Enga NT first draft Complete

Story by Adam Boyd, photo by Newbreak Church


On June 1, when Reverend Maniosa Yakasa of the Enga Bible Translation team completed his draft of the last nine verses of Ephesians, our first draft of the Enga New Testament was complete. We began drafting the Enga New Testament on October 21, 2013, and so the drafting process took us four years, seven months, and eleven days.

We started out drafting together as a team, working only part-time when I (Adam) was with the team in Enga. However, as the translators developed their translation skills, the team of six began working together full-time, even when I was not present with them. And the last few books the team drafted individually, sitting together at the translation table, but working to draft the books independently.

Although our first draft of the New Testament is now complete, there is still much work to be done to check our translation and prepare it for publication. Because the translators are now equipped to draft the translation independently, I am free to focus my efforts on the checking of the translation, which is just as time-consuming as drafting, if not more so. Nevertheless, we are nearly halfway through the checking process, and our goal is  to publish the New Testament within the next three or four years. In the meantime, the translation team has begun drafting the Old Testament. They have nearly completed their first draft of Genesis, while also making significant progress on their first draft of the book of Exodus.


The Day Ann Rose Smiled


Story and Photo by Susan Frey

Sylvester would leave home for weeks at a time, traveling to another village hours away to work with the other Baruga translators.  When he returned home at the end of each work session empty-handed, he would see his wife’s frown.  Ann Rose was not pleased that her husband spent so much time working on translation without any material gain to show for it.  She was not a Christian, and did not understand why her husband could not spend his time working for money.  Because of her constant criticism, Sylvester found that he was not able to work on the translation in his own home.

This continued for more than two decades, until a group of Baruga traveled to Ukarumpa in late February 2017 to do an audio recording of the Baruga New Testament.  This time Sylvester brought Ann Rose with him because he wanted her to witness firsthand the work that he had been so dedicated to for so many years.

While at Ukarumpa, Ann Rose began to feel an intense pain in her stomach.  She was rushed to the Ukarumpa clinic, where Dr. Carl Luther diagnosed her with inflammation of the gall bladder.  He recommended that they go immediately to the hospital in the capital city of Port Moresby for emergency surgery.  Sylvester and Ann Rose did not have the money to travel to the city, nor did they know anyone there who could help them out, and so they returned to their village in a remote part of Oro Province instead.

Months of sleepless nights followed as Sylvester dutifully cared for his wife – feeding her, carrying her to the toilet, and tending to her every need.  “She was in so much pain.  All my hope was gone, and I thought she would die,” Sylvester recounted with obvious pain at the memory.  “But on the night of October 5th, she received God’s healing.  Early in the morning, she woke up and said ‘I’m hungry.’”  Sylvester found some sago in the house, boiled it, and brought it to her to eat.  Much to his surprise, Ann Rose greeted him this time with a warm smile.  His astonishment only grew when she said, “We will thank the Lord before I eat.”

From that day forward, Ann Rose has been healthy and pain-free.  The change is not only in her body, but also in her heart.  Instead of criticizing her husband’s work, she has come to believe in it as passionately as he, and they now work together as a team to promote the translation work among the Baruga people.

Eyes Wide Open

Story and photo by Stephanie Ernandes

Mavis has served in many different roles supporting Bible translation throughout the years.  She started serving in 1996, and she has recently started a new position as a coordinator and teacher for a course which focuses on helping Papua New Guinean adults who unfortunately missed out on education in their earlier years.  This Tok Pisin Literacy course is designed to help those who cannot read or write learn to read and write in Tok Pisin, the local trade language.


(Mavis on the left, teaching literacy)

“By teaching people to read in Tok Pisin, we are trying to put a bridge down so that everyone can learn to read in their own heart language.  I feel that at the end of the day, this is the right thing to do,” shared Mavis. “There are so many stories told by these people who have graduated from the Tok PIsin Literacy course.  After we teach them and they understand the concepts of reading and writing in Tok Pisin, often they are able to progress to reading in English and most importantly their own mother tongue language.  When they read the Bible in their own language, everything becomes so real, the Bible becomes part of them, it’s no longer second hand information.  This opens up the whole world to them! They come back and tell us about it and when we see them in town they hug us saying, ‘There is my teacher!’  I feel in my heart that I helped changed their world for them.”

Another course is available for Papua New Guinean teachers who are already involved in teaching Tok Pisin Literacy. A teacher who attends this class for seven days, graduates with a certificate and goes home with more advanced teaching methods to better teach literacy to those needing it.  Mavis has recently attended this course and is excited to go back to her own village to help people who would like to learn to read.  She plans to do this after she retires from her current position in three years.

During the first Tok Pisin Literacy course Mavis helped with, she noticed some students reading the Bible in their own language.   “I asked them, ‘Is this your first time? They answered, ‘First time. First time!’ They were crying and excited!  This was an amazing thing that happened in my life. For the first time they read the Bible in their own language!”


















Village Cooking

Story and photo by Janeen Michie


Traditional cooking methods include placing food directly over hot coals, in pots over open fires, or in a ‘mumu pit’, which is a hole dug in the ground and lined with heated rocks. Most families in a village have large metal cooking pots. It takes skill to keep the fire going long enough and hot enough to cook. Most Papua New Guineans eat two meals a day; a small breakfast and a large supper. The coastal diet consists mainly of fish, seafood, birds, sago, sweet potato, taro, taro leaf, cassava, cassava leaf, green leafy vegetables, coconuts and fruits.

When we spend time in the coastal Kala villages friends often gift us with bananas and coconuts. We appreciate these sweet tasting fruits. We heard, in another part of the Huon Gulf region, some youth were listening to Bible translator, Itama, preach in their Kapin language. Afterwards the youth said, “Using Kapin in our church services is sweet, like good food!”

In the gospel of Matthew 4:4a NIV, Jesus says, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

*reference: Tok Pisin English Bilingual Dictionary & Encyclopedia of Papua New Guinea


Trilingual Urat dictionary

Written by René van den Berg and Hilkka Arminen, photo by Hilkka Arminen


The Urat New Testament was dedicated June 30, 2016. Now a trilingual Urat dictionary has been published! This is a real milestone and a major boost to the language. The title is Urat – Melanesian Pidgin – English dictionary. Urat is a Torricelli (Papuan) language, spoken by some 7,000 people in the East Sepik Province. Hilkka Arminen, who is from Finland, has been working closely with David Belyeme and Enoch Mundum (BTA) for many years. The dictionary is over 300 pages, has plenty of examples, both linguistic and grammatical, offering various insights into the culture. Some interesting words include krikakarau ‘foggy and drizzly weather, advancing rain coming towards the speaker’, and tukwatup ‘leaves with rough surface used for washing saucepans’. The books are now in the hands of the Urat people in East Sepik, while Beth Bryson (USA) helps the team to produce an online version in Webonary.