Archive for ‘Luke’

January 3, 2013

The good #2: Partnership, ownership and good fruit

by bzephyr

Another significant development this year comes on the heels of a trial edition of Luke being published last year and distributed to communities and church leaders. With the availability of this sizeable portion of God’s Word, we have been providing various opportunities for the people to interact with it.

This is the next in the series of posts on the good, the bad, and what I’m doing to sharpen worn-out tools from 2012. The good, #1 appeared here.


  • Copies of Luke continue to be available for sale in the communities and also at the Christian bookstore in Aitape.
  • Audio recordings of the Christmas and Easter story were also distributed.
  • Luke in its entirety was recorded, and our team is working with partners to edit it and prepare it for distribution on Sabers and AudiBibles.
  • Just before Easter, the Easter story from Luke 22-24 was published in a side-by-side vernacular and pidgin diglot format, and this has received very positive feedback from church leaders.
  • Just before Christmas, the Christmas story from Luke 1-2 was also distributed in a side-by-side vernacular and pidgin diglot.
  • Trial copies of 1 Timothy were drafted, and these are being revised before taking copies to the language communities for testing.

With the availability of these resources, we have been intentionally connecting not only with local church leaders when those portions were dedicated in 2011, but also with district church leaders. We have been visiting them regularly in town throughout the last year, especially as we prepared for the Aitape Baibel Conference in August. District church leaders from seven denominations were represented at that conference, and it is evident that they are enthusiastic to encourage the work that is already happening in the languages west of Aitape.

Since these district church leaders are themselves mostly from languages east and south of Aitape, they are even more excited about the possibility of extending this ministry in the years to come to the many other languages in the district which still have no Scriptures.

The most defining aspect of the Aitape West Translation Project is that we are not just producing a product but equipping people to carry on every aspect of this work in the future, not only in their own languages but also as they come alongside other language communities in the region and in the nation. Partnering with district churches will be key to facilitating the use of translated Scriptures in the local churches and also to the expanding Bible translation movement in the region.

August 5, 2012

ABC: Aitape Baibel Conference

by mendibpng

Aitape Baibel Conference – Sios Bung Bilong Tokples ABC
(Aitape Bible Conference – Church Gathering for Vernacular ABC)
August 13-16

Please pray for this conference that starts next week for district church leaders from about ten denominations in Aitape. It’s all about asking God how they might partner together across denominational boundaries as part of the Bible translation movement in their part of Papua New Guinea. Luke was published last year in seven languages and Luke-Acts together will be published this year in ten. If district church leaders understand the importance of people hearing God’s Word in their own heart language, then their congregations at the local level may receive the training and opportunities they need to use and be transformed by the translated Scriptures. But there are also many other languages in the surrounding district that still have none of Bible in their own languages. So this conference is about the possibility of the Church being united in owning the mission to equip remote people living in darkness with the Word of God.

Pray for those leading the conference and the participants, that those whom God desires to be there will be able to come, and that the Spirit of God will grant unity of heart and purpose. And may it not be too long before those still walking in darkness see a great light.

April 20, 2012

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.

April 18, 2012

The Word speaks more clearly to the Arop people…

by mendibpng

Pastor Peter, an Arop translator and Baptist pastor. Photo by Dan Bauman.

The following is another story as related by Pastor Peter. Transcribed by Ben and translated by Jessie Wright.

Pastor Peter talks about how in 2011 when they first took the portions of Luke and Acts back to the community and listened to it for the first time, some significant discussions came up about a few passages. When they only had the pidgin trade language Bible and they would read Acts 4:12, people still thought there were many ways to God. The message in the Tok Pisin Bible was not clear to them.

After they translated Acts into the Arop language, however, the message of that verse now became completely clear to them in their own language. They now read that and understand that Jesus is this man that God sent to save us, and no one else.

Another passage that became very clear was Luke 19:10. Now they understand that Jesus is this man that God sent to save those who are lost. So the reading of these two Bible verses was a really big thing that happened when they went through the chapters to check the translations.

It’s in their own language so they do not misunderstand it.

November 22, 2011

Thankful for partnerships!

by mendibpng

Our family is pictured here with the scripture portions published in PNG by our organization this year. All of the yellow books are copies of Luke printed by our project. (R to L: Ellie, Noah, Ben Jacob, Mandy, Jenny Beth and Josiah)

After our last two village visits, Ben visited district pastors for the denominations represented in the Aitape West area. He gave them copies of the books of Luke that we had translated. Every time he visited one of these pastors, they welcomed him and showed appreciation for the translation work that is going on. Not only this, but some of these pastors have already expressed an interest in working together. Next summer, we hope to run a Church Engagement workshop with their help to promote the books of Luke and Acts. Without their help and interest, it would be difficult for people to know about God’s Word in their language. Thank you, God, for new partnerships with church leaders!

November 13, 2011

two weeks of Giving Thanks

by mendibpng

If you recieved our e-mail update last week, you will know that our hearts are overflowing with thanksgiving for what God has been doing in our lives and in our translation project. For the next two weeks, I am going to post something every day illustrating some of the things Ben and I are thankful for.

Day 1: Felix, Wolwale Translator

When we first met Felix (pictured center), he was a newly married young man. He was not as highly educated as the other translators, so he quietly deferred to his teammates during the translation process. In recent years, however, Felix has stepped up in leadership because his partner often struggled with sickness. He showed himself to be a very intelligent and careful translator, often working until late into the night in order to keep making progress. This last month, Felix organized the Wolwale Luke dedication and we felt so much joy seeing him lead his people that day.

(Below) Ben and Felix just before Felix’s family performed the two worship songs he wrote in Onnele for the celebration.

