Thursday, December 30, 2010

Videos of Bible dedications

I wish everyone could attend a Bible dedication in their lifetime!  We've been to 2 of them  and the day (or perhaps a week of festivities) is full of energy and excitement!  There is feasting, dancing, singing and many speeches. It's a culmination of a lot of years of hard work and perseverance and a time when the translators say, "Yes, it's worth it all!"  We were able to hand out Bibles at one dedication and what a privilege it was!  People were so thankful and many gave me bilums (string bags) as a way of saying thanks.  Their excitement and enthusiasm made me appreciate God's Word in English all the more. What would it be like to not have God's Word in my own language?

Papua New Guinea:

Kuman New Testament

Folopa New Testament  and I'll include this short video of an interview with the translator on the day of the dedication.

Lote New Testament

West Kewa New Testament


North Tanna New Testament

Solomon Islands

Arosi Dedication

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bible Dedications planned for 2011 -12 in PNG

15 Bible Dedications are being planned for 2011-12! I see each one as a testimony of God's faithfulness through the years in enabling the translators to keep going and providing all that was needed to get the work done. Let's pray that nothing will keep these dedications from taking place and that people will know God through reading His Word in their own language!

Language                               Date                        Province

Nehan                                 Jan 15, 2011               Bougainville

Ata                                      Apr 2011                    West New Britain

Saveeng-Tuam (Mutu)         Apr 2011                    Morobe

Saveeng-Oov (Mutu)           Apr 2011                    Morobe

Madak                                                                   New Ireland

Agarabi                          May 22, 2011                  Eastern Highlands

Bola                               June 25, 2011                  New Britain

Bariai                              Aug 2012                        New Britain

Kuni-Boazi                                                            Western

Arop-Lokep                  2011, 2014                      Madang

Marik                                                                    Madang

Maiwa                              2012                            Milne Bay

Ogea (BTA)                                                         Madang

Uri                                                                        Morobe

Konai                                                                   Western

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Update on Scripture Engagement in the Pacific

I was encouraged to read the following report from Mick Bandy, the Scripture Use coordinator for the Pacific area. SALT stands for Scripture Application and Leadership Training and it's designed to help and encourage people to read the Bible.  You can read more about SALT here and Scripture Use here.

Yopno SALT course, Morebe Province, PNG, August 2010

The Yopno SALT course ran from August 9-22, immediately after the dedication of the Yopno New Testament on August 8, 2010. More than 200 participants were enrolled in the course, and many of them had purchased the Yopno New Testament and Psalms at the dedication. They were eager to attend the SALT course which began two days later. In fact, so many people wanted to hear the lessons that there was not enough room for them in the building. Some sat outside, listening intently to the teaching through the thatched walls.

Scripure Use Principles and Methods Course, PNG
Sept. 13-17, 2010

On the 13-15th and 17th September, the SIL-PNG Scripture Use Department hosted a Scripture Use Principles and Methods course at SIL’s new training centre. The course objectives were to familiarize participants with the resources available to run a local or regional Scripture Use course, as well as to enable them to lead and teach an SU workshop in their language areas. Topics included in this workshop were "Barriers" presented by Lizzie Meyer; "Culture in the Plan of God" presented by Amy Lindstrom; "Language in the Plan of God" presented by Danny DeLoach; "Key Terms and Translation Principles" presented by Joan Farr; "Multilanguage Churches" presented by Danny DeLoach; "SU in the Arts" presented by Patty Van der Meer; and "Storytelling" presented by Cindy Walker. The book "Translating the Bible Into Action" was the resource book made available for participants to purchase. "Yusim Baibel" was also given to the Papua New Guinea participants as a supplemental book to go in connection with "Translating the Bible Into Action." The photo above is an interactive exercise called "gatekeepers and clan leaders."

Solomon Islands Pisin SALT course, Honiara, Sept. 6-17, 2010

Twenty-four pastors and church leaders from five different language groups received certificates at the Solomon Islands Pisin SALT course, which ran from September 6-17, 2010, in Honiara, Guadalcanal.

Solomon Islands SALT Instructors' Training Course, Honiara, September 20-24, 2010

After the SALT course, a SALT Instructors’ Training course was conducted for 18 pastors and church leaders from 5 language groups. These leaders are now certified to teach the SALT course in their own language group in the Solomon Islands.

New Ireland Province Scripture Use Conference, PNG, September 27 - October 1, 2010

Church leaders from all over New Ireland Province gathered under the banner "Mother-tongue Scripture Conference: God's Word in mother-tongue is truly sweet!" This conference was the first regional Scripture Use conference planned as a follow-up to the national level Scripture Use conference held at Ukarumpa in January 2010. A few highlights of the New Ireland Province Scripture Use conference were: All church denominations present made concrete commitments to promote the translation and use of vernacular Scriptures in their congregations. A particular encouragement was the high level of enthusiasm and support from the many top-level regional Catholic leaders who attended, including the Bishop from the area. At the end of the conference all participants affirmed a ‘declaration’, attesting to the central role of mother-tongue Scriptures in the life of the church. The sweet spirit of unity expressed and experienced by the diverse denominations present was savored by all.

Tok Ples in Ministry Awareness Visits in Rabaul/Kokopo Area,PNG, October 4-7
From 4 to 7 October 2010 Steven Hong and Danny DeLoach visited several church training schools in the Rabaul/Kokopo area to promote awareness of the Tok Ples in Ministry Course. (Note: This course also goes by the name Vernacular in Ministry course, but the name has been changed for use outside of SIL.) The Rabaul area is a major center of church training institutions. Danny DeLoach reports: "We were received warmly be each school we visited. We left Tok Ples in Ministry resources (including lesson plans and brochures) with the Regional Centre manager." Highlights included: The leaders of the SDA school, Sonoma Adventist College, were very interested and excited about the Tok Ples in Ministry curriculum. They were ready for someone to come teach once a week for several weeks right away. The principal of Sonoma is a Nyndrou speaker from Manus Island. He says that he reads his Tok Ples (vernacular) Bible regularly and even refers to it when some passages are not clear to him in English. Each of the other three schools visited clearly expressed their desire to have Tok Ples in Ministry courses.

Hymnbook Production Workshop 
Ligga, New Ireland Province, October 4-15

A Hymnbook Production Workshop was held at Ligga (near Kavieng) for three language groups of Northern New Ireland Province in PNG. This program was initiated by Steven and Holly Hong in cooperation with the United Church of New Ireland. Tomas and Riikka-Maria Kolkka facilitated the workshop, which had participants from the Tigak, Tiang and Kara-Luvurua languages. The oldest man in the picture above, Alison, has translated 200 hymns into the Tigak language!

