Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Urgent Need in Vanuatu: Office Support Staff and Handyman

Are you retired and interested in being involved in a work that has eternal value?   Are you flexible and have a heart for serving others? Would you be willing to use your skills to support the Bible translation efforts in Vanuatu? With 6 translation teams, 6 Scripture Use teams and 30 ni-Vanuatu involved in the current work and 60 possible Bible translations still needed,  your skills are greatly needed to support the work so that Bible translation and Scripture Use can move forward!

SIL Vanuatu has an urgent need for an Office  
Office Bible study and prayer time.
Support person and a Center Manager/handyman starting in January 2018. The director, Greg Carlson, is  looking for a couple or a family who would be mostly self–funded and willing to serve for a year or longer - but they would consider a lesser time commitment. They have had many retired couples fill the roles. If you are not retired and would like to serve in Vanuatu in 2019 onwards, you can join Wycliffe Bible Translators to serve with SIL.

SIL Vanuatu Director Greg Carlson and his wife, Bethann
From Greg, SIL Vanuatu Director

Great things are happening in Bible Translation and Scripture Use in Vanuatu. Dedicated SIL teams are working hard in the villages of our beautiful islands. God’s word is going out to people in their own languages. But all this comes to a halt without people to work in the office and the buildings in town! We simply cannot operate without someone paying the bills, looking after visas, and having a place ready for our teams to come back to for refreshment and recharging. These roles are truly crucial to the whole process. Language groups are waiting for God’s word. You can help. Please pray about joining our team.

A couple could cover both of these roles, one as the center manager and the other one in the office.  If only one of a couple wanted to fill one of these roles, there are other needs at the office that could be matched to one’s skills or interests that would require 10 to 20 hrs per week.  And, of course, singles are welcome too!

While at times these roles might require a 40 hour work week, most of the time you can get your work completed in 25-30 hrs. and have time to enjoy beautiful Port Vila and/or get involved in a local ministry.

Office Support Staff

Brief Description:

Responsible for handling business affairs of SIL Vanuatu.

Major Job Responsibilities:

  • Pay bills, pay local employees.
  • Data entry for weekly expenditures.
  • Keep financial records and prepare annual financial report. 
  • Audit financial status of entity accounts.
  • Once per year, assist Director in preparing operating budget draft. 
  • Maintain work and residence permits of all entity staff.
  • Liaise with government re: customs/import
  • Assist our SIL teams with financial questions
  • May additionally make purchases for teams in the villages, assist the director with various tasks, liaise with the cleaning staff, and other jobs as needed.
  • It is understood that the specific responsibilities of this position may be adjusted by the entity administration.

Needed skills:

Competent in MS Office, especially Excel, Word, Outlook. Previous accounting experience helpful but not required. Training provided for all tasks.

Understands and respects multicultural issues and demonstrates effective cross-cultural relationships

Center Manager
Serah, Vanuatu Bible Translation and SIL secretary

Brief Description
Responsible for coordinating the maintenance needs for the the SIL center.


  • Maintain the 12 housing and office units. Bring in experts or request work teams as needed.
  • Ensure maintenance and registration is up-to-date on the 5 group vehicles.  
  • Buy supplies and ship to village teams.
  • Oversee two yard workers and one housekeeper.
  • Other various needs related to member services
Steve, the current office staff and center manager

“I have really enjoyed getting to know many of the locals of Vanuatu and learning Bislama (the trade language of Vanuatu). The team environment of SIL has been great. To be able to encourage the guys on the outer islands and be encouraged by others is such a blessing. The job has been very varied and allowed me to gain new skills and stretch those that I already had. “  Steve

For more information, email

Friday, May 5, 2017

Vanuatu: Overcoming Obstacles by Recording Scriptures

"Ah, but how Satan must be frustrated when the obstacles to understanding the Good News are removed through audio recordings. He must get in a rage when he sees men and women who cannot read listening to a high-quality recording of a Bible translation that speaks God’s message naturally, piercing to the heart of the listener and changing their lives for God’s glory!"
Overcoming Obstacles by Recording Scripture

I serve at Faith Comes By Hearing as the International Language Recording Coordinator, overseeing Scripture recording projects in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific. Before accepting this position three years ago, I lived with my family in a remote village on Tanna Island in the South Pacific archipelago named Vanuatu. I spent 12 years there and facilitated a New Testament translation of Nafe with a committed group of mother-tongue speakers.

