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

The Binandere People {A Trip to Help a Translator}

Translator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, UkarumpaLast week I was so blessed to be able to go out to a village in the Oro Province of PNG to serve a couple who does translation work for the Binandere people. They wanted a video to take with them as they go home on furlough, and so they asked me if I would be able to come out with them for a day and of course I leapt at the opportunity! The Binandere language group has about 6,900 speakers and the Wilsons have been working with this language group for 25 years. They have been able to get some portions of scripture published, like Mark, but are still working on getting their entire new Testament finished. I have been able to work a lot with their daughter Jonita who is a senior at the High School and I have been very blessed to know their family.

Because the village is so remote and doesn’t have a working airstrip, we had to take an airplane to a village nearby and then take a 20 minute helicopter ride the rest of the way in. The Helicopter pilot also came to help them fix their leaking water tank, and so we both stayed the night and then I was able to take the helicopter all the way home the next day. It was such a treat getting to see all of the relationships that these translators had formed with the Binandere all these years. The people have watched their children grow up as they have also watched many people in the village grow up and become leaders. Here are a few pictures from my time there.

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 We visited the local school.

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 This lady had a lot of fun at one point carrying my tripod around and dancing with it. She was a hoot.

Translator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Ukarumpa, HelicopterSo of course I had to get a picture with her…

Translator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Ukarumpa, HelicopterTranslator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Ukarumpa, HelicopterTranslator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Ukarumpa, HelicopterThis man used to be the lawyer/judge of the area. I interviewed him and he really wanted to get a picture in front of his house where he now spends his days.

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We walked around the village shaking hands with everyone and visiting folks that the Wilsons have known for years and love on each time they come back. This was one of my favorite little old ladies that couldn’t see very well, but she loved to tell stories.
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The helicopter pilot was a HUGE help as he was able to fix leaks in the translator’s water tank.Translator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Ukarumpa, Helicopter

One of the Wilson’s partners was able to purchase Bibles for all of the 8th graders a couple of years back. Here is a portrait with Joyce and her gospel of Mark.

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The Wilson’s have 3 Papua New Guinean Co-Translators, here was one of them reading his Bible.

Missionary, Bible, Translators, Papua New Guinea

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On the way home we had to stop off at a little village where they keep fuel. Some men helped us refuel the helicopter. Translator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Ukarumpa, Helicopter, LakeTranslator, Village, Papua New Guinea, Bible Translation, Bible, Women, Men, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Ukarumpa, Helicopter, Lake

April Fool’s Joke?

SO like many Ukarumpians today I received this announcement from the Clinic….

On the evening of March 20th, Ukarumpa experienced an electrical storm around 1630-1730. During this storm, the power line to the clinic was inadvertently struck by lightning. The resulting power surge damaged the clinic’s Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). As a result the x-ray machine which is powered by the UPS was inadvertently activated and appeared to remain energized for several hours until the UPS eventually failed at which time the x-ray machine automatically shut down.
Due to the sudden rise of gastrointestinal complaints we’ve seen over the last 10 days, we suspect many people who happened to travel within a 100 yard radius of the Ukarumpa Medical Clinic may have been inadvertently exposed to dangerous x-rays. The most common symptoms of an over-exposure are GI related such as nausea and/or vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhoea. Left untreated, those exposed may start developing sudden hair loss over the coming weeks.
We encourage anyone who thinks they may possibly have been exposed to use their bathroom mirror in the late evening hours without illumination and look at the face and upper chest for a faint yellow-green glow. Should you observe this rather unique sign of irradiation, please consult the clinic immediately for further testing and treatment.
CTS is currently repairing the UPS which should prevent any similar problems in the future.
Thank you for your understanding and forgiveness,

Your friendly Ukarumpa Medical Clinic staff

 

I read it. And then I read it again. And then I forwarded it to my mom and said “Could Ukarumpa BE anymore crazy??” And then someone mentioned it was April Fool’s Day. Well played Ukarumpa Clinic, well played.

 

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(IT IS A JOKE RIGHT???)

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CRAVE 2015

CRAVE2015 from Sarah Halferty on Vimeo.

Thank you all for your faithful prayers for CRAVE. We definitely felt them that night. It was an amazing how God worked through just a short time of planning to unify the student body and come together in worship. The night consisted of 3 speakers, 2 adults and one senior, 4 bands and discussion groups about various topics, an art room, a fire pit/acoustic worship, and a prayer/encouragement room. We was really cool to walk around and look at the different rooms that were going on between each set. We had about 70-80 kids that showed up as well as 20 adult sponsors. Many adults came that would never otherwise have worked with the youth before, so that was really cool! We led an acoustic set and a live set with various teens within our band that don’t normally play on Sunday nights. The last set that we led was amazing. It was 10:30 at night, and we had been going since 4pm that afternoon. The kids were tired, we were tired but we got up there and rocked out and the kids were so amazing! Looking down and seeing them crying, praising, and jumping/crazy/dancing was a memory that Evan and I will NEVER forget. It was such a sweet time of worship. Also Leah Rigsby playing the drums while singing, pretty memorable!

CRAVE 2015_Halferty2High School, Worship, Mandolin, Papua New Guinea, Ukarumpa

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Discussion groups about things like Homosexuality, Secular Entertainment, Spiritual Gifts and more…

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IMG_0597Great speakers and an acoustic worship time by the fire….as well as a prayer room where the students were able to go around the campus and do a prayer walk as well as pray together with teachers.

