What were you doing …

… in 1979? or 2003? or 2016? Where were you? What were your plans for the years ahead?

In 1979 Keith finished year five in primary school, in 2003 Elspeth began her second year of university, then in 2016 we returned to Australia from Papua New Guinea (PNG) after our first term as mission support workers with Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia. Some other folk that we have met here in Ukarumpa had other completely contrary plans for their lives.

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1 v 27


Barry & Bonnie arrived in PNG in 1979 to work as a high school teacher and as a translator. After 40 years of serving the Lord in PNG, next year Barry & Bonnie will be retiring from active missionary service in an overseas context. Their plan is to return to their home country to rest and reconnect with family and friends. They aren’t sure if they will fully retire yet or keep pottering along serving the Lord where they eventually settle.
• Praise that Barry & Bonnie have faithfully served the Lord wherever He has sent them.
• Please pray that they will choose wisely whether they retire or continue working part-time in a mission capacity.

Barry & Bonnie


Kaitlyn was 7 months old when she arrived in PNG in 2003 with her parents who were following God’s calling to provide His Word in the Nukna language that had no previous written form of communication. In 2020, Kaitlyn looks forward to finishing year 12 at the Ukarumpa International School then heading off to her birth country for study and work.
• Pray that Kaitlyn will finish well here in her Year 12 studies.
• Pray also that she will be able to transition back to her birth country with minimal culture shock after living almost her whole life in a completely different culture.

Kaitlyn Taylor


In 2016, Lynda arrived in PNG to work as a physiotherapist but soon became involved with the Scripture in Use team; now working full-time leading workshops in the Morobe and Madang Provinces. In one workshop, Lynda teaches local PNG people how to battle spiritual warfare and confront cultural rituals that are at odds with their Christian faith. In 2020 Lynda is looking forward to a one-year furlough in her passport country where she will reconnect with her family, friends, church and supporters.                           • Please pray for Lynda as she spends time with her family and friends being refreshed after 4 years mission service overseas.
• Lord willing, Lynda plans on re-joining the efforts here in PNG to encourage, promote and teach about putting the Bible into action. Not just believing but doing.

Lynda Wick

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3 v 5-6

A fitting end….


Thankyou 4Our last days in Lae were quite humbling, as people showered us with thanks, bilums (woven string or knitted woollen bags) and expressions of appreciation for us giving assistance, offering hospitality, providing training, and simply showing kindness.

The warm thanks in the cards shown here came from members of our regular Huon Gulf Multi-Language Project team, in Lae for a workshop during our final weeks. Perhaps the thoughts that mean the most to us are those that express how we have encouraged and served the PNG national translation teams.

At an afternoon tea, Elisa Kiputang (pictured below) led several speakers from the national teams in sharing how they had enjoyed coming to Lae and being accepted as a vital part of this ministry. All of them noted being greeted with warm smiles and handshakes, and how they felt comfortable approaching us for practical help at any time. They are a tremendous group of men and women and we will miss them greatly.

Even more, we will miss our beautiful staff. We had a farewell lunch with them at a local restaurant on our last Friday workday, but they wanted a follow up on the Tuesday before we left for Ukarumpa.

They hosted a sausage sizzle lunch – we’ve trained them well in Aussie culture – sang two praise songs, and served a farewell cake. The speeches expressing their appreciation for training and encouraging them, or for simply giving them a chance when they felt that they may never find permanent employment, had us all in tears. Even writing this brings on the emotions.

Overall, these events represented everything we have come to love about our work in Lae, and we couldn’t have thought of a better way to finish.

Please pray …

  • for the Lae staff, as they transition through temporary management to new permanent managers around March 2020.
  • for Larua ( third from right) in her leadership role between managers.
  • thankful that our desire to ‘finish well’ turned out God’s way and not ours – there were plenty of unfinished tasks around Centre.


Grass and flowers (part three) …

This is the third and last blog post about some of the translation projects happening in our Morobe Province.

The grass withers, the flowers fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40 v 8

The MUSIM people (approx. 2,000) living around the Francisco River area are working with Eyvind Olafsrud (from Norway) and are currently drafting the gospel of Mark. Eyvind’s prayer request is for continued community ownership of the translation work.

b Musim

The TAMI New Testament has been 100% drafted, but with the advisor and consultant checking still to be completed, a dedication may occur in 2024. Annie is continuing with training and leading women’s’ Bible studies with changed lives as the Good Seed takes hold in their lives. Please pray for Kim & Annie Colich from USA who are working on challenging the villagers later this year with the SALT course, “a “Scripture Use” program that (1) equips national pastors and leaders to effectively use the translated Scriptures in their ministries; and (2) inspires a love, wonder and understanding of God’s Word in the vernacular.” [Source https://thesaltproject.blogspot.com/ ]

c Tami

The NUMANGGANG New Testament was dedicated in 2006 after 29 years, with the Old Testament translation beginning in 2008. David Hynum, (from USA) has continued to work with the translation committee and now the Old Testament has been 100% drafted. The Old Testament will need to be checked, revised and consulted before publishing and dedicating which could still take a few years. Please pray for the translation team as they now have various health issues that come with age.