SMBG (Sabi Mowa Blanga Godwei) course
Northern Territory, Australia, November 3-12, 2010

Pacific S.A.L.T. material was adapted and translated into the Kriol language; and Margaret Mickan, Lisa Detleftsen, John Armstrong and Rachel Borneman taught the SMBG (Sabi Mowa Blanga Godwei) course from November 3-12, 2010. Rachel reports highlights of the course include: "Reading the Kriol Bible ‘mijamet’ (i.e. together) and helping them (& us) grow stronger in their walk with the Lord; having about 10 faithful ladies that came more than eighty percent of the time. Some mates of John came a few times plus others; using a variety in the teaching styles – i.e. posters, worksheets, dramas, questions, etc. to present the message in Kriol; knowing most of the language, most of us could teach directly in Kriol and could adapt the worksheets to suit what we were teaching; Lisa’s inspiration in printing a children’s colouring-in sheet with each teaching for the kids that were coming; helping to encourage the indigenous folk to share the teachings at fellowship and out to the communities and share even at a card game! Great to have John continue to be there. Please pray as he continues to teach the Sin topics. As we got through the first secion ‘Hu God en hau im laigim pipul’ i.e. God and how he loves his people."

Iyo SALT course, Madang Province, PNG
November 12 - 27, 2010
Approximately 80 people attended the Iyo SALT course everyday, with 48 receiving certificates at the end of the course. The translation of the Iyo New Testament was facilitated by Paul and Jennie Minter.

SALT Instructors' Training Course, Ukarumpa, PNG, November 29 - December 4, 2010

Mick Bandy, Palmer Bandy, Marjan Sikkema, Carol Saferita, Fred Igami and Abra Noso facilitated this SALT Instructors' Training Course in Ukarumpa Training Center, PNG. At the graduation ceremony on December 4, 2010, nineteen new SALT instructors were recognized as Certified SALT Instructors. These participants will now join SALT teams throughout the nation of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific to encourage the study of God's Word in their own heart languages. "The Power of God’s Word … in every language … in every heart."

Future SU events planned during 2011 in the Pacific Area:

Trauma Healing Workshop in PNG scheduled for July 2011 - We will be hosting the very first Aiyura Valley Trauma Healing Workshop next July at our new training centre. A total of forty church pastors and church leaders (men and women) will be invited to attend this workshop which will train them on the area of trauma: the effects of trauma, how to grieve well and what the process of grief looks like, how to help women who have been raped and children of HIV AIDS who are left behind, and how to prepare for future crises and trauma. This workshop is a HUGE tool that God is giving us in order to equip our church pastors and leaders in the valley and we ask for financial support to make it possible, as well as prayer cover and spiritual wisdom for our teaching staff.

Various Regional Scripture Use Workshops are scheduled throughout Papua New Guinea in 2011.

SALT Courses in 2011

Jan 2011 -- Numangang SALT -- Jan 10-22

Feb 2011 -- Aiyugam SALT – Jan 31 – Feb 13

Feb 2011 – Tabo SALT - TBD,

March 2011 – Barum-Mindik SITC - TBD

April 2011 – Miniafia SALT - April 4-16

May 2011 – Sursurunga SALT - May 2-15

June 2011 – Bola SALT - June 24 – July 12

July 2011 – Ata SALT - TBD

Aug 2011 – Abau SALT course - Aug 22 – Sept 3

Sept 2011 – Solomon Islands SALT - Sept 19-30

*TBD = To be determined

Want to be involved?  Contact me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

PNG: Quotes from Scripture Use Conference

A Scripture Use Conference was recently held in New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea.  There were 25 languages represented: 7 have completed New Testaments and the 18 other languages are being translated.  46 people attended and there were 5 denominations represented!

This is exciting to see different denominations coming together to declare the importance of Scripture in one's own language.

The participants wrote up this  encouraging declaration during the conference::

• A Bible in one’s own language tastes sweet on our lips and cuts more deeply into our hearts, and it is essential for a vibrant church. (2 Timothy 3:16; Heb 4:12; Ezk 3:3; Jam 2:14-26)

• Christians must be able to understand the Bible clearly in order to grow in their faith. (Acts 8:30-31)

• For many people in our communities, the language that best helps them to understand the Bible is tok ples(their own language).

• We must start in our families, in our communities and go into all the world, reaching people in the language that they understand best. (Acts 1:8)

The following are paraphrased quotes from some of the participants:

Four Square Pastor:

This conference was like a clinic. We came with all kinds of sores. Or it is like we were a car running with out oil. When this conference started, I was not moved deeply in my heart, but at the end of this conference, I am moved deeply in my heart.

My denomination has a dream to reach New Ireland for Jesus. We’ve been wondering how to do that. Now I see that using mother-tongue Scriptures is a key strategy.

CLC Pastor:

I have seen God work deeply in my life. The cry of my heart has been to see the people in my church experience the same deep touch from God. I have lived both in a remote village and in town. I have seen the power of mother-tongue. I witnessed how the Word of God in mother-tongue deeply touches people. After this conference I am convicted about doing all I can to get the mother-tongue Scriptures to all the people. I feel challenged to start in my own family, promoting our own language.

Before this conference I did not experience much cooperation between the different denominations in our area. However, now I have a desire to work closely with other churches for this purpose of getting mother-tongue Scriptures out to everyone.

Seventh Day Adventist Participant:

Thank you to all the top leaders of the other denominations. I did not know you very well before this conference. But I have come to know you better and appreciate you during this conference.

I have a blended family. My first wife passed away in 2007. After that I married a woman who is from another language area. Her previous husband was from a third language. So, in my family now my children and step-children speak three different languages. I have been convicted through this conference to support and encourage each of my children to keep and maintain their own languages.

Bishop of Catholic Church (Bishop Ambrose Kiapseni):

I feel encouraged that we can work together more closely. I had expected that there might be quarrels between us in this conference. However, we experienced the presence of God with us and we saw a great unity. Now I am convinced that we can work together, because of our experience this week. I do not want to forget what happened here this week. When we leave here and go back to our communities, let’s don’t go back to saying, “Oh, we are so different, we can’t work together”. Instead, let’s keep this spirit of unity. We have only one thing that keeps us together – that is Christ!

Second in Charge of United Church:

I have heard a saying, “There is no fast food in the Bible”. Think of a cow. There is a phrase we call “chewing the cud”. This refers to how a cow eats grass, and then just keeps on chewing on it for a long time. Someone may look at the cow doing this and say, “Oh, that is just a waste of time”. But think about what is happening. During that time that the cow is chewing the grass and gradually digesting it, over time it turns into creamy milk. That is how our time this week has been. We have to think over what we have heard this week from one another. We have to meditate about it to allow it to sink deeply into us.

