Kevin and I are re-united and now residing in Lossu Village. We are grateful for opportunities to serve both the church and nation in Bible translation and literacy and education.
The Notsi people continue to buy the Scripture booklets (containing John, Galatians, and 1 Timothy).
Local translators Wesley Kurang and Shirley Taupis continue to work with the Notsi Village Checking Committee on editing Luke’s Gospel. It seems that people are more excited than ever about getting the New Testament finished.
We finished editing 70 Notsi hymns and look forward to printing a small hymnbook. People are eager to have the hymn book, too.
The Lord is faithful about sending rain after recent dry spells and people are finding relief from stomach pains related to poor water supply.
Katuben, (Shirley’s brother) who had withdrawn from the work and church seems to be back and engaging in Bible translation again. We praise God for these things.
Our plans were to stay until the New Ireland Translation Institute courses start in mid September but we received word this morning that my mother’s health is declining. Her kidneys are failing, she finds it hard to eat or drink. The doctor says she has a matter of weeks. The time has come sooner than we planned and we are trying get home as soon as possible. Please pray that we can get tickets changed for a more immediate date and without extra costs.
Pray that we can get our village house shut up and things stored well and that we’ll have safe travel home to the USA
Similar heavies are being faced here in the village with Malis Lako, suffering with mouth cancer. Malis is a medical worker at a nearby clinic but has not worked in months. He is trusting the Lord for healing and we stand with him in prayer. He hopes to get to Port Moresby for surgery as soon as possible. In the meantime he is in constant pain.
Matthew Lako, Malis brother, seems to be estranged from his siblings in a family dispute and is no longer working with Bible translation. We are praying for resolution of his personal issues, true reconciliation, mutual forgiveness and a return to the work.
Sunday morning I decided that I would go and visit a couple of churches in the Notsi language area to encourage the use of the new Scripture portions that we dedicated in July 2014. As I was on the road I asked the Lord to guide my steps that I would be able to see those I wanted to see. My first stop was to the Amba United Church. I arrived towards the end of the service. I was given a few minutes to share what was on my heart. I show the church the book that we published with the Gospel of John, Galatians and 1 Timothy. I encouraged everyone to buy a copy. If they did not have the money with them now they could buy it from the translators. I also shared with them how we need their help to finish the editing of the Gospel of Luke. One of the translators would be coming to work with them this week.
Afterwards I was visiting with different people and giving them an opportunity to read from John. The only Bible they have to read from is the English or the Tok Pisin (the national trade language). One lady said that it is hard for them to read from the Notsi scriptures because they are not use to reading their own language. It is easier for them to read the Tok Pisin or the English because that is what the used in school. The problem though is that they can read the other languages but they have trouble truly understanding what they are reading. When they read the Notsi the meaning is very clear because it is the language that reaches their heart.
As I continued my travels I was pleased that there were programs going on after services in different villages that I visited. So instead of just visiting two churches I as I thought I would I was able to visit 4 different churches and share with everyone about the Notsi Scriptures being available. I was able to sell three more books. Two of them were to old ladies, that really valued their language and were pleased to have a copy of the Scripture portions.
Please pray that we will be able to sell all 200 copies of the book and that the Notsi people would read it and allow the Lord to change their lives through the reading of His Word.
Since we have been spending most of our time in the town of Kavieng and not in the village of Lossu, I was not sure just how to plan for the dedication of the Notsi Scriptures portions (John, Galatians and 1 Timothy). I thought it would be easier for the translators to just plan for 3 or maybe 4 smaller dedications at different churches. So first week would be at Lossu, then Libba, and Amba, etc. hoping that since it was close by all the churches would be a part of it.
The section leader, the super minister, thought that it would be better to have just the one at the church in Libba. They did all the planning and organizing of the dedication. I was so encouraged that the church would take the responsibility to do just that. In the above picture Rev. Stanley Lavoi is praying over the Scripture Portions. He invited all the pastors and elders who were present as well as the translators. He also asked for some young and some old to join the group represent all who were present. I would guess there were about 200 or more people present.
After the prayer I was given an opportunity to share. I spoke about many who have come before us. The previous translators who started the work back in 1987, Lee Ericsson and his coworkers. Those who continued the work Joe & Jill McCarthy with their coworkers. Then in 2006 the Notsi became part of NITI to continue the work of translation. In 2009 I became the adviser for the Notsi translators. As this book was dedicated it is the first Scripture portion to be published in 20 years or more.
