Friday, September 9, 2011

PNG: Revival Amongst the Pinai Hagahai

Recently I received news of a revival that broke out amongst the Pinai-Hagahai people of Papua New Guinea and I wanted to share it with you since it was such an encouragement to me.  Markus and Liisa Melliger, began their work amongst them in 1993 and while there was a church there, criminal activity in those days was so severe that Markus sometimes thought, “This is indeed a God-forsaken place.”                                                                                                                                                             
 In 2008, they completed the 4 Gospels and Acts and had it printed for distribution.  Due to the literacy rate amongst the people, they were excited about the opportunity to use the MegaVoice  machines (solar powered audio Bibles) with recording of this portion of Scripture. They strategically spread the MegaVoices to each village.  Recently they made a trip to the village to see whether or not it is worth it in the future to make all of the New Testament available not only in book form but also in oral form.  They came away very encouraged so see the impact of God’s Word amongst the people.

Markus said, “To us, the testimonies which the people gave are truly amazing and nothing short of a miracle. Here are some of their responses which speak volumes and which make the years of extremely hard work all worth it.”  (I remember the difficult times they have had but yet God enabled them to continue on in the work.)

Here are a few quotes:

 Kukume, a young woman and wife of one of the pastors: “I got my MegaVoice player three years ago. It still works. I listen to it daily with many family members. Stories I remember from listening are for instance how Jesus helped Peter to catch a lot of fish or how the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples.”

 Ikowa, a young married man: “I got mine three years ago. I take good care of it and it still works. One story I remember is how the Word is God and created everything.”

 Wadaag, an old man and widower: “I used it often until children destroyed it. I was very happy about it. I want a new one. One of the stories I remember is the water of life that Jesus gives.”

 Kandama, an old man: “I used it often. But the rain destroyed it when I left it on the roof of the house for it to be charged in the sun. I was very happy about it. When the pastors speak in Tok Pisin or Enga, I did not believe. Now I heard it my own language and I believed. The talk is clear now. I heard that we should not slander or judge others. I saw my guilt. I stopped doing that. I also wanted to remove the splinter from the eyes of others but I myself had a log in my eyes. I saw my guilt. I stopped doing that. When I help others I must help them in secret. My wife also wants a MegaVoice player, but I said no. The others have nothing at all, so we must share ours.”

Kauwasa, a middle-aged man: “My wife has one. I was a man of gambling and playing cards. Now I want one, too. I don’t understand Tok Pisin. I want to hear my own language. We listen to it daily. At noon we listen to it. We listen to it before going to sleep. Then we pray. Then we sleep.”

Kodap, a young married man and bilingual speaker of Pinai-Hagahai and Enga: “I didn’t go to church. I never had a MegaVoice player. I listened to the one of others. I listened to it, and last month I got converted. I gave up gambling, smoking, and chewing betel-nuts. I remember that Jesus is the Word of God.”

Noane, a young pastor who now works in a bilingual village at the edge of the language group: “I got one three years ago, but now its volume has gone down. I want a new one. I use it daily. It helps me do my work as pastor.”

 Todame, the bilingual wife of Tande: “I want one. I never had one. Others had one. I listened to it, and it is sweet. I listened to it, I understood it, and I believed. I really like the word of God. My husband Tande got one three years ago, but he did not give it to me. Tande listened to it and believed and joined the church.”

Mogome, a middle-aged woman: “I heard the story of Zacchaeus, the short man who climbed up on a tree to see Jesus. That story spoke to my heart. He was not a good man, and I’m not a good woman. I want to change a few things in my life. I need to pray.”

Sagalia, a young mother: “I heard Matthew 7:7 about asking and receiving, seeking and finding. My faith went to this verse. It’s my memory verse. Now when I have a problem, I pray. It helps me and my husband. Before I was married, I was like the woman in John 4. I heard this story, and it spoke to my heart. I changed my ways. I go to church.”