Many people try to treat God’s Word like fast food or a snack. This leads to weak Christians and churches. Psalm 119:9-24 tells us how to place God’s Word at the center of our lives. As we study His Word and follow it, we will have strong Christians and healthy churches. We have to apply Scripture in our everyday lives. God’s Word is not meant to be fast food. If we approach it this way, how will it steer our lives?

Let’s all work together to see that all the people can have God’s Word. Encourage them not to see it as a snack food but to take it in deeply, meditate on it and receive strength from it.

Lamsong Parish Council Secretary (Blaise Lavenas):

We can’t just translate the Bible and not teach people how to use it. This would be like giving someone a car and not teaching them that it needs oil and water. In this case the person would just get in and drive it every day and the car would break down. In the same way, it is essential that we teach people how to use their Bibles.

Regional Catholic Leader (Father Bartholomew Marang):

When we don’t have a tok ples, it is like we don’t have roots and the wind can blow us around.

Four Square Pastor

Language is like a bridge for communication. Too often when the Scripture is in a language people do not understand well, it is like a bridge that is broken.

Wow, I was so encouraged to read this report and I thank God for what He is doing!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Did you know there are still Bible translation needs in Australia?
An Aboriginal Bible translator concluded: “When we hear the story in English, it does not transform us. But in our own language, God talks directly to us like a close relative.”

The Australian Society for Indigenous Languages has been serving the Aboriginal and Islander Language Communities in Australia since the early 1960s. In the last 7 years, we have expanded our work to include communities and groups in and around the island of Timor. We specialise in the production of vernacular language materials, as well as linguistic documentation of the many vernacular languages.

Current Needs:

Audio Recordists and Vernacular Media Specialists, Print Publications Manager, Artists including Graphic Design Artists, IT Specialists, Sunday School Curriculum Developer, Linguist/Translators, Office Manager, Finance Manager, Administrative Assistants, Bible School/Seminary Trainer, Scripture Use Workers, Web Master, Events Coordinator, Photo Journalist and more!

Contact me if you'd like more information.

    AuSIL signs MOU with Indigenous Presbytery (NRCC)

        and Uniting Church in Australia, Northern Synod

On Monday evening, 27 September 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the translation of Scriptures into indigenous languages was signed by leaders of AuSIL, the Northern Regional Council of Congress (NRCC – an indigenous presbytery and regional committee of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander
Christian Congress) and the Uniting Church in Australia Northern Synod. The signing was witnessed by Synod and surrounded by indigenous translators and advisors representing teams from eight languages in Arnhem Land who have recently started working on translation.

The partnership will be carried out through Coordinating Support for Indigenous Scriptures (CSIS), a Uniting Church initiative to support people who are involved in indigenous Scripture and resource work in the ministry areas of the NRCC. For more information see and


The Book in the Bush

by David Strickland

Papunya. Mutitjulu. Titjikala. Irrwelty. Areyonga. Kiwirrkurra. The names roll off the lips after a while, but most Australians have never heard of them. Some of them you would be hard put to find on a map. The names evoke an Aboriginal world that almost seems to operate in parallel to the white Australian world, and can be almost invisible to it. Yet these worlds momentarily mesh together for a meeting of minds and fellowship at the pastors’ training courses, held by the Finke River Mission (FRM).

The names are all places where these courses are held. They are held three times per year, and when you consider that the area covered by these Lutheran communities straddles two states as well as the Northern Territory, you have some idea of the distance travelled to attend the courses, sometimes up to 1500 kilometres. These distances are often beyond the reach of the average sedan car, so those with four-wheel-drive vehicles (including the missionaries) are usually required to pick up people.

The courses are held at bush camps, within easy range of a local community. Usually an area is cleared for this purpose. Having the camp away from the community means that there are fewer distractions to the Bible studies. Holding courses in the bush near where the people live seems far preferable to bringing them to a town like Alice Springs, where there are too many unwelcome distractions.

The course itself may be a study of a book or a wider theme such as parables. A visiting speaker conducts the teaching in English, then the teaching is interpreted in various languages by the missionaries.

The available languages include Pintupi/Luritja, Pitjantjatjara, Western Arrarnta and Alyawarr. Where the translation work has already been done, the Scriptures are read in these languages. More translation is being produced including in Anmatyerr, a new project, and work is continuing in the Alyawarr project. This mode of teaching means that the course moves more slowly, but it also means that everybody should be able to understand what is said. FRM has always had a policy of working in the people’s own languages and translating the Scriptures. This involves a huge investment in time spent in learning the culture and language, but it yields results with pastors and churches established throughout Central Australia.

Imagine having a week’s Bible study in full view of Uluru! Or, in a creek bed fringed by ghost gums! We can often enjoy God’s creation when attending the course, uncluttered by classrooms or desks! Normally we need to find shade, so there is a lot of jockeying for position. We are vulnerable too to wind, rain or dust, so there can be interruptions. Whenever there is rain, people get nervous about driving home on the dirt roads, so it can be a hard job to keep the troops in the barracks!

FRM has an efficient ordinance system perfected after years of practice. A food trailer and a water trailer are brought. The food trailer has a generator and a freezer to keep the food supplies for a week. The local community usually pitches in by providing firewood. There is a cook who lights the fires and cooks vegetables and billies of tea. However the overwhelming preference is for meat, and there is plenty of it! The men cook their own meat on the fires provided.

Some men find the course a bit daunting. They may be reluctant to travel into unknown areas. Tradition and folklore may need to be overcome, or they may just get homesick being away from their homelands. Perhaps they experience ‘culture shock’ or even are convicted by the teaching. Others relish the opportunity to mix with other groups, and one man seems to be known from the West Australian coast right across to Queensland! When camping, they tend to camp and eat with their own group. At night camp fires light up the night sky, especially if it is cold. It is a great opportunity to sit around the fire just chatting with the men, and building up strong friendships. They appreciate it when the missionaries sleep alongside the others, ‘just like one of us.’

During the course of the teaching, issues may arise pertinent to the current life of the churches. These and other church matters may be discussed at a meeting, usually held during an afternoon session. The last course was studying the book of 1 Peter, which has a theme of perseverance under persecution. While there is no state persecution in Australia, the men agreed that they sometimes get ‘pressure’ or ‘persecution’ from their families or community to compromise their faith. Although Aboriginal people appear to be passively listening to the messages, without much comment, these meetings give indication that the teaching is ‘getting through’. The real response is probably best expressed in their love of sing-alongs, held at night and preferably with a full electric band. A Western Desert Gospel band was formed several years ago and has produced several cassettes. They have taken an entourage of a bus and several vehicles on bush tours, recently travelling north as far as Katherine.

