By Stephanie Ernandes
“When I was young not everyone got to go to school. Out of my family I was chosen to go. My other sisters stayed home. I completed school through grade five, so I learned how to read well,” shared Karo from the Gadsup people group in the Highland Region of Papua New Guinea. Karo shared three stories as she sat talking around the fire one cold morning. She had one main message she emphasized through all three.
“One of my sisters, she didn’t go to school, but she was very hungry for the Word of God. She wanted to read the Bible like me. The training center offered a class to teach her how to read. Papa God helped her to learn. If you and I are hungry to read the Word of God, He can help us.”
“Two other sisters* wanted to learn to read the Bible. Remember, if you and I are hungry to read Papa God’s Word, He can help us. When we would go to church I asked my sisters to sit down close to me. When I opened my Bible, I opened their Bibles. When the pastor told us what chapter to go to, I opened my Bible to it and I opened their Bibles to it also. I showed them what verse the Pastor would read. I told them when the Pastor reads they must look at their Bibles. When the pastor began to read, I pointed to each word in my Bible, and I told them to point to each word as the pastor read them. They did this over and over and now they can read. Papa God helped them!”
“I have a cousin who came to Bible study and was very hungry to learn to read God’s word. She didn’t get to go to school, so she couldn’t read. She prayed and prayed, and Papa God helped her to read Tok Pisin**. Now she can read the Bible in Tok Pisin. She decided since God helped her to read Tok Pisin she would ask Him to help her to learn to read in English too. She prayed and prayed and God helped her to learn to read the Bible in English too. Remember, if you ask Papa God, He will help you.”
*In much of Papua New Guinean culture sister can refer to close friends and family such as cousins as well as true sisters.
**Tok Pisin is a commonly used trade language in Papua New Guinea, the Bible is available in this trade language.