Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

God will find a way

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

Life is full of ups and downs. All of us experience frustrations and challenges as well as breakthrough and success. Often we think we have a clear picture of what success looks like, but sometimes God has a different idea.

Wycliffe is in the business of translating the Bible because we believe that the Bible is the best way for people to come to know and understand who God is.

A Bible translator in Papua New Guinea, Jonathan, had spent several mornings at Nindewari market, trying to sell Scripture books in the local language, Binandere. Imagine Jonathan’s frustration over spending all this time and only selling six books. He passionately wanted the Binandere people to read God’s word but there seemed to be little interest. Karen Weaver takes up the story:

‘He and his wife Kathy were planning to visit two Binandere villages upstream on the Gira River. Should he try to sell books there? Reluctantly he put the latest Binandere Scripture books in his backpack and carefully crossed the narrow log bridge, heading toward Kadeu village. The books he carried were a compilation of Mark, Luke, and Acts.

When he arrived at the first village, Jonathan had the opportunity to read the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) out loud to several men who were gathered on a porch playing cards. Drawn to the words, two of the men quietly arose and began peering over his shoulder to see this book written in their language. As soon as Jonathan finished the story, one of the men announced, “I want to buy one of those books.” Just that morning the man had walked 13 miles to visit his relatives in this house and was happy to be there when Jonathan came.’

…..One by one, the Scripture books were purchased by the Binanderes.’

Read the full story on The PNG experience.

Praise God that he has opened a way for Binandere people to have portions of Scripture in their language.

Please pray:

  • For increased spiritual hunger among the Binandere people.
  • That those who bought the Scripture books will read them and that their lives will be impacted. Pray that they will share them with their families and the rest of the community.
  • Ask God to encourage Wycliffe workers around the world who are facing frustrations and challenges today. Ask him to help them seek his solution for the situation they find themselves in.

Why not subscribe to receive our free magazine Words for Life. It’s packed full of interesting articles and has a prayer diary too to help you pray regularly for Bible translation needs around the world.

Wholeness and healing

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 by Jo Johnson

We love the word of God; not least because it brings wholeness and healing. Everybody has a time in their lives when they’ve experienced emotional pain and need God’s healing.

In some of the countries in which we work where people have experienced wars, natural disasters, banditry, rape and other severe traumas, this healing is even more meaningful. We help churches work with the emotionally wounded through trauma healing workshops which apply the word of God to these deep wounds.

On 29 May – 2 June and 5-9 June, trauma healing workshops will be held in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The first will be taught in English and the second in Melanesian Pidgin, a language of wider communication in PNG. Participants will learn basic biblical mental health principles related to trauma care, explore their own heart wounds and bring them to Christ for healing, and learn to help others heal from trauma.

Trauma healing specialist Sam Smucker explains that these workshops are not isolated but part of a strategy to support the church and help it to engage with Scripture well:

‘I’ve been running several trauma healing workshops here in PNG. I’ve run four Pidgin workshops already and we are planning two more workshops in June, one in English and one in Pidgin.

During these workshops  I have been teaching and training a few PNG people who have a heart for helping people heal emotionally. I want to continue running these workshops so that the people I’ve been training feel comfortable teaching and running the workshops. I would love to have a group of trained people who could go throughout PNG and run these workshops for different churches and villages. That’s my vision.

Other workshops being run in PNG include Oral Bible Storytelling and Culture Meets Scripture. Together with Trauma Healing, they are making significant contributions in equipping the Church and helping Scripture come alive in peoples’ everyday lives.’

Please will you pray:

  • for the workshops, that each participant will have a significant healing encounter with God and understand the principles well so that they can help others
  • for the people that Sam is training to be well equipped to run these workshops throughout PNG
  • that many others will encounter God’s love and healing as the principles of the workshops are shared in churches and communities

Sign up for Words for Life, our free magazine which is packed full of interesting and inspiring articles and also a prayer diary giving daily requests to help you pray.

Together We Can

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by Martin Horton

I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there-all nations and tribes, all races and languages. Rev 7:9-10 (MSG)

In November last year, there were fantastic celebrations in the Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea, as 11 language groups celebrated receiving a mini-Bible in their own mother-tongue.

What is in a Mini-Bible? They consist of the Gospel of Mark, which is the easiest gospel to translate, the book of Acts which covers how the church was established and then a panorama of the Old Testament which includes sections of the Old Testament that cover key Biblical events mentioned in the New Testament.

These were completed through a project called VITAL* which adopted the PNG Branch’s motto, ‘Together We Can’. Karla Watt, who was the project manager, believes that this motto sums up a new approach to Bible translation. In essence it is about the value of team work. VITAL is a multi-language translation strategy designed to meet the needs of language communities and dialects of the East Papua Region of Papua New Guinea that had no other way to begin a programme in the near future.

