During our years in Lae, we often shared stories of the Numanggang OT translation team, headed up by brothers Isum and Saleng. A highlight was seeing Saleng’s hand-written translation of Deuteronomy before sending it up the mountain to Ukarumpa so that it could be typed up for consultant checking. March 2016 newsletter. At the time, Keith noted Saleng’s beautiful flowing script, evidence that he had certainly written out the text more than once.
This past month, the translation team has been in Ukarumpa working on consultant checking of the last five Old Testament books, so we took the opportunity to invite the brothers for a meal. While Saleng’s handwriting has not diminished one bit, this dear saint has lost much of his hearing, and struggles to participate in open conversation even with a basic audio mic and headphone system. Isum is very gracious, and often repeated key points loudly and clearly so that his older brother could be included.
What was clear, though, was the bond between us of serving together in the Kingdom task of Bible translation. Our brief nine years seems nothing compared to the decades committed by these two, yet they greeted us as valued colleagues, and friends.
There is much more to tell of the Numanggang OT work as the team nears the end of the task, but we’ll make space for that in our June newsletter.
Praise God that the Numanggang OT is now fully drafted, and final consultant checking is in progress.
Pray that Saleng – who is about 86 years old – remains in good health to see the complete Bible published. His dear wife went home to Jesus in 2022 after several years of poor health.
Isum is also heavily involved in training the community in literacy and Scripture use. Pray for wisdom as he undertakes this foundational work.
Our Ukarumpa community gathered at 6am on Easter Sunday for praise and thanksgiving, remembering the pivotal moment in history when death was defeated and Christ arose in victory.
Several people read a compiled account from all four Gospels which highlighted the emotional turmoil faced by the women at the tomb and the disciples in their ‘safe house’, on the news that the tomb was empty.
Luke’s Gospel (chapter 24) is particularly telling as it recounts the angel’s incredulity at the women’s expectation of finding a body to tend to given that Jesus had told them he would be raised on the third day. Luke then emphasises the point by noting the disciples’ reaction to the women’s testimony considering it nonsense.
We may be tempted to join in the angel’s incredulity for a moment, before we consider the ways in which we might turn to our own ‘safe houses’ when confronted with turmoil. We can try to fix things ourselves, working a bit harder, investing a little more, striving to get on top of the situation and reclaim control. Or perhaps like the disciples, we simply give in to the hopelessness and turn to familiar comforts in an attempt to ease the pain.
At these times, the many assurances of Jesus may seem far off in our overwhelming situation. The angels may well say to us, ‘Why do you look for life in these places? Remember the words of Jesus.’
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:31-33
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Praise God that Christ is the victorious Living One, the Alpha and Omega, and that ‘It is done’. Rev 21:6
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