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

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.






Broth on a Rock


This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to a women’s retreat that happened on our Centre. Missionary women as well as Papua New Guinean employees were invited and it was such an amazing time! We learned from one of my good friends, Chris, about Gideon and his sacrifice of pouring broth on a rock to God. God really spoke to me throughout this retreat about waiting on Him. Lately I have been feeling homesick, and restless and God clearly revealed to me that he wants me to wait on Him, wait on his timing. I loved getting to hang out with my PNG sisters and playing games and hearing their stories. One of my favorite ones was from Mama Dudu who works in our Aviation department. She leads a prayer group that meets once a months and stays up all. night. long. to pray for our community, the country, and the valley. They aren’t allowed to bring any personal prayer requests to the group. Then they go to work the next morning here on Centre. It was amazing seeing all those strong PNG women come up to the front and sing us a song and then we prayed over them. Wow. It reminded me of the early church in Acts that got together to pray. Such an amazing testimony to what God is doing here in PNG…


Me and my friend Katherine who works with me in the Director’s Office. She has a little boy named Aidan and is such a sweet woman. I love getting to see her every day and it was especially sweet to be able to hang out with her at this retreat!


A Strong Foundation


Carrying a passage of Scripture written in her own heart language, Abu Daniels approached the rectangular foundation of the building being constructed at the Ukarumpa Training Center. She joined other teachers, students and community members in dedicating the new structure to God.

Principal Max Sahl explained that the building would have a classroom at one end, administrative offices at the other, and a conference room with book storage and a library in the middle. Although Mr. Sahl is happy that the center hosted 43 workshops and courses last year, and is on target for the same this year, he encouraged people, “Remember: this is the Lord’s doing and not our own. We don’t ever what to think we are the ones doing this work.”

Dr. Neil Coulter, Director for Language Services, shared from I Corinthians 3:10 about building a foundation. He emphasized that in erecting this physical building, the important thing is that it be used of God to build a spiritual foundation in people’s lives. He explained, “It is our hope that when students leave here they will be stronger in their faith and understand more clearly their relationship with God.”

As the sun rose over the mountains, men and women stepped forward one by one to lay their heart-language scripture in the foundation. Later the construction team would pour cement over the verses, making them a permanent part of the building. In doing this, they demonstrated that they were building on the firm foundation of the Word of God, for the purpose of training people to translate that Word into the mother tongue languages of Papua New Guinea.

Mrs. Daniels, an elementary school teacher, speaks the Yom Kawac dialect of the Bukawa language. Remembering her children at home, she said, “My language area is in the heart of Lae City, but they go to schools that teach in the vernacular. I want my children to grow up knowing their language.” Reflecting the feelings of most people present that morning, she concluded, “This was a very meaningful event. I am glad my language is written in the foundation of this building.”

-Story by Karen Weaver

Ukarumpa Training Centre, Classroom, Founfation

See this story on The PNG Experience


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” -Nelson Mandela


As we have been working with the youth for the last couple of months we have come to know an awesome kid named Lenny. Lenny is a senior at Ukarumpa International Highschool and is looking to graduate soon. Lenny is striving to go to a community college in America. In this country very few kids get to finish 8th grade, let alone graduate and go to college! Let alone college overseas. Lenny is a smart kid who has been able to learn how to work at our aviation department here at Ukarumpa. He has a dream for the future of his country, unlike many of the youth here in PNG. Lenny’s desire is to attend the Indian Hills Community College in Iowa in Aviation Maintenance and return to Papua New Guinea to serve his country as an Aircraft Engineer. He has also said that he wants to come back and work for SIL as a missionary. How crazy is that! Well as soon as we heard Lenny’s story we had to pass it on. Lenny can’t do this alone…he needs help! With the help of our friends the Folkers and the Eddys he is getting the chance to go to America for school, but he doesn’t have all of the funds that he needs! Help Lenny get a quality education so that he can come back and serve his country. Thanks guys!

Here is a letter from our good friends on Lenny’s behalf:

Lenny's letter_blog_Page_1 Lenny's letter_blog_Page_2

Going to Saidor May 12-16 [Gwahatike Project]

Next week Evan and I head for Saidor with some of our good friends the Jagts. They Jagts are working as liasons for a group of 6 translation teams down on the coastal town of Saidor (near where we had POC training, Madang). These 6 translation teams are unique because they are all Papua New Guineans working towards the goal of seeing their languages have a Bible. It is a cool story and I am so happy to be filming it (and that Evan gets to come along too!). Stay tuned for the final product! Please be praying for our trip, as we have to take an SIL Flight (tiny airplane) and then either hike or take a 4 wheeler up to the village we will be staying at, Umbaldi. Pray for no technical difficulties with my equipment and that we will get all of the footage that the Lord wants us to get. Also be praying for the Saidor area as we heard that they are in a food shortage because they are having trouble with their only food sources, their gardens. I am excited to see what God has in store for this trip, and what he is doing in the Gwahatike (Gwa-ha-tee-ka) area.

We are in the Kainantu area, and we will be flying to Saidor, the red dot on the map.

map of saidor, papua new guinea


Heres another story about the Saidor area.

Raising Up Young Leaders in PNG

AiyuraHighschoolConcert_SarahHalferty_5God is moving in Papua New Guinea. It was clear a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to attend a gathering at Airyura Highschool where the teens from Ukarumpa International Highschool led a leadership worship concert for the kids there. The theme was “Make God famous and let your light shine”.  The class had to do everything themselves and plan the entire event. It went off perfectly and God really showed up as several of the students shared from their hearts to their peers. Another great moment was when Andrew Quinberry (a former student from Airyura Highschool) and now currently a Papua New Guinean lawyer for SIL got up to speak and told the students that he had been in their shoes, in those same seats and had taken a stand for Christ. When he said those words the Aiyuran students began to stand up and come down to the front to pray. Culturally, this kind of public statement does not happen very often. So to see it from these future Papua New Guinean leaders was incredible.


Our students leading the Aiyura Highschool kids in worship.AiyuraHighschoolConcert_SarahHalferty_4AiyuraHighschoolConcert_SarahHalferty_6

Our SIL group praying for the students.



Another highlight was seeing the kids from Ukarumpa perform a dance with colorful flags and singing. The Papua New Guinean students loved it.