Archive for October, 2013

October 30, 2013

It takes a team…

by mendibpng

Below is our team in the village during Thanksgiving last year. (L-R Jacob, Ellie, Beth, Luke, me, Jessie, Laura & Luke, Noah and Jenny Beth. Ben-not pictured), with  John and Bonnie working remotely. Luke and Jess have returned to the U.S., but others have joined us.
team TG

In the early days of the project, we were able to work with fewer staff; however, we began asking God (and our leaders) to send us more personnel because the workload became too much for a small number of people. Let me introduce you to the extraordinary people we get to work with….

Drumroll, please…..
John and Bonnie wrote a book about the tsunami that changed their translation project forever. Their one-language translation project became a multilanguage project for 11 languages in the Aitape West region of PNG.  They wrote a book called Sleeping Coconuts, which tells the story of their involvement in the project.  John now helps the team with translation consulting and computer support from his location in the U.S. They welcomed us to the team in 2002, and we learned a great deal from them about living and working in PNG. We are grateful for their [continued] contribution to the project as they also serve in other capacities with our organization.
beth 3
Beth (pictured above grading TEE papers) began working with our project as a translation advisor nine years ago for Group 1, four related languages. However, as the team began producing scriptures in these language groups, God made it clear that we needed someone full time in Scripture Use, so Beth took that role on. She has been instrumental in bringing audio players to the project and facilitating the recordings of Luke and Acts on them, as well as teaching TEE (Theological Education by Extension) for translators and Christian workers who want to go deeper into God’s word. She is currently working on DVDs which show pictures of the Jesus film and include audio from recorded scripture.
Luke and Laura came to us last year, in order to help us provide some needed linguistic research into the language of Sissano. Not only did they accomplish this, but they also helped us on the ground with various workshops in dictionary making, devotions and giving tech support to our translators when the rest of our team was unavailable. This week, they will return to the UK to have a baby, and although we are sad to ‘goodbye’ to them, we look forward to finding out how God will use them in the future. We are going to miss this lovely couple!!
Jerry (pictured above, recording with Leonce and Kenny) and Cindy (pictured below, with Missy and Beth) joined our team recently. Jerry spent the last few months recording Luke and Acts for the language groups that still hadn’t done their recordings, while Cindy went on a ‘walkabout’ with Beth and Missy to do Scripture Use and Literacy activities to promote the vernacular scriptures. Jerry and Cindy’s knowledge of PNG and past experience has been invaluable to us as a team, and that is why I call them the “Dream Team.”
cindy and missy
Missy (pictured after Cindy) joined us last year to help us with various tasks: administrative/finances, mentoring and most recently Scripture Use and Literacy. Ben and I served with Missy on an orientation course many years ago, and so incorporating her into our team and family again was comfortable and easy. She has made life a lot easier for Ben, in particular, who up until Missy came, had more work to do than he could do in a regular working week. She is now in Wewak helping us remotely and is also working on DVDs with Beth.

Matthew and Rachel (not pictured, as they are in their village living phase of orientation) are coming to be translation advisors for some of our language groups who are without one. We are excited to have them work with us soon!
Oh, and then there’s us. This picture is a bit old, but I love it because we’re standing with the various scriptures printed from our project in 2012. Ben is the team leader for the project. He does advisor and exegetical checks for the 11 language groups we serve, deals with project reporting and travel planning for the team and handles any crisis [with the help of the PNG leaders of the project] that comes up. I help Ben with the ‘hospitality’ and ‘mentoring’ side of being the team leader and things like staying on top of prayer requests. I also home school our children when we are in the village and provide meals for whoever is visiting. Jerry and Cindy call our kids “team junior” which I think is a fair title, as they are a part of what we are doing in the Bible translation movement.

I don’t know if you can read between the lines, but we love each of our team members and feel privileged to work alongside them! When we first arrived overseas, we were told that one of the hardest things about living here would be working with other expats–we can tell you that this is not the case for us on our team. The people you see pictured here are like family to us–our kids call them auntie and uncle. It has been wonderful getting to know them, and to share the ministry workload and to also work towards a shared purpose–seeing the people of the Aitape West having access to and using the Scriptures in their own language! Every person brings a special set of abilities and giftings to the team. I love seeing how God has utilized each one in our project. We are so thankful to God for providing the personnel we so desperately need, as we have been so stretched over the past three years to keep things going. Our biggest challenge as a team is to stay connected while we are essentially a globally diverse team a good deal of  the time. (ie we’re not always in the same place!)

p.s. On top of our team mentioned above, we have had various experts and technicians come out to help us at different times. For instance, a team came out to help us install a new solar system last May. Then, in July, a construction/repair technician came out to help us with a variety of building maintenance issues. Each of the people pictured above has a support team on the ground in Ukarumpa who helps them with various things as well. We can’t do our work in our remote location without this kind of support!