Many plans are in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19 v 21

Grass and flowers (part two) …

With the move to Ukarumpa, we won’t be seeing so much of our local teams and their co-workers, assisting with communication, regular supplies, hosting training workshops & events, etc.

The grass withers, the flowers fades, but the word of our God                      will stand forever.                                                 Isaiah 40 v 8.

kovaiThe KOVAI New Testament, including significant portions of the Old Testament, has been drafted and is waiting to be consultant checked in 2020. Alan & Ritva Brown (from UK & Finland) are requesting prayer for the upcoming consultant check, and for James, the main village translator, as his family grieves for their daughter Wendy who recently drowned.



The LAUGAI KALA orthography (the conventional spelling system of a language) was approved in early 2019. Please pray that the translation committee can continue their work on Mark’s gospel and some worship songs, with the print and audio forms planned for release to the community at the end of the year.


The YAMAP community are working to preserve their tok ples (heart language) with the formation of tok ples primary schools, using literacy materials produced by the translation team. Later this year two men from the translation team (Isaac and Elias) will travel to Ukarumpa to attend the Initial Skills course, designed for language workers who would like to attend other translation training courses but do not have sufficient English and computing skills to meet the entry requirements. Pray for Sonya Paoli (from USA) and the translation team as they plan next year to have the book of Luke, a gospel of Luke Bible study series, and audio recordings completed and published.


The MENYA people (approx. 20,000), dwelling in the north Tauri River area and its tributaries, celebrated the dedication of their New Testament in February 2018. Carl & Pat Whitehead (from USA) are hoping and praying that the people will have a desire to see the Old Testament translated. They are considering facilitating a Culture Meets Scripture workshop which will challenge the participants to consider how their thoughts, words and deeds harmonize / fit with the Scriptures. Carl & Pat’s prayer request is that the Lord will raise up more people who are interested and willing to take ownership of further translation, and that they will have the wisdom to know how to encourage the people and proceed with the work.

Many plans are in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose                                     of the LORD that will stand.                      Proverbs 19 v 21

Grass and flowers (part one) …

We are working towards our move to Ukarumpa for Keith to take on the Ukarumpa Finance Manager role in September. Our personal focus will no longer be on the Morobe Province so much as on the Bible translation movement within Papua New Guinea.

The grass withers, the flowers fades,  but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40 v 8

The MIGABAC people (4,000+ pop.), after 22 years, are preparing to dedicate their New Testament on 26th July in print, audio, and digital forms. Steve & Debbie McEvoy (from USA) are thankful that the community has already expressed an interest in continuing the translation work for the Old Testament and that training of the people for this new translation work has begun. Please pray that the hearts of the Migabac people will be open to God’s Word as they read and listen to it so that lives are changed.

1 Migabac

The NEK people (2,000+ pop.) last year printed and dedicated Esther, Ephesians, Colossians and Titus. Katri Linnasalo (from Finland), translator, asks prayer for Pastor Mainuka Yunamu as he is scheduled on 24th July to begin the six week intensive Hebrew 1 course at the Ukarumpa Training Centre designed to assist national translators to continue being involved with the Old Testament translation.

2 Nek

Matt & Christy Taylor (from USA) having been working amongst the NUKNA people for around 16 years, and are in the process of a village check of Matthew 1-21. The NUKNA New Testament is about 70% drafted with a mini-dedication of the 10 Pauline epistles planned for 2020. Please pray for the 10-day Scripture use course that teaches about ‘God’s Story’, an overview of the entire Bible and the themes that run through it, planned for late July this year.

3 Taylor Nukna

The PATEP New Testament dedicated in 1987 has no new copies available for the young and new readers, so a reprint is planned after a read-through and revision. This is currently being completed by five Patep men from different villages together with Linda Vissering [nee Lauck] (from USA), one of the original translators. Linda’s prayer request is for wisdom, strength and good health as the team work together, and for the ongoing revision process.

4 Patep

Many plans are in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19 v 21

Flying PNG style….

While flying from Lae up to Ukarumpa last month, Keith was able to tick off one significant event on the ‘experiencing PNG’ list…. a mountain airstrip landing and take-off.