You can learn more about the work in Australia by reading their newsletter,

Monday, October 25, 2010

PNG: Stories

Closed Door…Opened Window

by Chad Owens, Dawn Kruger

Arrested because a revival among the people upset the religious leaders.
Three days in an unlocked cell because he promised he would not try to escape.
Reading God’s Word, singing, praying and praising God.
A second revival – this time among the prisoners.

It reads like the biblical story of Paul and Silas but it’s not – it’s the story of Mumure, a gentle pastor living in a small village of Papua New Guinea.

Mumure Ttopoqogo began working with linguist Ernie Richert because he wanted to learn English. Soon he added Hebrew and Greek to his language repertoire as together the two men translated the New Testament into the Guhu Samane language. News of their work spread throughout the area. By the time they finished the translation, the Guhu Samane people were so anxious for God’s Word that the initial printing of 1200 New Testaments sold out almost immediately and a second printing of 1600 copies sold out in just two weeks. Even those who didn’t read purchased a copy of the Bible to save for their children or grandchildren. The people believed in the power of that Word.

And the Word didn’t disappoint them. Revival broke out. The people turned from witchcraft and previous forms of worship, burning their idols and other spiritual relics. They sang the Psalms back to God in their own language, and even learned to play the guitar to enhance their worship. They used scripture songs as tools for spreading the Word among those who couldn’t read. In fact every verse of the Guhu Samane New Testament and all the Psalms were set to music. They did all this to the glory of God and the consternation of several church leaders, who condemned such practices.

The Guhu Samane people began to embrace even deeper forms of personal worship, and the church leaders became more and more displeased with this new group of believers. When this new, united body of believers began to grow exponentially, the displeased leaders conspired with the police to arrest Mumure and six of his friends, hoping to put an end to what they considered a cult. But prison walls cannot restrain the power of God’s Word.

While in prison, Mumure read aloud from an English Bible, translating the words into Guhu Samane as he read. Fellow prisoners listened to God’s Word in their own language and responded from their heart. Almost immediately, twenty men in that jail gave their lives to Christ and joined Mumure and his friends in singing, praying and praising God.

After three days, a government official came and ordered Mumure and his friends to leave, saying, “You must not go back to your home. Instead, you must go around and preach in all the remote places where we cannot go.” Like the Apostle Paul, Mumure left that prison commissioned by God to preach the Good News to people everywhere; but unlike Paul, Mumure had the blessing of the local government official to do that work.

Mumure’s son Steven outside the Translator Training Centre classrooms

Soon thousands of people turned to the Christ of the Guhu Samane Bible. Today, 35 years later, this body of believers has sent more than 50 pastors to preach the Good News throughout Papua New Guinea.

The revival never died out: it continues to reach a new generation. The vernacular Psalms and songs are still being sung in churches today. Youth and literacy programs promote the on-going study of the Guhu Samane Scriptures. Mumure and his son Steven have shifted from training pastors to training translators, encouraging Papua New Guineans to assist in translating the Word into other languages of that nation. Their desire is to see more and more people changed by the power of God’s Word in their own language.

Written by Chad Owens & Dawn Kruger

Jesus and the spirits

by Phil Carr

As told by Phil and Chris Carr, linguist-translators working with the Bamu people in PNG.

“You mean … the spirits here know of Jesus!!??”

“Too right they do! And they’re afraid of him!”


“Yes, they all know him and are afraid of him.”

We sat in silence as Domai tried to take in the enormity of what we’d told her.

She sat there almost dazed, working out the implications and thinking back on her experiences in the past. She’d been a Christian for years, had taught Sunday School for most of that time, and had been a pillar of the area’s only church. For the first time, she began to connect her understanding of Christian teaching with the spiritual realities she had grown up with, of an all-pervasive fear of sorcery and evil spirits.

Why hadn’t she known this before?

Up to now, she had never heard the Scriptures in her own language. All that she and the others had to go on was what they could observe in church meetings, and the little bits of meaning they could squeeze out of the foreign language Bibles* that were occasionally available. So they faithfully copied the ‘church actions’ like singing a few songs and getting someone who could read to read out loud from these foreign Bibles. And she soon realised that being a Christian meant that you were not allowed to drink, smoke or gamble. Then you were a good person, because other people said you were, and that’s what being a Christian was all about really.

But the old beliefs and practices didn’t go away. They weren’t even challenged. Lots of people still went to the church meeting on Sunday, and called out to the spirits to help them catch fish on all the other days without thinking twice about it... Syncretism: Christian form without Christian content.

Now things are starting to change. God’s Word has now started to come into the Bamu language for the first time. Some people are drawing closer and closer to that lamp, and others are trying to hide from it. Plenty of surprises there! But the light has started to shine, because “The unfolding of your words gives light.” Psalm 119:130.

* English and Tok Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin)

"God is a Miniafia Man"

by David Wakefield

“God is a Miniafia Man,” the loincloth-clad speaker exulted! “Before He was English, and American, and Australian. But today He has become Miniafia!”

A steady beat of drums and trumpeting of conch shells gave voice to the excitement that everyone felt as the 1st of the Miniafia-Oyan New Testaments was carried into the village on a model canoe. Traditionally dressed dancers proceeded and followed the bark cloth wrapped New Testament, their voices thundering praise: “Orokaiwa, Regah Keriso! O a merar ayiy! (Greetings, Lord Christ! We greet You!)”

Walking in front of the “canoe,” Fran and I laughed and cried our way up from the water’s edge, through Utukwaf village, to the especially prepared veranda and speakers’ platform where the Dedication service would take place. We laughed with joy over the obviously enthusiastic reception of the Scripture: 750 copies of the 1000 printed had been purchased before this first had even arrived in the village. We cried in memory of our friends who had died without seeing the Book we were now celebrating. Among them was Utukwaf village chief Gideon Yowen. Not long before he died he said, “My son, you have lived with us now for many years. I love the stories you have translated, but I am now an old man. Soon I will die. My heart is most sad about this: I will never hold the finished Book in my hands.”

The Book that Gideon Yowen died longing for, his children and grandchildren now hold in their hands. It was a day we sometimes despaired of ever seeing. We had begun the project on December 7, 1973, but had to leave it barely half done in 1993. Thanks to the perseverance of national translators Stanley Oyabuwa and Josiah Javeve, translation was finally done and we were able to return to the project and help complete final editing and typesetting early last year.

Miniafia Church leaders, though, were anxious about one thing. “David,” they said. “When you speak, please be sure to let the people know that our work is not finished. As soon as we have rested from this celebration, we need to finish the Old Testament, and we need their continuing support.” Indeed, Stanley Oyabuwa has drafted 70 chapters in Psalms already. He and his wife, Ethyl, have committed to finishing the Old Testament.

Even before the echo of celebrating voices and drumbeats had faded from the air that weekend, the Translation Committee reported that the 900th copy of the New Testament had been sold. “How can we get more?” they asked in alarm. I couldn’t help but smile. What a wonderful problem with which to end a most memorable weekend!

