Spreading the word …


The Pastor at our regular church invited us to speak to their Friday night youth group. Knowing that PNG church structures and norms can differ greatly from our Aussie experiences, we asked what age range comes along on the night, hoping to make sure our presentation would be appropriate. He didn’t respond clearly, so we rephrased the question slightly. “Oh, from twelve to about forty.” came the answer, making clear why he obviously felt that the question was an odd one!

In PNG churches, “youth” seems to refer to anyone who is yet to marry and start a family. It makes for interesting dynamics – the older ones are very inclusive of younger ones, and take their mentoring role seriously, and in turn, the young ones are respectful of anyone older.

We shared our journey into mission service, and some brief points about the work of Wycliffe in PNG, noting the opportunities that exist for PNG Nationals to be involved in the task of bible translation.       The highlight of the evening, for our audience at least, was the language map showing all of the completed and current Wycliffe translation projects in PNG. Everyone was keen to find their tok ples (vernacular language) on the map.

The Pastor commented that he does not use the Tok Pisin Bible in church as it is limited in its vocabulary and expression, lacking the richness of either English or tok ples. He uses his Wahgi translation in private reading, yet we have seen this godly teacher struggle with reading from the English in a clear and expressive manner during worship services – for many Nationals it takes effort and concentration to read from an English language Bible. It is no wonder that the interest in tok ples Scripture resources endures, even amongst those who have some form of English-based education.

As we farewelled the group and headed for home, God had one more blessing in store for us. The security guards at the main gate to the church property asked for a copy of one of the information booklets we gave out. There is spiritual hunger in PNG at every turn.

Please pray …

  • that God would move more Nationals to get involved in translation of the Scriptures.
  • that tok ples Scripture resources would lead to a greater understanding of God’s word, and highlight the relevance of the Gospel to the people of PNG.

Different culture, different values…

At times we begin to feel that we are not challenged that much cross-culturally, living in a city with electricity and water supply, air-conditioning, and shops stocking the familiar foods.

Then it is often the little things that remind us of where we are. Driving behind a utility carrying the extended family in the rear… the plastic bottle collectors searching the streets for containers to repackage and sell their fuel and kerosene. And there are constant reminders in the stores that we are in a culture with very different concepts and norms from our own. Bulk packaged goods are often priced the same as, or more than, single items. [The tumblers were 48 to a carton….. do the math.]

For many people, refrigeration is a rare commodity and wages provide for just the weekly essentials, so you never see the locals buying trolley loads of groceries. Suppliers cater for the majority market, so chilled goods and other imported items can be very expensive by comparison to the staples of rice, flour and tinned meats. We wonder who actually buys some of these imported lines. The stores have gotten used to us surveying the marked down items that are sometimes weeks or months past their best before dates – a staff member grabbed Elspeth as she walked in one day, directing her to the latest batch of exotic specials!20160508_win a pig_rotate

Promotions and sales target locals also. This competition offered a pig as the major prize. There was nothing to suggest the size or gender of the beast, but a pig is a pig, and they are the ultimate commodity for many PNG families – used for paying the bride price, celebrating a success, or thanking mourners at a haus krai (wake).

Even our weekly shopping provides us with cultural experiences, and lessons to be learned.

Please pray …

  • that we be open to learn from our daily experiences and equipped all the more to serve God in this place

Which language …

Rudy works with a SIL team producing Tok Pisin translations of English documents – anything from education material to manuals for commercial use.

Recentlwoman reading Copyy Rudy wrote, “For years, I’d say that Tok Pisin is my mother tongue, the  language I grew up speaking. When asked if I know the languages that my parents speak, my answer would always be,  “No, I don’t know the language”.

(Truth, I understand most of my father’s language although I can’t speak it and some of my mother’s language). This morning I decided to read from three different languages in my devotion time, English, Tok Pisin and Suena (dad’s language).

Instead of starting with English and Tok Pisin, I decided to read Suena, the language I claim to not know well. I had tears in my eyes after reading it, it meant more, I understand everything stated in that verse, English and Tok Pisin dulled in comparison to that verse read in Suena.”

Suena           9′Ago wenua, are Anutu meni numa puro witiro ema Tua bamubake potinua awa. Potiro zazo bowire nuso meni erama dapikaragora zazo bowire dainaise senua awa. 10Tani ego ine ama kei awaise sero ago wenua awa. Utura nowera, o zebura nowera, o zebu tura nowera, nukare dapikarago ami Yesu bowi inoise bawa diro kokoinarise. 11Agoro erama dapikarago meni “Yesu Kristo nu imata Tua noya,” ago sarise. Ago sara Anutu Mamera zazo bowire ike damu itaise.’ Filipai 2 v 9-11

Tok Pisin      9′Long dispela as tasol God i litimapim Jisas na mekim em i stap antap tru. Na God i givim em wanpela nem i gutpela tru na i winim olgeta arapela nem. 10Em i givim dispela nem long Jisas, bai olgeta ensel na olgeta man na ol arapela samting i stap long heven na long graun na aninit long graun ol i ken brukim skru long ai bilong Jisas na i stap aninit long em. 11Na olgeta bilong ol i ken taokaut olsem, “Jisas Krais em i Bikpela.” Na long dispela pasin ol bai i givim biknem long God Papa.’ Filipai 2 v 9-11

English          9′Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ Philippians 2 v 9-11

Please pray …

 for Rudy as she continues to grow in her faith and share with others

  • that having Scripture in tok ples (vernacular language) would lead many people to a deeper understanding of God’s word