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Kamano-Kafe Dedication

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A log bridge had been built to cross the river which bordered the Kamano-Kafe Christmas camp field. When this bridge washed away during torrential rains just two days before camp began, it was a strong confirmation that printing the Kamano-Kafe language New Testament and Proverbs on waterproof paper had been a good idea.

Undaunted by the weather, men cut down several more 55-foot trees and floated them down river to the camp. About 100 men on both sides of the river hoisted two logs into place to create a footbridge high above the river to carry the boxes of freshly printed Scriptures to camp.

On 24th December, several thousand people listened as the translators and leading pastors thanked God for the completion of this book, and encouraged others to read it. The team advisor, Rich, had admonished people to be supportive of people reading the NewTestament at church, and not laugh at them. It’s common for people to laugh when someone makes a mistake in reading publicly. People took that admonition to heart because in the days following the dedication people broke into applause, not laughter, after five people stood on the grandstand and read aloud from the Scriptures.

During the dedication, pastors from many denominations showed their support of this new translation by gathering around and praying over a box covered with banana leaves (which represented the Ark of the Covenant) containing copies of Kamano-Kafe Scriptures with their bright green covers, signifying a banana leaf.

Enthusiasm for the translation was evident, as 353 New Testaments were sold that week at camp. In addition, the people purchased nearly 100 solar-powered audio recordings of the Scriptures, as well as five dozen micro SD cards filled with Kamano-Kafe NT recordings, songs, and four Scripture videos. These SD cards can be played on phones, in boom boxes and computers.

Although the translators were excited about all God did in the hearts of the people, Rich said, “Christmas camp is just the beginning. The team is already visiting distant villages and encouraging people to use the Kamano-Kafe Scriptures.

Story by: Karen Weaver

Photos by: Evan Halferty, the Dedication that Evan and my Dad were able to go to on Christmas Eve 2014

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Naming A Baby

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This is my friend Elise. We have been friends now for a little over a year and it is customary in PNG for a good friend to name your baby…so she asked me. At first I had no idea what to name a baby…but then it came to me, Lydia (after my good friend) Grace. It was such an honor. She loved the name, and said it was very unique for PNG.

Elise wanted us to take her to the hospital when she was ready to have the baby, so she began walking to our house at 6am after having contractions all night long. 3 miles walking up and down steep hills to get to our house, and she had to stop to go pee in the grass. Then, the baby came…in the middle of a field! She laughed, “Luckily I took my friend with me so that the baby didn’t land on the ground. She caught it midair!” What a miracle this baby is! Many babies are born this way in PNG…pray for these babies and their mothers.

Waskia Bible Dedication

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The air was filled with excitment as the Waskia people gathered to celebrate the arrival of the revised Scriptures in their own language. The event included singing, dancing, and gift-giving. One of the speakers, Andrew Kwimberi, reminded the people that this was not just another book, but a book that could change their lives and their nation. He encouraged them to drink in its sweetness, to read it every day, and to apply in a practical context.

As the dedication ceremony drew to a close, rain began to fall and people filled the tent to buy copies of the Scriptures in their own language. The boxes quickly emptied so twenty more were brought and sales continued.

The celebration was the culmination of a journey of translation that had started in 1976, when Fay Barker and Janet Lee joined the Waskia people on Karkar Island. With the help of many the first Waskia New Testament was completed, plus Old Testament books, and these were dedicated in 1985. Both returned to the island in Madang Province six or seven years ago and a team has been steadily working to revise these and also add six further Old Testament books as well.

One key translator has been Pastor Lavong, who arrived at the celebration adorned with seashells and a traditional headdress. As drumbeats rolled and people danced, he related the story of his frustration in his early years of preaching. When he saw the blank faces of his congregation he had realized, “God’s book must be translated into the language of the people for them to really understand what the Lord wants them to do.” He has spent many years now as part of the Waskia translation team, and hopes to complete the remaining 30 Old Testament books within the next few years. Pastor Lavong held the Bible close to his heart as he said, “When I sat down to help with translation, I thought it would only change the life of others…but it changed my life too.” He exclaimed with a big grin, “Now this translation will bring meaning and change the lives of the people of Karkar Island.”

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Pastor Lavong reading the scriptures.

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Encounter 2014

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Thank you to everyone for your prayers this weekend as we went on a youth retreat with the High Schoolers. We were supposed to go out to Goroka, but because of road blocks we stayed at the Training Center which is a great facility on our Center. It was such an awesome time getting to hang out with the youth of Ukarumpa. We played games, had dance parties and most of all worshipped God in a real way. It was great to see the kids really getting vulnerable with God and letting him transform their lives. One of my favorite parts of the retreat was seeing one of the girls in my community group get baptized. We were blessed with great speakers that came all the way from the US to speak truth into these kids lives. It was a great trip with not much sleep, but plenty of fun. Please pray for Evan’s knee as he injured it while playing Rugby with the guys. We are hoping that it isn’t anything too serious! Here are some of my favorite pictures from the week…

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Evan playing at Talent night with his 11th grade guys

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Me and my discussion group of 9th and 10th grade girls

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Our speaker photo bombing the male sponsors