(Below) Felix and his wife and children (one of whom is named after Ben!). During our first stay in Wolwale, we saw him repeatedly showing love to his wife and kids, something that we saw again last month when he hosted us for the dedication.

Please pray for Felix:

  • Pray that his family stays well while he attends translation workshops.
  • Pray that his people would read the scriptures that he has worked so hard to translate, and that their lives would be changed as a result.
  • Pray that he would not be discouraged in this work that God has called him to.
October 6, 2011

“Today, Jesus is an Onnele man!” Part 2

by mendibpng

As I sifted through hundreds of photos, I realized that I couldn’t tell the whole story in just one blog post. So here’s the rest of the story…

A darling child, dressed in full Onnele style.

After the speeches commenced, leaders gathered to pray over Wolwale translators Joel and Felix.

Linda, one of our literacy teachers, (right) reading to a friend while others purchase copies of Luke.

On Sunday, we celebrated with a local church. Felix had written a worship song in his own language for this occasion. His family performed it.

Sitting with my girls on the women’s side of church. What a blessing it was to be a part of this joyous occasion in Wolwale!

If you are praying for the Aitape West translation project, now is the time to ask God to use the gospel of Luke to show people that He is real. He speaks their language!  He wants to live among them and change their hearts. May they learn to love their traditional enemies and turn away from sorcery that is so prevalent. Pray that husbands will not beat their wives, as their culture allows, but they will love them as Christ loves the church. Please pray for our translators, too, that they will be godly witnesses in a spiritually dark place. Thank you!!

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June 25, 2011

Confessions of a missionary wife…the worst of times

by mendibpng

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Charles Dickens in a Tale of Two Cities

For those of you new to this blog, we live in Papua New Guinea. We have just spent five weeks in the village. This was a momentous time in our project because Papua New Guinean translators from five of the language groups we work with took home copies of Luke and literacy primers. Our teammates Beth, Jessie and Ange completed a two week ‘walk about,’ hiking around to villages dedicating these books of Luke and encouraging church leaders and families to read God’s word in their langauge!

We travel from our training center in Ukarumpa to Arop, on the north coast near Aitape, several times a year.

This post is going to be about the hard things I encountered in the last five weeks; however, the next one will be about the ‘best of times’ aspect so I hope you will read both to get the balance.


I knew this trip to the village would prove to be a personal challenge for me. I told a friend recently that this was by far the hardest time out in Arop that I’ve ever had.  I had three school aged kids to homeschool and two 20 month old toddlers to keep happy while also keeping everybody fed and clothed in the village.  I often felt that I barely made it to the end of each day. The pidgin phrase “mi no inap” (I’m not able/capable) kept coming to mind. I’ve been in the village since 2002. I pulled out every trick I knew to cope. Each day I fought weariness and frustration.

 Some challenges included:

-spending over an hour discussing why a certain child needed to write a WHOLE page of a journal entry three times a week while a baby was crying

-talking calmly with another who dissolved into tears when she found a math problem too hard

-keeping Jacob from severely injuring himself (aka The Climber and Jumper) or breaking something

-holding a clingy Jenny Beth who was sick with Malaria

-breaking up squabbles between big kids who had very little privacy or space from each other

-cooking (from scratch, no refrigeration) while the toddlers were hungry and fussy

-mopping the floor and doing the dishes only to realize they needed cleaning again

-nearly running out of food

-feeling torn between printing the literacy primers (especially when the printers didn’t seem to cooperate) and being home with my kids. Ben was in charge of the kids that last week but he was also trying to get our friend Joel’s translation up to speed since he had to leave (and come back) for a funeral. Both of us felt urgency to get the literacy/translation work done before we left.

Add these to the ‘normal’ things of village life and I was a pretty stressed out mama.  It was not uncommon for Ben to come home to a wife in tears.

I think the most distressing event of the village stay was when a church leader and trusted friend of our family beat and kicked his mother because she had asked for a grass knife from her grand-daughter in law. They yelled and shouted in plain view of our side windows, and I had to explain to my kids why our friend abused his mother. When she came for pain medicine and showed me her bruises, she tearfully and angrily told me how she would never forgive her son unless he made it right. I gave her pain medicine and prayed for another opportunity to talk to her.

This is just a little glimpse of what those five weeks were like. It wasn’t all difficult, so please feel free to come back tomorrow when I’ll post my ‘best of times’ view.

June 20, 2011

And the Word goes out….

by mendibpng

If you are on our e-mail update list, you will know that our team completed printing of the book of Luke in five languages. Our Papua New Guinean colleagues took 49 copies of Luke home, and our teammates Beth, Jessie and Ange visited these language groups in order to promote the use of these newly translated Scriptures. Each of these language groups also has a reading primer using scripture from the Christmas story, which people have enthusiastically bought as well.

Hopefully the following pictures will convey the excitement our team feels over this milestone.

Ben spent hours typesetting (formatting) the Lukes. Here he prints a proof copy for Malol translators Petrus and Phillip to check over before the final copy prints.

Printed Luke hot off the presses! The Onnele men assembled books by cutting the A4 pages, stapling the sides, covering them with the cover and taping the edges with cloth book tape.

Getting the word into villages often required hiking through swamps and travelling in dugout canoes. Our teammates Beth and Ange are pictured here. (Picture by Jessie).

Our friend Rosa looking at the literacy primer with a group of children. We heard that the primer has been selling out in many places. In Sissano, people ordered 400 more copies!

Beth ended her Scripture Use talk in all the language groups with asking local pastors to gather and pray over the book of Luke. They also prayed for the translators, who felt encouraged by the community support of their work!

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