What is the Pacific Scripture Application & Leadership Training (S.A.L.T.) course?
"The goal of all we do is to see the Scriptures being used effectively and lives being changed; and our aim is to show the relevance of the Scriptures in all aspects of life."
Pacific S.A.L.T. is a Scripture Use initiative that (1) equips national pastors and leaders to effectively use the translated Scriptures in their ministries; and (2) inspires a love, wonder and understanding of God's Word in the vernacular.
Translating and distributing the Scriptures is the first step. Then, for communities and nations to be transformed by the translated Scriptures, people need to encounter God’s Word in life-changing ways.
That’s exactly what happens in a Pacific S.A.L.T. course — an intensive two-week training session designed to equip local church leaders with outreach techniques, encourage the use of the translated Scriptures, and promote an understanding of God’s Word in their own language.
Learning More About the Lord
by David Ringer
The Wuvulu Scripture Application and Leadership Training (SALT) course began on a soggy day on mid-July. The morning's heavy rains had subsided to drips and splashes as about 50 people gathered in the church building by the sea. Together, the men, women, and children read Ephesians 4:11-15 aloud from their glossy new Wuvulu New Testaments, which had become available only the day before.
Ephesians 4:11-15 speaks of both Christian leadership and the importance of maturing in Christ, two emphases of the SALT course. SALT is designed to disciple Papua New Guineans who already have the New Testament translated into their language. "The emphasis is to use the tokples [mother-tongue] Bible," says Mick Bandy, SALT project coordinator.
Shortly after the introduction, the first session of the course got underway. Titled "The Pursuit of Truth," the lesson emphasized the importance of living according to the truth that God has revealed in the Scriptures. "He's given you your Bible so you can know the truth," said Pastor Dick Gordon, who team-taught the lesson with Sherrie Hardersen.
The next morning, at least 150 people had gathered in the church for the second day of the course. On the third day, the crowd was larger still.
Topics like "The Father Heart of God," "The Grace of God in Salvation," "Overcoming the Enemy," and "Walking in Forgiveness" were presented with a variety of techniques. Object lessons, posters, dramas, games, and discussion groups involved and challenged the students, who became more and more eager to participate as the course progressed.
Course participants expressed their appreciation for the things that they learned. One man said that he had never understood the parable of the prodigal son. He thought it was just a reminder to be good parents, but by reading the story in his own language and hearing the lesson on God as Heavenly Father, he understood for the first time that the story is about God's love for His children.
"We learn more about the Lord," said another participant. "I like the way they present it."
At the graduation ceremony, course leaders presented certificates to nearly 200 people who had completed the SALT course. Many others had been able to attend at least a few of the sessions.
Pray that the people of Wuvulu will continue to study God's Word in their language and draw closer to Him as they do.
Scripture Application Changes Lives
by Karen Weaver
Papua New Guinea
After more than two decades of tedious translation work, the Yopno New Testament and Psalms was printed and ready to be placed in the hands of the Yopno people. But would they know how to study it and apply God's truth to their daily lives?
That's an important question, and it's the reason Wes and Lee-Ann Reed followed the example of some other translation teams in Papua New Guinea in inviting a SALT team to come to their village following the New Testament dedication.
SALT stands for "Scripture Application and Leadership Training." Marjan Sikkema and three others formed the SALT team that went to Tapmange village to teach basic Biblical truths and how to use God's Word and apply it to daily life.
The building was full of people, so some sat around the outside listening intently to the lessons on God’s word through the thatched walls
SALT teacher Marjan Sikkema said, "The people sat on the ground inside the building from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day for two weeks. The first several days we could hear their tongues clicking to express their wonder as they learned things that were new to them. They especially responded to the part about God's love and his holiness."
Another topic that touched their hearts was the teaching about families. They studied II Timothy 1:5, "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother, Lois, and in your mother Eunice . . . " This verse taught them that it is important for children to grow up with the example of parents who put their faith in Christ. They also studied Ephesians 5:22,25 to learn how husbands and wives should treat each other in the home. God's Word in their own Yopno language spoke clearly to them and motivated them to change the way they treat each other so they can live for God's glory.
Each morning of SALT, participants were given the opportunity to share what God was teaching them. Early in the second week, a young man stood before the group and told his story. He said that previously he had been involved in a life of sin, but now he wanted to follow Jesus. He pointed to the chart that showed the evil things the devil puts in our hearts: greed, envy, wrath, etc. He told the group, "I am turning away from all these things." Later one of the Christian leaders put his arm around him and said reassuringly, "God still loves you and with Christ you have the opportunity to start again." He burst into tears upon hearing this message of hope and forgiveness.
Each of the 200+ participants left the SALT course knowing how to dig out the truth in God's Word and how to apply it to their lives. They returned home to their villages armed with a two-edged sword for combating sin, fear and hopelessness. When friends and family ask questions about the Lord, they will now be able to open God's Book and read to them the message of life and hope in the language that will speak to their hearts - God's Word in Yopno!
Photos by Marjan Sikkema
Want to be involved? Find out more about S.A.L.T: http://www.thesaltproject.info/drupal/
And read their blog: http://www.thesaltproject.blogspot.com/