Read another story about what it took one man to obtain the MegaVoice by clicking here.
Help is needed to put Bible texts on the MegaVoice recorder!  Email me for more information on you can get involved.

Solomon Islands: Owa Dedication

I never get tired of watching Bible dedications and I wish everyone had the chance to attend one. Take a look at the Owa  dedication in the Solomon Islands.

For more information on the Solomon Islands, click here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

PNG Scriptures available on the internet

Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association is uploading vernacular Scriptures to their website. 
"Papua New Guinea is linguistically the most complex nation of the world. Over 800 languages are spoken in this Pacific country. This site provides access to printed Scriptures including New Testaments and Scripture portions in the vernacular languages of Papua New Guinea. In the future, we also plan to make Scriptures available in a variety of electronic formats (e.g. sword, pdf, html, audio, etc.)."

Currently there are 70 languages represented but the site is growing.  Take a look at what is there:

Pacific Bible on Facebook

Pacific Bible is now on Facebook and it's another great way to stay connected with what is happening in Bible translation in the Pacific:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vanuatu: Critical Thinking Skills for National Translators

From Ross Webb
SIL Vanuatu Director

 "I didn't want to come," said Laurie. "But I did, and unlike at other workshops, I stayed awake right to the end! God really wanted me to come to this."

Recently, a two week workshop was held for 14 national translators in critical thinking skills  and rudimentary exegesis, as well as some Old Testament background. A lot of thinking went on, that's for sure. There were plenty of comments on the revolutionary nature of the content; being shown how to take into consideration all of the information presented to reach a conclusion, or how to consider all the implications of a life situation to make a decision, or how to read through all the 'facts' lined up in a Bible passage to determine the punch line of the author -- all of this was eye opening, perhaps even life changing in the long run to many.

We spent a lot of time showing that too many people don't read to the end of a passage of Scripture before jumping to a wrong conclusion or totally misusing the passage. 'Aha's' of recognition were ignited all over the room. You could pray that this will all lead to better understanding of the Word and not a new breed of sermon critics in Vanuatu!

More on Vanuatu

New Bible translation project in Vanuatu

From Ross Webb
SIL Vanuatu Director

How can a place that looks so close as crows fly take so long to get to?! It did - 24 hours after leaving home we arrived at our first destination. Saving money and taking a boat for the first 15 hours was a bit of a mistake!

We were off to the South coast of Malekula island, to follow up on a survey done there last year to check out as a suitable place to do a translation of the Bible. As we suspected, it seems that a translation done in one of the languages in the area may well be able to serve as a foundation for quicker adaptation into some other languages in the region. Surveys are hypothetical, future possibilities. This trip was the start of the real thing. Along with Serah (from our office), and a pastor that speaks the languages we were headed for (more on Ps Aman soon), we had Brad Fleming with us - a real, live, future translation advisor, newly arrived from the US and looking to us to give him guidance for where he might spend the next 10 or so years of his life working with a community to translate the Scriptures.
The trip was rough - watery rough, but the 'captains' of the 'speed boats' assured us they'd never lost anyone to the ocean. That was a comfort! And land felt all the firmer, the beaches whiter, the swaying palms taller and the hospitality shown in the villages we visited all the more welcome. Meetings were called in every village for Serah and I to explain the mission of Bible translation - starting with God speaking with a loving intent to draw all men to himself through Jesus. Our meetings were all in churches so it wasn't an evangelistic event (!) but it was an opportunity for long time church goers to think again why they even open the Bible in church, and how much they should be concerned about understanding it. An astute elder present at one of the meetings commented at question time, "A lot of times we preachers don't really understand the text we are preaching on, so we dish out to the people thoughts from our own imaginations." When it boils down to it, there is not much choice for many to do more than that. It's our fond hope that translating will at least remove the haze somewhat!

