Listening to God’s Word

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Story by Karen Weaver, Photos by Kathy Husk

As the coastal residents wandered around the town of Alotau awaiting the start of the annual boat races, they visited booths where vendors were selling food or local handicrafts. Many were drawn to a booth where videos about Bible translation were playing. While they chatted with the people there, many took advantage of the opportunity to download both audio and printed Scriptures onto their phones at no cost.

When they heard God’s Word speaking from their phones in their language for the first time, often their faces lit up into big smiles. God was speaking to them! Some also purchased printed Scripture portions. Many accepted the free gift of a lanyard which said, “God’s Word in every language.”

One person who was especially grateful for the audio scriptures was a young man named Singh. That’s because Singh is blind. He was excited to hear God’s book spoken in his heart language of Wedau. He exclaimed in English, “This gives me goose bumps!”

When his father bought him a solar-powered audio player, Singh happily carried it home. The next day he returned to tell his new friends, “Last night I fell asleep listening to the Audibible.”

For some visitors to Aloutau that week, the highlight was seeing the boats with their colorful sails race across the bay. For others, like Singh, the highlight was discovering a way to listen to God’s word in their own homes in their own language.

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God Has the Answers

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Story by Karen Weaver

“What will we do if we ever lose Tomas?” This was a question Brad and Toni Guderian asked themselves many times during their 23 years of working in Milne Bay Province in southeast Papua New Guinea. Tomas was their closest friend and ally in the language program, their main language helper, and a liaison between them and the Koluwawa community.

Then the worst happened…Tomas left the community and was no longer able to work on the translation. Questions swirled through the Guderians’ minds, “How will we complete the translation?” “Who will help the community understand what we are doing?” “Will there be anyone to look after our house while we are away?” “Does anyone else understand translation principles like Tomas did?”

Although Brad and Toni didn’t have any answers, God did. In his perfect timing, he brought not just one person to replace Tomas, but a team of people. Some help translate. Others help watch over their village house when they are away from Fergusson Island. In general, Brad and Toni are now much more connected to and cared for by the community as a whole. They have experienced what Joseph did when he said, “God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)

However, even as they give thanks for the current situation, Brad and Toni know there are many obstacles that still lie ahead. The boat they have used for transportation is being sold and they will have to find other means to get to Fergusson Island. The person who has typeset many New Testaments is retiring and will not be available when the Koluwawa New Testament is ready. Their finance office is short-staffed, which may mean they will have to find a new way of acquiring cash within the country. Though the Guderians don’t know a solution for these problems, they trust the Lord to solve these and every future challenge, just as he has in the past.