Story by Stephanie Ernandes, Photos by Jenny LeMahieu
The Goroka Show is the largest cultural festival in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Around 100 people groups gather to display their traditional dress, music and dancing for all to see. This event is unique in its brilliant displays of the roots of a culture unmatchable in diversity. It draws many from both inside and outside of PNG.
Two Bible translation organizations joined forces this year and set up a display table/booth at the Goroka show to share and make known the many resources available to Papua New Guineans to access the Scriptures in their own languages. With over 800 languages spoken in PNG and a population of over eight million people, any of which may show up at the festival, this was a prime opportunity to share the Good News!
They brought printed New Testaments (NT) and audio Bibles in five nearby/local languages. They put out coloring pages with Matthew 19:14 written on them in over 50 different languages along with colored pencils so kids could color them. There were printouts on how to get involved with Bible translation as well as Gospel tracts in the local trade language.
The effort made was well received. At least 25 people were able to download free New Testaments in their language onto their phones!
“It was fun to see people’s faces light up when they recognized their language on the coloring page with the Matthew Scripture. Even high school boys were so excited they laughed when they read in their own language!” shared one of the group.
One young man from the Dano language group shared about finding a Dano New Testament in a local bookstore, but it was too expensive for him to buy. The group had one available at a much lower cost. He quickly got out his money and bought one. He’d been wanting one for quite some time.
An older man they spoke with was discouraged that the children in his village were not using their language, Kamano Kafe, very much anymore. Julie Mare, one of those helping with the booth, was able to share some ideas about how to encourage the youth to use their language again. In response the man purchased a New Testament and an Audio recording to help teach his grandchildren their language. His joy was evident! Julie reminded him that he is imparting life into the next generation and they won’t easily forget what he is doing for them as they grow up.
What a beautiful thing to be able to spread the Word and make a difference, one life at a time!