Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

Training Trainers part 2: Dictionary Making in the Aitape West

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Once again, the SPES team in Wewak invited our team to come and take part in a dictionary workshop. We sent translators and literacy workers from the project, along with advisor Jessie Wright, and they all learned to use the WeSay dictionary software that our colleague had developed.  Those who attended the first workshop in April earlier this year ended up training the rest of the team during the month of September on how to create dictionaries!

(above) Participants became excited as they learned things like “what is a verb in my language?” They also learned how things fit together grammatically in their language. Photo by Luke Warrington.

The following is Ben’s writeup for our team:

This last year our team desired to make progress in equipping local literacy teachers and also in using linguistic research to contribute to the quality of translations and to the language development needs of the communities. But we also wanted to facilitate our PNG colleagues to develop in this area rather than simply allow outsiders to do this for the local team. So dictionaries were begun this year in order to accomplish these multiple purposes. In the past, mother tongue translators have met separately from local literacy teachers at different workshops. This year, however, we sent a handful of translators and literacy teachers to a regional dictionary workshop with the expressed purpose that they would return to the Aitape West project later in the year and hold a similar workshop for all the others. So in April, four translators and three literacy teachers from four different languages attended the regional workshop in Wewak.

photo by Luke Warrington

In September, these seven led the workshop for local literacy teachers from nine languages. They taught about basic computing and typing, making dictionaries, parts of speech, the WeSay dictionary software, and what to do with such complicated things as bound verb roots. As the more experienced users of their written languages, all the translators also attended and served as mentors even while growing in their own knowledge and skills. With our recent acquisition of more bunk beds and mattresses, we were able to accommodate more people at a single workshop than ever before as the translators and literacy teachers worked together as part of a single team in this translation project. We view the equipping of this larger team not only as a means to more holistic language development, but also as a key ingredient to local ownership of the translation task and to facilitating Scripture use among the communities. Plans are underway for this next year to continue this dictionary development and to involve the larger team in the translation task and in Scripture use.

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November 29, 2012

Training Trainers: Part 1 ‘Church Engagement’

by mendibpng

In addition to final checking of Acts, we’ve done some new things this year: Church Engagement and Dictionary making.  Our year has been full of village stays and so writing about these events has fallen by the wayside….this is an attempt to show how our team has collaborated with and learned from the experience of others and brought it back to the Aitape West region.

Ben has taken the opportunity to visit district church leaders whenever we have passed through Aitape town on our way in and out of the village. Every time, they enthusiastically received him, particularly when he handed out complimentary copies of the newly printed Gospel of Luke in seven languages. We wanted to see the leaders involved in the promotion and use of the scriptures, so Ben began talking to them about hosting a vernacular Bible conference for them in Aitape, something that we had never attempted before.

Last November, Ben attended a similar conference at our regional center in Wewak along with four of our Papua New Guinean coworkers.  Our friends who work with the SPES project organized the conference and had invited church leaders and pastors from all over Wewak. For one of the sessions, they invited Ben to speak about new mission approaches in the Sepik. In between sessions, and at meals, he enjoyed having time to talk to the church leaders. Some of our translators also had opportunities to share their testimonies. The participants came away with the desire to partner together to further their shared goals as a group. Those of us working in Bible translation saw that dialoguing together fostered ownership and the desire to use the local scriptures.

Fast forward to August of this year….those four PNG translators who attended the workshop in Wewak helped lead a similar workshop in Aitape town, which we called “The Aitape Baibel Conference.”

At the conference, the participants started to grasp the importance of Bible translation. Ken Tobiana, who came as a guest speaker from Ukarumpa, (pictured above on the far right) used a People Chain to explain the importance of supporting Bible translation.

Here are some of the things mentioned by the pastors who attended the workshop:

“A lot of the pastors use big English words [from the English Bible] but they are only pretending. They don’t know the real meaning of the words and how it can help all people.”

“The Word of God has come and united us. So it is a big thing. Today we have gathered, and in this work, I believe we will join together, and it is probably a blessing and a question posed to us. I believe that. Let’s clap our hands to the triune God. This is like the plan of God Himself.”

“I feel like something is rattling in my spirit…”

“This conference is a big challenge. Now we come to a time of teaching [God’s talk]. Hosea 4:6 People perish for a lack of knowledge.”

“God’s Talk will change your life.”

The participants left with a desire to see God’s Talk translated into their mother tongue languages, some very emotional and determined to see Bible translation started in their own language groups. As for the Aitape West team, our Papua New Guinean translators were encouraged that the district-level church leaders recognized the value of the important work that they are doing.  It was also affirming that the leaders are now supportive of using the local language scriptures in the churches. All of the participants (particularly the church leaders) became enthusiastic about the possibility of beginning translation work in other languages in the region that have no scriptures yet.

November 28, 2012

On being a missionary kid…

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My two homeschooled kids wrote about being a missionary kid and gave me permission to post these here. Interestingly they express similar ideas although they didn’t work together at all.  All three of our oldest kids had best/close friends leave this year so it has been a hard year for them.

