If it were only so simple to see into the future. There are still almost 300 languages in Papua New Guinea without a translation project started. Many of them have asked for some help but there are not enough resources to make it happen. They have to wait and imagine what the future will hold for them. Pray that this year would be a record year for new language project starts.
You can usually get to where you need to go in Papua New Guinea but sometimes it’s just not clear if you are on the road or in the river! If you are not sure, the answer is probably, both. Getting around to the various translation projects requires a coordinated effort involving planes, helicopters, 4 wheel drive vehicles and boats. Pray that those who are traveling today can overcome the obstacles they may be facing!
Like this spider web, there seems to be so many different ways to get the Bible translation job done in Papua New Guinea. However, not every way is the best way. There are a lot of decisions that have to be carefully considered in order to make sure the project has the best chance for success. Pray for wisdom and a “good view” of the process so that the limited resources can be used wisely.
Remember when you had to go to the front of the class and write on the board? Here is a class in Back Translation Principles that is held in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. As part of the the translation process, translators take translated material and write it out in English to check it for accuracy. First it is translated word for word. Then it is rearranged to make sense in English because word order and sentence structure can be different from language to language. It’s hard work and really requires a good understanding of both languages. Pray for wisdom as this training is very important to the accuracy of the translation.
When language groups consider whether or not to have a language project started in their area, the response is usually overwhelmingly “YES!” However there is much to consider before a community in Papua New Guinea can become part of a project. Are they willing to dedicate multiple people to be nearly full time workers? Is there church and community leader support? Are there people opposed to the idea? What facilities could be used? There are many more questions. It is not an easy decision for the community or the translation organisations. Pray for wisdom as these groups work together to make a translation possible.
The saying “A feather in your cap” indicates that you have achieved something that you can be proud of. With 200 languages having a completed New Testament in Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guineans can be proud of the work accomplished in their languages. However, there is still a long way to go. It is estimated that over 280 language groups could benefit from a language project being started in addition to the 200 languages already in process. What’s holding them back? Resources – people, time and financial assistance. Pray that God would show you a way to get involved in this fantastic effort.
A big part of the translation process in Papua New Guinea includes training. Learning has many different faces and ways. One of the most effective ways to train in Papua New Guinea involves PNGers interacting with each other during the course. Pray that the carefully prepared coursework can be effective so that more people can be involved in the Bible translation process.
The older generation in Papua New Guinea may not have had the opportunity to learn how to read. Hearing the Scriptures is the only alternative for this population. It used to mean that they had to wait until someone read these Scriptures to them. Now through audio recordings, there are more alternative ways to hear the Scriptures. There are solar-powered AudiBibles that are devices that have the Scriptures recorded on them. There are also prerecorded micro SD cards that can be inserted into phones. Now more people can have access to the Scriptures even if they can’t read. Pray that more recordings can be done to bring the recorded Scriptures to all of PNG.
Literacy is an important aspect of the language development work in Papua New Guinea. Reading and writing skills are being taught throughout the country to both young and old. Learning how to read and write opens the door to many new paths of understanding. Learning to read in one’s heart language has proven to be the most effective way to accomplish this great task. However it takes time and effort for the teachers and the learners in order for it to be successful and… it requires that materials have been translated into the heart language of the people! Pray for the many literacy workers in PNG that are working hard to teach PNGers how to read and for the translators who are working to get reading material into their languages.
In the beginning… There is something innate about wanting to know how we got here. The book of Genesis is an important historical reference book for the rest of the Bible. It includes creation, the fall and much much more. Translation of this book is important for understanding many of the principles and ideas presented in the New Testament. Since it involves stories, narratives, it is often well received in the oral storytelling cultures of Papua New Guinea. Pray that not only Genesis but the whole Bible will come to life in all of the languages of PNG.