PNG: Quotes

“In the past the Bible was like a piece of pork wrapped in banana leaves.  I tried many ways to explain how good it was, but the people just could not understand.  Now, when I read the Book of Jonah in Malinguat, it was like opening the banana leaves.  I saw the village people open their eyes wide with big smiles on their faces. Wow!  They saw the delicious pork!  They wanted to learn more about reading and about the contents of this Book.”

Malinguat Pastor

“I thought translation was about turning God’s Word into our languages. However, our goal is not translation, but transformation – a tool for taking the Gospel to our people. If people don’t change – our translation is not working.”

Nafian Saremo, Papua New Guinean advisor for the Madi Language Group and translation trainer.

“I have a large family spread throughout the village. If I work for money I can feed them all. But if I translate the Word, it is the best thing I can give them.”

Ismael Samuel, Angaataha Old Testament Translator, and participant in 2010 training courses

“Imagine an old illiterate lady who goes to church and the pastor reads the Bible in English…

Imagine going to a house and they give you one banana, and they ask you to live on that banana for a week… This is what got me interested in translation, not just preaching.”

Ken Andi, Agarabi translator and Ukarumpa translation teaching staff

“We are not well-educated, and we don’t speak English well. But we believe in God, and faith alone will make this work happen. Where we don’t have the knowledge, God provides it.”

Wabele Fuga, Onabasulu, translator and participant in Ukarumpa training course

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PNG: 3 Critical Managerial roles need to be filled

"We (PNG Branch) are launched to do great things, and follow up great opportunities, but without the personnel, we can do nothing. The money/funding will come, but we need the people to use the money and implement the ideas.  We have a really critical shortage."   PNG Director of Language Programs and Services

I just received word from Papua New Guinea that there are 3 critical roles that support Bible translation  that need to be filled ASAP.

The first two roles are critical for the training that SIL is able to offer to national translators and these roles will be vacated in June 2011.

Training Centre Manager – responsible for managing a team of employees to maintain grounds and facilities (dormitories, classrooms, kitchen and dining room) at the Ukarumpa training centre; responsible for managing bookings of the facilities and managing the facilities budget.

Training Administrator – responsible for registering participants for courses; plus administering their funding, helping arrange travel and accommodation, purchasing and administering supplies and resources for courses.

LCORE Manager (Language, Collaboration, Opportunities, Resources, Encouragement) – responsible for LCORE facilities and for managing LCORE employees.  LCORE basically offers support to translators in technical areas and helps in managing their programs. As it says above, the LCORE manager needs very little knowledge of language work but "...we could REALLY do with a good manager / administrator for LCORE, if there is any chance of finding one!"  Academic Coordinator, PNG

Let's pray that God would fill these roles.  Would you be willing to serve?  If so,  send me an email for more information.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PNG: Translation

What's Happening in Papua New Guinea?
By Phil King with input from the PNG Strategy Team

SIL has been involved in completing 203 New Testaments in Papua New Guinean languages in the past 50 years and we are currently involved in some 167 further Bible translation programs

We've made great progress but there is still much work to be done!  Requests, like this one from Josek, continually come in:

"Please now, we want to ask for a workman – can you help us or not?... I am praying.”

Our goal is a Bible  for every language in their heart language but the reason for this goal is so that lives can be transformed. Nafian Saremo, Papua New Guinean advisor for the Madi Language Group and translation trainer says it well:

“I thought translation was about turning God’s Word into our languages. However, our goal is not translation, but transformation – a tool for taking the Gospel to our people. If people don’t change – our translation is not working.”

There are still around 300 languages in PNG with no Scripture at all so the PNG Branch is trying to figure out how to reach them all with the resources that God is giving.  With traditional methods, relying on new expatriates allocating to each community,  these 300 programs would not be started until 2160!

What is God showing us to do?

In working through the issues, we feel there are areas that can be strengthened and new ideas are being considered too. These areas are:


In January of 2010, SIL and BTA (the national Bible translation organization in PNG) hosted the first ever PNG Scripture Use Conference. 69 participants came from 35 church and para-church organizations around the country. During the conference and in follow-up visits, we are seeing more and more Papua New Guinean Christians motivated to be a part of getting God’s Word to the remaining people groups.

‘The missionaries had a vision many years ago to carry God's Word to us.   But we (the church) have failed. It is our turn to catch the vision and carry God's Word to our own people.’

Pastor from Evangelical Brotherhood Church, March 20


“Can the expats who are coming here become trainers rather than doers – so that SIL is a mentoring and training institution rather than doers?”

Steven Thomas, PNG BTA Operations Director

Buka Training Center (since 2006)

Offer translation training to the remaining languages in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, as well as other workshops, such as this one about trauma healing.

Project VITAL (Vernacular Initiative in Translation and Literacy, since 2005)

Hands-on training in translation and literacy to twelve languages working together in the East Papua region.

NITI (New Ireland Translation Institute, since 2006)

On-the-job translation training for 14 language communities in New Ireland.

Ukarumpa Training Campus (since 1980s)

The Ukarumpa Training Center offers practical translation and literacy training focusing on the Highlands, Madang and Morobe regions, as well as higher level courses (Biblical studies, literacy, translation and leadership) at a national level.  When complete, there will be capacity to train hundreds more Papua New Guineans to be involved in Bible translation.


Reaching the last 300 cannot be achieved by our working harder or doing more of what we are now doing. So what innovative approaches are we using?

Working Together More

New expat teams are working in teams with clusters of languages, not just a single one, as in VITAL, NITI or the West Erap multi-language translation project (started in 2010).

New Technology and Communications

For example, members of the 11 language groups in the Aitape West Translation Project use solar powered netbooks to translate, communicate with each other, and communicate with consultants in the US via satellite connections.

Engaging the PNG Church

As we share our passion for the Bible in churches in the major cities, new personnel and resources are being discovered.
Revised goals

Starting many smaller scale projects in areas like the Sepik - with still over a hundred Bibleless languages - could help provide them with at least a portion of God’s Word sooner.

even this innovation is not enough to reach the remaining 300 languages.

Will you pray with us as we seek new ideas?

Investing in People...

 through improved, Integrated Human Resource Management.  We want to invest in our team of expatriates and Papua New Guineans, by targeted recruitment from inside and out of PNG; recruited towards a strategic plan.
Appropriately deploying people to match needs with personnel skill-sets 

Mentoring and professional development

           Re-tooling, Retraining, Re-deploying


As we look at the remaining 300 languages across the country, we are beginning to make plans with our partners to complete the languages in one area first – the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

We in PNG are entering a time of dedicated prayer, asking God to show us the way forward.