October 29, 2013

Challenges of mother tongue translators

by mendibpng

Above: Translators Dominic (L) and Joe (R) discussing beginning linguistics at a Dictionary workshop earlier this year. (in the background: Gibson, Linda and Rosalyn, all literacy teachers)

Last week, seven men from our Aitape West team came to Ukarumpa to attend a Discover Your Language course. Ben is one of the mentors in this class in which trained linguists are teaching mother tongue translators and literacy workers how to discover linguistic features of their own languages. When they came over for popcorn and a movie, the men told me that they are finding the course stretching their abilities, but they are happy to be here and feel privileged to be chosen for the task. For many of them, this is the first time they have come to the cold highlands!

Meanwhile, the rest of our Papua New Guinean team is in the village holding a revision workshop for 1 and 2 Timothy in Arop. These men are persevering through a lot of challenges. We are praying for one year old Jessie, Emil’s daughter, who is sick, and for several other translators, who are caring for sick family members.

Translator Dominic wrote us today:

During this Woksap it is a challenging because some of us came late, because of family sick and some they have children in school so they have to help them find school fees for next year.

And some of us, we are [newly] married so we help our wives to help them in household needs, because it’s the time where we should begin the new life in the family.

And some of us are elected as ward member in the village, but we all are struggling to complete our notes before we leave Arop, and also Joel’s brother Russel is very sick and is at home, this is one of the issue we face during this woksap in delaying our group to speed up.

All this problem are trying to slow down the speed of our work, and also it is very challenging.

So we are trying our best to find some ideas to talk to each other and to come with some ideas, if it is going to be helpful to some of us. (used with permission)

It is not uncommon for Ben and me to feel like our hearts are in two (or more!) places at once. We pray that as they are checking 1 and 2 Timothy, the translators will persevere, as Paul says in 2 Tim 4:7:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Will you pray for Dominic and the others in Arop who are revising 1 and 2 Timothy? Pray for those who are unable to come, and for those present to be able to persevere through the challenges they face at the translation desk and at home. At the same time, please also remember the other seven men who are away from their families here in Ukarumpa, attending the Discover Your Language course.

October 10, 2013

Here comes the Sun…

by mendibpng


In the wake of my 39th birthday, I’ve decided to ask God for the impossible.

I find myself praying the words of this song,

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me
Melt me, mold me
Fill me, Use me

Let me back up a little. If you have followed our blog, you may already know that in the last four years we have had some significant joys and struggles. We have experienced hard things, and can look back on some of them with relief (now that they are over!) but I for one am exhausted. I realized it significantly last week at the women’s retreat, when I took time to sleep instead of go to meetings or socialize.

I can tell I’m ‘dangerously tired’ when I start intentionally catching up on rest and I don’t feel better.

For a long time.

In fact, I started feeling even more tired and ended up going to bed around 9:00 most nights. I have seen this happen before…once the adrenaline depletion starts kicking in, it’s hard to be motivated to do more than just sleep and do the bare necessities of cooking and looking after my children.

I don’t want to go into all of the things that have contributed towards the ‘road to burnout’ because when I start to list them, I am tempted to dwell in them and start moving towards self pity and bitterness. (I have acknowledged them, so I don’t believe I’m living in denial–I just don’t want it all in the forefront of my mind.)

So, as I’m taking time to rest when I can, particularly in the evenings, but here are the things I am praying for my 39th year of life:

I want

  • God to reveal Himself to me in supernatural ways this year. A note here: I have begun to pray this earnestly and He is speaking to me through his Word, his Voice and through dreams.
  • to learn what it really means to fear God and not people. Instead of being swayed by what I perceive other people want or desire, I want to be in tune with God’s plan for me, even in the smallest things.
  • to mind my own business and not get aggravated by things that I shouldn’t be worried about (God has been impressing on me which things ARE my business and which things aren’t!)
  • to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide every relationship, with my kids, my husband, friends and acquaintances.
  • to give individual time to each of my five children every day.
  • to debrief with Ben once a day.
  • to live a life of gratitude for everything in my life
  • to give God my best time, not just the leftover mutterings at the end of an exhausted day. He showed me through a dream yesterday that I love (some) things more than Him.
  • to trust God that He will do good in my life. (Have you ever been in a place where you are afraid to ask God what He wants to do with you, in case He might give you something painful/unpleasant?)
  • to take time to do things I really love to do: like trying out new recipes and working on my quilt.

This, admittedly, is an impossible list, as I have said above. I am a sinner, and undoubtedly I will mess up as soon as I press ‘send’ on this blog post. And yet, with God’s Spirit working in me, the pressure is off to be perfect. His kind and gentle reminders convict and make me want to love Him more. That verse from James 1:5 comes back to me often,

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (NIV)

It’s all over Proverbs too: wisdom is there for anyone who asks for it.

I feel like someone who is sitting on a beach, with the sun coming down on her for the first time in a long time. I want to soak in the heat and warmth of the sun.

p.s. If you want to see what has been influencing this list, here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

“Surprised by the Voice of God” by Jack Deere
“When People are Big and God is Small” by Edward Welch
The Bible: specifically Romans

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