The word is life …

IMGP8528 Colich.JPGWe had an encouraging email earlier this month. Kim and Annie Colich are translators working with the Tami people, and often use the Lae centre for purchasing trips prior to heading out to the coastal village by boat.

Kim has previously shared with us his concerns regarding the rate of progress in the translation, given that he and Annie are approaching a stage of life where they have to consider how many more years are available to them to continue the work in PNG.

They endured a number of setbacks and interruptions to the work over fourteen years, yet were finally able to release the Gospel of John in both written and audio form late in 2015. The impact of the word going out was as God promises…

                ” It will not return to me empty,  but will accomplish what I desire                                   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”           Isaiah 55:11

“As I spoke to my people, and read God’s words in our own language, I felt the Holy Spirit pour out from me and ‘hit’ the people. They received God’s talk with great joy and weeping. While we were singing, our joy was so great that we wanted to cry out!”    Pastor Ongengsa

An old ‘father’ of the Tami people cried as he said, “I desire that these words go to the ears and hearts of every Tami man on these islands. I have been waiting for this time.”

Angam (above left) was a man far away from God. Yet when his wife, Aikiba (above right) shared with him Scriptures in his own language from a Bible study Annie was doing with the women, he began to hear the Lord calling to him. He came to the next study, ‘hiding’ in the back corner of the church, and listened to the teaching about the love of God, and his life has not been the same since. His wife told how she watched his face physically change during the study as the Word of Life brought him alive!  She jumped with joy, hands raised up to heaven as she said, “Thank you, Jesus! Look at him! He is a new man!”      

Praise God that the Tami people at Malasiga have come to see that this Bible translation project is theirs, and not Kim and Annie’s. In their own words, “It is in our hearts now, that we are the fathers of this work!”



Creation groans…

Our travels while visiting supporting congregations has taken us to some varied places. This past week we left Brisbane city behind us, driving west for around three hours as we headed to Bell to meet with folk from the local Presbyterian church.

Early on the Sunday morning there was a gathering of a different kind on our hosts’ back lawn – a fledgling rainbow lorikeet with a number of apostlebirds. The latter group were not behaving in a welcoming and outreaching manner as their name may suggest, but attacked the young interloper as it struggled to get airborne with its immature feathers. The lorikeet managed to claw and hop its way to the top of a large shrub, avoiding sniping attacks the whole time, but glided to the ground again after attempting to fly, making it an easy target for the surrounding apostlebirds.

‘For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.!’             Romans 8:19-21

Creation (what many love to call ‘Mother Nature’) often shows itself to be anything but motherly, with the default being fairly cruel and certainly hard on the weak and helpless. Thankfully our bird-loving host intervened, and we secured the poor thing in a towel before bundling it into a cardboard box. This gave time for the lorikeet to calm down and recover, while its attackers lost interest and moved on.

The message we delivered in church that morning was of the need for the Australian church to be praying for their global brothers and sisters, and not to feel separated by cultural differences, or confused as to the needs of Christians in other countries. Colossians 1 reminds us of the real spiritual needs we can always be praying for – whether for Christians in PNG, Africa or alongside us in church.

Praying in this way may take a shift in our thinking. We can easily be like the apostlebirds and give quality time for the prayer needs of ourselves and our immediate circle, while caring little for those who are ‘different’. Paul makes clear in Colossians that those differences will amount to nothing. Together we ‘share in the inheritance’, have all been ‘rescued… from the dominion of darkness and brought … into the kingdom of the Son’. [Colossians 1:12,13]

Please pray for Christians in PNG, that they may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and live lives worthy of Him. [Colossians 1:9,10]