2016 seems a blur with all the travel back and forth. We remember starting 2016 off with the struggle of trying to address some literacy and education issues during the PNG Christmas period—December to February. It began to feel like we were up against a spiritual stronghold. I believe it was because of prayer partners and prayer warriors here in the Lossu community that we succeeded in facilitating changes in the Elementary Board of Management by April and eventually training new teacher candidates in July. It is slow and tedious work facing resistance from existing teaching staff and new reluctant Board members.
In August, I returned to Ukarumpa (our mission’s headquarters in the highlands) and presented a paper on early writing among the Tigak language community at the Linguistic Society of Papua New Guinea—now published in conference proceedings. In September, while Kevin was at NITI with Notsi translators, I ran the same phonics course with the Mandara language group in the Tabar Islands. Praise God for a pleasant two hour speed boat ride on calm seas. What a difference in community interest, enthusiasm and organization from the Notsi language community. It’s was a great story to go back and tell the Notsi what it could be like if people worked together.
In October, Kevin was off to Chang Mai, Thailand, by way of his beloved Philippines for a computer conference and I was off to Ukarumpa to coordinate a bridging workshop called the Vernacular Path to English (VPE). It was great to be back in the cool mountain climate and refreshing to have an international team of five to run this 3-week course with a small group of elementary teachers from four provinces, including two Tigak elementary teachers from New Ireland Province.
In the midst of preparations for the VPE course, another colleague and I were striving to submit a proposal for World Bank funding to run writers courses. We did not win the grant but hope to find another donor for helping Papua New Guinea language communities produce much needed children’s books.
We praise the Lord for our progress in Bible translation and literacy with the Notsi and we believe we are on course to finish the New Testament by 2020! Please see the table on the next page.