Smiles and Scripture

By Rachel Greco

During the last week of August and beginning of September, Beth Fuller and some other language workers traveled to Wewak to promote Scripture. The Christian book store there let the women borrow its microphone, speakers, and mixer to blast out recordings to let people know about translated scriptures in their languages.

“We were absolutely amazed at how many different people we could help get copies of God’s Word in their language. We were all so tired were standing with balls of sweat rolling down our backs. But then we would get a smile from someone – priceless,” Beth Fuller said.

They saw it over and over—at first a person wore a straight face as they waited to hear a recording of the Scriptures in their language, then the smile started as the recording played. And finally the smile culminated in an explosion of joy.

Several people even asked Beth and the others to play the recording of their language on the loud speaker so everyone could hear.

It wasn’t all smiles and excitement, though; there were people to whom they had to say, “Sorry. Nothing has been translated in your language yet.” Some who heard this smiled politely and left. Others asked strongly, “When are you coming to our language?” The language workers could only ask them to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send someone to help them.

One man came to Beth and asked her to see if there was a translation in his language. They looked up his province, and she read the list of languages that had translated material, but his language wasn’t among them. He smiled, said thanks, and left. He came back to Beth in about half an hour.

He said, “I brought this old woman to come hear her language. You told me that Yil language was on your list, and I know she speaks Yil, so I brought her to you.”

Please join us in praying that all the people in Papua New Guinea will experience the joy and soul-shattering smile of hearing God’s Word in their language.

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Karo’s Three Stories

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.

 

 

Medical Help for Stanley


Story by Karen Weaver

For a young boy living in a remote village in Papua New Guinea, receiving advanced medical care can be impossible. But sometimes God brings people together so that the impossible can happen.

Stanley lacked the energy that other children his age possessed. His skin was slightly bluish and he quickly became short of breath.

When Dr. Carl Luther visited their village for a medical clinic, Stanley’s parents took him to be checked. Listening to the young boy’s heart and seeing his bluish condition, Dr. Carl knew immediately that the child had a serious congenital heart disease. Unfortunately, help could only be had a world away. It was a world into which neither Stanley nor his family had ever ventured.

With the help of translators Jim and Joan Farr, Stanley and his father took a six hour boat trip to a town that had an airstrip and planes that could fly him to the capital city. In Port Moresby, a pediatric cardiologist performed a cardiac ultrasound and confirmed that Stanley had Tetralogy of Fallot. Unfortunately, the needed surgery could not be performed in Papua New Guinea.

That’s when Dr. Luther contacted Children First Foundation in Australia and they agreed to sponsor Stanley’s surgery with a prominent pediatric cardiac surgeon in Chania, India.

But having a sponsoring organization wasn’t enough. In order to fly to India, Stanley needed a PNG passport, which would require a birth certificate and a national ID card, and Stanley had neither. Even if he received a passport, he would still need a medical visa to India.

All of this seemed daunting. However, the Lord set into motion prominent people who completed in only a few weeks a lengthy process that could have taken years.

As a result, Stanley was able to fly to India to obtain the needed surgery. He has recovered well and he now has stamina for work and play, and happily joins the other boys in his village in energetic games of soccer.

When many people hear the Lord’s voice and put their talents into motion, lives are saved and witnesses see that with God nothing is impossible.

 

Water and Fire

By Rachel Greco

Gary and Peggy took a long furlough in 2008, not knowing when they would return to their work among the Uramät Baining people of Papua New Guinea. In 2010, while still in their home country, they spoke with one of the translators they work with, who said he and the others had been kicked out of their church.

“What did you guys do?” Gary asked.

“Well, we took Acts 2:38 and started preaching it, that people need to repent and be baptized and receive the Spirit. After hearing our preaching, about 40 youth wanted to be baptized in water.”

Historically in the Uramät Baining area, church ministers have christened babies. When the translators translated Act 2:38: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” God used these words to convict the translators to be baptized as believers, and then to proclaim that message to others.

As these men traveled around their area preaching Acts 2:38, many others wanted to be baptized. Although it has caused some dissension among the people in the area, many continue to be baptized, and today, hundreds have taken this step.

Often after the people had been baptized, they were encouraged to consider any area of their life that held them in bondage and to write these things on a piece of paper. Then they threw them into a bonfire built for that purpose. Others would take certain personal items associated with witchcraft or a questionable cultural practice and throw them into the fire to represent their choice to live for Christ.

A bonfire has special significance in this culture because the Baining people use one in a cultural practice that they have performed for centuries. These Christians, however, have redeemed the bonfire by using it to honor God when they rid themselves of things that displease Him.

Believer’s baptism is now accepted more broadly in the area. Praise the Lord for speaking to these translators and prompting them to preach the relevant truth of God’s Word to their people.

Finding Nema

Story by Karen Weaver

As the helicopter touched down on the lush green mountainside, Garrett looked out at a sea of eager faces and wondered if these might be the people for him.

Having completed his pre-field training, Garret was ready to focus on a specific people group, a daunting task with more than 300 languages in PNG still waiting for God’s Word. He was grateful to receive a list of a half dozen “high priority” language groups to help him narrow his search.

Two months previous, Garrett had visited one of these high priority language groups, located in a flat, watery delta along the south coast. Now he was visiting a group living high in a mountainous region that was not accessible to the outside world by roads, airstrips, or rivers. The only way in had been by helicopter.

In this isolated area Garrett found a thriving community. On his second day there, he enjoyed watching field games and traditional dances. Two men sat with him, explaining the origins of the dances and what the costumes represented, such as birds or bats.

The next day, Saturday, he and a colleague met with the leaders of four villages who had come to participate in a fund raiser event for a local school. Their gathering afforded the perfect opportunity to discuss the need for a translation committee and what would be necessary if a linguist were to stay with them. Garrett was encouraged by the timing of their meeting and by their interest in translation. They even showed him where they could build him a house and a landing pad for the helicopter.

On Sunday, representatives of the women’s group approached him to say they would pray for him at their prayer meeting and asked for his name. They listened as he shared some of his history with them. Garrett felt his heart drawn toward these people who loved the Lord but didn’t have his Book in their language.

The helicopter was scheduled to pick them up on Monday morning. Due to heavy fog and general bad weather, it did not come that day. Or the next. Or the next. On the third day, Garrett’s friend suggested maybe God was keeping them fogged in to allow him the opportunity to share his decision to work among them.

On Thursday morning Garrett gathered the people to announce his decision and was rewarded by loud cheers of enthusiasm. Not long after, the fog lifted and the chopper landed. As he departed through an opening in the clouds, Garrett looked forward to the day he would return to begin living among the Nema people.

Making an Impact

Kika on the left

Story by Stephanie Ernandes

Kika Rava, from the Kalo language group in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea taught in her church’s children’s ministry for 27 years. She felt strongly that this was her life ministry. Kika never would have guessed what God would call her to next.

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—“ 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

One night Kika had had a dream that she would never forget. “I had a dream in 2006 where the sky opened and two people came down from heaven, a male and a female. I could feel the presence of God upon on me and it was a very holy moment. Both the man and the woman came and touched my head while I was trying to hide from them. When I woke up I told my husband about the vision I had. He told me ‘Maybe God has something for you to do, but it will be very hard.’”

The next year Kika joined the Kalo Bible translation team. The translation work has been very challenging for her. She recently completed her second Translators Training Course which was equally as challenging. “It has been very hard as my husband predicted but here I am, thankful to God for the opportunity to serve my people through the work of Bible translation.” Kika reflects, “I know that the Lord is with me and I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”