The PNG Experience exists to celebrate the wonderful things God is doing in the Bible translation and language development effort in Papua New Guinea. This is accomplished by presenting the good stories in multiple formats that highlight what is taking place. These stories are encouraging people around the world. Rejoice with us as we see God’s hand at work in this effort.
The PNG Experience Blog – Published 5 days a week, this blog highlights the need for prayer in Papau New Guinea’s translation effort. With over 800 languages in PNG and 200 projects in place, it is in much need of prayer. In 2014, The PNG Experience published 258 blogs which were viewed almost 29,000 times! We had over 7100 visitors to the site. Now that’s a lot of prayer! (www.thepngexperience.wordpress.com)
YouTube Videos – The stories are also produced in video media. Twenty-five videos were added this year to YouTube resulting in over 15,000 visits with 676 hours of viewing. Topics varied from New Testament dedications to our “Faces of Translation Series” which highlights the different roles in PNG. (www.youtube.thepngexperience.com)
Yumi Stori and Tok Save News Releases – The PNG Experience published 72 news releases in 2014. each one focusing on a facet of the translation process, a significant event or transformation story highlighting the impact of Bible translation and language development in PNG. These releases are delivered throughout PNG and around the world to high level government leaders, language development advocates, educational institution leaders and more. Church and denominational leaders as well as other organisations receive these releases and are encouraged weekly on the good things that are happening in PNG. (Email email@example.com if you would like to be added to this list)
The PNG Experience – Volume 2 Photo/Story book– Riding on the sold out success of volume 1, volume 2 was released. This 160 page book has over 70 stories with over 300 beautiful photographs. Over 600 have been sold and there are some still available for purchase. ($30 includes shipping in the US – Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)
All that to say, 2014 was a very productive year. So we are going to take a break for the rest of 2014! We look forward to getting you more great stories in 2015. Meanwhile…
Pray that the good news of the tremendous effort being made in Bible Translation would continue to go out in PNG.
In Papua New Guinea, drums are used in many different ways. They are used to keep rhythm for their music and dancing. They are pieces of art and decoration. They are used to bring attention to a problem or need. So imagine a drum calling you to listen to an important message. So pretend your hear a drum beating right now. Today’s important message is the great need for resources and prayer so that the almost 300 languages still needing a project may soon have one started. Pray that these resources will come soon.
How often do planes land here? Only when the language workers come and go. So when the children hear the planes low in the sky, they run to the airstrip to see the planes land. These strips don’t just happen. It requires much work by many people to make the landing area smooth and keep the grass cut short. It is often cut by hand using bush knifes. These airstrips are essential to the work of Bible translation and language development. Without a place to land an airplane or helicopter, getting to these remote areas is difficult at best, and often impossible. Every year more and more airstrips are closed because of lack of good maintenance. Pray that these airstrips are well-maintained so that they can remain open and the work can go on.
OK… it may not look like a typical oven to you but there is a whole pig under there. There are many ways to cook pork but it always tastes great. Pork is the main course at most major Papua New Guinean feasts. It is an honour to have it served at a celebration. This pig is being eaten to celebrate another New Testament. Praise the Lord for another Scripture in the heart language of the people… and for good food!
There always seems to be something extra to do. Multitasking hasn’t seemed to diminish anyone’s work load. Living in remote areas of Papua New Guinea takes time and energy. Many translation teams are delayed in completing their linguistic efforts simply by the normal requirements of life. Many translators need to continue doing what they always do and try to squeeze translation work in when they can. Pray that communities and churches would rally around the teams and assist them with the basic life requirements so they can focus on the language work.
Sliced bananas on cereal may sound familiar but that is not the only way to eat bananas for breakfast. How about roasted over a fire? Now that’s a great way to start the day. It isn’t hard to imagine that people all over the world do things differently and enjoy the difference. What is hard, is recognising that the way you usually do something, is not always the best way. Language workers in Papua New Guinea have to evaluate their way of thinking and make sure that they are not missing an opportunity to embrace a new way of doing things. The cultural context in which they work may offer a better solution for that language. Pray for flexibility and adaptability as new ways of working in languages are discovered.
What would you do if you lived here? It may be a bit too distracting to put your office here! This building was erected in order to celebrate a different sight. This building housed the dedication celebration for the Arop-Lokep New Testament. On that day, the New Testament was distributed so that many people could get a better insight into the Word of God in the language they new the best, their heart language. Pray for the Arop-Lokep translators who are continuing on and have begun to work on the Old Testament.
The rugged terrain in Papua New Guinea makes travel difficult. Can you imagine trying to get down from the top of this mountain?!? While they make for beautiful scenery and waterfalls, they also become barriers that make getting from one village to another almost impossible. One of the jobs desperately needed is language surveying. Surveyors travel to these rugged locations to determine more information about a language and to gauge the interest in language development projects. Pray for safety as these teams travel throughout PNG.
Tens of thousands of deaf people are locked in a world of silence in PNG, having never been taught sign language and unable to communicate with others.
Foreting and Nathalie Juhonewe, who are both deaf themselves, have a burden for ministering to the deaf of PNG. They know that establishing an accurate dictionary is the first step. In fact, Nathalie calls it a fundamental leap. She asks, “How can anyone translate the Bible into PNG’s sign language if there’s no dictionary to rely on and just a few established signs for Christian concepts? And most of all, how can anyone reach the deaf if they haven’t acquired any language since their parents never learned to sign with them as children?”
There is an old dictionary from 1994 which a team of hearing people copied from Australian Sign Language with some created signs for PNG words, totaling about 2250 words/signs. However, it needs revision to be useful for the deaf community in PNG. The sign language used in this country has developed into an independent sign language with its own native grammar and syntax.
Now that the deaf children who have used the dictionary since 1994 are adults, they are reviewing the dictionary and updating it to include signs used in their language and deleting signs that they don’t use. A team of deaf people from every corner of Papua New Guinea has gathered twice yearly since 2012 and developed almost 1300 new signs thus far. The goal is a sign language dictionary that will be an up-to-date foundation for everyone who needs or wants to know the national sign language used here in PNG.
There are an estimated 24,000 – 30,000 pre-lingual deaf people in PNG who were not taught sign language as children. Once every deaf child starts to learn it, the national sign language would become one of the largest indigenous languages of Papua New Guinea. That’s not happening yet, but Foreting, Nathalie and others are working toward that goal.
Nathalie explained, “We minister to the deaf in the hopes of seeing every deaf child start to sign, so they have a language to connect with other people and to learn about our amazing and loving God.”
The sun may be setting but the work day may not be finished. Doctors and nurses at the clinic may be still assisting patients, to sick to wait for the morning. Teachers are grading papers. The store is restocking shelves and security man patrol to keep the community safe from intruders. Moms and dads are helping with homework and language workers are researching their findings. Just because the sun went down, the centre in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea is still working hard. Pray for those who have found the day already long. Pray that they may find time to rest.