Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Urgent Need in Vanuatu: Office Support Staff and Handyman

Are you retired and interested in being involved in a work that has eternal value?   Are you flexible and have a heart for serving others? Would you be willing to use your skills to support the Bible translation efforts in Vanuatu? With 6 translation teams, 6 Scripture Use teams and 30 ni-Vanuatu involved in the current work and 60 possible Bible translations still needed,  your skills are greatly needed to support the work so that Bible translation and Scripture Use can move forward!

SIL Vanuatu has an urgent need for an Office  
Office Bible study and prayer time.
Support person and a Center Manager/handyman starting in January 2018. The director, Greg Carlson, is  looking for a couple or a family who would be mostly self–funded and willing to serve for a year or longer - but they would consider a lesser time commitment. They have had many retired couples fill the roles. If you are not retired and would like to serve in Vanuatu in 2019 onwards, you can join Wycliffe Bible Translators to serve with SIL.

SIL Vanuatu Director Greg Carlson and his wife, Bethann
From Greg, SIL Vanuatu Director

Great things are happening in Bible Translation and Scripture Use in Vanuatu. Dedicated SIL teams are working hard in the villages of our beautiful islands. God’s word is going out to people in their own languages. But all this comes to a halt without people to work in the office and the buildings in town! We simply cannot operate without someone paying the bills, looking after visas, and having a place ready for our teams to come back to for refreshment and recharging. These roles are truly crucial to the whole process. Language groups are waiting for God’s word. You can help. Please pray about joining our team.

A couple could cover both of these roles, one as the center manager and the other one in the office.  If only one of a couple wanted to fill one of these roles, there are other needs at the office that could be matched to one’s skills or interests that would require 10 to 20 hrs per week.  And, of course, singles are welcome too!

While at times these roles might require a 40 hour work week, most of the time you can get your work completed in 25-30 hrs. and have time to enjoy beautiful Port Vila and/or get involved in a local ministry.

Office Support Staff

Brief Description:

Responsible for handling business affairs of SIL Vanuatu.

Major Job Responsibilities:

  • Pay bills, pay local employees.
  • Data entry for weekly expenditures.
  • Keep financial records and prepare annual financial report. 
  • Audit financial status of entity accounts.
  • Once per year, assist Director in preparing operating budget draft. 
  • Maintain work and residence permits of all entity staff.
  • Liaise with government re: customs/import
  • Assist our SIL teams with financial questions
  • May additionally make purchases for teams in the villages, assist the director with various tasks, liaise with the cleaning staff, and other jobs as needed.
  • It is understood that the specific responsibilities of this position may be adjusted by the entity administration.

Needed skills:

Competent in MS Office, especially Excel, Word, Outlook. Previous accounting experience helpful but not required. Training provided for all tasks.

Understands and respects multicultural issues and demonstrates effective cross-cultural relationships

Center Manager
Serah, Vanuatu Bible Translation and SIL secretary

Brief Description
Responsible for coordinating the maintenance needs for the the SIL center.


  • Maintain the 12 housing and office units. Bring in experts or request work teams as needed.
  • Ensure maintenance and registration is up-to-date on the 5 group vehicles.  
  • Buy supplies and ship to village teams.
  • Oversee two yard workers and one housekeeper.
  • Other various needs related to member services
Steve, the current office staff and center manager

“I have really enjoyed getting to know many of the locals of Vanuatu and learning Bislama (the trade language of Vanuatu). The team environment of SIL has been great. To be able to encourage the guys on the outer islands and be encouraged by others is such a blessing. The job has been very varied and allowed me to gain new skills and stretch those that I already had. “  Steve

For more information, email

Friday, May 5, 2017

Vanuatu: Overcoming Obstacles by Recording Scriptures

"Ah, but how Satan must be frustrated when the obstacles to understanding the Good News are removed through audio recordings. He must get in a rage when he sees men and women who cannot read listening to a high-quality recording of a Bible translation that speaks God’s message naturally, piercing to the heart of the listener and changing their lives for God’s glory!"
Overcoming Obstacles by Recording Scripture

I serve at Faith Comes By Hearing as the International Language Recording Coordinator, overseeing Scripture recording projects in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific. Before accepting this position three years ago, I lived with my family in a remote village on Tanna Island in the South Pacific archipelago named Vanuatu. I spent 12 years there and facilitated a New Testament translation of Nafe with a committed group of mother-tongue speakers.

