Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

Volunteer to make a difference

Thursday, July 7th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

If you read Standing in the Gap regularly you will know that one of our strategic prayer goals for this year is for more workers. In our blog post More workers we focused on the need for more members, but not all the gaps need to be filled by someone working full-time or giving a long term commitment.

We are so excited that record numbers of people are applying to join us as members! However, we also need volunteers to serve both in the UK and overseas.

Fishing Benin 6It’s easy to feel that to be involved in Bible translation you need to have a very specific linguistic skill set. However we need people with all sorts of strengths: accountants, IT experts, administrators, and teachers to name just a few.

As we look to God to expand our ability to partner with churches and support projects both financially and in prayer we also need to increase our capacity to steward our resources well and we need volunteers to help us do that.

Remember, volunteers can play a significant role. At the moment one of the most urgent needs that we know of is for a qualified accountant to go and support Bible translation in Papua New Guinea. This role could be filled by a volunteer, and would provide much needed relief by filling a long-standing but crucial vacancy.

As you have been praying for more workers, will you also ask God to send us more volunteers?

  • Praise God that we are seeing many people joining as members.
  • Please pray that God will enable us to work more efficiently and effectively by providing volunteers to fill some of the gaps.
  • Please ask God to provide an accountant to go to Papua New Guinea and work with the team there.

Find out more about how to pray for our strategic goals.

Contact us if you are interested in volunteering!

Why not encourage a small group you are part of to pray for Bible translation? Use one of our prayer goody bags and check out Focused prayer: Kingdom results for some creative ideas.

Hope in a hard context

Thursday, June 30th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Jackie originally worked as a literacy specialist. Now as director for the work in South Sudan she doesn’t have much time to focus on literacy work but she is able to support literacy work with one people group, the Keliko. She recently let us know some exciting developments that are happening with this project in a nation that until recently was ravaged by conflict.

Jackie and her husband Wes
Jackie and her husband Wes

‘The Keliko are in the last stages of their New Testament translation but since the beginning of their project around 2000 they have also been doing literacy work both with primary schools and through churches. One of the men who has been involved from the beginning and leads the work in the home area is called Elisa Ayan Cosmas. He gives part of his time to literacy work and the rest of the time he farms with his family in order to support himself.

The school system is now facing many challenges because the government has virtually seized up, but since 2011 Elisa and another team member have run a literacy and Scripture use workshop for different kinds of church leaders (pastors, women’s groups, and other lay leaders). Each year they helped build the skills of the same group of people, helping them to be better readers, spellers and writers of Keliko and to use different methods for Scripture engagement, Bible study, dramas etc.

Elisa teaching a big book
Elisa teaching a big book

Last December Elisa gave this same group some introductory teacher’s training which covered how to teach the ABC book and use big book Bible stories. Now most of this group have either added a literacy component to their Sunday school class or added adult literacy classes during the week (but using these easy reading Bible stories).’

Join us in praising God for each person who is now able to read Keliko and therefore have access to the word of God in their heart language! Please pray:

  • for these church leaders as they minister to their people in different ways.
  • that they might be encouraged by the refresher training they are about to receive.

Watch Obura Bible Reprint by The PNG Experience to find out the difference literacy made to a community in Papua New Guinea.

Follow us on Twitter @wycliffeuk_pray for daily prayer requests and more inspiration to pray for Bible translation.

The God who knows the way to our hearts

Monday, April 18th, 2016 by Camilla

‘We used to give our time and energy to serving the flesh. Now we want to give our time and energy to serving the Lord. We must study the Bible so we can know Jesus and worship him.’ – one of the head women of Malasiga village, Papua New Guinea

What a powerful statement! What could prompt such a turnaround?

When translators Kim and Annie Colich published the Gospel of John in the Tami language of Papua New Guinea, God inspired Annie to find a way to make it real to the community. She felt led to write Bible studies on the I AMs spoken by Jesus.

