Want to know what we’ve been up to while we’ve been in PNG? Check out this short video to see what our jobs looked like as well as different things that we were able to be apart of.
Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming our pastor and his wife, Ross and Lisa, from our home church 121 Community Church. It was so great to see them again after 2 1/2 years and to show them around Papua New Guinea. We had the chance to take them to a traditional PNG meal called a “mumu” at one of our friend’s villages. They came to one of the youth services where Evan and I lead worship as well as ate with some of our friends and heard their experiences. We also got the chance to go to town and market and even drive to Goroka where they bought some souvenirs and see some of the countryside. We had such a great time with them just being able to debrief about our time here and show them what its like to live and work here. We are so grateful that they took the time to come here and really understand what its like. Here are some pictures of their time here.
In August Evan and I had the opportunity to attend the Anjam Revised Scripture and Audio Recording Dedication. We were excited because our village family from POC training was apart of this language group, and it was great to get to go back to Madang and see them! Check out this story I wrote about the day as well as the video.
The Anjam language group located close to Madang, Papua New Guinea had its revised Scripture and audio recording dedication on August 14, 2015. The first New Testament was dedicated in 2001 by Robert and Diane Rucker. The couple attended the second dedication with their two daughters, son-in-law and family friend Kris. The Anjam people were so excited to see them that they even built a brand new house painted bright yellow for them to stay in while they attended the dedication. As Robert and Diane’s family and Kris began to dress for the occasion, donning colorful leaves and red paint on their skin, laughter was heard in the air as the Ruckers remembered their work on the New Testament all those years ago. They first began the translation project in 1980 and began living in the village and learning the language. Then in 2001 they finished the New Testament and moved back to the U.S. with their family. Twelve years went by and they began to see that improvements could make the New Testament clearer and more precise, so they began to think about doing a revision. So in 2012 Robert came to the village with Kris for a couple of months and he worked with church leader Sobu Waga and others. At the dedication, Sobu urged his fellow Anjam speakers to step up and help him work on the Old Testament. He said, “This isn’t the end of the translation project! We still have to finish the Old Testament.” Many of the village men partnered with Sam Kenny of Faith Comes By Hearing to make an audio recording of the New Testament in the Anjam language. On dedication day Sam passed out “Proclaimers,” solar powered devices that contain the recorded New Testament, for free to many of the families with the promise that he would hear back about their use of these recorders. Sobu expressed his joy to have these audio recordings, “I was worried that many of the children who don’t yet know how to read won’t understand the full meaning of God’s Word. But now if their parents have these recorders they can hear the Word of God and know Him.” He said, “My stomach is happy that all of the Anjam people can now hear with their ears, look with their eyes and read the Word of God.”
Evan works at the Autoshop here in Ukarumpa. Check out this video to see what his everyday life looks like as well as hear from some of his coworkers about what its like to work at the Autoshop! Have skills in welding, automotive mechanics, or sales? We need you in Papua New Guinea!
A couple months ago I was able to go out to a remote village on a helicopter to go film a story for some translators that are working with the Binandere people. Here is their story.
Trained as a pilot, aircraft mechanic or flight coordinator? How can your role help in Bible Translation? Come to Papua New Guinea to help in the Bible Translation effort by flying airplanes or helicopters to remote locations, fixing airplanes or just helping with the business side of keeping an airport running. Check out this video to find out more!
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
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.”
Pastor Lavong reading the scriptures.
Last weekend I had the chance to go to my first Bible Dedication. What an amazing experience! But more on that later…one thing that I had never seen before (only heard) was a traditional drum made out of a tree log called a “Garamut” (Ga-ra-moot). Each village will carve their favorite symbols or pictures onto them and play them loudly by banging a large stick onto the side of the hollowed out log. Thus making a loud noise that can be used to warn other villages of fighting, or in celebration. It was definitely very cool being surrounded by them at the dedication! Here is a video for you to understand how LOUD these drums are…