Take My Pyakende Upon You

Story and photo by Adam Boyd

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“Take my yoke upon you…and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus’s words in Matthew 11:29-30 are some of the most difficult to translate into the Enga language. From the time that I became a Christian, I was taught that a yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the neck of two animals and attached to a plough or cart that they are to pull. This is an easy enough concept to understand for people who come from societies that make use of beasts of burden, but in Papua New Guinea, there are no beasts of burden. Consequently the concept of a yoke placed on animals is completely foreign. Thus, we have struggled greatly in our attempt to translate Matthew 11:29-30.

Recently, however, I came to learn that a yoke can also refer to a wooden frame that a person places on his neck or shoulders to make it easier to carry a heavy load. Indeed, the Bible often makes figurative use of the word ‘yoke’ as it refers to people and not to beasts of burden (see 1 Kings 12:4-14). As I was pondering that idea, I began to notice that when Engan men carry heavy logs on one shoulder, they often balance the load by supporting it with a small stick placed across the other shoulder. A few weeks ago, it clicked in my mind that the small stick they use to make it easier to carry a heavy log is like a yoke.

Excited by this realization, I quickly asked my friend Benjamin if the stick that men use to make it easier to carry a heavy log has a name in Enga. Sure enough it does. It is called a pyakende. With great anticipation, I asked the translation team if we could use the word pyakende to translate the word ‘yoke’. After wrestling with the phrasing for a little while, we came up with the following translation: “In order to remove the heaviness from your shoulders, take my pyakende. When you have taken it, you will receive rest. As my pyakende helps you, what I give you to carry is not heavy and you will carry it without struggling.”

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A New Weapon

Story by Janeen Michie with Doug Oatridge, photo by Janeen Michie

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Traditionally during times of tribal fighting, the opposing tribes would paint their faces with black ashes, wear pig teeth necklaces, and some put pigs teeth in their mouths. Many also carried string bags on their backs filled with arrows and carried a bow in their hands, while others carried spears. The head of the spear was made from a hard wood palm tree trunk. The shaft of the spear was made from long thick bush grass. The men would stand together and shout to the enemy to come out and fight them.

By 1958, the Binumarien population had dropped to 111 people because of tribal fighting and diseases. Since they received the New Testament in their language in 1984, many of the people have been changed through God’s Word. Tribal fighting has become less common, and their population has steadily increased.

In 2017, people from another tribe up the valley started to build gardens on Binumarien land. The Binumariens told them to leave and to build gardens on their own land. One Binumarien man had a house at the top of the mountain. When he went home one evening, the other tribe attacked him. After hearing this, the Binumariens loaded up with bows and arrows and fought against them for a full day. The following day the fight was to continue. The Binumariens would be seriously outnumbered and possibly wiped out. The elders in the village gathered the people together and told them there would be no more fighting. They called for everyone to spend the day praying, asking the Lord for help. All day they expected to see the other tribe coming down the mountain. It didn’t happen. The news was that they had become confused and began fighting amongst themselves, killing ten of their own men.

The translation team leader, Namondi Unare says, “Now we are following God’s light and we no longer get up and fight.” He continued, “God has protected us and we are doing well and prospering. God is our fortress. When there was a call for battle everyone used to say, “Let’s go!” Now people aren’t wanting to fight. They just stay and pray to God. They say it’s not alright to kill people or steal or lie.” Many times God has protected them from tribal warfare as they have learned to trust him and have grown in their faith. The Binumariens now have a new weapon, the weapon of prayer.

 

 

Dedication After the Dedication

Story and photo by Stephanie Ernandes

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The Somba Siawari New Testament was dedicated in 1996.  About a year later Taitus Bauyan started up a school.  Zion Bible School was for adults who had completed grade 8 when they were younger, but didn’t get to finish grades 9 and 10.  Many people in Papua New Guinea (PNG) will stop school at grade 8 because of the expense of going to school for grades 9 and 10.  Most often schools in PNG are taught in English.  Zion Bible school taught in the Somba Siawari language, so this made it much easier for those attending to understand.  After graduation many moved on to Seminary or University.  Some students went on to be evangelists, some pastors. Some became primary or secondary teachers and nurses and doctors as well.  This school was open for three years before closing due to lack of finances.