As people in the community did these studies, what God had already started to do gained momentum, and before long almost everyone was talking about Jesus’ words. One man, a church leader, attended ladies’ Bible study meetings and passed the teaching on to another group the following day!

For years, the local church in this area had been using the trade language Bible, and this was the first time people of Malasiga village had engaged with the Scriptures using an audio recording of the Bible in their heart language. Hearing the word of God in their own language has taken things to a new level and is stirring up a fresh excitement among this people group! It is helping many of them understand in new ways that God’s word was written to be obeyed and that it makes an impact on how they live their lives.

God knew the way to the hearts of this community, just like he knows the way to yours.

Read the original story here.

Find out more about how you could get involved yourself by connecting with a specific project or missionary!

EthnoArts – creating culturally authentic Bibles

Monday, March 14th, 2016 by Camilla

In most Western cultures, important messages are communicated in print. Many other cultures around the world, however, communicate important messages through pictures. One such culture is found in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, among speakers of the Kwoma language.

Meet Nanias, a ‘custodian’ of the Kwoma visual language, and Peter Brook, a Wycliffe Australia member, who worked together to document the complex visual ‘languages’ of bark painting, carving and dance of the Kwoma people, and translate the Bible into the language.

This artwork is amazing to me, but to the Kwoma people, it’s more than beautiful: the artwork in this slideshow uses the traditional designs and images of the Kwoma people to tell the story of the Bible in their heart language.

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EthnoArts work isn’t just about visual art, and isn’t just going on in Papua New Guinea. Check out this video about EthnoArts work in Cameroon!

Termite be trouble ahead

Monday, November 16th, 2015 by Nick

Termites and Scripture, how well do they mix? In short, they shouldn’t, and you’d imagine that the combination would be a recipe for disaster, right?

Joe P delivering more Amele Bibles (6) (2)Made up of a population of 11,000, the Amele people in Papua New Guinea came together to celebrate the re-dedication of the Amele New Testament earlier this year. A year ago it was discovered that the majority of these New Testaments had been in storage for 16 years, remaining unused by the community, and for some time, these books were not alone! Heather and Joe, members of Wycliffe UK in PNG, share their discovery:

‘Last weekend was more special for us, as we were asked to represent SIL at the dedication of the Amele SALT (Scripture Application and Leadership Training) materials combined with a re-dedication of the Amele New Testament. A year ago an SIL survey team visited Amele villages south of Madang to determine if there are clear factors that result in (from) ongoing use or lack of use of a New Testament translation. At that time many Amele people were unaware of the existence of the Amele New Testament translation! It had been dedicated in 1998, and most of the books were still in the shipping boxes. They were challenged to try and get this Word of God into the hands of the people to make a difference in their lives. The 20 lessons of the SALT materials were then translated by a team of Amele people from different denominations in the area, and 12th September was chosen for the dedication prior to two back-to-back SALT courses in the main Amele Lutheran parishes. 500 copies of the materials were printed, and 480 people signed up to take the course.

Termite damage to boxes of NTsThe evening before the dedication, Joe got out the boxes of Amele NTs from the storage room here at the SIL Madang Centre and found half of them were riddled with termites!!! Thankfully the printers had double boxed them, in paper packets of five, four to a box, and two boxes in each large box. We pulled back the cardboard shreds, and amazingly the actual books were untouched, despite how badly the paper and cardboard had been eaten away. We wiped off each book, repacked them in a suitcase, and burnt the rubbish boxes along with the termites.

It was a very vivid example of how the word of God lasts, despite how the enemy tries to destroy it. Please pray that the SALT course teachings will be used mightily to awaken a desire among the Amele people to know God through His word transforming their lives.’

God is moving in PNG and protecting the efforts of translation teams and his word so that people like the Amele community can have Scripture in their heart language.

Do you have the bug for the work of Bible translation or are you just curious? We offer three great ways you can help: pray, give or go.