Pastor Aman talking to leaders in Mbonvor village

Serah & I did this 'awareness' in 4 picturesque villages. Questions were good, ranging from what would the alphabet look like to how can we trust that the new translation will be really the Word of God like the KJV. Now that's a good question! Brad, the future translation advisor guy, has more or less decided that he'll settle his family in one of the villages. Working out how to get his family there is a bit more of a challenge, but he has till the beginning of next year to work it out! The main factor that convinced him that this rugged area of the nation is where God wants him to help out is Pastor Aman. Aman has served the church in other places for 7 years and has seen the effects of Bible translation in the lives of people. For a long time he's told us he'd jump ship, so to speak, as soon as there was an advisor on the horizon to help him. Now's

So you could pray for the Flemings - they have some practical training to complete in PNG in the next few months, and for Ps Aman - if God is pleased he will need to uproot his family from Tanna island after he serves out his pastoring term, and take them to his homeland to start a new adventure. There's a fair bit to be worked out!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mission-critical personnel needs

I recently received an email stating these critical needs in the Pacific Area.  The roles include HR, management, school teacher and nurse. 

Director's Assistant for Personnel in Papua New Guinea

Do you enjoy working with people and assisting them to be successful? Do you have experience in Human Resource management, or a desire to learn how to provide that sort of administrative care to a large group of volunteers focused on Bible translation in Papua New Guinea? Consider using your skills or aptitude in supporting Bible translation in this critical role.


-Communicates with the appropriate sending organizations and interested personnel such that the personnel needs are well represented and clear and recruitment information is readily available.

-Facilitates the invitation process between the sending and receiving organizations.

-Ensure that those who need to know have the information they need regarding personnel needs, structures, information, requirements.

-Coordinates recording and filing of information about members in area of responsibility regarding work programs, training, furlough and/or vacation plans, etc.

-Maintains statistical personnel records for reporting to entity and international offices.

-Builds and maintains a current understanding of government requirements for expatriate staff as well as policies and requirements of appropriate Embassy and Consular Offices.

-Listens to member, giving encouragement and understanding. *Collaborates as needed with member in answering questions from his constituency about his program and plans. *Supervises and coordinates activities and program of office and staff.

-Trains and develops Personnel Department staff.

-Relates to both member and administration as liaison.

 -Maintains statistical personnel records for reporting to entity and international offices.

Training Centre Manager 
This role, and the one below, requires a high level of interaction with Papua New Guineans and the need to assist them in a variety of practical ways in addition to enabling them to receive training in the various ways mentioned below. It requires individuals who are learners as well as teachers, who can work alongside of national colleagues and also give leadership to them.

-Be responsible to see that all necessary equipment for courses is in functioning properly (computers, projectors, photocopiers, etc.)

-Arrange for housing for Papua New Guinean course participants when needed.

Serve as Project Manager for courses which receive funding from SIL International Project funding sources.

-Coordinate with Kitchen Manager to make sure that there is adequate food and staff for preparation of food for all courses.

-Oversee the buildings and grounds staff to make sure the training facilities are in good repair for all courses.

Training Administrator

As a member of the coordinator team, to oversee infrastructure for multiple training courses for Papua New Guineans who are receiving training in a variety of skill sets necessary for language development and Bible translation.


-Assist with scheduling of courses and procuring necessary staff.

-Advertise courses within SIL-PNG, as well as with partnering translation and language develop organisation throughout PNG.

-Coordinate with instructors to determine needed textbooks and other materials for each course, and procure all necessary supplies.

-Be responsible to see that all necessary equipment for courses is in functioning properly (computers, projectors, photocopiers, etc.)

-Maintain a list of participants who will be attending each course, and assist with travel plans when needed.

-Arrange for housing for Papua New Guinean course participants when needed.

-Serve as Project Manager for courses which receive funding from SIL International Project funding sources.

-Coordinate Welcome and Graduation ceremonies, working together with students to invite special speakers and guests, preparation of certificates and ceremony details.

