Archive for ‘consultant checking’

January 11, 2016

Reflecting the glory of God

by bzephyr


Next week, we head to our remote village in Papua New Guinea in preparation for our next Bible translation workshop. This time, our teammate John will be joining us from the States, and we will conduct final consultant checking of Titus and Philemon for the 10 language teams we work with.


These are relatively small language groups, each between about 400 and 5000 speakers. Yet each one represents yet another community for whom God has done marvelous things to redeem a people for himself — people redeemed from unavoidable selfish and unkind actions, redeemed from false belief, redeemed from fear, from death, from terrifying spirits, people redeemed from the devil — those who will surround the throne of Jesus and give him great glory from every nation, tribe, people, and language.


These are pictures from the recent singsing at our project’s building dedication. Look at these faces, and see people who were made to reflect the glory of God in Christ.


From Titus 1:2…

I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. (NLT)


















January 14, 2014

2013 in review

by mendibpng


Our intern Luke Elliott  (pictured above, with Noah, Joe and Ellie) spent nine months living with us last year.

January: We had planned to go to the village and do a ‘walkabout;’ however, Ben and I became too sick to travel. Once the virus had finished, it took weeks before the fatigue left us. We had to cancel the trip and Ben worked from home. Our teammates Luke and Laura still went to the village to do language learning.

February-March: Ben worked from home in Ukarumpa. This entailed managing the project (reporting, etc), doing advisor checks on 1&2 Timothy as well as dealing with personnel issues long distance over the phone or via skype. I supported him as the team leader by checking in with teammates regularly and hosting team meals and meetings.
Dictionary Workshop participants identify nouns and verbs in their own languages.

April-May: We attended our bi-annual branch conference. During this month, we went to the village for a follow-up Dictionary Workshop and a translation revision for 1 &2 Timothy. We also began renovation on a staff housing building. Wayambo supervised the construction of most of our other buildings in our project previously, and came out to do this one. The house he renovated into a three bedroom house plus the downstairs apartment was split into two separate living spaces with their own bathrooms!
Jacob “helps” Wayambo.

June-July: Ben and our teammate John consultant checked 1 and 2 Timothy in seven languages (three first, then four the next week) which was the first time they have attempted to do so many languages at once. The translators and language consultants told us over and over how Paul’s words impacted their lives—it was the first time they had translated preaching, rather than narratives in Luke and Acts. A video team from Wycliffe U.S. come during this time to get footage of the project.
August-September: We all appreciated the stability time for the whole family while Ben worked from his cubicle in Ukarumpa. Meanwhile, we supported our team long distance as Luke and Laura did linguistic analysis, Jerry recorded Acts in Arop and Beth, Missy and Cindy went to all of the people groups in our project to do Scripture Use and Literacy activities. In September, Ben and I took the twins to Cairns to see a pediatric dentist, since both of them had some deep cavities that required the skills of a pediatric dentist.

Josiah helped lead worship at church numerous times throughout the year. He also plays in a Soul Purpose (youth) band and accompanies the Sunday school kids each week.
Jacob and Jenny Beth still talk about seeing kangaroos in Australia!

October-November: Seven of our translators/literacy workers came to Ukarumpa for a Discover Your Language course. Ben mentored the Rombar Onnele group which allowed him time to do some more in depth study of the language, which essentially will help them make the translation more accurate.
Language Discovery Course 05 crop
(photo credit: Phil King) Ben coaching the Onnele men during the Discover Your Language course.

November-December: Ben went Arop for a translation workshop, while the kids and I stayed in Ukarumpa. He took new computers for the translators and spent most of the time trouble shooting how to connect them to the online and local servers (which store data for our translations) It turned out to be a difficult task but he came home having left them all up and running, praise God! This was probably one of the most challenging times of the year, since many of the appliances in our house died (while Ben was gone) Praise God that the shipping office and the Wycliffe buyer in Cairns helped us replace most of them before Christmas!
At Christmas we had our hilarious moments…
but also our more serious ones, when we shared our Jesse Tree (advent) readings together.

December: Ben arrived home safely and hiked out to a friend’s village the next week. He ended up getting very ill on Christmas day but since we had a low-key holiday planned, he was able to stay in bed for well over a week.

In summary: I am sure you are able to read between the lines and see that it has been a very busy, very fruitful year work-wise. Now, we look to the next five months here in Papua New Guinea and pray that we will be able to balance work and family life as we also pack and prepare for furlough starting in June.

July 21, 2013

A village consultant’s walkabout…

by mendibpng


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.


