A village consultant’s walkabout…

by mendibpng

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Last week Ben and teammate John finished checking 1 and 2 Timothy in nine languages. They found the translations to be really good and also found areas to make them better, with the help of local language consultants and mother tongue translators.

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After the last day of translation, Ben asked if anyone wanted to ‘story’ with me about their experiences from the workshop. It turns out nearly all of the local language consultants wanted to debrief. One man came over to me to talk, and introduced himself as Salvator (pictured above with me). I said to him, “Brother, I’ve seen your face before… oh! You came to our Writing Songs Workshop!” He nodded and replied, “Yes, that was the first time I came. Now I’ve come to work with the translators.” When we first met years ago, he impressed me as a gifted songwriter and as someone who loved worship. Everybody sang well into the night after our final feast when we finished making song books in each language. Even those who didn’t speak his language joined in with the songs Salvator had just written. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a smile on his face.

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Salvator (above, in the pink striped shirt) led the group in worship during a graduation ceremony for the TEE (Theological Education by Extension) students last week in Arop.

When asked about his role in the consultant workshop, Salvator explained, “This work makes us really glad. I have been doing mission work a long time. The faith and belief of all of my people must grow. This work of working together, it’s the work of a true Christian family. These books of 1 and 2 Timothy make me want to help all the younger men to do this work.”
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“I know that writing down the Tok Ples is something I find hard but these translators of ours are doing this big work. I need to support them and help them make the words come up clear. I myself can see that God’s talk in Tok Pisin, it doesn’t sit down well. Our belief hasn’t grown yet. My people will understand and grow when they hear [God’s talk] in their own language because they will understand the meaning. There’s a lot of talk in Timothy that we read in the morning. The part where Paul tells Timothy about the strength God gives you and I, where we need to receive the Holy Spirit. We need to do God’s work. The Good News must go. You and I, all the old people shouldn’t hide the Holy Spirit. Now we need to let the Spirit grow and come out and do work. We have been here a short time, we’re on new ground (the Kingdom of Heaven) we need to encourage the younger men and women and help them make their walkabout.”
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“It’s like this: if I try to cross the water myself, a crocodile might come and eat me. But if all of us cross together, the crocodile won’t get me. It’s just the same with our work: if we work together, the work won’t be too much. It’ll be altogether good, and we won’t fall down. We will receive strength from each other and then go on.”

After we talked, I thanked him for helping the translators with this big work and we both smiled as he shook my hand.

I don’t know about you, but hearing Salvator talk made me want to love God more… in my world of mundane tasks and brief encounters with people who come to my door, I want to live the gospel. Even though Ben and I came to help give these people God’s Word, sometimes my heart and mind are wrapped around other things. I love being reminded how valuable it is to work together, and to “encourage the younger men and women and help them make their walkabout,” as he pointed out. So, tonight I pray for Salvator, and others, who are invested in their people getting God’s Word in their own language.

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2 Comments to “A village consultant’s walkabout…”

  1. Great pictures illustrate the extraordinary team God has assembled to make His Word available in the heart of His people.
    Beautiful! Blessings on you all, ‘The Florida grandparents.’

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