Light the Match to Literacy

Photo by Deloach“Light the Match to Literacy”

The speakers of the Awa language in Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea received a revision of the New Testament about 20 years ago. However, very few people could read it, and many unpurchased Bibles sat collecting dust and cobwebs. Many of the village women kept their NT in their bilum, carrying it with them to the garden, looking through it, desperately trying to read it. But no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t read. The Bibles eventually became a symbol of shame for them. They got together and put their books into a house, with plans to burn the house and Bibles, along with their shame, to the ground. But just as they struck the match to light the fire, it began to rain. It rained so hard that they began to think that this was a sign from God—God didn’t want them to burn the books!

Later, they expressed their interest in learning to read. This woman came and taught literacy classes using the Awa New Testament, since that was the only literature in Awa. As they learned to read, the people got excited and began to buy the Bibles that had been sitting and collecting dust. When they opened the books, they expected them to be worn and frayed with age, but God had protected them, and the pages were as good as new. Eventually the Bibles sold out because everyone was so excited about getting their own. Now everyone in the village has a New Testament in their bilum and knows how to read it.

Story told to me by Rebecca. woman, Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinean, laughing, smile, traditional dress, Ukarumpa, SIL-PNG Training Centre

A different kind of 4th of July

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Usually our 4th of Julys are spent with family or friends, blowing off fireworks in field or watching them at a big stadium with lots of people…and its HOT. Well this year our 4th was very different as we woke up with it being in the 40s (YEAH I KNOW…aren’t we supposed to be in the tropics or something!?) then I spent all day photographing a PNG Bible Translation Association Induction Ceremony. They celebrated the day with a ceremony in the morning with tons of traditional dancing, music and of course formalities, but then the afternoon was filled with a huge PNG FEAST and a “singsing”. What cooler way to celebrate the 4th?? After that we went to our friends house to celebrate a more traditional Ukarumpa 4th with burning/spinning steel wool, sparklers, BBQ and good friends. That felt a little more like home. Next year we will be back home again for the 4th and we’re beyond excited. But theres something about spending the 4th overseas that makes you really appreciate America…

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Evan lighting aceteline balloons, for a little “boom”IMG_4611IMG_4620