Pacific Orientation School Teacher
Click here to learn more about the Pacific Orientation Course

Responsible for assisting with the cultural orientation and education of children of the participants and staff at the Pacific Orientation Course


-Works under the direction of the Assistant to the POC Director. Helps with the evaluation of trainees.

-The main focus of the POC teacher is to provide cultural orientation, instruction in Melanesian pidgin and learning opportunities for the children of POC participants. As time is available, the teacher will provide instruction of staff children.

-Instruction and learning opportunities in math and reading will be provided during the school day, using curricula provided by Ukarumpa International School or homeschool materials provided by the parents.

-Will adapt method of instruction to maximize the local setting at Nobnob and Madang and to work with the student's learning style, as much as possible with limited staff and resources. Understands cross-cultural issues and makes appropriate life-style changes to fit the local setting. Assesses academic progress of students as well as progress in cultural orientation and language learning.

-The POC School is a large single classroom located at the POC site, in a rural setting of Madang Province. Generally, the teacher can expect:

**students may come from more than one home country.
**Some students may not have strong English language skills when they arrive at POC.
**There will be a range of grade levels that may range from early elementary through to high school.

Pacific Orientation Nurse
Click here to learn more about the Pacific Orientation Course
Responsible for providing basic medical care for the POC participants and staff as well as presenting medical lectures to the course participants.

Contact Wendy for more information.

Friday, May 20, 2011

ServeInPNG: 1-2 years as a Language Intern

Are you interested in serving in Bible translation, but aren’t quite sure what is the best role for your gifts and interest? Are you willing to be flexible and open to doing tasks that fill pressing needs? Would you like to observe and learn from experienced and more highly trained colleagues on the field while helping them with tasks that free them to do tasks that require their experience and training?

Come join us in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for one to two years, to discover how God could use you to help the people of Papua New Guinea receive God’s Word in their heart language.

As a Language Program Intern with ServeInPNG you will have the opportunity to serve in a variety of responsibilities that will help you to learn what is involved in the different roles involved in a language program. While you are gaining confidence in what you can do from your experience, you’ll be helping to meet some important needs on the field.

Responsibilities could include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following:
 Raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in PNG villages
Assist a translation team to develop and produce literacy and Scripture Use materials
Type translations of Bible Studies developed by national translators
Help in a multi-language translation program
Show Jesus videos
Administrative tasks for workshops
Print materials that nationals develop
Assist national translators with computer work
Assist in Scripture Use plans for a language group
Train national translators on computer basics, typing skills and translation software
Mentor national translators during training sessions
Serve as facilitator for national translators and literacy workers
Assist national translators in preparation for consultant and community checking of translation and scripture
Help with a computer assisted translation using the Adapt-It computer translation program, perhaps even teaching nationals to use this program
Enter translated scripture into computer

Help national translators with "back translations"
Type and format grammar and phonology papers for translators
Help with development of exegetical materials
Perform miscellaneous tasks during a training session
Help create a literacy program for a specific language group using their resources and train the teachers.
Assist national translators and literacy trainers in planning programs for their language group
Help teach scripture application and leadership training
Help a national translator submit proposals for funding
Serve as a temporary partner for a single translator on the field who has no partner
Work on dictionary development for a vernacular language
Help with development of training curriculum and materials


“Overall, what amazes me is what the Lord is doing. I could not have thought up these things that are happening, but He has chosen me to be here and join with what He is doing at this time. People keep telling me none of this would be happening were we not here.” —David Wake, ServeInPNG member

“I was drawn to ServeInPNG because I was interested in serving with Wycliffe long term, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I could possibly want to do for the rest of my life—what would be a good fit for me—language work, or something more administrative. “Long-term” is a rather scary commitment if you aren’t sure that you will be doing a job that you love in a place you are happy to be. I’m especially excited about one opportunity that I didn’t even know existed until I got here. It’s been a great chance to meet the people I hope to serve with long-term, test out different jobs to see what I like and where my interests and gifts really fit, and begin developing a love for people that I hope to be ministering to for the next 30 years or so!”

