For two weeks in January, Lae Centre has hosted a workshop for a multi-language translation project. Twenty-nine PNG translators from six language groups worked through various tasks co-ordinated by a Wycliffe team. There are so many positive stories we could share, and here are two that highlight the partnership of the Australian church with what God is doing in PNG.
The Kapin team (above) made good use of an office space renovated by a work-party from our home church in Townsville. They arrived a week early to prepare for the workshop, and quickly laid claim to this spot away from noise and distraction, and with plenty of power outlets for the now essential laptops.
During the workshop, we were able to gift each of the translators stationery packs donated by a Christian School in North Queensland. The items were well received, and the spirit in which they were given was certainly not lost on these saints.
By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others. 2 Corinthians 9:13
As we serve one another in this way, we grow together in Christ, the gospel advances, and God is glorified! It’s a win, win, win situation.
For these brothers and sisters who give of their time to work together towards a translation in their heart language.
That God will keep some of the older members in good health, that they may see the work through to the end.
Ring of fire ROCKED: 5.8m earthquake hits Papua New Guinea as scores of shocks recorded
A strong earthquake has rocked Papua New Guinea – putting the Pacific Ring of Fire on red alert after 32 other sizeable quakes hit the region during the last 24 hours. UK Daily Express, Wed 31 Jan.
We weren’t exactly “rocked” here in Lae, but then I was simply brushing my teeth after a shower at the time, so I may not have been on mental and emotional high alert! The occasional shimmy and shake in our Lae Centre is just part of the difference of living in PNG. It can have a far greater impact on those living in the many coastal villages who have clear memories of the 1998 magnitude 7.0 quake that triggered a tsunami on the north coast near Aitape. The 10-15 metre high wave destroyed a number of villages and killed thousands of people. For those who have not experienced that, or grown up with that as a reality of life, the significance can be totally missed.
There are still aspects of PNG life that we sometimes don’t “get”…… issues involving relationships within families; response to perceived injustices; the “pecking order” within society that everyone just seems to understand and accept. We are students of life in PNG on a daily basis. That can lead to us feeling excluded at times, but it is a part of cross-cultural ministry that we need to work through. Thankfully the locals love to take on the role of teacher, and appreciate that we want to learn from them to understand more fully and to deepen our relationships.
That we are able to find time in our busy schedule to observe, and learn, and share.
For opportunities to deepen relationships with our PNG friends at work, in church, and within the community.
Yandabing, a member of the Kapin translation group, came into our Lae Centre this morning to draft Judges chapter 9. His co-workers have spent the past week working together in preparation for a two-week workshop involving six different language groups. A five-person Wycliffe team provides guidance and direction, with the PNG translators aiming to work through the following tasks.
Kapin… continuing the work of drafting the four Gospels
Laugui Kala… Preparing Mark for consultant checking and adapting Acts from Bukawa. Helping the Kela, Laukanu and Kui-Buso-Lababia dialects to adapt into their way of speaking.
Malei… Revision of Genesis and Exodus and drafting additional Old Testament portions.
Yamap… Adapting the New Testament from Malei and preparing gospels for consultant checking.
Musim… A new team, adapting Mark from the Malei translation.
Patep… Will help a new SIL team to learn their language and read the gospel of Mark together.
The workshop is the first group to use our partly renovated Haus Kibung (meeting house). Our intention is for the house to be used for training, planning meetings, and any event which furthers the work of Bible translation here in Papua New Guinea.
There is more to do, so pray that our vision for Haus Kibung will be realised and all to God’s glory.
That the workshop teams will have the stamina and focus to get through the intended tasks.
Sunday afternoon usually involves listening to a downloaded sermon from one of many sources. We took advantage of Australian internet services during our 2017 furlough and have a library of around 300 messages!
Today we completed a series from Alistair Begg on the Christian’s weaponry noted in Ephesians 6:17-18 [link]
The speaker makes the comment that, “The devil is unafraid of prayer-less proclamation. For preaching, and what happens in a preaching event, is merely the gathering up of results of a battle which has either been simultaneously or previously waged at the rival of prayer.”
