“A great adventure! Fantastic! Amazing! Interesting!”
These words and more were used by ten Papua New Guinean men and women involved in Bible translation to describe their recent two-week trip to Israel. As they journeyed around the country, visiting places like Jerusalem, Bethsaida, Gethsemane, Bethlehem, and Masada, they saw the Bible come to life. Suddenly climate, distances, locations and events in history were tangible and understandable, and many words that they have to translate (like cistern) finally made sense.
Krompe, a mother tongue translation consultant for the Kamano-Kafe people, remarked, “When we are in [Papua New Guinea], we preach about these places. We talk about them. But…when I went to Israel and saw all the sights, my faith was strengthened. What the Bible says—it’s true! It’s not lying! And so, this [translation] work that we do isn’t [based on] false teaching. It’s true, and it gives life!” Krompe was amazed when they walked through a tunnel built by King Hezekiah. “This was here before even Jesus’ time, and the water is still flowing!”
“This trip doesn’t just help translation, but it also helps the…faith of the congregations in our villages,” explained Krompe, who is also a pastor. “They ask many questions—places and names. And I can tell them, “Yes, it’s there. The Bible is true!””
The participants encountered many strange and wonderful things, like sandstorms, floating in the Dead Sea, and even riding a camel! But for Korry, another Kamano-Kafe translation consultant, his highlight was visiting Qumran, the home of an ancient community dedicated to making faithful copies of the Bible. “[Now] they are gone, but their deeds are still here,” he said. “They devoted themselves to God, which challenged me to devote myself to God and the work of translation.”
Korry was grateful for the chance to go on the trip. “I praise God… I learned so much spiritually, and it gave me lots of insights that help me as a consultant. I went and felt God spoke to me!”