-Lisa Gilliland, ServeInPNG

Interested in  learning more?  Email Wendy

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vanuatu Women Discover Meaning in the Bible

"We always thought reading the Bible was like reading a story but now we see we need to know what it means!".

Translator’s wives from all over Tanna Island learn about Bible translation first hand

 On 7-11 March, in a small thatched roof church on the island of Tanna, seventeen ladies gathered for a Bible translation awareness workshop. Despite two cyclones and a lot of heavy rain in the weeks leading up to the workshop, the Naka speaking Bible translators showed their commitment when they insisted that the workshop go ahead.

Lead by Vanuatu Bible Translation Secretary Serah Markton and assisted by SIL Literacy consultant Lyndal Webb, the workshop attendees came from three different language groups from all over the island. Several ladies from the isolated and distant villages in the south of the island traveled the rough and slippery roads to reach the workshop location at Lamakaun in the north. Mendy Nehrbass, SIL translation advisor and a speaker of the Nivhaar language of the south, helped interpret some of the sessions for the ladies, several of whom had never had the chance to go to workshops before. This workshop was the first of its kind, as it was held not for the island’s male mother-tongue translators, but especially for their wives.

Together, the women learned the importance of understanding the meaning of the Bible text, and in turn the importance of being able to understand the Bible in your own language. The workshop began with a study based on selected verses from Isaiah 40 aiming to present a Biblical view of God. The question was asked; Is your picture of ‘god’ the same as this Biblical picture of God? If not, in what ways does it differ? The study continued to look at Isaiah's description of God's relationship with humankind.

This Bible study clearly challenged the women who attended and as they met in their own language groups they began to discuss some of the typical thinking of their communities which they realized was not consistent with the Biblical text. This led to a discussion of Bible translation as a means to assist people have a clear understanding of God's Word.

Another aspect of the workshop was to help the participants gain some skills to read a Biblical text for meaning. An activity using illustrations was used and the participants considered what questions were raised, how they could be answered, what predictions could be made, and what information was missing. This method then was applied to a study of Mark 1:40-42, going through the same process and ultimately working on establishing the main message of the text. One of the participants commented, “Our preachers trick us each week. They don't teach us from the Bible like you have taught us to do; reading and really thinking about the meaning. They just say anything!!"

Many of the women who attended the workshop are married to men who are working on Scripture translation for their own language. The translators for the Nivhaar language group were greatly encouraged by the women's report as they saw that they now understood what the work of Bible translation was all about. One translator commented after his wife arrived home, “It must have been a good workshop. Now my wife understands about Bible translation and wants to support me now as I do the work!”

by Lyndal Webb

More on Vanuatu and also here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ukarumpa International School - Secondary Campus

All of our children graduated from Ukarumpa International School (UIS) and they all loved it!  They were blessed with teachers that cared about them and even got involved with them in after-school activities. Some teachers became mentors, coaches, youth group or Bible study leaders.  I'm thankful for their willingness to come to PNG to teach our kids and many made a great impact on our kids.

There is always a need for teachers and you can find out more information at
Ukarumpa International School.

Teach at Ukarumpa Facebook Page

Article from the Band Director

Ukarumpa International School - Primary Campus

Our 3 children attended Ukarumpa International School (UIS) and loved it!  We are so thankful for the teachers that came to provide good, quality teaching.  UIS is located on the Ukarumpa center so teachers and students can walk to school. 

When we were translators, the teachers put together all the lesson plans, books, etc. that we would need for each child during our village stay. Then each of our kids had a radio sked each week with their teacher to talk about what was going on in the classroom.  This enabled my kids to feel a part of what was going on in the classroom and could fit right back in when we came in from the village.  What a ministry and role MK teachers have in Bible translation and I will forever be grateful for those that served!

