A pastor’s joy over the translated Word…

by mendibpng

Malol translators Philip Rokus and Petrus Brere faithfully come to workshops because they want their people to have God’s word in their own language. Picture by Dan Bauman.

While the translators discussed how they would print and distribute their new copies of Luke,  Philip mentioned that Father Zachary Miroi was a respected church leader and a Malol speaker. He would be very happy to hear that the Gospel of Luke was now completed. Father Zachary had previously told Philip to make sure and let him know when Luke would be dedicated and he would do everything he could to clear his schedule and be there. Another Malol translator, Petrus Brere, was beaming with excitement as he heartily agreed: “Oh yes, Father Zachary will be… [Petrus failed to hide a huge smile as he struggled to find the words]… oh, he will be so happy.” Others joined in and shared how they had also met Father Zachary on the road and been encouraged to hear how much he was looking forward to having the translated Word of God in his own Malol language.

When Ben passed through Aitape town in June, he distributed copies of the newly published Gospel of Luke in five different languages to district church leaders from six different denominations. He presented them with the bright yellow booklets and said, “We want you to celebrate with us that this portion of the Bible is now available in these languages where you have local churches. This is not SIL’s book, but it is the Word of God for the Church. It is a tool for you to use in the work that God has given you.” Every church leader responded with enthusiasm and expressed how the Bible was needed for ministry in the local languages. Father Zachary, however, was traveling out of town, so Ben left the copies of Luke with a different church leader.

When passing through Aitape again in October, Ben finally met up with Father Zachary and presented him with his very own copy of Luke in the Malol language. He was thrilled. He related how he was very disappointed to have missed getting it earlier and participating in the dedication. He had been reading someone else’s copy, and he could tell that the translators had done a very careful job of translating it accurately. It was a joy to read the Word of God in his own mother tongue.

And then Father Zachary asked a surprising question: “Could I get a copy of this electronically? I would love to be able to cut-and-paste verses into my sermon notes, or include passages when I print out Bible study materials that I have prepared.” It had only been a few months since the first Malol Scriptures were available on paper. Audio recordings of the Christmas and Easter stories had only just been made weeks before. And already there was a need for an electronic format! They hadn’t been produced yet, but they arranged to meet again the next day with a flash drive in hand. Some things are changing fast in Papua New Guinea. At Father Zachary’s prompting, the Aitape West team realized that they couldn’t wait to convert the newly translated Scriptures for use on computers, the Internet, and on mobile phones.

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