While our work here in PNG does not involve the regular preaching of the Gospel, we are certainly holding out the word of God through our daily efforts of equipping and supporting Bible translation. All the labours of our hands, and those of our fellow workers, will count for nothing if not surrounded by prayer from ourselves and the supporters back home.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:13-18
Pray that we be fully equipped for the battle, and for the binding of powers and influences that would keep the people of PNG from grasping the great truth of God’s love for them in Christ.
Our wantok (person from the same language) Mick – a Queenslander lecturing at the local Lutheran Seminary – invited us to speak to a group of students and staff. The gathering was one of many surrounding their celebration of 500 years since the Reformation, and the fiftieth year of the Martin Luther Seminary. The Lutheran church has a long history in PNG spanning over 130 years, and works together closely with Wycliffe translators in many regions.
We share a committment to the word of God as being central to the Christian life, and the proclamation of that word as essential if people are to come to know Christ as Saviour.
…these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31
Our objective was to encourage church leaders and future Pastors to view Bible translation as a vital part of the church’s ministry. The students responded well, asking several questions about the nature of our work, and several shared their own experiences of having had the Scriptures translated into their tokples (vernacular language).
Some good discussion followed on how the process of translation and tokples literacy can help address some of the cultural issues facing PNG, as language displacement continues to create a generational divide within many communities.
Please pray …
praise God for the strong partnerships Wycliffe have with the PNG church
pray that tokples translation and literacy programs may add value to relationships within communities, as young and old participate in the task together
We are accustomed to providing emergency accommodation at our Lae Guesthouse due to cancelled flights, flooded bridges and hospital visits. In ‘The land of the Unexpected’ we need to be prepared for any eventuality.
Earlier this month the call came for us to provide shelter of a different kind – storing around 700 copies of a New Testament translation.
The printing was undertaken in South Korea before being shipped to Lae – a journey of over 5,000 kilometres – with a further 1,400 kilometres or so yet to travel by sea and land before the dedication ceremony next year. We literally go ‘to great lengths’ to put God’s word into people’s hands.
Rob and Betsy Bradshaw came to the Doromu Koki language area in 2001. Two PNG locals had already completed a Wycliffe training course in anticipation of someone responding to their call for a Bible in their language. They started translating straight away.
The Doromu Koki community of around 1,800 language speakers is divided between traditional village areas and in the capital Port Moresby. The village region in the Owen Stanley Ranges is fairly inaccessible except by helicopter, so the intention is to hold two dedication ceremonies, in both the village and in Port Moresby, to ensure that people are made aware that God now speaks directly to them in their heart language.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Revelation 1:3
Please pray …
praising God for the way in which He ‘ prepared the ground’ for this translation work, and sustained the team during the past 16 years.
for the Doromu Koki people as they work together to organise the dedication of the Scriptures – whether that be in one or two locations.
Our Centre guest register took on an interesting look this month, with four mission groups occupying rooms at the one time.
We had our regular Wycliffe translation team from the Huon Gulf Multi-Language Project (pictured – the subject of many a past blog and newsletter); a couple from SIM Australia aiming to connect with local churches to inspire them to train missionaries for overseas service; a team from That They May Know, an independent mission group from the USA that have been functioning in PNG’s Gulf Province since 2005 with a translation and literacy focus as well as operating a Christian school in Port Moresby; and a couple from the Christian Brethren Church returning to PNG after serving here through the 1980’s, aiming to assist CBC churches in training the next generation of leaders.
Papua New Guinea is generally noted as one of the most missionised regions in the world. There are many hundreds of foreign missionaries actively promoting Gospel ministry in PNG, and though there are numerous indigenous churches in every province with millions of worshippers attending services, the work continues.
Why? Because many still struggle to apply God’s word in their daily circumstances. For some, the influence of traditional beliefs and customs are just too strong, but for many, there are the limitations of a poor education and illiteracy. It excites us to see PNG believers involved in translation and literacy work, for we know that God can use these programmes to bring people into the light of His word.
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Psalm 43:3
Please pray …
for those serving the Kingdom in PNG, both expatriate and national, that they find strength to continue and model Christ in all that they do.
that PNG churches would be committed to proclaiming the truth of the Gospel.