Yes, there is a need for more teachers each year!  

Ukarumpa International School
Teach at Ukarumpa Facebook page

Aerial view of the primary campus.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Solomon Islands Dedicates New Training Center

The official opening and dedication of the New Translation & Literacy Training Centre in Honiara was held on March 21, 2011. It was a time of celebration; full of praise and thanksgiving to God for His provision for the centre that will enable Bible translation and literacy training to move forward in the Solomon Islands.

Catholic Archbishop Adrian Smith
Many people were present including government officials, NGO's representatives, members of SIBLTP (Solomon Islands Bible Translation & Literacy Partnership the national led Bible translation movement), SITAG (Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group) members, overseas guests and representatives from a number of Church denominations.

The day also included a graduation ceremony for those that completed the First Certificate IV in Translation.

Governor General Sir Frank Kabui and his wife, Her Excellency Lady Kabui handing out certificate to graduate.

The course units completed for this certificate

 - Identify different patterns and structure in language
- Translate with meaning, accuracy and naturalness
- Use writing conventions in own language
- Translate complex sentences and questions
- Apply principles and procedures for translating difficult words
- Recognise and translate different genre
- Discourse structure and translation
- Signal prominence in text
- Translate accurately and in a style that communicates with the audience
- Identify and translate figures of speech
- Translate abstract nouns and passive constructions
- Culture, time and geography in the Bible
- Maintain effective networks

Congratulations, graduates! This looks like a demanding course.  May God bless you and your work in Bible translation.

 For more information on the Solomons, click here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Video of Language Survey Work

More on survey work.  Let me know if you'd like more information about this very needed role!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Urgent needs for the Pacific Orientation Course

The Pacific Orientation Course (POC) is critical for the on-going work in the Pacific and they have an urgent need for more help.  Are you interested in helping new mission workers in their orientation?  How about joining the POC staff and working alongside dedicated expatriate and PNG staff to equip enthusiastic new workers for their cross-cultural ministry? Several roles are needed:

Responsible for providing basic medical care for the POC participants and staff as well as presenting medical lectures to the course participants.

POC School Teacher:

Responsible for assisting with the cultural orientation and education of children of the participants at the Pacific Orientation Course.  Valid teaching certificate or equivalent. Experience in a multi-grade classroom setting helpful. Minimum 1 year teaching experience.

Village Allocator:
Responsible for identifying appropriate allocation sites for the Village Living phase of Pacific Orientation Course (POC) and for oversight of this phase of POC.
Kitchen Manager:
Responsible for ensuring that meals are provided for POC participants as well as teaching, guiding and mentoring kitchen staff and students in food preparation using available items and methods of preparation.

If you'd like more information about any of these roles, write to me.

Pacific Orientation Course (POC)

Question: How do you transition from your home country to living in Papua New Guinea?

Answer: The Pacific Orientation Course!       

The Pacific Orientation Course (POC) is held outside of the coastal, tropical town of Madang in PNG - one of my favorite places on earth!  POC is 12 weeks long and is designed to gradually introduce participants to the Melanesian culture, the food and how to cook it, and Tok Pisin, the trade language.  Other topics are included to help the learner move towards confidence in living and working in another culture.  The course finishes with a 4 week village stay where the participants can put to use all that they have learned leading up to the village stay.

There's also time for lots of fun too!  Volleyball, games, hikes and  trips to town that include a swim and snorkeling in the ocean. Lasting friendships are formed with the local people as well as the participants by the end of the time there. 

It's amazing how much you can learn, grow and adapt to in a short time. One thing I learned in my time in PNG: God made us to be adaptable people and He's there right with us as we go through the transitions of learning new things.

The best way to discover more about POC is to read a couple of blogs written by participants in the course:  Serve In PNG and Beyond Imagination

Also, the Dokkens made a video of their time there.