Reading the Scriptures in another language other than one’s heart language seems to leave the understanding of the words lacking. Sort of like eating a fish without much meat on it. Just like it is hard work to get the meat off the fish it can be hard to get the true meaning out of unfamiliar words. Pray as there are almost 300 languages still needing a project started in Papua New Guinea. Pray that this would soon be completed. Pray that the translated Scriptures would provide a “feast: of meaning to those who read it.
Note: Today is my (Tim Scott) last posting for The PNG Experience. Thank you so much for the chance to share the needs of the Bible translation and language development process with you. The PNG Experience blog has had over 580 posts, 55,000+ views and 1300+ regular readers. Your support has been a blessing to us here in PNG! The good news is that this prayer blog will continue! Sarah Halferty will be taking it over effective Monday, August 31. Please continue to read and pray for the Bible Translation and language development effort in Papua New Guinea.
Ouch! Usually a black eye is the result of an accident or fight. This poor sow was born with hers! Not everything is what it seems. In translating a complex thought or word in a language for the first time, the initial translation may not be the best. That is why segments of drafted Scripture translations in Papua New Guinea are taken back to villages where they are discussed in the context where they will be read. It is not unusual that a new term or word is discovered to have a clearer meaning and the translation is changed. Pray for these “village checks.” Pray that the correct words would be used and the meaning becomes clear.
The current “El Nino” is having a significant impact on Papua New Guinea. It has been very dry. That requires people to go further and further away from their normal “close” water sources that generally are fresh and clean year round. Often this is very hard work. When basic needs become difficult, language programs in Papua New Guinea suffer. People are not prepared to focus on Bible translation when the basic necessities of food and water are difficult to find. Pray that the drought would end soon so that the focus can return to the projects in progress.
In Papua New Guinea, an open bamboo-floored structure with a roof overhead to keep the sun out is a great place to lay down in the middle of the day and escape from the hot sun. The gentle breezes cool the body while the rounded edges of the bamboo seem to gently massage the tired back muscles. You wouldn’t want to sleep here all night but for short periods it provides a relaxing place and a much needed respite from the day’s activities. Rest is needed from the translation effort as well. Sometimes a break is needed in the midst of the work in order to clear the head and rest the mind. Pray that some translators and language development workers would have the wisdom and find the time to take the needed breaks that will restore their strength.
This freshwater stream runs into the sea and to a casual glance, nothing seems to change. However, the change is quite drastic. The smaller stream is embraced and its constitution is forever altered. Its freshwater characteristics are absorbed by the sea and the water no longer can sustain things that used to require it. This can happen when a smaller culture is embraced by a larger culture. If care is not taken, all the benefits of the smaller culture are lost. One of the ways smaller cultures can be sustained is by translating their oral language into a written form. This preserves their language and their culture. Pray that new projects could be started in areas of Papua New Guinea that need them. Pray that resources to enable the Bible translation and language development effort to continue would be made available.
When we see something unusual, we often stop and watch what is happening. Curiosity is cross-cultural. One of the ways that communities get started in a full Bible translation project is by seeing a small project take place in their community. Some songs or a short book like Ruth or Jonah are translated and people can get a “taste” of what the process and results are like. Pray that new programs would have impact throughout PNG today.
Wireless communication is getting better and better in the most remote parts of the world. Much of Papua New Guinea has mobile phone service and as its popularity grows, more and more phones are getting data connectivity. It is not unusual for people in rural areas to be able to listen to tokples (heart language) Scriptures on their phones. If not via the internet then by micro SD cards that have translated Scriptures on them. Obviously, if their language has not been translated, then they aren’t able to have a recorded version of it. Pray that new language projects would be started. For those languages that need their translated Scriptures recorded, pray that resources would be available to make it happen.
We generally like blue skies. Beautiful sunny days mean that one can move freely from one place to another without getting wet. Right now, there is a real need to get “wet” so bring on the “grey” skies ! Much of Papua New Guinea is facing a real need for rain. Typically it is a country that gets more than its fair share of rain (some places up to 400 inches!) Water tanks are running out and gardens are not producing much food. While this may not seem to have a direct connection to Bible translation, it is and will become more of an issue very soon. When translation teams need to go further and further away for food and water, it slows down the process. The longer the dry spell goes the more dangerous the situation becomes. Water sources become compromised and people take risks with contaminated water. Pray for rain and rain soon!
This young girl is on the way to the river to clean her pot. The leaves she has, are nature’s scouring pads. Pots that are blackened by the fire are easily cleaned using these leaves. Now that’s innovative thinking! Working in Papua New Guinea and all the languages that still need projects is forcing language development workers to look at processes differently. The results? Innovative ways to meet the needs of the almost 300 languages that need a project. Are you an innovative thinker? Why not think about a career change and join the teams already in process. Project managers are needed so that linguists can focus on the technical aspects of the translation process. Would you be a good fit? Pray that God would reveal a way for you to get involved.
Some jobs are just a bit more complicated than others. Big heavy objects, like airplanes, are not meant to stay up in the air! But if they are designed well and flown by well-trained pilots, they are a wonderful tool to use. However, they are complicated. The subtle touches and the need to understand the underlying sophisticated aerodynamics make it a job for skilled professionals. The Bible translation and language development process is complicated as well. There are subtle changes in tones and pronunciations that have profound effects on meaning. Not to mention the need to understand the underlying grammatical structures. Pray for the 200+ language projects in Papua New Guinea that are now in process and for those working in them. Pray that they would understand the nuances of the languages so that the translation will have impact within their communities.