged,mountainous terrain and many remote islands. It is often impossible to get to a road that leads to a major city. Therefore many items are delivered by planes, carried on foot or put in a boat. Here are New Testaments being delivered over the sea. As you can imagine, this could be a precarious route for such a precious cargo. Pray as Bibles (and language workers!) are delivered to the remote island locations that they would arrive safely and dry!
Bananas, bananas, bananas! Bananas grow almost everywhere in Papua New Guinea. They are an important part of the PNG local food economy. They can be eaten raw or cooked. When food is needed for translation teams or training courses, they are often the first choice of the participants. Banana stalks can have up to 100 or more bananas on them. The stalk is cut and then hung from a rope to ripen. The bunch of green bananas become ripe over time so you can cut off a hand (5-10 bananas) as needed. They provide a continuous source of nutrition for up to two weeks or more. Bananas could be called the translation fruit! Pray that more people would support Bible translators in their communities by helping the translation teams with simple resources.
On Long Island, Papua New Guinea, a family that owned a coconut plantation found out that a Bible translator needed a place to put up a translation office in order to house his family and a place to work. He immediately offered him land right next to his house and helped him build the two buildings needed. Over the next decade, he helped the translator and looked after the house and office while he was away. The result? The Arop-Lokep New Testament was finished and dedicated. Now work is being done on the Old Testament. Praise God that this family saw the need for God’s word and became a part of the process. To see more on the dedication. please click on this link. Arop-Lokep NT dedication
When one looks into the future of language development and Bible translation and the need for language workers, it becomes apparent that a great part of the solution will be in the Papua New Guinean youth of today. Pray that the children of today would be motivated to bring the Scriptures into the heart language of their community. Pray that they would do well in school and that they would see the value of dedicating their lives to this effort.
The air was filled with excited voices as the Waskia people gathered to celebrate the arrival of the revised Bible in their own language. The event included singing, dancing, and gift-giving. One of the speakers, Andrew Kwimberi, reminded the people that this was not just another book, but a book that could change their lives. He encouraged them to drink in its sweetness, to read it every day, and to apply it in practical contexts.
As the dedication ceremony drew to a close, rain began to fall and people filled the tent, clamoring to buy a copy of the Bible in their own language. There were so many Waskia speakers wanting a Bible that the boxes quickly emptied so twenty more were brought and sales continued.
The celebration was the culmination of a translation journey that began in 1976, when Fay Barker and Janet Lee joined the Waskia people on Karkar Island. Janet, Fay and their Waskia co-translators completed the Waskia New Testament in 1985. Fay returned to the small island in Madang Province in 2007 to help the Waskia co-translators revise the New Testament translation and complete the translation of Old Testament books as well.
One of the Waskia co-translators was Pastor Lavong, who arrived at the celebration adorned with seashells and a traditional headdress. As drumbeats rolled and people danced, he related the story of his frustration in his early years of preaching. When he saw the blank faces of his congregation he realized, “God’s book must be translated into the words of the people for them to really understand what the Lord wants them to do.” Pastor Lavong spent the subsequent years of his life as part of the Waskia translation team. Now, holding the Waskia Bible close to his heart, he shared, “When I sat down to help with translation, I thought it would only change others’ lives…but it changed my life too.” Grinning, he exclaimed, “Now this translation will bring meaning and change to the lives of the people of Karkar Island.”
There are many activities that make up the day for a Papua New Guinean. So when it comes to the Bible translation and language development effort, there are times that this work is limited. In many areas, community development efforts have made it easier for life to go on and that frees up language workers from more time-consuming tasks (like walking a long way for water.)Pray that health and other worthwhile projects bring more time for Bible translation and language development.
The Quest Kodiak is perfectly suited for the challenging terrain found in Papua New Guinea. Designed to land and takeoff on short airstrips with large payloads, this aircraft is well prepared to meet the demands of the Papua New Guinea translation effort. Pray for the pilots and mechanics that fly and maintain these aircraft. They do the valuable job of transporting language development and Bible translation teams throughout PNG.