Karla goes on to explain,

The expatriates brought their Bible, linguistic, exegetical and software A to the table, while the nationals from each group brought the expertise in their languages so that “together” we could accomplish the task.’

VITAL has helped 14 language groups print books in their languages. These include literacy materials, AIDS materials, trial dictionaries, portions of Genesis, a Mark Bible Study and first editions of Mark as well as publishing and launching the Mini-Bible for 11 languages in late 2016.

Please pray for the work of VITAL and the people of Milne Bay:

  • Pray that as the fruit of 10 years work goes out to 11 language groups in Milne Bay, lives will be transformed as people read and understand his great love for them in their own heart languages.
  • Pray that those who aren’t able to read will be reached through listening to God’s word on Megavoice Storyteller MP3 players.
  • Pray that these teams will be motivated to continue translating God’s word using the equipment and training that they received through the VITAL Project.

Looking for more ways to pray for Bible translation? Sign up for our free magazine Words for Life which includes a prayer point for each day, or have Bible translation prayer points emailed to you each day.

*Vernacular Initiative for Translation and Literacy (VITAL) is a project run by SIL who are one of our language partners.

I want to be a lion tamer!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 by Martin Horton

In all honesty, if you looked at a survey of the most exciting jobs ever created, lion taming would be near to the top, whereas accountancy would probably be nearer the bottom. However, accountancy is an incredibly valuable profession, both in business, society and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Right now one of our most urgent needs is for an accountant to work with a project in Papua New Guinea (PNG). You may remember that we wrote about this in June last year (Volunteer to make a difference). This position has been vacant for a long time but is crucial to the running of the office. It would be a significant answer to prayer if it was to be filled by the right person, be that a volunteer or someone who feels called to serve with Wycliffe long-term.

We also need an accountant in Cameroon. The team recruited a local accountant in November 2016 and feel that an additional, more experienced accountant could greatly help get their accounting done.

You may be wondering why Wycliffe needs more than just Bible translators. The fact is, we can’t accomplish our translation work without other people taking on crucial support roles. As a recent prayer letter from SIL* Chad mentioned, it is positions like these that keep their well-oiled machine running.

Please stand in the gap for these teams and pray that the right people will feel called to these two roles.

  • Please pray that God would provide the right person to support the local accountant in SIL Cameroon – a team player with the right skills who has caught the vision for Bible translation.
  • Please pray that God will answer the prayers of the team in PNG and send them the accountant that they urgently need.
  • Please pray that people’s eyes are opened to the many different and varied roles through which they can volunteer or serve with us, either in their home countries or overseas.

Find out how your skills could be used to support Bible translation. Alternatively go along to one of our First Steps events which act as a great introduction into the world of Bible translation.

Pray regularly for Bible translation projects! Sign up to receive our magazine Words for Life which is packed full of interesting articles as well as our prayer diary giving daily prayer needs.

*SIL is our primary partner.

Obura Bible reprint

Monday, August 15th, 2016 by Camilla

The Bible in the Obura language of Papua New Guinea was first printed in 1982, but many Obura Bibles were never used, as not many people could read. Then, a literacy programme was started which ended up changing everything. Watch the video to see what happened!

For more about why literacy is an important part of our work, check out our Bible translation 101 post about literacy.

38 years in the making

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 by Camilla

We are celebrating: another New Testament has reached completion and is being launched this weekend in Papua New Guinea!

We are celebrating because we believe that the word of God is truth and now the Urat speaking community will be able to connect with God through the New Testament in their own language. Urat is one of over 800 languages in Papua New Guinea, spoken by 6800 people in the north of the country. The journey towards a Urat New Testament has been a long one.

Urat1Efforts began in 1978 under SIL* translators Nate and Jude Baker. In 1984 they passed the baton on to Robert and Dawn Barnes, who continued the program for about 11 years until they had to return home for medical reasons. Hilkka Arminen became involved with the Urat New Testament in 2001 assisting BTA (Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association) translators David Belyeme and Enoch Mundum.

After all that work, the day has finally arrived. The Urat New Testament is now a reality.

Pray with us for:Urat2

  • Last minute transportation logistics. The New Testaments have arrived in Wewak, six hours from the Urat area, and now need to be transported out to the village in time for the launch on 30th July.
  • Rain! Water tanks are emptying and an event like a Scripture launch uses lots of water.
  • David Belyeme, one of the BTA translators, who is very stressed with ensuring the dedication team are satisfied with the planning, preparations and schedule for the big day.
  • A sense of God’s peace to preside on the day, that he would be glorified and his word to the Urat people would go forth.

Want to pray more for Bible translations that have been a long time coming? Try our prayer goody bags, packed with information and inspiration to help you pray for more projects like this one.

*Our primary partner organisation

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!

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.