Printing the Good News

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.01.35 PM(Photo by Janeen Michie)

The dozens of machines—from risographs, printers and guillotines to those used for gluing and binding—all sat silent in the back room of the Ukarumpa Print Shop. “It’s rare for it to be quiet like this,” JoAnne commented. “Normally it’s extremely noisy when they all are running at once!”

JoAnne, a Kuanua speaker from Rabaul who is a compositer/printer by trade, first came to work in the Ukarumpa Print Shop in 1989. At the time, JoAnne didn’t know anything about [Ukarumpa] or Bible translation. “I just thought, well, I can try it out…and I’m still here!” She laughed at the memory.

While she was working in the Print Shop, JoAnne not only met her future husband and had a family, but also came to know Jesus in a Bible study. “I really love my job,” she smiled. “I feel that this is where God has put me….I am really supportive of Bible translation and the translators…We are all a part of this. I tell my friends, I’m not a preacher or an evangelist, but what I do here in the Print Shop, it’s part of building God’s kingdom.”

Not only does the Print Shop produce Scripture portions, literacy books, and hymnals, but they also create much needed items like certificates, receipt books, passport photos, letterheads, invoices, record books, textbooks and much more. Their reputation of high quality work also brings in commercial jobs from around the country.

“We are always running!” JoAnne shook her head. “We’ll work during the night if we have to… [But] God is always helping us. Every time we think it’s too much for us, somehow we get them done, on time, on the plane and shipped out. God is always good.”

In the beginning, JoAnne thought of printing just as another job. ”And then one day, it dawned on me—I’m printing Scripture! I got really excited when I realized, this is the Word, and I’m a part of it! That was…life-changing for me…. I feel it’s my ministry.”