How is the Bible like a banana plant?

Monday, October 5th, 2015 by Nick

The Bible is sometimes referred to as the sword of the Spirit or the word of God… but have you ever heard it compared to an item of botanical interest?! Here is a great story from Papua New Guinea of a New Testament translation being completed and presented to the Kamano-Kafe community. At this gathering, a man named Tuas, one of the translators, explained to everyone the reason behind the banana leaf design on the front cover and how it represents the importance of God’s word!

‘Finally, Tuas stood in front of the crowd and held up one of the Kamano-Kafe New Testaments. He pointed to the cover, which looked like a banana leaf. “The banana leaf does lots of work in our villages. When it is raining, the banana leaf covers you and keeps you dry. It shelters over you when you sleep and can be your bed on the ground. It’s your plate for food and your pot for cooking. It can be bilas [decoration] for celebrations, and it’s your material for building houses. When it’s the hungry time and all the other food like kaukau [sweet potatoes] and kumu [greens] have dried up, the banana is still there and will give food to your family.”

As he spoke, the crowd nodded and whispered in agreement. “The Bible is just like the banana,” Tuas continued, “God’s Word is everything to us—it covers us and shelters us and feeds us, even when everything else is gone. And so, that’s why there is a banana leaf on the cover of each New Testament that you are holding, to remind all of us of the important work the word of God has in our daily lives.” ‘

For the Kamano-Kafe, the Bible is just like a banana plant. Essential for nourishment, growth and protection. You can read the original article on The PNG Experience.

Find out how you can help the work of Bible translation – be involved.

Essential cogs in the machine

Friday, March 20th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

It’s easy to think that to translate the Bible you need linguist translators, and of course that is true. However, there are many other roles that need to be filled in order for the word of God to get into the hands of the communities for which it is being translated.

Joe and Heather at the Madang Centre

Joe and Heather at the Madang Centre

Joe and Heather are regional centre managers in Papua New Guinea. The following story from them, shows how they are essential cogs in the translation machine:

‘God timed it perfectly, for the Anjam New Testament recording to happen here during the first week of February! They had done a lot of recording in the village, but there are always so many interruptions, family and community commitments, and constant background noise.

There were 280 lines which urgently needed recording, or re-recording. Sam Kenny, the coordinator of Faith Comes By Hearing in Papua New Guinea, wrote and asked if we had a flat available for them to stay in, and a room for making into a studio to do the recording. Yes we did, and they could have the flat next door for their studio.

We were painting the third flat and so able to offer use of the spare mattresses for sound-proofing. Sam came early and created a wonderful sound-proof booth in the second flat using the mattresses from Flat 3. The main Anjam translator, Sobu Waga, and his wife helped test the sound, and before the others arrived all of us on the Regional Centre staff went and had a look at the studio.’

Sam and Sobu explain the recording setup to the Madang centre team

Sam and Sobu explain the recording setup to the Madang centre team

There are many needs around the world for people to serve as ‘support staff’. The vacancies list shows a wide range of roles as diverse as a facilities manager in Ethiopia and a boat crewmen in Australia. Would you consider using your skills?

Let’s pray:

  • Praise God for the successful recording in Anjam.
  • Please pray for completion of the project soon so that Anjam people will be able to hear God’s Word and respond in obedience and faith.

Also pray for:

  • Joe and Heather have faced some struggles recently. Pray for God’s grace and encouragement.
  • Ask God to supply many people willing to take on support roles to enable God’s word to be translated around the world.

Have a look at some of the jobs that need to be filled in order for Bible translation to go ahead.

God in the midst of our questions

Friday, March 6th, 2015 by Jo Johnson

One of the things that I’ve learned working for Wycliffe Bible Translators is that when we pray we see that not only can God ‘accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think’*  but that he often answers in a way that we least expect.