I believe in Bible translation. I’m also passionate about working hard to see those translations recorded because recording Scripture is powerful. It is able to overcome the obstacles that often hinder the effectiveness of God’s Word in print alone.
The first obstacle that recording the Scripture overcomes is illiteracy. According to recent statistics provided by UNESCO, 758 million adults remain illiterate in the world today.1 These people live in developing nations where minority languages are spoken. When given a printed Bible, they smile and look at the pictures; but they are not able to comprehend the life-giving message by reading the words.
What can be done? Can they be taught to understand the writing on the page? Yes, and in most Bible translation projects around the world, literacy is part of the program plan.
For whatever reason, however, many do not learn, and indeed many will not learn, how to read fluently in their mother tongue. This struggle with illiteracy can be overcome quickly by providing oral people with an audio recording of God’s Word.
The second obstacle that recording the Scripture overcomes is unnatural renderings. Unnatural renderings creep into Bible translations primarily by: (1) non-native speakers who are heavily involved in the drafting process, and (2) native speakers who draft while trying to make the translation follow source language structures that might not match the regular patterns of their mother-tongue speech. Ideally, all these unwanted, odd-sounding expressions will be discovered before the text is printed.
And recording the Scriptures before typesetting and printing them is a very helpful way to facilitate this discovery process.
On Tanna Island, every time the translation committee completed a portion of Scripture in Nafe, we would record it before printing it. The books of Mark, Luke, Acts, James, and others, were released both in print and audio well before the entire New Testament was completed. In all cases, it did not matter how many times the printed drafts had gone through community checking and public readings, the recording process always revealed barriers to understanding created by odd-sounding expressions. These unnatural renderings uncovered through the recording process were corrected before the text was typeset for printing the final version.
In partnership with Seed Company and Pioneer Bible Translators, we have created an oral Bible translation software called Render so that the need for literacy in the Bible translation process can be removed.
The third obstacle that recording the Scripture overcomes is Scripture-use norms that militate against using vernacular Scripture. In many places where Bible translation is taking place today, there are already Scripture-use norms that have been established.
These norms include, for example, reading the Bible in the national language during church services, or perhaps a foreign-language Bible that is considered more prestigious (e.g., English, Spanish, or French translations). It is often normal for churches to appoint pastors who do not speak the vernacular language. This requires that he speaks the national language. The church members will often do likewise as a courtesy when the pastor is present.
Often times these norms do not leave much room for vernacular Scripture initiatives. It is not that the speakers of the language are not interested in mother-tongue Scripture.
They are!
It’s not that they do not need the vernacular Scriptures to understand more clearly God’s message.
They do!
The problem is they are not accustomed to using mother-tongue Scripture in church, or during other events when interacting with Scripture is appropriate. However, recording the Scriptures removes the obstruction of what is normal Scripture use and opens the door for new patterns to be established. These new patterns might include listening while cooking, while gardening, while walking through the forest, while lying on one’s bed at night, or at specified times in Faith Comes By Hearing listening groups.
We watched these new norms develop overnight on Tanna, and it was a joy to see!
Finally, recording the Scripture overcomes the devil and brings glory to God. The Scriptures teach us that deception is the work of Satan. He is a liar and the father or lies (John 8:44). For this reason, he rejoices when the inability to read keeps God’s message from being comprehended. He likes it when people are unable to understand the Word because the translation is full of unnatural renderings. He probably chuckles when for practical reasons, or perhaps for prestige, foreign and/or second language translations are read to people and they have no heartfelt response.
Ah, but how Satan must be frustrated when the obstacles to understanding the Good News are removed through audio recordings. He must get in a rage when he sees men and women who cannot read listening to a high-quality recording of a Bible translation that speaks God’s message naturally, piercing to the heart of the listener and changing their lives for God’s glory!
This is the goal.
And this is why I serve at Faith Comes By Hearing.
Sources cited
1 “Overview of Literacy,” UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy, accessed April 10, 2017,

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Vanuatu: Lewo New Testament Dedication

The Lewo people of Vanuatu now have a New Testament! 

From Ross and Lyndal, good friends who helped finish the project:

Now that’s what I call a week or two! What could be more spectacular than the grand reception the New Testaments received a week prior to the dedication? The dedication itself, of course. The Lewo translation committee and community pulled out all stops, aided and abetted by the Lord himself who seemingly miraculously stopped the rain for the two days of guests and celebrations.

The light of the Good News is coming.
A bamboo raft was constructed to bring a box of New Testaments and MegaVoice audio players down the coast with a flare burning to signify the light of the Word. All guests and village people from all around Epi Island, Lewo and non-Lewo speakers marched the boxes into the public square where flag raising, speeches, choirs, special music, bunting, cake cutting, Bible buying and food eating gave them a fitting dedication and ‘'launching'.

The head chief of Nikaura village said it well:

“The first missionaries to Vanuatu used our local languages. Our languages were later taken out of the schools, but today, our language has come back to us! Our mother tongue is important to us – it sets us apart from other people. But more important is the Bible where we learn God’s thoughts. Even better is when the Bible is joined to our language so that we can really understand and live with blessing when we believe it."

Welcome,welcome, wherever you've come from!
Choirs from three language groups and two churches. 
Look at it. This is our dream!

Sales were brisk!
Suffer the little children to listen too!

Take a longer look at the dedication!