“I invite you to join me in praying boldly –like you’ve never prayed before - a Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho kind of prayer - asking God to reach the Bibleless peoples in Papua New Guinea so they can have access to His Word.

Ask Him to start a program in each one before 2025.

Tell Him you can’t do it.

Tell Him SIL can’t do it.

Tell Him it is up to Him to make a way.”

Mark Taber, SIL Pacific Area Director

With approximately 300 languages likely still needing translation in PNG, the need for ideas, people, finances and other resources is staggering.

The task before us is humanly impossible.

We need prayer.

Will YOU pray for the Bibleless people of PNG?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Micronesia, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Polynesia

I got interested and excited when I read this strategy from the Pacific Islands group!  Yes, the need is great and the workers are few so how to reach all the languages of these Pacific Islands?  They hope to engage local Christians and empower them by training and consultant help so that they can be involved in Bible translation. Read on to learn more about it!  Perhaps you’d like to be involved?

Here's a link to their website.

                SIL Pacific Group Isles of the Sea Strategy

The execution of this strategy assumes that God, the Creator of the universe, wants to communicate with all people groups in Micronesia, Polynesia, Fiji and New Caledonia, and that He wants to do this in a language they can understand well enough to grasp the outrageous concept that He Himself has died to pay for their sins.

Ideally, all language groups should have all of the Scriptures available to them in their heart language,
along with hymn books, concordances, and other helps to foster the reading of the Scriptures, regardless of the size of the language group. 

We believe that Translation is Revision, in other words, the task in any given language group will continue in coming generations.

We, as members of the Pacific Group, cannot even get close to achieving the ideal, even if we could attract many new recruits to help us in this task.  We acknowledge that we are few in number and that the task is huge, far beyond what we can hope to achieve.

If it is true that God wants to communicate clearly with the people of all language groups, then there must be a solution to this problem.

These language groups have long been evanglized and churches exist in all of the communities. We believe that the responsibility for Bible translation lies with the local communities themselves. In all of these communities there are some people who can understand the Scriptures well in a language or languages not their own.

How should these communities be involved in Bible translation work?

This responsibility includes:
- Responsibility to initiate a translation project

- Responsibility to determine the scope of the project
  (one Gospel, the New Testament, the entire Bible, etc.)

- Responsibility for the running of the project
  (i.e. funding, appointment of translators, etc)

- Responsibility for the style and the quality of the translation

How are we involved with these communities in Bible translation?

These communities lack various skills that are needed to accomplish a good quality translation of the Bible.

These skills exist in the current and future members of the Pacific Group.

It is our responsibility to share our resources and skills with the language groups of the Pacific.

Our responsibilities include:

Responsibility to make church and community leaders aware that they can have the Scriptures in their own language

Responsibility to encourage and challenge them to initiate a translation project and to take the responsibility for that project

Responsibility to serve those language groups that begin Bible translation by helping supply the skills that they are lacking

Responsibility to help them achieve a translation of good quality

Responsibility to train the members of the translation teams to the highest possible level in the skills required to achieve a good quality translation

Responsibility to continue supplying skills and training local translation teams, as necessary

Isles of the Sea a comprehensive project
The Isles of the Sea project is a truly multi-dimensional comprehensive project:

1. Comprehensive in the number of languages involved

We endeavour to assist ALL the languages of New Caledonia, Fiji, Polynesia and Micronesia that have shown a clear commitment to do Bible translation in their language.

2. Comprehensive in the scope of each translation project

We endeavour to assist each language group that has shown clear commitment to do Bible translation ,
to achieve WHATEVER translation goal they would like to achieve.

3. The Isles of the Sea project is comprehensive in the people involved in these projects

We endeavour to motivate, recruit, train and mentor WHOEVER the Lord calls to this task so that language groups that have shown commitment to a translation project can do their work well.

Current need: translation advisor team in Micronesia

Vanuatu: International Literacy Day: Dictionaries and literacy materials in the Solomon Islands

September 2010

In recognition of UNESCO-designated International Literacy Day, 8 September, SIL participated in celebrations in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

SIL Vanuatu and the University of the South Pacific (USP) held a dictionary-making workshop on 9 September at the USP Port Vila campus. Led by SIL Director Ross Webb, 17 participants learned to use the WeSay computer program.

WeSay helps people who do not have linguistic training to build a dictionary in their own language. SIL field advisors helped speakers of 12 different Vanuatu languages start work on dictionaries by entering a selection of words from their respective languages. Participants took home the WeSay program to load onto their own computers. They will then be ready to proceed with compiling full dictionaries.

The ceremony and workshop in recognition of International Literacy Day was organized by a small literacy stakeholders committee from USP and SIL. USP Campus Director Mr. Peter McFarlane and USP librarian Ms. Charlotte Pitts were presented with a six-language dictionary. The dictionary is a compilation of nearly 2,000 words that SIL advisor Dr. Ken Nehrbass gathered over the many years he has lived on Tanna Island. The languages in the dictionary are the six main languages spoken on Tanna. Dr. Nehrbass commented that a vernacular dictionary contains entries that reflect the "unique cultural knowledge of that community of speakers." Mr. McFarlane said that the dictionary would complement the language collection in the USP library and gladly received the dictionary.

SIL International designed WeSay in partnership with Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. The software is available under the SIL Open Source License that encourages participation in the development of applications. SIL has developed more than 60 pieces of software to support the work of field workers. Like many other SIL software products, WeSay is available to the public for free download.

Literature in languages of the Solomons

The Solomon Islands celebrated International Literacy Day, 8 September, in the capital, Honiara, where the theme of the day was “The Power of Women’s Literacy.” Celebrations included testimonies highlighting the impact of literacy in the lives of Solomon Islands women and the unveiling of literacy materials in Solomon Islands Pijin and four local languages. Some of the testimonies were presented by students attending women’s literacy classes taught by an SIL advisor.

The Literacy Association of Solomon Islands (LASI) produced six books in this installment, its second. Other contributing agencies were the Literacy Network Solomon Islands, Mothers Union and the Solomon Islands Translation and Advisory Group (SITAG, an operating name for SIL). Two of the books are in Solomon Islands Pijin and the other four are in local languages.

Of the two books in Pijin, one is about women’s reproductive health and the other is a guide to learning to read the Pijin language.

Two books are for learning to read in two different languages of Guadalcanal Province.

The other two books are for learning to read in languages of Malaita and Makira Provinces.

