by Karen Weaver
“There will be fighting among us this afternoon!” This was the warning a church leader gave his visitor.
This district church president and others had just been reading the printed New Testament and listening to the audio recording of it. Even though it was in a related language and not their own dialect, it was close enough that they were transfixed on the message. Their interest was so keen that their eyes didn’t want to leave the printed page and their ears didn’t want to stop listening to the audio playing on the solar-powered MP3 player. When Jeff D’Jernes, the visiting translator, would pause the player, the people listening would look up and say, “Let’s hear more!”
Seeing their interest, Jeff asked if they would like an adaptation of the book into their own dialect. However, the church leader declared, “The Long Islanders do not speak the same as we do, but our ears can hear it. Just give us copies of what you have.” That’s when he learned Jeff had only brought six copies and predicted there would be a fight among his people for the books. The dilemma was solved by sending a boat to Long Island to bring back several cases of New Testaments and AudiBible players.
Several years have passed since that visit. After many hours of listening to and reading God’s Word in this neighboring language, the Lokep people have realized there are parts of the message that aren’t totally clear to them. There are some words they don’t understand which obscure the meaning. Now they have a new request, “Could you write an adaptation into our dialect so that we can understand God’s Book clearly?”
Jeff and his PNG co-translators will soon begin work on this important project. In the process, Jeff will train a national translator in the skills needed to do an adaptation of the New Testament into even more languages.
Their dream is that one day everyone in the area from any language group will be able to own a copy in the words they understand best. There will be no more fighting for books!