|Pastor Aman at N. Tanna Bible dedication|
-well-trained people with a clear sense of God’s calling.
Would like to learn more? Contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org
More Information and Stories from Vanuatu
Vanuatu Bible Lots of good information about the ministry there.
Pacific Bible on Facebook has many short posts about the work in Vanuatu.
Video: North Tanna NT Dedication
Blog Post: Lewo Bible Dedication
Blog post: Translation Need: How much longer will they have to wait?
Blog post: South Tanna NT Dedication
Blog post: "JESUS" DVD in the North Tanna
Blog post: Vanuatu Women find meaning in the Bible
Blog post: International Literacy Day
Blog post: Critical thinking skills for National Translators
Blog post: Overcoming Obstacles: Audio Bibles
Traditionally these communities were oriented to the land as gardeners rather than to the sea as fishermen. Their diet primarily consists of root crops such as yams and manioc, plus lush tropical fruits – bananas, pineapples and citrus fruits.
all Ni-Vanuatu have had some contact with Christianity for well over 100 years
through different missionary and church agencies. Early missionary work
included attempts at Bible translation. About 38 language groups have some
Scripture, but most were done in the late 1800s and are no longer understood.
A Ni-Vanuatu lady encourages Lewo speakers to 'go inside' God's Word.
"A Bible in a language you can't understand is like a locked door. Now that it’s been translated into your language the door is open for you to go inside."
And Serah Markton, the secretary of Vanuatu Bible Translation (VBT), continued by encouraging the speakers of the Lewo language on Epi island to really go inside God's Word, reading it well, asking many questions to better understand its meaning.
Serah has worked alongside SIL for over 20 years and during those years, has developed a passion for Bible translation and a growing love for God's Word, which she now communicates well to her ni-Vanuatu audience.
At the recent Literacy-Scripture use workshop on Epi, Serah also pointed out to the communities their responsibility to support their mother tongue translators: "Perhaps you don't have money to give him, but put a hand of bananas in his kitchen or a pile of fire wood at his door." She knows just what to say!
VBT’s role includes helping to make the people of Vanuatu more aware of what Bible translation is all about and also to spur on projects at the grass-roots level. Serah performed those roles well and provided a great foundation for the Literacy-type activities covered in the workshop.
Where There Wasn't One Before
by Ken and Mendy Nehrbass
SIL leaders hiked around Southwest Tanna, Vanuatu, (formerly New Hebrides) in 2002, looking for a suitable village where Mendy and I could begin advising a translation of the New Testament. They looked at a couple of other villages, in addition to Yanemilen. Chiefs of Yanepkasu, another large village in the Southwest Tanna language group met together and decided that they would not allow an SIL advisor to work in their village. They didn’t want a church, or a missionary or a white person (who would represent the West and the church to them) to live in their village.
But last week I went to Yanepkasu with a group of pastors and mission workers to witness the opening of the village’s first church.
In the early 20th Century people in Southwest Tanna were either attending or at least aware of the Presbyterian Church, but in the 1940's, the Jon Frum Cargo cult swept through the language group. Virtually all of the congregations in SW Tanna fell apart.
This cult taught that Christianity would cause sickness and disasters, and would impede the “cargo” from coming. Men in Yanemilen and Yanepkasu villages took an oath sealed in pig's blood that they would never send their children to church, school, or the hospitals, lest they become Christians.
That covenant lasted until 2000, when Elder Eliud, a Tannese believer from another language group, came to plant a church in Yanemilen. By 2002, several families had joined the church, opening the door for an SIL project there. Mendy and I moved in to Yanemilen in February, 2003 to begin Bible translation.
As the church in Yanemilen grew in Christ, they became concerned for the spiritual welfare of their relatives across the mountain in Yanepkasu. A handful of people in Yanepkasu had become Christians and began attending churches in nearby villages.
In 2004, the church in Yanemilen sent one of their elders to live in Yanepkasu and plant a church. Two years later, they had enough people attending services to construct their own building. Now Yanepkasu has its own church. (The other two villages that would not allow SIL workers -- Yematukwa and Yenfitana -- also have churches now!)
But there’s work to be done. Only a handful of people in Yanepkasu attend the new church and even those have not really had a chance to become clear about what the Good News of Jesus is.
And how could they? They have heard very little of the Scripture in their own language—but help is on the way! They now have 90% of the New Testament completed and only have I Corinthians and Romans left!
Praise God for the new church in Yanepkasu and pray they will grow in their faith and knowledge of God, and that they will be full of the joy that come