Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 2017 Newsletter

"I don't go to church . . ."

Display images to see this.    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!"
    This encounter 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 language!

Display images to see this picture.     Now, the 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.

Display images to see this picture.     After 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 Titan).
    Thank 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.

Display images to see this picture.     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