I believe in Bible translation. I’m also passionate about working hard to see those translations recorded because recording Scripture is powerful. It is able to overcome the obstacles that often hinder the effectiveness of God’s Word in print alone.
The first obstacle that recording the Scripture overcomes is illiteracy. According to recent statistics provided by UNESCO, 758 million adults remain illiterate in the world today.1 These people live in developing nations where minority languages are spoken. When given a printed Bible, they smile and look at the pictures; but they are not able to comprehend the life-giving message by reading the words.
What can be done? Can they be taught to understand the writing on the page? Yes, and in most Bible translation projects around the world, literacy is part of the program plan.
For whatever reason, however, many do not learn, and indeed many will not learn, how to read fluently in their mother tongue. This struggle with illiteracy can be overcome quickly by providing oral people with an audio recording of God’s Word.
The second obstacle that recording the Scripture overcomes is unnatural renderings. Unnatural renderings creep into Bible translations primarily by: (1) non-native speakers who are heavily involved in the drafting process, and (2) native speakers who draft while trying to make the translation follow source language structures that might not match the regular patterns of their mother-tongue speech. Ideally, all these unwanted, odd-sounding expressions will be discovered before the text is printed.
And recording the Scriptures before typesetting and printing them is a very helpful way to facilitate this discovery process.
On Tanna Island, every time the translation committee completed a portion of Scripture in Nafe, we would record it before printing it. The books of Mark, Luke, Acts, James, and others, were released both in print and audio well before the entire New Testament was completed. In all cases, it did not matter how many times the printed drafts had gone through community checking and public readings, the recording process always revealed barriers to understanding created by odd-sounding expressions. These unnatural renderings uncovered through the recording process were corrected before the text was typeset for printing the final version.
In partnership with Seed Company and Pioneer Bible Translators, we have created an oral Bible translation software called Render so that the need for literacy in the Bible translation process can be removed.
The third obstacle that recording the Scripture overcomes is Scripture-use norms that militate against using vernacular Scripture. In many places where Bible translation is taking place today, there are already Scripture-use norms that have been established.
These norms include, for example, reading the Bible in the national language during church services, or perhaps a foreign-language Bible that is considered more prestigious (e.g., English, Spanish, or French translations). It is often normal for churches to appoint pastors who do not speak the vernacular language. This requires that he speaks the national language. The church members will often do likewise as a courtesy when the pastor is present.
Often times these norms do not leave much room for vernacular Scripture initiatives. It is not that the speakers of the language are not interested in mother-tongue Scripture.
They are!
It’s not that they do not need the vernacular Scriptures to understand more clearly God’s message.
They do!
The problem is they are not accustomed to using mother-tongue Scripture in church, or during other events when interacting with Scripture is appropriate. However, recording the Scriptures removes the obstruction of what is normal Scripture use and opens the door for new patterns to be established. These new patterns might include listening while cooking, while gardening, while walking through the forest, while lying on one’s bed at night, or at specified times in Faith Comes By Hearing listening groups.
We watched these new norms develop overnight on Tanna, and it was a joy to see!
Finally, recording the Scripture overcomes the devil and brings glory to God. The Scriptures teach us that deception is the work of Satan. He is a liar and the father or lies (John 8:44). For this reason, he rejoices when the inability to read keeps God’s message from being comprehended. He likes it when people are unable to understand the Word because the translation is full of unnatural renderings. He probably chuckles when for practical reasons, or perhaps for prestige, foreign and/or second language translations are read to people and they have no heartfelt response.
Ah, but how Satan must be frustrated when the obstacles to understanding the Good News are removed through audio recordings. He must get in a rage when he sees men and women who cannot read listening to a high-quality recording of a Bible translation that speaks God’s message naturally, piercing to the heart of the listener and changing their lives for God’s glory!
This is the goal.
And this is why I serve at Faith Comes By Hearing.
Sources cited
1 “Overview of Literacy,” UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy, accessed April 10, 2017,

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Vanuatu: Lewo New Testament Dedication

The Lewo people of Vanuatu now have a New Testament! 

From Ross and Lyndal, good friends who helped finish the project:

Now that’s what I call a week or two! What could be more spectacular than the grand reception the New Testaments received a week prior to the dedication? The dedication itself, of course. The Lewo translation committee and community pulled out all stops, aided and abetted by the Lord himself who seemingly miraculously stopped the rain for the two days of guests and celebrations.

The light of the Good News is coming.
A bamboo raft was constructed to bring a box of New Testaments and MegaVoice audio players down the coast with a flare burning to signify the light of the Word. All guests and village people from all around Epi Island, Lewo and non-Lewo speakers marched the boxes into the public square where flag raising, speeches, choirs, special music, bunting, cake cutting, Bible buying and food eating gave them a fitting dedication and ‘'launching'.