In the mean-time Mila, Taitus’s wife, along with a few other Somba Siawara translators, started work on translating the Old Testament.  “The New Testament will come across more clearly when my people read the Old Testament in their mother tongue.  Since the Old Testament talks about things that will happen in the New Testament, it provides understanding, a foundation for the New Testament.  When they read the New Testament, it is good for them to know what the prophets talked about beforehand in the Old Testament.”  Mila shared that her people believe many different things.  It’s her hope that the truth of the New Testament will shine even brighter when they see that the Old Testament, written so long ago, speaks of God’s plans and all the events in the New Testament long before they happened.

Taitus began to notice one day that when people read the New Testament translated into Somba Siawari, it truly stirred their souls.  “They would jump up and sing praises to the Lord and were joyful.”  But it wasn’t the same when they read the Old Testament.  The Old Testament was hard to understand since their only choices were English or Tok Pisin (the local trade language). That was when his heart was moved to join his wife to help finish the OT translation work.

They now have a first draft of the entire Old Testament finished, but it must go through many long checking processes before the work is ready for publishing.  Taitus and Mila are currently attending a course on Old Testament back translation.  Back translation is a form of checking the translation work.  After translating material into a particular language, the words are then translated back into the original language to check and see its accuracy against the original material.

Taitus plans to open the school back up after the Old Testament translation is finished. Please pray over the continuation and finishing of their hard work so that the Somba Siawara can have the full Bible in their language.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing on Scripture to the Next Generation

Story by Janeen Michie, photo by James Post

This grandmother cherishes the Bible she received a generation ago in her heart language. Her 33 year old Bible is well used and worn out. She worried about how she would pass on the Good News to her daughter and granddaughter. She was excited to hear about the revised Binumarien New Testament with five Old Testament books. After the dedication she purchased new Bibles for her family. Now a new generation of Binumariens have God’s Word in their language and they can continue to teach it to their children as their parents and grandparents taught them.Binumarien Dedication Report_6x8JamesPost.jpg

Mouwase Jesus Film

A good message that clearly explains why the Jesus Film is powerful.

The Key to Healing

Story by Karen Weaver Photos by Faith Halverson

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Deeply compassionate and gifted to work with all ages and individuals, Betty Nawe was known for counseling and walking with individuals through difficult journeys. Her empathy and stability within the church drew many women in difficult situations to share with her and seek counsel for a variety of issues. Because of this, the women’s ministry at her church in Wewak selected Betty to take the Healing the Wounds of Trauma course in 2015.

Before taking the course, she assumed she was emotionally healthy and was simply there to gain knowledge in order to assist others. Once the week-long training began, however, she realized God could bring healing to her own past as well. She found freedom from pain suffered from family deaths and other difficulties throughout her life.

Through the teaching, she realized there had been a dual standard within the church of adhering to ancestral beliefs while attempting to follow God. Betty explained, “When we are afraid of those spirits we are not ready to meet God, and sin is holding us captive.” She found a new determination to follow the Word of God in every situation.

Approximately a year after her training in Healing the Wounds of Trauma, she was invited to assist in a three-week initiative to teach leaders in remote villages. Betty faced a few challenges on the journey. She recalled, “Many were confused because they didn’t know how to interpret Scripture, especially with regards to difficult and traumatic experiences.” As she shared with them principles she had learned in the Trauma Healing course, Betty witnessed elders and pastors weeping freely as the discussions, case studies, and the powerful application of Scripture imparted life-changing understanding to each of them.

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Betty continues to impact many lives through her counseling, teaching, and bringing the gift of hope and healing to men and women across Papua New Guinea. “Many times they might hear this in church, but it is easy to forget, until application of the Word creates healing in their lives.”

Reflecting on the impact of the teaching in her own life, Betty reflected, “I changed through the course to begin to forgive others more easily. That is the key to healing. I know God is with me.”