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.

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.”

“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.”

“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.

March 18, 2013

What Does Ben Do??

by mendibpng


Today as I looked over the stats of our joint blog, I realized that I end up writing a lot more than Ben has a chance to. It’s easy for me to quickly write something down about my daily doings and thinkings. So this is an attempt to explain what Ben is up to when we are not in the village. Here are [some of] the tasks he works day [and night] on:

  • Researching and implementing ongoing big projects like buying computers and solar equipment for our project.
  • Reporting to the funding partners back home who provide the funds for our project
  • Planning the calendar of workshops and travel for the entire year to submit to the funders.
  • Arranging travel for the majority of our team going to and from the village, often with the options of helicopter, plane and road trip.
  • Completing his translation consultant training (yeah!!)
  • Recruiting new teammates and supervising them through meetings and emails.
  • Dealing with ‘hevis’ (problems) that come up in our project. Last week he spent hours on the phone talking to community and project leaders about a big hevi.
  • Organizing building and vehicle projects for the whole team, which involves conversations with many experts: architects, mechanics, funding partners, etc.
  • Responding to requests for updates and filling in yearly evaluations for our churches in the U.S.
  • Skyping with the translators and helping them fix computer/translation software problems.
  • Talking to translators about their personal problems. This includes giving advice when asked for it, and praying for them.
  • Organizing typesetting (putting Acts into book form) and doing his share of the paperwork for that.
  • When he isn’t busy doing all of the things above, he works on translation, checking the Arop translation (currently Titus) and three Onnele translations (currently 1 & 2 Timothy).

If you look at the [above] list, it might be apparent that there is more than one person can do in a normal ‘working’ week. For the last two years, since Ben took over managing our project, this has been the case. We have at times teetered on the edge of burnout. We’re trying to address some of these issues, and the addition of new teammates promises to help with the workload as well…but in all honesty, this has been a rather difficult stretch in our career as missionaries. I could write a whole blog post on burnout but it’s a raw subject and frankly I don’t have anything ‘uplifting’ to say except that we are working on it. It feels like a roller coaster–we get to a good place and start a nice ride downhill where everybody is getting a good night’s sleep and taking weekends off….and then suddenly there’s a bunch of things due at once and we are back to going uphill again.  I suppose the one thing I can say is that we have to take responsibility for ourselves because we are the ones who have to choose to live in a healthy way. I am trying to navigate how best to support Ben with all of the tasks he is responsible for but also to be transparent about how our family is doing. In a couple of weeks, we will have 10 days as a family vacationing on our way to the village–I think this is a good start!

July 29, 2012

“The WORD of GOD came and reached us!”

by mendibpng

The village consultants (the local language experts who came to help check Acts) absorbed Biblical truth during the consultant checking. Our teammate Jessie translated their comments from Tok Pisin into English.

I love that the theological concepts I have known my whole life have become evident to these men simply by reading the book of Acts in their own language!

Pou – Bauni Language

“Through the Apostles of Christ, the Word of God came and reached us.  We are the Gentiles, but God has a plan for everyone to know him.  Jesus came and died on earth, meaning that, he took us, the Gentiles, and put us together with the Jews as one family of God.”

Barupu – Bauni Language

“We feel the sweetness of our own language and are very happy and excited about the book of Acts.  It runs very well and cries good to our ears (sounds natural).  When we go back to the village we will tell the others of the good work that the translators are doing.  THANK YOU!!!”

And another said:  “I am very happy about the work of translating the Bible into my own language.  I am somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible, but in some sections I did not understand the true meaning very well.  However, now during the checking of Acts, my eyes have been opened to understand certain parables or sections… Also, now I understand how God’s Word works, and when the checking is done and I go back to my village, I will go to bed and get up with God’s Word.  Now my eyes are open, and I no longer want to practice anything that is wrong.  I encourage our translators to do the same in their lives in order that we may show everyone else the power God’s Word has to change lives.”

Arop Language

“When we read through Acts chapters 20-28 it really challenged our lives, because of the work and life of Paul which he gave entirely to doing God’s work.  This confronted us and made us realize that we needed to change our lives to do God’s work.  Also the work that the translators are doing is very good and the translation is coming up clear in our own language and making it easy and quick to understand the meaning of God’s Word.”

Goiniri Language

“When we checked Acts chapter 20-28, we found Paul’s story and mission work very interesting and challenging. The Gospel had come to the non-Jews and this is what saved them.  This really challenged me to change my own life.”

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