Commitment and Creativity

Story and photos by Stephanie Ernandes

(Jose at work)

“Due to Kerttu’s cancer treatments we are no longer able to be in Papua New Guinea full time… We need to be based in Finland for her ongoing treatments,” shared Darrell Hays, Kerttu’s husband. “Since our future is so uncertain, we have no idea when we will ever be able to complete the entire New Testament.”

Knowing this delima, the Odoodee people made an important decision. Darrell explained, “The Odoodee people decided that it was a great idea if all of the Scriptures that have been consultant checked (75% of the New Testament) would be printed into one volume.  That way they can use them rather than wait for some uncertain time in the future when the entire translation of the New Testament is finished.”

As the Odoodee people prepared to celebrate the much-anticipated arrival of this portion of God’s Word, Darrell sent all the books that had been consultant checked to be printed in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea where the cost of printing would be most economical.

“When we turned in the ‘copy ready’ (typeset) materials to the Printshop, we found that they had a major problem,” explained Andy Grosh, a fellow translator who was helping to facilitate the process. The only viable option for printing these books was to use the Risograph. However, it had a worn-out drum that needed to be replaced before they could print anything.  “The Printshop had ordered a new drum from Australia, but when it arrived,” Andy shared, “we found out that although the model numbers were the same, the models from the Southern Hemisphere required different parts from those which were sold in the Northern Hemisphere, and our unit had been sourced in the Northern Hemisphere many years ago.”

Jose Bena, an office machine technician, thought heavily on this.  He strongly desired that the Odoodee people receive their partial New Testament in time for their celebration.  One night as he contemplated what to do he came up with an idea. He would try to create one drum out of both the worn-out drum and the replacement drum by taking them apart and combining parts from each.

Andy expressed his joy in God’s provision, “Jose created a functional drum that would work in our Risograph… It was truly God’s gift to us so that His Words could be printed and distributed in the Odoodee language.”

As they thanked God for his Book at the dedication, they also were thankful for Jose, whose perseverance, creativity, and commitment to the task was a crucial step in making the celebration possible.

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Powerful Perseverance

Story by: Rachel Greco

How far would you go to translate the Bible into your language?

Philip, Leo, and Joe set off on a journey one Thursday to reach the nearest town and airstrip so they could arrive at Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. Due to heavy rains, it took them six and a half days to cross the mountains guarding the way to their destination. These men traversed through mud—sometimes as deep as their knees—up and down the mountains. Some rivers had flooded so much that the men had to sit and wait for hours to cross them, then carried on through pouring rain.

Sometimes the trio crafted rafts out of hunks of wood to get their bags across the swollen rivers. There were no vehicles where they had hoped to catch a truck, so they simply trekked on through the day and night. At one point in the middle of the night they were so tired that they stopped and fell asleep for a few short intervals. Despite all of these travails, the men pressed on in order to complete translating a few more portions of the New Testament into their heart language of Lote.

This trio was made of truly extraordinary men. Leo, the chief Bible translator for the group, had been translating the New Testament for over fifteen years and had become skilled at expressing God’s Word in a meaningful way to his people. He could also write songs and sing them, led youth, and the choir. Philip, an elderly man with impaired feet, felt passionate about God’s Word coming across clearly and sounding sweet and genuine to his Lote ears.

Finally, after many hardships, the trio reached their goal. And not long after, because of their perseverance, these men were able to see the fruit of their sore feet and anxious waiting when the Lote New Testaments were unveiled and received joyfully by the Lote people.(Leo reading the Lote New Testament)