September 17, 2015
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to our family. We first arrived in 2002 as a family of four, and eventually grew to be a family of seven. Yesterday was PNG’s 40th birthday. I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to our home of 13 years.
- Many of our happiest family memories come from PNG: going to the beach in Wewak, making fireworks out of steel wool, swimming in the river, etc.
- Since our kids have grown up here, our friends have become family, both PNG and expats. I love that I can get to a close friend’s house in a 5-10 minutes’ walk.
- I love the relational aspects of Melanesian culture. Working together, sharing, reciprocating, and being with people are important here.
- We have a purposeful ministry in the work of Bible translation. It is mind boggling that where we live people do not have access to God’s Word in their own language. Every Scripture portion that comes from The Aitape West Project is one more piece of God’s Talk for our neighbors to read and hear for the first time in their language. There is nothing like seeing the look on someone’s face when they hear it for the first time, as evidenced in the picture above, when Pastor Peter played the audio of the Gospel of Luke at the market one day.
- I love the beautiful foliage, landscape and animals. (I admit I’m not too crazy about pesky insects though!) Every morning I wake up to a bunch of birds in the eucalyptus tree next to my house singing crazy songs.
- We have freedom here to serve the PNG people in whatever way they need it.
- PNG is the land of the unexpected. I am constantly learning from this that I am not in control of everything. It is a good thing because I tend to hold too tightly to my plans and my ideas. When we first arrived in PNG, other missionaries modeled being learners and respecting the culture and environment we are in; it has helped us walk into situations with open hands.
- Our kids are growing up with lots of people from different cultures. They are learning to navigate cultural misunderstandings as well as value different perspectives. Ben and I have benefited from this too.
- We live with minimal commercialism here. Being in a place where it’s difficult to get something (and it’s costly!) means that you really consider whether you want to buy it or not. None of us has it perfect, but I feel like our kids have a lot of opportunities to be in nature, to create, and to be free to play.
- To sum it all up, the people here are the biggest reason I love PNG. God put them on our hearts years ago, and whispered to us that He wanted us to stay, even though we thought we’d only come for a short while.
We belong here.
December 25, 2014
(above) Community leaders pray over the Wolwale Onnele translators at their dedication of the gospel of Luke. The following is the Christmas Story in the Goiniri Onnele language, the words of Zechariah to his infant son John just before the birth of Jesus.
Yene ese yukule nu pinuma woneni sa nu ese namale, wu wolpalo nu.
Manawamo yire ese yuꞌpole nale fafaile empo nu fai nangkene
ka ese yuꞌpu nu kore.
Ka wu ese yawane ali wongke empo heven ese yolo mone,
sa ese ali yane uma empo naine mokoi ningki ka rili sa nu samo num,
ka ese yukule mone rokoi empo wolpuna raulo.
You will show his people and they will know, he down-livers them.
Bigman wants to remove the bad skin that they do
and will get them back again.
And he will send a light of heaven to come down on you and me,
to give light to people in a place of darkness and death, where they really fear,
and he will show you and I the path of liver-stomach coolness.
– Luke 1:77-79
Praise God with us that the Arop, Sissano, Malol, Wolwale, Goiniri, Rombar, Barupu, Ramo, Pou and Sumo people have the Christmas story in written and recorded form now! Pray that Jesus, the Light of the World will shine in the places of darkness, death and fear and that these communities will seek “the path of liver-stomach coolness”, as they say in the Onnele idiom.
February 13, 2012
The concluding part 8 in the continuing short history of the Goiniri Onnele people of Papua New Guinea as reported to me last week by Dominic Pusai…
Now that the road is going in up there to Koi Nili, the Goiniri could move back to their roots within the next few years. At the same time the Goiniri, Wolwale, and Romei-Barera Bible translators are starting to think about taking the Bible translation movement into the mountains. There are many other Onnele language groups that still live in remote areas and have no access to the Word of God in their own languages.
These translators became a part of the Aitape West Translation Project in 2001 after a tsunami forced the Arop people to relocate further inland and the Arop translation team found themselves centrally located between 10 other language groups in the region. They were asking for Bible translation, and they couldn’t be denied. If the Goiniri people move back to Old Goiniri, or Koi Nili – “the place where they sing” — this could be another central area where the Bible translation movement could clearly mark out a new road for many other groups in the Onnele family of languages.
And once again they’ll hear others singing at Koi Nili. But these will be new songs about a new road from the Word of God, and in their own languages.