Heart to Heart, Glory to Glory P.2/3


story by Kairu Tumae

(Kairu is a Papua New Guinean graduate from the Ukarumpa International School, this is his testimony continued…)

It all started on graduation night when Dr. David Mills came up to me and congratulated me. He told me that if I ended up not going to college, if I was still interested in medicine, to give him a call and come visit him at Kompiam District Hospital. After saying goodbye to all my classmates, I decided to call the Mills family and I headed up to Kompiam to stay a couple months with them.

After just a few days in Kompiam, I was ashamed of myself for not truly knowing my country. I realized that much of PNG still lacks the basic services that people need and many kids, teens, and young adults in my generation don’t realize it – just like me.

During the months I was up in Kompiam, I assisted Mrs. Mills at the primary school, helped out with maintenance, and of course went on medical patrols. The patrols showed me so much.

First of all, I saw the need for the Word of God. Sure there are churches out there but many people still don’t understand the Truth. People still mix traditional beliefs with the Gospel. I realized, too, that there is a big need for Papua New Guineans ourselves to be missionaries to our own people. We cannot expect missionaries to be expatriates only.

The second thing I saw was the great medical need that many people groups in my country have. Pregnant moms and sick or injured people have to walk more than to two hours to get to the closest health center or aid post, traversing many steep hills and rocky mountain paths, which turn to slippery mud in the rainy season. It’s a tough walk for them.

Some people have to walk more than five hours or even up to full day to reach Kompiam station. From there they can travel to Wabag or Hagen. Now imagine having to carry someone who is very ill, or perhaps has multiple gunshot wounds from a tribal fight, in a homemade stretcher while trying to cross fast-moving rivers, climb mountains, and descend steep muddy paths for many hours to reach the nearest hospital with a doctor.

After a few months with the Mills family I went back home.  Just before I departed, Dr. Mills mentioned briefly that they needed someone to run their small radio station. I left Kompiam hoping to find a job near my parents and earn some money to save up for college, but God brought me back to Kompiam.

I came back up to Kompiam in the beginning of February 2017 to start running the small community radio station called Sauan 99.9 FM, which is under the care of the mission hospital. I had no training whatsoever, I had never talked on a radio, and I didn’t know how to use the equipment! The one thing I did know was that God wanted me to be in Kompiam even if it meant doing something that was totally new to me.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NLT


Heart to Heart, Glory to Glory P.1/3


Story by Kairu Tumae

(Kairu is a Papua New Guinean graduate from the Ukarumpa International School, this is his testimony continued…)

After graduating in 2016, my plan was to go to college. I mean that’s what most people expect you to do right?  Go to a nice college, pursue a career, get a good job and make your parents proud. At least that is what most Papua New Guinean’s families and relatives expect when they are attending an international school, as I was.

This expectation was one of the biggest things I struggled with after finishing high school.  I watched all my friends leave and go to college. My parents were going through a hard time financially so it wasn’t possible for me to continue my studies right immediately.  However, over this past year God has taught me so much more than I could have learned by sitting in a classroom.

Often we tend be so focused on what we ourselves desire that we start thinking that our desires and plans are the same plans and desires that God has for us. Then we start praying for those plans in our life that we think are God’s plans, not realizing that they aren’t. We keep praying and the plans never happen and we ask God, “Why are you not fulfilling your plan in my life?” Then it hits us. All that time it wasn’t God’s plan, it was ours. God had a different plan all along and had been working on that plan while we were complaining. One of the biggest things that I have learned this past year is exactly that: not letting my own selfish desire overcome me so much that I start thinking it’s God’s plan. Many teens do that without even realizing it and learning from it.

When I graduated from high school in 2016 I had no clue whatsoever that I would be in place like Kompiam working with a mission this early in my life. I had planed since 11th grade to take pre-med classes in the United States after I graduated. I took all the science classes I could. Whenever people asked me what I wanted to do after high school, I told them I hoped to go to the US to study pre-med and come back and serve people in my country in the medical field. Little did I know that while I was planning all of this, God had a plan for me to serve people in my country now without having to go to college.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NLT

Spontaneous Worship

Margaret Praise.jpg

By Rachel Greco

When mission organizations first landed in an area in Papua New Guinea, they were faced with about fifty languages. The organizations decided to find a dominant language and translate the Bible into that language as well as songbooks, materials for schools, etc. When the mission traveled to a neighboring language, they taught the people this dominant language, so that they became bilingual.

In the Rabaul area, the dominant language, or language of wider communication, was Kuanua. Wherever the church traveled in these first days, they took Kuanua with them. Now, several generations later, no one has been schooled in Kuanua, however it is still used in some churches because there are a few people from that language group still scattered throughout this part of Papua New Guinea.

The churchgoers in this area are reverent and quiet in the services. But when the Baining people are able to use their language, Ure, in the service instead of Kuanau, the difference is as huge as the ocean. “It’s electric, like someone has turned on the lights,” one of the language helpers for the Baining people said.

People will clap, kneel, raise their hands in the air, confess sins, praise God, and dance. No one came in and taught the Baining people how to do these things; it is all spontaneous, a rush of joy and delight in their God bursting out of their hearts as they’re able to worship Him in their own language.

