Story by Stephanie Ernandes, Photos by Jim and Joan Farr
After 22 years of work, Joan Farr and the Bible translation organization she works with made one of the hardest choices one dedicated to the work of literacy and Bible translation can make. The continuing disinterest of the Kombio people in the use of their own language, literacy, and the in the translation of the Bible into their language caused question as to whether to continue the project. In addition, there was very little spiritual hunger. For those reasons among others the hard decision was made in 2010 to close down the translation project with the Kombio people.
“But God IS at work always whether we see it or not. He is always good, all the time. He is always in control, of both the apparently good and the seemingly bad,” wrote Joan just after the decision had been made. Disappointed and discouraged Joan and her new husband Jim left any further work in the hands of the few Kombios who were interested and spiritually strong.
Since 2010 Jonathan, a Kombio lay pastor deeply commited to the use of his own language in worship, has continued with a few others to take courses and to find new ways to share the good news with his people.
Towards the end of this year, following the completion of the Baruga New Testament on the opposite side of the country, which both Jim and Joan have worked on, the Farrs will be leaving to go back to their home country. Last year they decided, last minute to have Joan and Jonathan record some scripture as well as some teachings with a call to salvation in the Kombio language as a way to finish well with the Kombio people. Recently Jim and Joan took a helicopter ride out to the remote area with 100 Audiobible players and 100 micro-SD cards for phones.
“I was sure that was total overkill and that we’d have plenty of curious lookers-on but probably only sell 50 total or so,” Joan shared, “However our first stop had unimaginable crowds eagerly waving large bills, which I most certainly did not expect—we sold probably 40-50 audio items PLUS many books just at that one place. Jonathan, amazed, told me ‘A wall has fallen down.’“
Jim and Joan made four more stops before leaving and completely sold out of the supplies they brought. Before their trip was completed, they received 84 paid orders for additional items. Three weeks later, the report came that people were still carrying their devices everywhere and listening all the time!
After her arrival back home, Joan concluded, “God clearly is not finished out there in the Kombio area. Perhaps He’s just getting started! But my part is completed, and I’m truly at peace with that.”