Parts of Papua New Guinea can get up to 400 inches of rain a year. Even in areas where less rain falls it can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is there is generally an abundance of fresh water. The bad news is rain and dust make mud! And sometimes that mud can be downright slippery, making even simple trips dangerous. Pray for Language Development workers and Bible Translator’s safety as they go to remote allocations only accessible by paths and dirt roads. Pray for dry weather to make their journeys a little bit easier!
These two Papua New Guinean youngsters will grow up with the benefit of having the New Testament in their language. The translation project started before their parents were born! And…the job is not finished. Now this language group is working on the Old Testament. Pray that before these children turn into full adults and have children of their own, they would have a completed Bible.
New projects are needed in almost 300 languages in Papua New Guinea. Many of these language groups are ready and willing to assist in a project but need some direction and training. They are ready to fly but unfortunately, the resources to make it happen are limited. Pray that the resources needed would be made available and that another project could takeoff soon!
The Bible Translation Association of Papua New Guinea (BTA) National Conference was held in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea (PNG) from June 28-July 5. During the conference, David Gela, one of the original members of BTA, stepped down after 35 years of leadership as BTA director and handed the position to the newly elected director, Tony Kotauga. During the ceremony, leaders anointed Tony with oil, and then David and his wife Sineina knelt down and washed the feet of Tony and his wife. As a symbol of stepping into his new role, Tony and his family walked across the stage into the arms of the Board of BTA. Then together with David and Sineina, they walked to the opposite side of the stage into the arms of Kirk Franklin to symbolize David accepting his new role as Wycliffe Global Alliance’s Pacific Area Director. It was a great day of celebration and energy as two local groups from Tony’s church in Lae and David’s village in West New Britain sang songs and danced in celebration.
Throughout the week, this new leadership was known as the “Joshua Leadership” as many people compared David’s hand off to Tony with Moses’s commissioning Joshua. Many guest speakers came to share their support including Kirk Franklin, Executive Director of Wycliffe International, John Watters, President of SIL International, and Freddy Boswell, Executive Director of SIL International. SIL-PNG’s Director David Tute signed a new partnership covenant with BTA during this time, declaring that SIL-PNG would support BTA in all of their endeavours.
Members were excited to begin a new chapter, saying that this conference was “renewing and a great time of repentance.” David Beleyeme, a translator in the East Sepik region of PNG, said, “[I am] excited about this new leadership change. [After this conference,] I have a renewed passion to begin translation again.” Many people expressed their excitement for the years to come and their sincere thankfulness to David for his time at BTA.
All tied up! This expression is often used when we seem to have way too many things going on at once. As a result, there is absolutely no room to move in our schedule. Like this pig, we are now helplessly tied to the events that led to this captivity. Sometimes when Language Development workers and Bible Translators are trying to get the task done, it seems that life’s events have tied them up and are preventing them from accomplishing what they are scheduled to do. Planing travel, medical crisis, relational pressures, even getting meals ready can be more demanding than what was originally planned for the day. The result? They feel all tied up! Pray that tomorrow would have less interruptions than today so that the work of Bible Translation can move forward.
Papua New Guinea is a multi-cultural population. With over 830 languages, its cultural differences make a unique diversity that is proudly displayed. The Bible translation effort that is currently underway in PNG is intense. Over 200 language projects are in process and yet there are almost 300 languages still needing a project started. Could you be one of those needed to bring the Bible to these remaining languages? If you ave an interest in language development, linguistics or translation, this could be the place for you. But, you don’t have to be a trained linguist to be of help. Support workers are needed from many different occupations. Many roles are needed especially accountants, managers, mechanics, doctors, teachers and more. Pray for your involvement today.
Sometimes the way forward is smooth and easy. But often the only way is over rough seas. Bible translation is valuable work. It changes lives and impacts communities. It often involves significant spiritual battles as the evil one is not pleased with the work being accomplished. This work requires prayer support. The way can be marked with strong winds of opposition and high seas of turbulent accusations. Pray that the translators who meet these fears head on, are grounded in His word and armed with His love for the people they work with. May they have the grace sufficient to meet the needs of the day.
The bilum (string bag) is an integral part of many Papua New Guinea cultures. Men and women, young and old can be seen carrying them. It is the place to store all the things you need for a trip, carry food from the garden and it even is a nursery for the infants (see below). Over the past couple years there has been a movement called the Bible Bilum Covenant that is helping the PNG churches to see the need for heart-language Scriptures. The covenant encourages the PNG church to get involved in the Bible translation process. Pray that more churches will get involved in this important activity.
Translation in Papua New Guinea doesn’t happen in a bubble. This team recently finished and published the book of Mark. It takes a committed team with many different gifts, strengths and personalities (and sometimes nationalities!) Working in a team helps create an effective translation. When translators can talk together about grammar, key terms and cultural nuances, the conversation can become quite animated. Discussions are lively and at times humorous as new words are tried and old concepts reconsidered. Pray for these teams. Pray that they form bonds that are life-changing as they work together for God’s glory.
As you watch the waves relentlessly pound against the rocks you can see the power of the wave battling the durability of the rocks. Which is stronger? It’s hard to tell. It seems like the rocks hold up well against any single wave but upon examination, the rocks show evidence that the waves have made their impact. So it can be with the Word of God. It doesn’t always seem to have a dramatic effect, immediately on a person. But as these magnificent words work into the crevices of our lives, slowly they change us into the person God wants us to be. But if the Word of God is not in the language one has learned from birth, the impact is like a calm sea on a rocky coastline. It barely challenges the reader because the meaning isn’t as clear. Pray for more translated Scriptures in the 830+ languages in Papua New Guinea today.