BEGINNINGS

Who is in charge? I suppose that, as an American, deep down, I feel like I am. God, however, has names that indicate otherwise: the Lord, the Almighty, God the Provider, the Lord of Hosts, King of Kings . . . you get the idea.

Early in our marriage, as Angela and I were trying to decide how to spend these years on Earth, God the Father told us to pull up our tent pegs and head for the edge of the world. We dreamed of a life lived in a “grass hut”, learning an exotic language and culture, helping connect a people with no access to God’s word in their heart language to God and his word. But pictures, sound recordings, and even documentaries about a place (or people) can only provide so much insight. Multimedia cannot fully immerse you in the humid, smelly, three-dimensional, in-your-face reality of a country that was just emerging from the stone age while our soldiers were first landing in Vietnam. Our imaginings were about to come face to face with reality. Twenty-five years ago Angela and I left Joplin with our two little boys to move to a country we’d never visited before: Papua New Guinea. It’s a good thing God is in charge. Otherwise, we might’ve done an about-face upon arrival.

God made the 860+ people groups that comprise the nation of Papua New Guinea for his glory. Jesus died and rose again to give those who would believe the right to become children of God. But Angela and I, for our part in God’s great vision, could learn only one language and culture out of those 860+ people groups.

We ultimately settled in the foothills of the Finisterre Mountain Range that rises out of the Pacific Ocean to 10,000 feet and extends inland to the Ramu River basin. Our home in Uria Village sits on the slopes of Mount Somau at about 1,800 feet elevation. Our neighbors speak the Somau Garia language, named for the mountain around which their villages are situated and its historically central village, Garia Village.

Our initial task in the early years was to learn their language and culture. There was no alphabet or writing system. No grammar. So we spent a lot of time sitting with people, tape recorder and notebook in hand, listening, mimicking, writing it all down.

Fast forward to Easter Sunday, 2007. On this day we dedicated and began distributing the Gospel of Mark. Afterward, we stepped away from this work for several years. Yet the call of God persisted and the responsibility he placed in our hands never diminished. No matter what we did or where we lived while we were away, the Lord continually called us back to the Somau Garia people to finish the translation of the New Testament in the Somau Garia language.

ONGOINGS

Much has happened since then. At the close of 2021, the Somau Garia translation team has rough drafted over 70% of the New Testament. 2022 promises to be a year of significant progress should the Lord desire. Our hopes and plans include:

  • Comprehension and consultant checks of the books of Luke and Acts
  • Teach courses on Hebrews and Revelation to equip both translators and pastors to understand their meaning and how to apply them
  • Completion of New Testament drafting

OPPORTUNITIES

We are deeply grateful for the partnership of Christ’s Church in accomplishing these feats of faith. We thank God regularly for Christ’s Church’s morale, prayer, and financial support of our ministry with Pioneer Bible Translators.

We invite you to join us in regular, informed prayer. Each Sunday morning we publish a short prayer email update: a few pictures, five priority prayers for the week, and around 500 words of either update or devotional thought.

Click below if you’d like to receive this valuable resource:

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face shine upon you and give you peace.

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