Story by Karen Weaver
As a child, Joseph and other Doromu-Koki boys learned to hunt wild pigs in the bush and fish in the rivers. Meanwhile, the village girls worked in the gardens, growing greens, yams and sweet potatoes. Even though there was a church in their area, these children and their parents still practiced traditional animistic beliefs in gardening, hunting, and getting help for illnesses. They had no Scriptures available in their language to teach them the truth and help them gain freedom from the bondage of submission to spirits.
That began to change when Joseph and some other young men met Rob Bradshaw. They agreed to go with him to the Eastern Highlands to learn translation principles and to begin translating the Bible into their language. While there, Joseph attended a Bible study and understood God’s truth for the first time in his life.
Joseph continued to grow in Christ as he worked on the New Testament translation. Its words gave him perseverance as he dealt with village problems, such as a drought and hunger. It also gave him joy and purpose as he hiked with Robert over arduous mountain trails to and from the village.
By 2015, the team had made great progress on the translation. They did village checking of a few books to ensure that they sounded clear and natural. It was encouraging for Joseph and the other translators to see that people did indeed want to be involved in the translation and to hear God’s Word in their own language!
The people’s appreciation for God’s Word was even more evident on the glorious day in September 2018 when they were able to see, hold, and own a copy of the completed New Testament for the first time. Men, women and children danced, sang, and played traditional instruments as they ushered in visitors who had come from as far away as the United States to share in the celebration. Some of these guests had been praying specifically for these people for many years and were now able to share in the joy of answered prayer.
Joseph stood before a crowd of Doromu-Koki speakers at the dedication ceremony. Holding up a copy of the New Testament, he was overcome with emotion at the joy and wonder of having God’s book in his own language after all the years of sacrifice and perseverance.
Like his namesake in the Old Testament, Joseph has dreams of his own. His desire is to also translate the Old Testament so that future generations of Doromu-Koki people can read the story of creation, see the faith of the Patriarchs, and share the words of the Psalms as they face the struggles and joys of life.