With only one passenger, it was an opportunity to detour slightly and assist a local coffee growing village transport their product to the wholesale buyers in Kainantu, a short drive from Ukarumpa.

On arrival, men and women hauled 45-50 kg bags from various huts surrounding the airstrip, stacking them for the pilot to assess how many could be loaded safely. The more bags, the less is the transport cost per kilo – significant given that from the current K2.70 per kg wholesale price, almost K2.10 will go to cover the transport and handling. The alternative is to transport the goods by foot to a distant road, then by public transport into town to find a buyer – a venture that carries much risk of being taken advantage of or even being robbed.

The growers explained that the price was very low right now so they are stockpiling their harvest in the huts, hoping that the situation may improve. They sell only when necessity demands it. They can essentially feed their families from the other produce of their land, but tools, medicine, school fees, clothing, all require cash.

DSC02239_1600x362Below is a two-minute video of the take-off. Prior to loading, the pilot was explaining to his trainee co-worker that, “the down-hill strip has a first, second, and then a third ridge…. and you need to be airborne as you climb the third ridge, then head right towards the mountainside otherwise you won’t make it around the left-hand valley turn.”  I reminded them that their passenger was standing right behind them!

Please pray …

  • for the skillful pilots who must operate in difficult circumstances on a daily basis.
  • thankful that our mission organisation can assist villagers in many practical ways, and that this adds weight to our Gospel ministry

When the cat’s away, the mice do not play …

Keith flew to Ukarumpa for three weeks on Friday 3rd May: two weeks to familiarise himself with the Finance Office as he observed what happens and when, and the middle week for meetings and catch-ups with various people and departments ahead of moving there in September. (see 2019_03 Newsletter) This left me in charge of the Lae Regional Centre. Seeing we had already been here for more than 4 years I thought I would do a good job of filling in for Keith as well as doing my own job. Boy was I in for a steep learning curve.

Saturday 4th May

With several power outages over the weekend, I appreciated how Peter, our groundsman, made sure that the generator was full of diesel on Friday before he finished work.

There was a water pipe burst somewhere in or out of Lae so the Centre had low water pressure for three or four days but everything came good about Wednesday or Thursday.

Sunday 5th May

I discovered the pool was losing water and the pool pump was struggling so with some telephone advice from Keith, I made sure all things were good.

Our Sunday afternoon Bible study group met at our place for study and afternoon tea.

Monday 6th May

Peter had to fix the leaking pool liner and adjust things for a faulty pool pump.

The gas technician came and fixed the manager’s house hot water system. No more boiling the gas kettle for a hot bath.

I’m guessing that due to the multiple power outages on the weekend, the uninterruptible power source (UPS) device decided it was not going to start. This certainly made things interesting for several days. (A UPS is used in places that experience frequent loss of mains power) This particular UPS is used to provide consistent power to our internal computer programs, phones and internet.

Tuesday 7th May (continued to work on UPS’s)

The day started with a 7.2 earthquake about 50 kilometres from Lae. All ok. No damage as far as I can tell.

3 photosb

Wednesday 8th May (continued to work on UPS’s)

Peter and I with Larua, our office manager, installed a new commercial dryer for the guesthouse. Joel, a Wycliffe worker based in Ukarumpa, had 3 assistant apprentices as he showed us how to hard-wire a clothes dryer into the main electricity.

Thursday 9th May (continued to work on UPS’s)

2 new UPS batteries arrived from Ukarumpa which I then installed into the UPS.

Friday 10th May (continued to work on UPS’s)

With the UPS charging overnight, most of the computer system is now working but not the wireless internet. Never mind, I learnt a terrible lot about UPS’s this week so the next time Keith is away I’ll be that much more knowledgeable. Really I could say that about everything this week.

3 photosc

Saturday 11th May

Took a translator out to Aigris Wharf to catch a banana boat to go the village. He is going to say thank you for building him a translation village house which will make it easier and more comfortable for him to work in the village.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Please pray…

  • thankful and grateful for our fantastic staff who worked with me to sort things out
  • thankful for the experienced computer staff in Ukarumpa who were able to explain to me over the phone what to do to almost fix our computer and telephone systems
  • Keith is in Ukarumpa observing how things happen in the Finance Office for three weeks. Please pray for us as this is the longest time that we have been separated in our marriage, and pray that Keith will profit from his time in Ukarumpa.
  • Thankful that the centre could continue to provide accommodation for Wycliffe and other church missionaries in spite of our ‘momentary problems’.
  • One expat church missionary staying at our guesthouse had a medical test that came back for malaria and typhoid. Please pray for Luther that he rests and will renew his health and strength.