The head chief of Nikaura village said it well:

“The first missionaries to Vanuatu used our local languages. Our languages were later taken out of the schools, but today, our language has come back to us! Our mother tongue is important to us – it sets us apart from other people. But more important is the Bible where we learn God’s thoughts. Even better is when the Bible is joined to our language so that we can really understand and live with blessing when we believe it."

Welcome,welcome, wherever you've come from!
Choirs from three language groups and two churches. 
Look at it. This is our dream!

Sales were brisk!
Suffer the little children to listen too!

Take a longer look at the dedication!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Solomon Islands

Would you like to be involved in giving God’s Word to the 25+ languages that are still waiting to have God’s Word in their own language?  

Do you want to work with local Bible translators to train and mentor them?  Would you like to strengthen the local church by providing Scripture so the people can clearly understand the gospel and who God is?  If so, consider serving in the Solomon Islands!
SITAG’s main objectives are to train Solomon Islanders in Bible translation, literacy and linguistic principles and to provide advisor and consultant help for those engaged in such work.
Current Work
Translation work completed in recent decades has laid a good foundation for rapid progress in remaining languages. Because translations have been done in many strategic languages throughout the Solomons, many remaining projects may be able to use computer adaptation tools and language cluster approaches.
That said, a small number of the remaining languages will still require a more traditional one-team, one-language approach, but even in these projects, the main focus of SITAG personnel will be the training, advising and mentoring of Solomon Islanders.

Since the people who need this work the most live mainly in rural areas, SITAG families generally live out in the provinces where they can best learn the language and culture of a particular language group.  They then work with national counterparts, training them in translation principles and procedures. 

Advisors are needed for New and Old Testament translation teams.

Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group

SITAG is a small entity (approximately 30 members) administered by a director who is advised by a committee of members and accountable to the SIL Area Director. SITAG’s infrastructure and support services (e.g., housing, transportation, purchasing) are minimal.

SITAG members need to be resourceful, self-directed people who can adapt to local conditions and challenging circumstances while still managing time well and remaining focused. Close relationships with Solomon Islanders and with other expatriate families require grace, humility and openness in all areas of life. It takes a special kind of person to live and serve in the Solomon Islands. If you’re one of those people, we’d love to talk with you. We have many Solomon Islanders who are waiting for your help!

For more information, contact Wendy at   

Additional Information:

Blogs from the Solomons:

Havengadventure Serving as Translation Advisors
Choate Serving as Translation Advisors
Matzke Mission Serving as Directors in the Solomon Islands
Van Andel's Adventures Serving as Translation Advisors

Quick Facts

Population: 472,000 (SIL Ethnologue)  
94% Melanesian
Polynesian and expatriate minorities
Literacy rate: 5-60% (SIL Ethnologue)
Living languages: 70
New Testaments and Bibles: 22
Active translation programs: 20
Remaining need: 25 or more
Economy: 75% subsistence agriculture;
fish, timber, copra, cocoa, palm oil, services
Religion: 95% Christian; animism and cults

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Needed: Operations Manager for the Solomon Islands

Do you enjoy using your administrative gifts to help others? Your gifts and talents could be used to support Bible translation in the Solomon Islands. 

The Solomon Islands, an archipelago about 1000 miles east of the northern tip of Australia is home to about 600,000 people from about 65 different language groups.
The New Testament has been published in 18 languages and 5 language groups have full Bibles.

The Operations Manager works closely with the Director and other staff to help provide administrative leadership for the smooth operation of the office, group houses and vehicles and communicate with the members of the group.  Good relationships with members, administration, officials and visitors are a high value as we strive for working together in harmony.

The job includes a variety of duties and no two days are the same. An important part of the job is helping to provide support for language teams whose ministry is based in a village setting. This includes helping with ticket purchases, sending supplies to personnel in the provinces by ship or air and regular communication with these teams via email and two-way radio.

We are blessed with Solomon Islands employees who work alongside us. The Operations Manager works closely with the employees and needs to feel comfortable working in this cross-cultural situation. The employees are most comfortable speaking Solomon Islands Pijin, so being willing to learn this language is a must.

At times the job may require supervision of building maintenance and building projects, which may involve outside workers as well.

Ideally, we'd love to have someone commit to this role for 2+ years but if you have 4+ months to give, let's talk!

