Story by Karen Weaver, B&W photo by Bill Martin, color photo by Alan Hood
Growing up on Manus Island, Samuel Bolaubeu heard the Bible read in English and in the trade language of Tok Pisin. But he never heard it read in Nyindrou because no Bible existed in that language.
When Samuel became a young man, he earned a teaching certificate and went to another province to teach school. There he learned that some people called linguists could translate the words of the Bible into languages with no Scripture, even into languages that currently had no alphabet. Samuel began to dream that something like that might become possible for his own people.
The year was 1970. At that time he started praying for someone to translate the Scriptures into his heart language, Nyindrou. He continued to pray every day. Finally, after 10 years of faithfully praying and waiting, four couples came to Manus Province to train the local people to translate God’s Word for themselves. One of those couples, Bill and Lenore Martin, came to Samuel’s language group.
But the going was tough and the linguists experienced many challenges that prevented them from continuing their work in the Manus area. Within 10 years, three of the couples left. The Martins also considered leaving the work but, thanks to Samuel’s prayers, they persevered. They trained many Nyindrou people, among whom was Charles Kowak, who took up the main translator role on the Nyindrou translation team. After 22 years the book was finished.
In July 2002, the day came for the great celebration of the arrival of God’s Word in Nyindrou. When the boxes of New Testaments were opened, the very first copy was handed to Samuel. This book was the fruit of 32 years of faithful prayers. In all that time Samuel had never lost his vision of having God’s Word in his language.
Today, Nyindrou is one of only three languages in Manus Province that have a completed New Testament. But interest is growing. 44 people from throughout the province gathered for a Translator’s Training Course in August 2016. They represented 15 languages and 3 dialects. Today most of them are translating God’s Word into their own languages.
Samuel and others are still faithfully praying for the task of Bible translation. He believes by faith that one day God’s Word will be available in all 29 languages in Manus.
Please ask the Lord to raise up more people who will faithfully pray for language groups which need the Scriptures, even if it takes decades. Perhaps you will be one of them.