No More Fighting

by Karen Weaver

“There will be fighting among us this afternoon!” This was the warning a church leader gave his visitor.

This district church president and others had just been reading the printed New Testament and listening to the audio recording of it. Even though it was in a related language and not their own dialect, it was close enough that they were transfixed on the message. Their interest was so keen that their eyes didn’t want to leave the printed page and their ears didn’t want to stop listening to the audio playing on the solar-powered MP3 player. When Jeff D’Jernes, the visiting translator, would pause the player, the people listening would look up and say, “Let’s hear more!”

Seeing their interest, Jeff asked if they would like an adaptation of the book into their own dialect. However, the church leader declared, “The Long Islanders do not speak the same as we do, but our ears can hear it. Just give us copies of what you have.” That’s when he learned Jeff had only brought six copies and predicted there would be a fight among his people for the books. The dilemma was solved by sending a boat to Long Island to bring back several cases of New Testaments and AudiBible players.

Several years have passed since that visit. After many hours of listening to and reading God’s Word in this neighboring language, the Lokep people have realized there are parts of the message that aren’t totally clear to them. There are some words they don’t understand which obscure the meaning. Now they have a new request, “Could you write an adaptation into our dialect so that we can understand God’s Book clearly?”

Jeff and his PNG co-translators will soon begin work on this important project. In the process, Jeff will train a national translator in the skills needed to do an adaptation of the New Testament into even more languages.

Their dream is that one day everyone in the area from any language group will be able to own a copy in the words they understand best. There will be no more fighting for books!

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Just the Beginning

by Karen Weaver

One Sunday morning some of the Titan translators stood before a local church congregation and took turns reading aloud a portion of Genesis 15 in the Titan language. This was the first time the people had heard God’s Word read in their own language. Everyone there that day was deeply impacted, but no one more so than the elders themselves.

The church leaders had an argument months before this which had caused a rift between them. As a result, they hadn’t spoken to each other, even about church business, for months. For the Titans, maintaining good relationships is everything, so this rift was devastating.

But God had a plan! When the Scripture portion was read in Titan that Sunday, God spoke powerfully to the hearts of these leaders through his Word in their own language. Immediately after that service, the leaders mended their broken relationships and began meeting again.

The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that each person who belongs to God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God’s Word did exactly that in the lives of the church leaders and others that Sunday.

Grateful for how Scripture in the Titan language had spoken powerfully to their hearts, and looking forward to the team translating more of the Bible into their language in the future, translation facilitator Steve Clover declared, “This is just the beginning of what God will do among the Titans once His Word is available in the Titan language!”

Trusting God in Prayer

by Karen Weaver

More than 30 men and women, who were leaders from five of the nine villages in the Wampar language area, met to study God’s Word and to learn how to apply it to their lives. Each day they gathered under the big mango trees of Zifasing village to learn from the Scriptures.

One of the presenters, Lynda Wick, focused on the motivation for prayer. She wanted to encourage the group to stand firm against traditional expectations in the face of difficulty. As Lynda addressed the group, she knew that it was likely that some of them had been pressured to turn to sorcery when God didn’t seem to be answering prayers in their favor.

In the study, they looked at the passage describing Jesus praying in the garden the night before his crucifixion. He prayed to his Father, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Even in his darkest hour, Jesus voiced his trust in God’s will.

They also examined the life of Paul. Even though he was a good worker for God, he still had trouble. Although Paul prayed to God about his troubles, and was confident that God heard him, sometimes the problem persisted. However, Paul did not turn his back on God. He learned that God’s grace was enough and that God’s power was made perfect in his weakness.

At the end of this time together, one of the students shared how this lesson had impacted him. “Previously, I prayed as if God were my servant and He must do what I asked for. Now I see that I am God’s servant and I must trust him and follow how He chooses to answer my prayers: yes, wait, or no.”

These Wampar leaders have now returned to their homes and are sharing with others in their local churches the truths they learned from studying God’s Word.

A Genesis Impact

Story by Stephanie Ernandes, Photo by Stacey Wyse

“How will going through the book of Genesis help to disciple this man in what He needs to know about the Lord?” Stacey thought to herself. “Usually you start in John or something like that.”

Stacey Wyse has been teaching with Theological Education by Extension (TEE) for 12 years now.  The goal of TEE is to teach and disciple pastors that cannot afford to go far away to attend Bible School.  TEE enables them to stay home in their own villages or towns while attending courses.

“It’s Bible study, but it’s deeper than that because there’s tests at the end of every lesson and there are practical assignments as well.  Part of doing TEE involves them going out to the villages and doing something with what they have learned as well.” shared Stacey.

 

A couple of pastors came to Stacey right before she was to teach a course on Genesis. “Many times pastors will bring people to visit so they can see what TEE is because they are very excited about it.” They told her about some men who had been part of a group of raskols (not pictured; raskols are similar to street gangs) that had come to know the Lord.  There was one man in particular who they wanted to bring with them to the Genesis course.  Stacey agreed but wondered how Genesis could be used to disciple this man. “Ok Lord, you know how,” she silently prayed.

A week later they started the Genesis course.  It happened when they got to Genesis 1:26a.

Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” (Gen 1:26a ESV).