LASI National Coordinator Priscilla Maeniata said the books are the next level to LASI's first literacy installment that was produced in 2009. She said the literacy books will be used in schools around the country. The books for learning the Solomon Islands Pijin language are available from the LASI office.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Mylyn Kuve delivered the official speech of the day, speaking about the importance of women’s literacy. She also introduced the new books, thanking LASI for their effort to produce them. She said the country needs these kinds of books to support women who cannot read and write.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SIL-PNG: For the Next Three Years and Onwards

SIL’s Vision Statement is ‘Papua New Guinea: Empowered through the Written Word.’ As an organization, SIL volunteers provide not only linguistic research and language development through Bible translation, but SIL translation and literacy teams endeavour to engage in a holistic ministry - addressing health and literacy, nutrition and community development needs in the rural sector of PNG. A majority of the population is located outside of the urban setting and cannot access much of the printed material that is available in PNG concerning these issues. One cause is lack of physical access due to cost or availability. Another major cause is that the rural population speaks a local language and not English or Tok Pisin. SIL desires to provide local access to this vital information and to provide it in the languages of the people.

HIV/AIDS AWARENESS: Of recent note is the assistance SIL has been to the AIDS Council in providing ongoing translation of HIV/AIDS Awareness materials, both written and video, into the local languages of PNG. SIL personnel will continue to conduct HIV/AIDS Awareness seminars in local communities, churches and schools. SIL values the need to raise awareness of this growing concern, such that SIL medical personnel are asked to lead an HIV/AIDS Awareness session even in non-health related courses, such as Translator’s Training Course, or Strengthening Tok Ples Education in PNG. Although the main focus is on the rural communities, SIL language teams do also address the needs of the displaced language communities in the urban setting. [Reference: HIV/AIDS Awareness Impact by SIL to Date]

OTHER SOCIAL CONCERNS: A major threat to family and community life and stability is the growing concern over the sale and use of marijuana. SIL translators have produced helpful booklets clearly outlining the problems caused to PNG by the use of marijuana and will continue to produce such helpful booklets and books to inform the people of PNG of these threats to themselves and their communities.

SIL translation and literacy teams can invest as much as 20+ years living in a remote language community, learning the language and culture, identifying gifted and interested PNG co-workers to train in translation and literacy work as well as Scripture Use activities. Each year these volunteers have provided over 600,000 hours of training to local citizens, equipping them to read and write, to gain skills in translation, to become teachers in the local vernacular prep schools, to prepare reading and teaching materials, Scripture Use materials for use in the home and in the local church – training that not only provides skills, but improves the quality of life of the local citizens. SIL commits to continue this language development.


In addition to work in individual or cluster language programmes, SIL continues to actively seek to equip PNG citizens with the skills and experience to move ahead in translation and literacy in their own or neighbouring language communities.


In the 1980’s, Karl and Joice Franklin, SIL translators in PNG, worked closely with a dedicated group of PNG men and women who wanted to be involved in Bible translation in PNG. Through mentoring and encouragement, the PNG Bible Translation Association was formed. Today it has its headquarters in Pt. Moresby, with regional offices in Alotau, Madang and Wewak. SIL’s role has changed from one of teacher and mentor, to that of partner with these dedicated men and women. As a partner, SIL continues to provide BTA members with training in translation and Biblical studies, as well as literacy principles and teacher training.


John and Bonnie Nystrom, SIL translators among the Arop language community in Sandaun Province, were engaged in Bible translation with several local language speakers appointed by the community. In 1997, a devastating tsunami wiped out half of the Arop language community. Several of the translation committee were killed, along with their families. These local translators continue to build translation skills and to move ahead in translation of Scripture with the mentoring and guidance of the Nystroms and several other SIL linguists. [Reference: Aitape West story]


 SIL Translators, Ed and Debi Condra, worked among the Patpatar language community on New Ireland. They and their PNG translation committee completed the New Testament in 1999. Ed had a vision for seeing more language communities accessing the Scriptures in their own language, and he had a vision for training local men and women to do the translation themselves. He developed and raised funds for the construction of the New Ireland Translation Institute. Several times each year, he and other SIL translators travel to New Ireland to lead continuing training sessions, equipping PNG men and women from over 14 languages to do translation work in their own languages.


SIL Translators, Martin and Beate Knauber, worked among the Dawawa language community in Milne Bay Province. They and their local translation team completed the New Testament in 2003. But the Knaubers along with Gino and Kopland, their co-translators, saw that there are still many languages in the Milne Bay Province without any Scripture in their language. So, they developed and raised funds for the Vernacular in Translation and Literacy training approach. Today other SIL consultants have joined the VITAL staff to carry on this training. Three times each year, locally appointed language speakers travel to the training centre near Alotau and work on translation of Scripture, led by SIL consultants and mentors as well as experienced PNG mentors such as Gino and Kopland. Each month-long session is an in-depth hands-on experience of guided translation. After each session, the participants return to their language communities to check the portions they have translated – gathering community input and approval. SIL is committed to continuing this hands-on translation through the VITAL course.


Since its inception in the early 1990’s, SIL literacy specialists and consultants have staffed the STEP course, providing in-depth training in vernacular material production, curriculum development, teacher training, finance management and literacy programme supervision to PNG men and women appointed by their local communities to develop, teach in and supervise local literacy programmes for children and adults. The course consists of (5) 4-week modules over a 2 year period. After each module, participants take what they have learned back to their local community to put it into practice and evaluate how much they have learned and what they need to improve on. The STEP graduates return to their local communities to train other teachers, developing and maintaining a local literacy programme. Children who have completed the local vernacular education have gone on to be successful in the government school programme. In 2011 there will not be an intake of new participants. Rather SIL will hold several in-services for STEP graduates to update their skills and encourage them in their teaching. The STEP staff will continue to evaluate the needs of the local communities and structure their curriculum and course offerings to meet the felt needs.


SIL has provided training for PNG citizens in translation and Biblical studies at its Ukarumpa training centre since the late 1980’s. But the distance and logistics of travel to the Highlands is often a physical and financial hardship for the participants. Courses have been held occasionally in other regions of PNG, but the Buka Training Centre has become a hub of continuous training for PNG translators and literacy personnel. These participants are mentored by SIL and BTA consultants so that they can do independent translation and literacy work in their own language communities.


Department of Education:

During the history of SIL’s partnership with the Department of Education, SIL consultants have provided mentoring and assistance in vernacular curriculum development for the PNG school system, specifically within the Elementary Education system, but also with regards to bridging into English from the Elementary system into the Primary Education system.

Alphabet Development:

SIL translation and literacy personnel have worked in Bible translation and literacy in over 350 language communities since 1956. Such language work necessitates the development of a workable alphabet. This alphabet then enables local speakers to write their own stories and school materials. In response to a government request in 1999, SIL consultants assisted an additional 100+ local communities in the development of a trial alphabet, using a method developed by SIL consultants that enables local language speakers to design their own writing systems with the guidance of a trained orthography technician. Additional alphabet development assistance has been provided since that initial request in 1999. Orthotech training has been made available to not only SIL language personnel, but also PNG citizens so that they can assist neighbouring language communities in the development of an alphabet where one does not yet exist. The Curriculum Development and Assessment Division, DOE, has asked SIL to help them develop a training track for their own orthography consultants so that these PNG consultants can assist local communities with this development, where there is yet to be an alphabet. The first workshop in that training track is currently scheduled to take place in September 2010.