Traveling is fun. Moving back and forth, from place to place.
That’s what I like, but some times it’s hard to leave places.
Some times you think that it’s going to be horrible.
But when you get where you’re going it’s not that bad.
You miss other people. When you’re at the places
sometimes it is a little bad if you think that. But if
you think it’s good it will be good. 
                                                                                                 Ellie, age 9

 Life is fun and happy,
but then is sad and lonely.
It is happy to say hello,
but sad to say good bye.
So we share the happiness
with our friends we got.
And then remember the friends that left.
But when the friends come back again,
we have some happiness all over again
when we say hello.
                                                                        Noah, age 11

November 17, 2012

Two Kodiak and three helicopter shuttles…

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And we were off! Our team began the journey to Arop at the beginning of this month in order to begin a 1 Timothy translation workshop, linguistics/language study, TEE (Theological Training by Extension) and Audio recording activities.(Above) Our final stop in the Kodiak plane after refueling in Wewak (and picking up our teammates Luke and Laura) was Lumi, where a New Testament was done by the Staleys a few years back….

After only three days of being in Papua New Guinea, our intern Luke had a chance to see a lot of the countryside as we flew from the highlands to the Sepik! As you can see from this picture, he had already began learning Tok Pisin, the trade language here.

What fun to have pilot Steve flying us to the Sepik again! We have a deep respect and admiration for this guy and his amazing wife. When Jacob and Jenny Beth were born, one of Jacob’s middle names was after Steve. (the other one was for Ben’s beloved Greek professor, Scott.)

Our pilot Johannes once again expertly flew us into Arop village. In the picture above, he gave our team safety instructions before the first shuttle.

Since the shuttles required a lot of shifting of body and cargo weights, we ended up leaving a few of our teammates and a lot of cargo behind in Lumi while we went on the first helicopter shuttle. I felt badly leaving Luke behind on his first few days in PNG and was relieved when he and the team made it safely to the village a few hours later!

Ellie, Jenny Beth and Jacob sat with their Auntie Jess

…while Noah sat up front with the pilot

…an unusual opportunity to sit next to my favorite guy

…and the helicopter lands in Arop for the third time!
Since it took several hours and several attempts to complete this blog post (our internet was going in and out!) I had a chance to reflect on all of the people God placed here in Papua New Guinea to get us to the 1 Timothy workshop.

Noah and Ellie’s teachers prepared school materials and met with me to go over the work my kids would complete in the next four weeks. Also, there were the hostel parents who welcomed Josiah for his third hostel stay. They are currently looking after Josiah while we are gone.

There were friends on the ground giving me practical help with looking after the twins and making meals for me while I was busy trying to dehydrate and pack up our cargo.

Additionally, we had the Wewak managers who bought our bulk food and packed it for us so that we had less cargo to bring from Ukarumpa.  The store managers in Ukarumpa ensured that we had the items there we needed to pack for our four week stay.

Then there was the host of aviation personnel, from the computer support guys to the mechanics and engineers who worked on the plane and helicopter used to transport our team. Then there was the helicopter coordinator Noel, who spent literally hours making certain that the weights could even out so we could get all of us and our cargo to the village. I felt a little sorry for him when I realized what a hassle he went through to complete that task!

Oh, and there were the pilots Steve and Johannes, who I already mentioned in this post. Thank you, God, for the people supporting translation teams like us! Without them, translating 1 Timothy in the Aitape West Translation Project would be impossible.

November 16, 2012

Carnival 2012

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Every year, the highschool puts on an event for the Ukarumpa community, Carnival. It’s a highlight of the year for our kids, and we even plan our village stays around it so that we can attend! The money raised goes to charity. As someone who spends most of her time in the kitchen, I think the best thing is that we all have a day off of cooking! (a big deal here when you don’t have many opportunities to eat out.)

Ellie showing off her newly painted face…

Each class has a booth to run. I have to say, I am always impressed with what they end up putting together—most things you see at carnival are handmade and ingenious (in my humble opinion) Check out the mini golf course…each area represented a different country of the world.

Since Josiah is his class representative for student council, he had various ‘jobs’ to do during Carnival, including selling tickets (above).

We had delicious pizza made by our friend Donna and her crew of highschoolers. Did I mention how happy I was not to cook that day?

Ben took these pictures of the twins enjoying their icecream from the icecream booth. I couldn’t choose between them so I put them all in!

Waiting in line for the Dunk Tank was very amusing, especially during the Dunkee’s talkin’ smack!

Josiah had great fun dunking his math teacher, who threatened to lower his grade if he dunked her. It was hilarious! It was a great end to a very fun day.

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November 15, 2012

Welcome to PNG, Luke!

by mendibpng

For several months now, we’ve eagerly anticipated the arrival of our intern, Luke, who plans to live and work with us this year. (Above) The kids were waving and shouting “hello Luke!” as the Kodiak plane landed ith our newest family member on it!

Finally! After the long awaited visa and support came in, Luke made it to Ukarumpa. He arrived on the last flight from Port Moresby on Friday before our team left for the village!

Here are a couple of pictures from his first day in PNG:

Luke instantly established a rapport with our five children when he arrived. They had him ripsticking/playing Super Smash Mario Bros and watched his favorite show, Avatar, with him. The day after he arrived, our community held a carnival, which we took Luke to.

You can tell we totally trust this guy because we let him hold our three year old on the ferris wheel at carnival! 🙂

When we found out that Luke wanted to come stay with us, Ben and I instantly knew that God wanted us to be open to this. We had never met him before, and only began to get to know him via email and facebook. I think it’s safe to say that he has fit in really well with our [crazy] family. We have been impressed with his flexibility and willingness to try just about anything.  Oh, and I noticed yesterday that we are laughing a lot more than before he arrived. WELCOME LUKE! You can read more about his adventures on his blog.

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