For more information on the Bible translation work in Solomon Islands, click here.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Vanuatu: Trenem Tingting Course

Trenem Tingting

(Literally: Train your Thoughts)


Course Intake 3 Module 2

 Vanuatu SIL

Report by Lyndal Webb 

It was the last morning of the Trenem Tingting course. We read the Bible together before we broke into small groups to pray. “Read the passage again in your group before you go into a time of prayer,” were the instructions.

I joined a group and one of the participants read aloud the verses of David’s prayer of thanksgiving. “OK,” he began, “Verse 8 says tell God thank you, verse 9 says we must praise Him,” and he continued noting what David wrote in each verse. “Yes, but look at Verse 11 and 12,” added someone else.  “We’re to look only to God and we’ve got to talk about his miracles. That means how He has saved us, ah?” I nodded in agreement, thinking, ‘Wow, all this teaching is working!’ “You know,” continued the first participant, “at the first session of Trenem Tingting last year, I didn’t really get it, but this time, I have. I see now that following God is not about ‘prosperity’. No, the good things from God are what’s in His Word. I get it now.” My prayer in our little group was one of praise!

Now the course didn't set out to critique ‘prosperity Gospel’, but we did set out to draw the participants attention to the meaning of God’s wonderful saving ways by helping them to read the precious text carefully, to help them put aside previous side-tracking notions, and to get them to let the text speak for itself, so to speak. The Word is so rich when it is allowed to speak. The participant’s testimony shows that in God’s mercy, the workshop’s goal was met for him.
Another wrote in his evaluation, “For me the course changed my usual practice of generalizing the text into a ‘theme.’”  Workshop goal achieved! Each day we talked about analysing what we read, asking questions, answering questions, pulling it all together to discover the specific message the writer is delivering. May God continue to help this pastor and Bible translator in his many opportunities to teach God’s Word in his community, in school and church.  He already reported at the beginning of the course that he’d had the opportunity teaching some of what he learnt in the first module to a gathering of about 50 young people.
God’s plan for marriage was a topic we spent quite a bit of time on in this module – doing some careful reading of passages from Genesis and Ephesians. “My thinking changed through reading what God’s Word says about marriage,” said single young man . Good! Yet another goal reached. Our aim was not to solve in a sitting the many current problems within communities, but this young man now has a Biblical foundation to apply to his own life and some skills to think through these issues with his community when he has the opportunity.
There were some days when the thinking training was plain hard as their brains were “stretched”  yet their love for God is evident and their desire to learn more about how to find the wonderful truths in God’s Word spurs us on as does their expressions of thankfulness for the course.

One man wrapped it up, “I am happy because I think I’m a lucky man to attend a course like this to train me how to work with God’s Word in our translation project.”

To learn more about the Bible translation work in Vanuatu, click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Who should be involved in Bible translation?

Some are sent to different lands to assist in translation, while others stay at home in order to help support the work of Bible Translation. Those that are sent have many different ways of working. 
Here in Papua New Guinea, there are many different roles where people can get involved.  Some work in translation and language development, others support the process of doctors, teachers, accountants and construction workers. Some teach people how to read and others teach teachers how to use heart languages in their classroom.
Meet JoAnne, a Papua New Guinean who is currently working with SIL.
JoAnne, a Kuanua speaker from Rabaul who is a compositer/printer by trade, first came to work in the Ukarumpa Print Shop in 1989. At the time, JoAnne didn’t know anything about Ukarumpa or Bible translation.  “I just thought, well, I can try it out…and I’m still here!”  She laughed at the memory.
While she was working in the Print Shop, JoAnne came to know Jesus in a Bible study. “I really love my job,” she smiled. “I feel that this is where God has put me…I am really supportive of Bible translation and the translators… We are all a part of this. I tell my friends, I’m not a preacher or an evangelist, but what I do here in the Print Shop, it’s part of building God’s kingdom.”
Not only does the Print Shop produce Scripture portions, literacy books and hymnals, but they also create other much needed items like certificates, receipt books, passport photos, letterheads, invoices, record books, textbooks and much more. Their reputation of high quality work also brings in commercial jobs from around the country.
“We are always running!” JoAnne shook her head. “We’ll work during the night if we have to… [But] God is always helping us. Every time we think it’s too much for us, somehow we get them done on time, on the plane and shipped out. God is always good.”
In the beginning, JoAnne thought of printing as just as another job. ”And then one day, it dawned on me—I’m printing Scripture! I got really excited when I realized this is the Word, and I’m a part of it! That was… life-changing for me… I feel it’s my ministry.”

How should you be involved? Pray that God would show you His plan for accomplishing the task of getting the Scriptures in every heart language.

Article taken from the SIL PNG 2015 Annual Report