While on Manus Island in November, I (Steve) had a long conversation with a Papua New Guinean man who said, "I don't go to church, because it doesn't change people."
He explained that he watches the lives of those who go to church and he
sees that once the church service is over, they live like everyone
else. They are greedy, get drunk, beat their wives, steal, fight,
gamble, commit adultery, leave their wives or husbands, etc. Other than
going to church on Sundays, they live like people who don't know God. He
also said that these people don't really understand what the Bible
says, because they don't have it in their own language.
In Romans 12:2, Paul
tells us that Christians should not be conformed to this world (it's way
of thinking/living), but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
That happens by reading His Word daily, but how can people do that when
it doesn't exist in their language? They can't.
This man and I then
went on to talk about how the Christian life isn't about keeping rules,
it's about knowing and loving Jesus. If we truly love Him, then He will
enable us to love others. This man had never heard all this before and
it clearly impacted him. He thanked me repeatedly and was anxious to
talk with his wife about all this, saying, "My wife needs to hear this too!"
showed me clearly that wherever we live, people are watching us, and
their lives are impacted by how we live. It also underscored the
importance of the Bible being available to everyone in their own
reality of helping a people group to translate the Bible into their own
language brings up many practical needs. Among other things, you need a
place to sleep, take showers, cook meals, and charge the computers you
use for the translation work. So, we are very excited to share that God
recently moved the hearts of a Titan widow and her family to help with
our practical needs by blessing our family with a house in the village
of Pere (a Titan village just off the south-eastern coast of Manus
Island)! This gives us a home in the village to live and work with the
Titans. This is a huge blessing! The house needs some improvements, as
it does not have electricity, so during the November visit to Manus, we
moved some solar panels and batteries out to this house. These panels
and batteries are part of a much needed solar power system that will
give us the power we need to live and do translation work in Pere with
the Titans for longer periods of time. The house will also need a
kitchen and bathroom. I don't mean remodelling, because all that exists
now are two completely empty rooms where a kitchen and bathroom could be
(no plumbing, fixtures, electrical, appliances, or anything else). So,
much work needs to be done on it, but we will try to get as much done as
possible in the coming months in preparation for future long term stays
in the village.
moving the solar equipment, I (Steve) stayed in Pere village and worked
with the Titans on team checking more of their drafted chapters of
Genesis (team checking is when we go over drafted chapters as a team to
make sure the translation is clear, accurate, and sounds natural in
you so much for your prayers for team unity, because our team worked
very well together this trip. We have now finished checking chapters 12
through 21 of Genesis, and the team is moving on to testing them with
the people in their villages! This will give us much needed feedback and
help us further refine the translation.
After we had finished our team checking on Genesis 21, one of our
translators started playing the Tok Pisin (a trade language here in PNG)
version of the Jesus Film on our team's laptop. She just wanted to see
if it would play, but soon some kids playing nearby came to see what was
happening. Before we knew it, more kids started coming and we had drawn
quite a crowd around our little laptop. The ages of the kids ranged
from toddlers to teens, and even some adults dropped by from time to
time. Many in the crowd attentively watched the whole Jesus Film, and
talked excitedly in Titan at various parts. As some of the translators
and I watched the crowd, one of the translators said, "Oh, if only we had this in Titan, now that would really be something!"
I couldn't agree more, and one day, hopefully soon, we can translate
the book of Luke and work on dubbing the Jesus Film into the Titan
language. After that, we will have a real showing and invite everyone to
come to watch it for the first time in their own language!
As this will be our last newsletter of 2017, we would like to wish
all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Thank you again
for all of your prayers and generosity! You are why we are able to
continue in this Wycliffe ministry to help the Titans to have God's Word
in their own language, so that the veil might be removed and the whole
Titan community might behold the glory of God and be increasingly
transformed into the likeness of Christ Jesus (See 2 Cor. 3:18).
Please pray for the following (and however God leads you):
That the translators would soon share Genesis 12-21 in their villages.
That God would speak clearly to the Titans through His Word in Titan.
That God would help us to do much needed improvements to the Pere house for our long term sustainability in the work.
Where we will live after returning to the U.S. in June 2018: California, or Washington?
God's direction and leading for our children's future.
God i blesim yupela (God bless you all), Steve, Mindy, Karah, David, & Jonathan Clover