“This man, you could tell he was really emotional, he started talking and tears started going down his cheeks. He said, ‘If God has made women in His image that means I need to treat my wife differently!’”

The other men sitting in the room, they responded as well,
“Yeah, that means I need to treat my daughter differently.”
And “I need to treat my Aunt…”
“Your sister…”
“My sister…”
“That means…” (etc.)

“For the next half hour, I watched them as they all did their own Bible study on that one verse.  I just observed as the Holy Spirit moved in these pastors and this former raskol who had just given his life to the Lord.  I was blown away as I thought to myself, ‘Ah that’s how God disciples through Genesis!’”

Months later Stacey went to a church commissioning service near Yonki Dam and this man was in the group attending.  She noticed throughout the time at the service how well this young man treated his wife and children, how they interacted with smiles and laughter, and how his community had accepted him back in. “It was really exciting to see how God had moved and worked in and through this man.”

Please continue to pray for God’s Word to continue to impact the people of Papua New Guinea.

Learning to Read and Write

Story and photo by Janeen Michie

“Many nationals do not know how to read and write in Tok Pisin or their own language. It’s a problem for them as they are shut out from the world. They can’t follow the media or read a newspaper. When purchasing medicine they can’t read the prescription.” Mavis said sadly.

Mavis Matmillo teaches adult literacy courses at the Ukarumpa training center. She says, “You see people picking up words. Everyday is joy to see people change.”

Janet a student of the literacy course says, “I couldn’t read or write as a child. My parents didn’t put me in school. I didn’t know my ABC’s.” She grew up gathering firewood, working in the garden, and collecting water. As an adult she heard about the literacy course. Janet says, “I had a big hunger for reading the Bible. I heard about the school at the training center. I was very happy and I wanted to come and read the Bible for myself. Next year I will come back and learn more from the next course.”

Kete Oroti attended school from kindergarten to grade 1. As an adult she took the literacy course and after receiving her certificate says, “I’m happy that I can read & write. God has a plan for my life. I can read the Bible and now I can work.”

Broken Radios and Mended Hearts

story by Steve Geis

My Thursday morning started with a request for a medevac flight from a bush clinic to the capital, Port Moresby (POM). A lady experiencing shortness of breath and heart problems needed urgent care. We readied an aircraft and I was dispatched on the flight. Forty minutes later we loaded the patient, accompanied by a doctor and nurse, and departed for the capital. En route, the aircraft experienced a transponder failure.

Entry into Port Moresby’s busy airspace requires a functioning transponder, the device that allows Air Traffic Control (ATC) to monitor an aircraft’s position on radar. When I explained to ATC the urgency of our flight, they granted us special permission to enter their airspace with the failed transponder. We landed without further incident, and the patient was delivered to the hospital.

Since we couldn’t continue our flight with the failed transponder, we arranged for a technician to be flown down from our aviation base early the next morning with a new transponder to swap out the faulty one. Fixing it was supposed to be a simple, one-hour job. However, the technician ran into difficulties getting the new transponder to fit properly into the mount in the aircraft. We realized we had to request another special permission and fly the aircraft back to its base for further repairs.

BROKENRADIO

This was extremely frustrating for the technician and me as we had planned to pick up Zacc in a small village outside of POM after the transponder replacement and fly him to his home village. Zacc had just lost his wife and newborn child to birth complications a few weeks earlier in POM. Even as a follower of Jesus, he was finding it understandably difficult to talk to God since his loss. He had decided to visit his home village to mourn with his own Bariai people.
The delays and revised flight schedule meant Zacc would now have to remain in the village over the weekend until we could arrange another flight on Monday. What was God trying to do?

On Saturday, the day after we had originally planned to pick Zacc up, the mother of a member of his family came to his house, frantic with worry. Her daughter had been trying to give birth for three days and was physically fading. There was no medical help in the village. When the family went to pray over their relative, Zacc said he wanted to pray too. His father remarked to him that he had not seen Zacc pray since Maria’s death. (Although his faith in God had endured, Zacc had not yet come to a point where he felt like praying.) He asked the Lord to show his grace and allow the mother and child to live, praying that he did not want to see anyone else in his family die in this manner. When he finished his prayer, the baby immediately came right out! The umbilical cord had been wrapped around the head of the nine-pound baby, preventing the mother from delivering. Both of them survived! As you can imagine, this has greatly encouraged Zacc and has strengthened his faith.

So the frustration of the faulty radio and the canceled flight was all part of the Master’s plan to show his power in a very personal way to Zacc. Sometimes I get a glimpse into why God orders events differently to carry out his plans. It’s nice to know that he’s in control when it appears there is chaos all around.

God’s Light Shining

God's light shining-IMG_6630Written by Mitchell and Janeen Michie, photo by Janeen Michie

Imagine living in a house with no windows; no light. How would you find the door in the dark? Your shoes? It would be difficult. Ngasinom a retired school teacher and church leader has been preaching to his congregation in Kala. He told me, “When I preach in Kala rather than the trade language, the people sit up straight and listen very carefully.” He says, “Our village has been in darkness and darkness has been holding it. It’s like we’ve been in a house with no windows, but now through the translation God’s light has shone on us.”

John 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”