Tertiary Level Involvement:

SIL is in dialog with the University of Papua New Guinea, University of Goroka and Divine Word University to determine in what way SIL can work alongside these institutions to join our SIL consultants and SIL’s years of experience in vernacular education, vernacular materials production and teacher training with their staff and course curriculum to benefit teacher education in PNG. We look forward to providing what resources we can in these crucial areas.

To support the work SIL is engaged in country-wide, the organization has developed a base of operations in the Highlands of PNG where other SIL volunteers and hundreds of PNG employees provide the services needed to maintain over 180 language projects:

• Ukarumpa International School for the volunteers’ children as well as the children of our PNG employees who desire to attend;

• SIL Aviation Department that enables SIL translation and literacy teams to access the remote regions of PNG where no commercial transport is available. Transport services are also made available to SIL PNG citizen co-workers living in those remote regions of the country, as well as to commercial concerns that require transport into the interior of the country.

Since SIL’s arrival in PNG in 1956, the focus of the administration has been to engage citizen co-workers and to equip them to further the task of Bible translation. As such, SIL has been engaged in national training since their first days in PNG. As the organization grew and the numbers of volunteers increased, the need for additional support services grew. Instead of strictly bringing in expatriate volunteers to meet these infrastructure needs, SIL engaged in intentional national training to equip interested and gifted citizens with the necessary skills to provide the infrastructure needed, but also to equip citizens with skills that could be used outside of the SIL domain, in the economic sector.

Infrastructure that has evolved over the years includes:

• Printshop to provide printed vernacular Scripture portions, church teaching materials, literacy materials, health and community development booklets. The Printshop is now run totally be PNG citizens. An apprenticeship programme, currently administered by John Kenea, the Printshop Manager, has produced gifted and qualified printers and press operators

• Post Office to provide local postal services. The Post Office is now run totally by PNG citizens.

• Auto Repair and Maintenance Department – A small staff of well-qualified expatriate mechanic/trainers oversee a staff of 10 PNG citizen employees who have completed the nationally recognized apprenticeship program, using their skills to support Bible translation through maintaining vehicles and repairing engines. Many employees have since gone on to enter the PNG workforce.

• Construction Department – A small staff of well-qualified expatriate carpenter/trainers oversee a staff of 13 PNG citizen employees. Over the years, a well-recognized apprenticeship programme has provided nationally recognized local training for gifted and interested citizen applicants – training in carpentry, joinery and construction skills. These employees along with the expatriate trainers, build housing in rural villages for our translation and literacy teams, as well as make furniture and fittings for houses and offices at the main support base in Ukarumpa and SIL’s 8 Regional Centres. As with our other departments, over the years, employees have gone on to use their skills in the PNG workforce, often establishing their own companies. SIL continually provides training to available applicants to support the work of SIL, but also to equip citizens with needed experience and training to enhance their skills and enable them to enter the national workforce. [Reference: 2008 Annual Report – Apprentice of the Year Award]

• Industrial Department – Two expatriate men currently oversee a staff of citizen employees in maintaining the physical property at SIL’s main support base at Ukarumpa. Over the years, the employees have gained skills in machine repair, appliance repair, heavy equipment operating, etc. As with other employees, some from this department move on to seek outside employment.

• SIL Store – A small store selling grocery and household items is operated at the Ukarumpa support base to provide a resource for supplies for the SIL staff and PNG employees resident at Ukarumpa, as well as to local citizens. Two expatriate staff supervise the operation of the store and the 25 PNG citizen employees, providing on-the-job training and subsidizing external training as needed.

• Computer and Technical Services Department – With the advent of advanced technology, a need was created to have a strong support department for the maintenance of computers, radios and other electronic equipment that are used in the work of Bible translation and language development. Even in this highly technical area of work, SIL volunteers seek out interested and gifted PNG citizens and provide them with additional on-the-job training as well as further schooling in Information Technology¸ specifically radio repair, computer hardware repair and computer user assistance.

• Finance Department – Although SIL has an in-depth accounting system that is part of the SIL International structure, we employee PNG citizens to assist with the bookkeeping and accounting needs of the local organization. To date we have 5 citizen staff. Over the years other citizens have gone on to seek outside employment using the on-the-job training SIL has provided as well as the tertiary education that SIL has subsidized.

• Regional Centres – To meet the needs of SIL translation and literacy teams throughout PNG, 8 regional centres have been established, that serve as a resource and as a physical location for regional translation or literacy workshops. Each centre has one expatriate manager couple and then a staff of citizen employees to support the resource centre and the training courses.

Establishing the physical infrastructure of SIL has involved the creation of hundreds of jobs for local citizens, as well as citizens who have been recruited from other areas of Papua New Guinea. The training that has taken place and continues to take place builds strong, well-equipped citizens who often enter the PNG workforce in a variety of roles.

In the PNG of the 21st century there are high demands for skilled, qualified tradesmen to support the infrastructure of the country. The LNG project alone has demonstrated to the leaders of this country the need for more and better-resourced vocational training institutions. SIL has consistently provided qualified technical training, through the recognized national government apprenticeship board as well as through ongoing on the job training for well over four decades. Tradesmen who have received their training through SIL have gone on to join the economic sector of PNG and provide solid, quality expertise in needed technical arenas.

A brief list of the types of jobs SIL has provided either apprentice or on-the-job training for would include:

• Welder
• Large equipment operator
• Large and small appliance repair
• Diesel motor mechanic
• Motor mechanic and fitter
• Electrical mechanic and fitter
• Electronics technician
• Computer repair technician
• Radio repairman
• Avionics specialist
• Aircraft engine mechanic
• Aircraft maintenance engineer
• Pilot
• Locksmith
• Printer
• Press operator
• Carpenter
• Joiner

In Summary:


• The Church throughout PNG is being strengthened by vernacular Scriptures and strongly impacting their communities

• Bible Translation and Language Development work is thriving and sustainability is increasing throughout the country due to more Papua New Guineans being trained, resourced and equipped

• SIL-PNG and BTA working in partnership with key stakeholders worldwide advancing Bible translation, Language Development and Scripture Use

• PNG and the wider world are benefiting from increased understanding of the languages and cultures of PNG

• Well-trained, qualified tradesmen are available for employment in the economic sector should they seek outside employment

• Increased partnership with government and tertiary institutions of PNG is taking place¸ providing experience and resources in language development and literacy training to the training institutions of PNG