Sometimes if an outsider is at one of these church services, they prefer to listen to the service in the language of the Baining people because of the passionate atmosphere, even though they can’t understand the words. The people’s spontaneous worship contrasts so sharply with the usual quiet, reserved behavior of the Baining people, and reveals that their love for the Lord is real.

Jimmy’s Story

Jimmy and Lucy.jpg

(photo: Jimmy and his daughter)

by Rachel Greco

Jimmy’s father and brother had served on Jim and Joan’s translation team for years, but Jimmy never wanted anything to do with God. Then, the unthinkable happened.

A hunting spear that Jimmy stored in the rafters jiggled loose and fell, piercing the skull of his eight-year-old daughter. She was his firstborn, and he was worried. She did not die, but neither did the injury heal. Instead she developed a high fever, and Jimmy knew he had to do something. He asked the local church leader, Johnstead (who is also a leader of the translation team), to pray for her.

Jimmy said, “I’ll do anything for my daughter, anything at all!”

Jimmy was able to get the money together for the expensive two-day trip to the nearest hospital, where he and his daughter stayed for over two months. The girl’s wound slowly healed, but she was also diagnosed with tuberculosis and malaria.

One day a local woman came to the hospital to pray for the sick children. She said to them, “I am sure that at least seven of you will be released from the hospital tomorrow.” And sure enough, not seven, but eleven children were released—and Jimmy’s daughter was one of them.

Jimmy’s rebellion against God had shattered. Jimmy’s first Sunday back spent at church and requested to meet with the Bible translation team to thank them for their prayers. One team member after another shared their thoughts and Baruga scripture with Jimmy. Several of them spoke with shaking voices, obviously deeply moved to see the change in Jimmy. Jimmy himself looked close to tears several times.

One person said, “We church leaders saw your bad behavior for nine years, but we didn’t talk to you about it. We took all our heaviness to God. And here you are.” God has the longing and power to bring people to Him—even through the means of pain and sorrow.

Commitment and Creativity

Story and photos by Stephanie Ernandes

(Jose at work)

“Due to Kerttu’s cancer treatments we are no longer able to be in Papua New Guinea full time… We need to be based in Finland for her ongoing treatments,” shared Darrell Hays, Kerttu’s husband. “Since our future is so uncertain, we have no idea when we will ever be able to complete the entire New Testament.”

Knowing this delima, the Odoodee people made an important decision. Darrell explained, “The Odoodee people decided that it was a great idea if all of the Scriptures that have been consultant checked (75% of the New Testament) would be printed into one volume.  That way they can use them rather than wait for some uncertain time in the future when the entire translation of the New Testament is finished.”

As the Odoodee people prepared to celebrate the much-anticipated arrival of this portion of God’s Word, Darrell sent all the books that had been consultant checked to be printed in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea where the cost of printing would be most economical.

“When we turned in the ‘copy ready’ (typeset) materials to the Printshop, we found that they had a major problem,” explained Andy Grosh, a fellow translator who was helping to facilitate the process. The only viable option for printing these books was to use the Risograph. However, it had a worn-out drum that needed to be replaced before they could print anything.  “The Printshop had ordered a new drum from Australia, but when it arrived,” Andy shared, “we found out that although the model numbers were the same, the models from the Southern Hemisphere required different parts from those which were sold in the Northern Hemisphere, and our unit had been sourced in the Northern Hemisphere many years ago.”

Jose Bena, an office machine technician, thought heavily on this.  He strongly desired that the Odoodee people receive their partial New Testament in time for their celebration.  One night as he contemplated what to do he came up with an idea. He would try to create one drum out of both the worn-out drum and the replacement drum by taking them apart and combining parts from each.

Andy expressed his joy in God’s provision, “Jose created a functional drum that would work in our Risograph… It was truly God’s gift to us so that His Words could be printed and distributed in the Odoodee language.”

As they thanked God for his Book at the dedication, they also were thankful for Jose, whose perseverance, creativity, and commitment to the task was a crucial step in making the celebration possible.

Powerful Perseverance

Story by: Rachel Greco

How far would you go to translate the Bible into your language?

Philip, Leo, and Joe set off on a journey one Thursday to reach the nearest town and airstrip so they could arrive at Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. Due to heavy rains, it took them six and a half days to cross the mountains guarding the way to their destination. These men traversed through mud—sometimes as deep as their knees—up and down the mountains. Some rivers had flooded so much that the men had to sit and wait for hours to cross them, then carried on through pouring rain.

Sometimes the trio crafted rafts out of hunks of wood to get their bags across the swollen rivers. There were no vehicles where they had hoped to catch a truck, so they simply trekked on through the day and night. At one point in the middle of the night they were so tired that they stopped and fell asleep for a few short intervals. Despite all of these travails, the men pressed on in order to complete translating a few more portions of the New Testament into their heart language of Lote.

This trio was made of truly extraordinary men. Leo, the chief Bible translator for the group, had been translating the New Testament for over fifteen years and had become skilled at expressing God’s Word in a meaningful way to his people. He could also write songs and sing them, led youth, and the choir. Philip, an elderly man with impaired feet, felt passionate about God’s Word coming across clearly and sounding sweet and genuine to his Lote ears.

Finally, after many hardships, the trio reached their goal. And not long after, because of their perseverance, these men were able to see the fruit of their sore feet and anxious waiting when the Lote New Testaments were unveiled and received joyfully by the Lote people.(Leo reading the Lote New Testament)