Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Solomon Islands

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

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

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

Advisors are needed for New and Old Testament translation teams.

Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group

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

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

For more information, contact Wendy at   

Additional Information:

Blogs from the Solomons:

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

Quick Facts

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Needed: Operations Manager for the Solomon Islands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Vanuatu: Trenem Tingting Course

Trenem Tingting

(Literally: Train your Thoughts)


Course Intake 3 Module 2

 Vanuatu SIL

Report by Lyndal Webb 

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Who should be involved in Bible translation?

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

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

Article taken from the SIL PNG 2015 Annual Report

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Needed: Regional Centre Managers

Regional Centres play a vital role in the Bible translation efforts in PNG!

We were very encouraged and blessed by the regional centre that we used as we went in and out of the village. Not only did we have a comfortable place to sleep but the centre managers encouraged us and offered their support through shopping, transportation and weekly conversations on the radio. I really can't imagine doing the work without their help. 

Due to the importance of the regional offices for the work in each region, keeping these  centres up and running is critical.  If there isn't anyone available to serve as a manager in any of the 8 regional centres, Bible translators are often asked to fill in until someone else can take over the duties.

         There are 8 Regional Centres. #7 is the Pacific Orientation Course

Each Regional Centre has an office, a home for the centre manager and family, a workshop meeting room and several fully furnished duplexes for guests and workshop participants.

The type of person we are looking for has the following qualities:
-A servant heart, including the willingness to do a variety of jobs.
-Excited by challenges
-Basic business and management skills
-An ability to appreciate and work in a multi-national atmosphere.
-The willingness to build a team of prayer and financial partners

-Shopping for translators
-Radio Skeds
-Airport pickups
-Maintaining the center
-Managing staff
-and more...lots of variety!

Blog Post and video from a couple who serve as Regional Centre Managers at  Alotau: What We Do as Regional Centre Managers

Read about Joe and Heather Patrick, new regional centre managers.

PNG: Ukarumpa Autoshop

If you are looking for a way to use your mechanic skills to serve in Bible translation and are flexible with a servant heart, please join us.  You are needed!

The Auto Shop at Ukarumpa is critical for the Bible translation efforts around the country. The closest other reliable auto shop is 90 km. away. We had a Hilux truck that we used to get to our village allocation and we are very grateful for the availability and expertise of the Auto Shop staff!

The Auto Shop includes:

 -machine shop
-welding fabrication
-small engine repair
-outboard motor repair
-small appliance repair
-parts room
-auto body repair

The shop is also helping village teams with their needs, such as generator and airstrip lawn mower repairs.  They are also looking into how to better support and serve the regional centers.

The Auto Shop staff also have 2 weeks a year to minister in another way, such has helping a translator in a village or showing the Jesus film to local villages.

Read Andrew's blog to learn more about life at Ukarumpa and the work in the Auto Shop.

For more information, contact Wendy at

Papua New Guinea: Ukarumpa Linguistic Center

Ukarumpa is SIL's main centre for the Bible translation work in Papua New Guinea. It's located in the Eastern Highlands at an elevation of 5000 ft. which means the temperature is much cooler than the tropical lowlands.

With over 800 languages in PNG, there is lots of work to be done and the facilities at Ukarumpa help us to accomplish our goals.  We are currently working in about 200 languages so with translators and support staff, there is a lot going on at Ukarumpa!   As translators, this was our base when we were not living in the village. The linguistic and translation support available at Ukarumpa was helpful and needed but the support services were also necessary and such a blessing to us.

One of the busiest places at Ukarumpa is the new training centre located just left of the photo below. The Pacific Institute of Languages, Arts and Translation holds courses there for Papua New Guineans from around the country.

 Here's an aerial tour of Ukarumpa.
To learn about:

Translation click here. 
Literacy, click here. 
Scripture Engagement/Use, click here.  
Language Survey, click here. 
Ethnomusicology, click here.

The Auto Shop maintained our truck so we could drive to our village allocation.

Aviation is needed in a country that is mountainous with few roads. Bible translation would be very difficult or next to impossible for many locations in PNG.  Planes not only deliver translators to their allocations but also bring needed supplies, mail and a friendly visit from our skilled pilots!  Click here to see what it's like to land at Ukarumpa.  

Communications and Technical Services

CTS is a vital department as it supports Bible translation around the country as well as the community at Ukarumpa. Those who work in CTS intentionally select, create and maintain technology systems for the purpose of acceleration and accomplishing the translation of the bible into all languages.

The Clinic not only met our physical needs but serves the local people too. What a blessing to have them there when my husband, Morris, came home from the village with a splinter in his eye or the times in the village when we were sick and we could call up the doctor on the radio to ask advice for illnesses or sores.  

Working together, the clinic staff is a multi-national team consisting of Papua New Guineans and missionaries from around the world.

There are Children's Homes for teens to stay in when their parents are in the village so they can attend school. We were Children Home parents for our last 3 years there and loved it!   

The Construction and Maintenance Department was instrumental in helping us build our village house. We couldn't have done it without their expert help! 

The Finance Office handles  the accounting needs for departments and as well as individuals.

Ukarumpa International School is based at  Ukarumpa.  We raised our 3 kids there and as a parent, I'd have to say the schools are a huge blessing!  My kids were taught by teachers who felt called to be there so our kids were their ministry!  When we went to the village when my kids were in primary school, the teachers put together all their books, told me what to teach each day to keep up with their class and then came up on the radio each week to talk to all the village kids to discuss what was happening in the class room and answer any questions.  I didn't have to plan everything for homeschooling and my kids were able to fit right back in to their classroom when we returned from the village!

7th-12th grades come home every day for lunch which was a real blessing for our family.  The school offers sports, choir and band and an annual drama production.  There always seems to be something going on for teens and the Teen Center is a great place to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights.

Smaller Regional Centres support the work around the country.

The Store is like a country store where you'll find almost anything you "need".  It's also a great place to meet friends and have a quick chat. 

Household goods, clothing and more!

The open-air market on the center is full of fresh, delicious produce , fruit and hand-made items.  However, you have to get up early since it’s open from 6-8am, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country in the world and has around 830 languages.  An island nation north of Australia, PNG's geography creates isolation for languages groups. This is a significant challenge both for the groups themselves and for the language teams serving them. There have been nearly 200 New Testaments completed since work began there in 1956. Another 190 translations are currently in process. People from 18 sending countries and staff of the Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association are working on these translations.

CAPITAL CITY: Port Moresby

POPULATION: 6,732,000 (2009 estimate)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English, Motu, and Pidgin

CURRENCY: Kina and Toea (1 kina = 100 toea)

AREA: 461,693 sq. km. (178,260 sq. mi.) 19 Provinces

LIFE EXPECTANCY: Male 52.6 years, Female 54.2 years

RELIGION: Heavily mission-ized but some nominally Christian, continuing influence of animism/ancestor worship, cargo cults.