Dear ones, thank you so much for praying with us during our trip to Sivauna village earlier this month. We were only able to stay for 12 days, but we saw the Lord do some huge things in that short timeframe! In this post we’ll share just a few of the experiences that blessed us while we were there.
The ability to travel these days is unpredictable, so we never know if and when we’ll be able to visit Sivauna as a family again. In this light, and because our time was short, the kids threw themselves back into relationships and had a great time reconnecting with their Mamusi friends. We were so impressed by their love. Everyone was delighted to see how much Boaz has grown in the year since we’ve visited, and how verbal he is! He had no trouble remembering his Mamusi words, and he loved chasing chickens around and kicking balls with friends.
Many of you were praying with us about a potential launch to the newly-produced JESUS Film in Mamusi, and several of you have provided supplies to help us distribute the files digitally – thank you! The Mamusi language committee decided that June was not a good time to have a big launch event; they need a few more months to prepare a culturally-appropriate celebration with feasting, dancing, and speeches. Also, it’s best to avoid rainy season (corresponding to summer in the Northern Hemisphere) for big events like they’d like this one to be. So we were only slightly disappointed to not be able to launch yet, but very encouraged that local leadership is making wise and forward-thinking decisions regarding the direction and timing of the project. Praise the Lord with us for that! We can see now that if we’d gone in and done it our way (sometimes we Americans can be a lot like bulldozers), it would have been a complete flop. Now, with some more time to prepare, we hope to reach a much broader section of the Mamusi community with the launch! We’ve also heard recently that the Member of Parliament for Sivauna’s district is very interested in supporting the Mamusi translation program. He plans to attend the Launch, now scheduled for November 6, at the end of our next Translators Training Course. Please continue to pray with us for the planning and execution of this momentous event in the Mamusi community! The translation team did screen the film, by the way, and were very pleased with the result.
Praise the Lord with us that the drafting of the Gospel of John has been completed! The translation teams have been working hard in our absence, and they were eager to meet back together for a whole week while we were there. For drafting, they worked in 3 smaller teams, each meeting one day per week. Now that drafting is complete, they’ve decided to work all together on the next step, Team Checking, a whole week at a time, alternating with a week of rest. Continuing this pattern through the rainy season should see Team Checking completed, with the benefit of requiring fewer dropoff/pickup runs in the project vehicle to facilitate the work. As each chapter is team checked, it goes out to a couple of villages on the weekend for Community Testing. In each village, the chapter(s) is read aloud in a public setting, and community members are invited to discuss unclear wordings or other issues of naturalness. The Sunday after finishing 3 chapters of Team Checking while we were in Sivauna, there were Community Testing sessions in 4 villages, each of which was met with great enthusiasm for the quality of work. We garnered invaluable community feedback, which the team will later decide how to incorporate into the text. The Sivauna Village Check happened right on our porch and was led by Jack, one of our more experienced translators. We were so encouraged by the attendance of knowledgeable men and women who came to aid this work. This shows that the community is truly seeing the value and taking ownership in this translation work. Through a lively and electric discussion, this group found the right Mamusi word for “glory!” It was inspiring to get to witness their breakthrough.
We are settling back into life in Ukarumpa now, and we will finally be finishing up our homeschool semester this week. Next week we will help new missionaries who are just starting their ministry here in Papua New Guinea prepare for their season of training in a Papua New Guinean village. Thanks for praying with us for each adult and child participating in orientation. Our kids will have about 4 weeks of summer break to enjoy, then it’s back to Ukarumpa International School on July 27. Please pray with us for the next school year; Our upper campus is facing a severe teacher shortage which could potentially limit the number of classes available to the students. We’re praying the Lord will put the right people in the right places at the right time, and that Rebekah will be able to stay retired from homeschooling this time! Evie will be starting grade 9, Abel grade 7, Judah grade 6, Zeke grade 4, and Silas grade 3. The Lord has miraculously helped each child be as prepared as they can be for their next grade, while exploring some world geography, important social issues, and possible careers and trades. Thank you for your prayers for our kids. Boaz will enjoy having more of his mom’s attention in July.
Aaron is continuing to work on his Dissertation (writing about Mamusi grammar) and helping with some Linguistics activities over the coming months. He’s planning to go out to Sivauna again in October to run the second module of Translators Training Course for our team (following on from the great success last year), which will culminate in the JESUS Film launch event, as mentioned before. Please pray for preparation for that critical course, and for good communication with the team as they continue to work through rainy season, when our cell phone tower tends to go down for weeks or months at a time. Please pray with us that the travel restrictions in country won’t hinder this. We are also praying and seeking the Lord about taking the whole family out again this year.
A final word or two
In October, project funding supporting the next year of activities in the Mamusi Bible Translation program will be renewed. Our proposed budget is $8000. If the Lord stirs your heart over this need, would you prayerfully consider financially supporting the program over the next year? You can read more about it and give to the fund at this website.
Earlier this year, Aaron was interviewed by a colleague at Wycliffe Bible Translators for a great new podcast called The Bible Translation Podcast. He had the opportunity to share about Linguistics, Bible translation, language learning, and the Mamusi people. Definitely check out the post from June 21, but I think many of you would enjoy hearing the previous episodes as well, which cover the whole process of Bible translation through insightful interviews and commentary.