I also shared about William Cameron Townsend, who started Wycliffe Bible Translators. From his vision it has sparked a movement of Bible translation work that is being doing around the world. I also mention John Wycliffe who was the first the translator the Bible from Latin into English. At that time it was quite a radical work going against the norms of the time. I thank God for His Word, for the power of the Gospel to change lives; that through His Word we can come to know about His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
I then spoke about how much more we need to complete to finish the New Testament. We need many more people to help, in translating, reviewing and helping to edit. Give us feedback on ways to make the translation more clear. Most important though, is that they need to make use of God’s Word to let God’s Word work in their lives. It was such an exciting day.
Shirley (alias Seli) Taupis is generally a quiet and timid lady but one Sunday evening at the 16th New Ireland Translation Institute (NITI), Seli rose boldly to the occasion. With tears in her eyes she expressed gratitude for prayers for the herself and the Notsi. Seli regained her repose and joyfully reported that the Notsi have nine New Testament books remaining to translate, ten have been drafted, four books are at the village checking stage and four at the consultant checking stage. What is most exciting is that we have just printed our first Scripture portion: the Gospel of John, 1 Timothy and Galatians. Over the next month, we eagerly look forward to mini celebrations of Bible translation progress in Notsi villages.
It was like a balm to our hearts to hear Seli’s report and to see the evidence of spiritual growth in her. The past year has not been easy for Seli but the Lord has been faithful. We praise Him for giving her inner strength and grace.
After the NITI course, Gertrude and I resumed our roles as Kavieng Center Managers.
Since we returned to Papua New Guinea (PNG) in July I have been working closely with the Notsi translation team (Wesley, Matthew, Shirley, Paul Shaw and Katu) on a draft of the Gospel of John in Kavieng. Katu’s wife had just had another baby so he was not able to join us except for village checking. It was so exciting to be with most of the team working together on the Scriptures. As the Notsi translation advisor, I lead the team in a read through of the entire Gospel in Notsi–checking for accuracy and clarity of the translation. After making the corrections and edits, we developed an English translation based on the Notsi text. I was very encouraged to hear them engage with the text to determine the best way to translate it. Praise God! We were able to complete the first advisory checking process in October 2012 in Kavieng.
In December we returned to the village and began the process called “Village Checking.” Each translator finds a group of people who have not been involved with the translation. Then the translators will read assigned chapters of the Gospel with the group and ask questions to make sure that the readers understand the passage and that it sounds natural in Notsi.
One day I saw a group of young men sitting under a tree with Katu, near our house, so I went over to visit with them—among them a primary school teacher, a health officer, and two farmers. I asked if they would like to help Katu and I with checking the Notsi translation. We then spent the next three hours reading through John 3, the story of Nicodemus. These men were very eager to read the passage–pointing out corrections needed in the translation. They were full of their own questions related to the biblical text as well. We checked most of the chapter that day and they returned the next day to finish it.
George and Debbie Bender returned to the USA and we returned to Kavieng manage the guesthouse again. We miss being in the village but thankfully we found a retired lawyer and a businessman that live close by. Wesley, the translator from Libba Village came to town that day and the two of us enlisted their help with village checking. They are willing to help on a regular basis.
Please pray that we will be able to get all the checking of John’s Gospel done by April and those helping will be especially blessed by reading God’s Word in their own language. Our goal is to have the Gospel of John ready for the final consultant check in September and published by the end of the year. —Kevin
It was not long after we returned to PNG that we were attending the next NITI. It was good to be back again with the group. Everyone was happy to see us after missing us as we were away on furlough. The Notsi translators had made progress on the review and editing of the Gospel of John. Gertrude was back working with the different languages groups developing literacy materials and training.
October 12, 2011 was the start of NITI 11. This was different for me to be there without Gertrude. She did not have plans to teach a literacy class this time. I was a little disappointed that all the Notsi translators were not able to attend. One of the translators learned of his daughter passing away the day after he arrived at NITI. Others were not able to come because of other obligations. Shirley was able to spend time working on editing some of the text and practice her typing on the computer. I was kept busy working on computers to make sure things were updated.
When he came time for us to have consultant check of the books of Philippines and I Timothy I was glad that Matthew was able to come down with two others. As we checked I Timothy there were only a few problems that needed to be corrected. As we worked on Philippines we found that it required more work so it was not approved. As we are now on furlough the translators are working on the corrects of Philippines. They are reviewing and editing the Gospels of Luke and John.