Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

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!

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.