Edward practises one of the stories

In February a team went to Yabru in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea to hold a course in Bible storytelling. Flooding of the training location was a real possibility since it was rainy season. The course was being held just before the start of the school year. Some attendees had been preoccupied with finding money for school fees and hadn’t decided whether to come or not.

But beyond the practical issues, they also faced the significant challenge of finding a method of memorising stories that worked for the participants in their cultural context. Methods used in the past hadn’t really worked.

The team and many others prayed, and God answered. In fact the team said,

God was right there in the midst of our questions with his answers.’ 

Read the whole story, ‘Rejoice with us!’ to find out the remarkable ways that God answered prayer.

Maybe you are facing a challenge in your own life, and don’t know what the answer to your insurmountable problem could be.  Let this story inspire you to ask God for an unpredictable answer!

And as those in Bible translation around the world are also facing challenges and complications, setbacks and attrition, let’s keep praying for them too, asking God to act, but not limiting how he may answer. Some of the most inspiring answers to prayer come out of the times when we reach the end of ourselves, unable to see the way ahead, and God made a way through!

For more stories about what God is doing in Bible translation in Papua New Guinea check out the Sepik Partnership and Engagement Strategy Facebook page or read The PNG Experience blog.

*Ephesians 3:20 NLT

Don’t lose your head

Monday, February 9th, 2015 by Hannah

“Who are you who come to me with a stick and sling like a dog?!” roared Goliath, towering over the tiny David. “You are nothing!!!!” He shook with rage.

And then, his head promptly fell off.

Not again! I peeked above the tabletop, trying to see where his cardboard noggin might have flown to, as the audience roared with laughter.

No, it’s not a strange, alternative translation of the Old Testament story, just one of the adventures that comes from working with children and giants!

Catherine helps individuals and communities in Papua New Guinea engage with the Bible, even when they have only a little bit – or none at all – printed in their language. In September, one of the ways she helped do this was at a workshop for Sunday school teachers. Read her post to see what duck, duck, goose, three-legged races and buckets of water have to do with Sunday school lessons.

But, to get back to Goliath…

Photo by Rebecca Drew via catherinepng.blogspot.co.uk

“I come in the name of the God of Israel!” squeaked David, as I frantically tried to shove Goliath’s head back on his stick body and leaf armor. “And He fights for us!” David whirled a piece of vine above his head and sent the tiny stone flying into Goliath’s forehead—knocking off his head once again.

Now, even the cooks had emerged from the fires to find out what the commotion was and were crying, they were laughing so hard. Inga, my puppet partner, and I kept biting back the giggles, as I rewedged the head into the twig.

“Victory!” crowed David, wiggling in a happy dance. “The God of Israel has won!” David picked up the pocket knife and attempted to saw off the head of the fallen Goliath.. .but now the head wouldn’t come off. Finally, Inga jumped up and jerked the head off. “Hooray!!!”

Read all of Catherine’s blog post.

If you want children in your local church to engage more with the Bible, have a look at the great resources we can offer on our website. Many of them are great for adults too!

More than just educators

Friday, November 21st, 2014 by Jo Johnson

Becoming a support worker in the world of mission may not seem very glamorous but often it is the support workers that are the critical cogs in the mission ‘machine’. Take teachers, for example: without good educational support many missionary families would not be able to be overseas.

The role of a teacher in a mission school setting can be so much more than just imparting knowledge. Watch this video about Ukarumpa International School and discover the critical importance of teachers to Bible translation and language development.

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‘As translators living in a remote part of Papua New Guinea (PNG) there’s a lot of challenges that come with that and UIS has met that challenge for us.’

Please pray:

  • that UIS will be able to recruit all the teachers and other staff they need, so that they can continue supporting families who are involved in Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.
  • that God will equip the teachers at UIS and elsewhere in the world to work in these unique environments and meet the needs of the children and families they are serving.

Find out how for one family in UIS teachers help in their unique way of doing school and by influencing for good.

Find out more about teaching needs around the world.