Baruga NT Dedication

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Adventure at Sea

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Written by Janeen Michie, photo by Janeen Michie

At first the sea seemed calm and peaceful but, as they continued on the waves grew larger and larger. One large wave crashed into the boat and threw Mitchell into the bottom of the boat. Mitchell Michie, a translation adviser for the Kala language group, was travelling by public motor boat filled with other passengers and cargo out to a Kala village. He prayed that the boat would not capsize. If the boat did capsize he would lose his computer, hand written language notes, and valuable time for helping the Kala people translate portions of the Gospel of Mark. When they finally arrived safely to the village, his national companion told him that he believed the Lord had protected them from disaster. Later, they heard that three boats that were following behind them on their way to other villages did capsize. Thankfully no lives were lost.

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.”

Every Tribe, Language, People and Nation

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Story and photographs by Stephanie Ernandes

I received an email a couple of months ago asking me if I would photograph and video an upcoming partial Bible dedication for the Odoodee people group in Western Province, Papua New Guinea. I am a support worker here in Papua New Guinea. I live here to provide support for the work of Bible Translation throughout this country. One of the ways I do this is by writing. This was my first opportunity to offer my services of photography and videography. Very excited, I accepted.

As the time for the dedication grew closer and this being the first time I’d done anything like this, I grew more and more intimidated by the task before me. What had I gotten myself into? It was an incredible opportunity, but could I pull it off? Then I remembered that Papa God loves to work through His people! It’s through our weaknesses that He is shown strong. I prayed. A lot. Then jumped. God carried me through the rest.

When I stepped off the little ten-seater plane with translator Darrell Hays and the other attendees into this tiny village it was like stepping into a live National Geographic magazine. We were greeted by women elaborately decorated with paint, beads, and striking feathers, their grass skirts gracefully swishing in the wind as they surrounded the plane singing and dancing. Men equally as decorated in war paint danced with bows and spears, some beating drums – a deep base beat resonated. The movement of colors and sound, the smells and the heat overwhelmed my senses. I stood stunned, shakily trying to point the videorecorder and camera in every direction at once.

In the midst all of the chaotic beauty surrounding me, the most amazing part – the part I will never forget – was the moment during the dedication when I heard, out of the mouth of a Papua New Guinean man speaking over a loud speaker, the verse from Revelations 5:9 describing representatives from every tribe, language, people and nation standing before the Lord in worship. I have heard that verse many times and imagined and rejoiced at the thought. I have even shared that passage as I stood in front of churches describing the importance of Bible Translation. But to hear it out of the mouth of a Papua New Guinean man from a small tribe in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, it came alive. As I watched and listened, that prophesy was coming to fruition before my very eyes.

Much like a translator discovers the first time he or she steps into a village planning to spend the next years of their life translating the Bible into a language needing one, I experienced that God shows up. He works in and through us in spectacular ways. What I witnessed was just that, God accomplishing His purposes through us, his weak but fervent children, trying our best to follow Him.

“I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed and I will do it.” Isa 46:11b (ESV)

Healing From Past Hurts

Story by Karen Weavertrauma_healing

How can a person find healing from deep hurts he or she has carried for years?

Trauma Healing Workshops seek to address these hurts, help people understand their consequences,  and to bring them to the cross. In one of these workshops, men and women from multiple villages in the West Sepik gathered to find healing from their painful past. In all, this course drew 71 participants from 10 language groups over three weeks.

As people listened, shared, and participated in skits, they learned how to process painful events in their lives and how to find healing from old emotional wounds. They worked through trauma that had resulted from tribal fighting, from devastation during the tsunami, and from family conflicts.

Participants identified their pain, talked about it in small groups, and wrote out their feelings in laments, following the example of the book of Lamentations in the Bible. After individuals expressed their pain, the leaders helped them move on from there and not remain trapped in grief. They were encouraged to bring their burdens to the cross, which they did symbolically by writing on paper and then burning that paper at the base of a wooden cross.  As they laid aside their bitterness they found new freedom in forgiveness.

One participant summed up his feelings by saying, “I have great joy to be in this course and I feel that there is a way to be slowly healed from this burden that I have been carrying for a long time now. After it is healed I will be able to help my brothers and sisters. Now I feel I have lots of work to help others to carry their pain and burdens to the cross.”

In fact, many are already doing that. Several people who attended the Trauma Healing Workshop went home and started teaching the lessons to others. For example, one man told his village that he would teach one topic each Monday. On the first day, 80 people from his village came to learn!

Pray that God would continue to work in people’s hearts and minds as they seek to live out forgiveness and to find healing in Christ.

 

Overcoming Obstacles to Translation

by Karen Weaver

1/3/15 09:11:39(img: Public Transportation (PMV) in PNG)

Unganing and Hatayanga had to travel deep into the bush to dig out wild yams for their hungry families. Drought was gripping the country and the normally prolific gardens were bare.

Even with this pressing need to find food for their families, Unganing and Hatayanga responded to an even greater need: the need for spiritual food in their heart language. For 19 years, Unganing and Hatayanga have been helping with the translation of the Scriputres into their language of Mato. They knew Scot Stober was traveling from the United States to meet them to draft about half the remaining books in the New Testament.

Leaving their families wasn’t the only challenge they faced. Boat troubles delayed them and they had to spend several nights in another village praying about what to do. Finally they were able to make the trip by boat to the neighboring provincial capital, only to find out the Public Motor Vehicles weren’t transporting people to where Scot was waiting in the port city of Lae, due to street protests going on there. Thankfully, the upheaval quieted down sufficiently for buses to get through and they arrived in Lae, nearly a week overdue.

God abundantly blessed their sacrifice and commitment and they were able to make tremendous progress on the translation in the time that they had. Though street protests continued in the city around them, they were in a safe place and able to work in relative peace. Not only were they able to reach their goal of drafting 11 books, they also revised four other books and updated the glossary! This included going back to the earliest chapters they had translated and bringing them up to date with key terms and making some subtle grammatical improvements. As a result, the entire New Testament is now in draft form or better.

Four weeks later, Scot, Unganing and Hatayanga returned to their families, grateful to have had a part in bringing the Mato New Testament a bit closer to completion. They look forward to the day when they can meet again to continue the work. Each one is committed to doing his part to get the complete Mato New Testament into the hands of the people.