It is mid-February and we are in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.  In the first two weeks of being here, I have been able to finish the consultant checking of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians in the T. language.  One verse that really created a strong image in our minds of how as Christians we are joined with Christ and together with each other is Ephesians 4:16.

Part of my work as a consultant is to look at the language’s translation to see if it is both accurate to the Greek, but still communicates well in the vernacular language.  See what you think about part of this verse that was prepared for me from the T. village language text back into a reverse English text:

“And we are his skin/body hand parts foot parts.  He causes us, and we all reflexive reflexive [individually] stick to him, and are joined together like with ligaments/tendons and are one skin/body.   And he causes us, and we stick to each other and love each other.”

Isn’t it wonderful that God’s Word can speak powerfully to any people group in the language of their heart?  What a joy to see the Bible come alive to these people of Papua New Guinea.

But not only are these books now checked, portions of them will be used very soon. Here is what the missionaries who work with the T. language wrote in their recent update:

Praise that all the men finished the consultant checking…In addition, just this past weekend I finished writing the scripture use course on unity (a course the T.  people have requested). The beauty of it is that there are so many Scriptures from Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians in this course. In these courses, if we do not have a particular verse translated yet, I use the Melanesian Pidgin Bible (a PNG trade language).

God’s timing is perfect in having those three books ready and available in Tay to be used in such a practical way (and though I’d like to say we are that organized, we did not plan the prep of the unity course and the completion of those books to coincide ;-)…that was totally a God thing!). The unity course will take place during our visit to the village in March.

The next checking session for me will be from Feb. 17-28, when I will work with the missionary and the men from the W. language.  Our goal is to finish checking chapters 21 – 28 of the Gospel of Matthew.  On the last trip here to PNG, I had worked with the W. language team, but due to some illnesses on the team, and some deaths of people in the village, we had to cut short our checking sessions.

Please pray that we will be able to complete the book this time.  We have 8 days to do the eight chapters. One of the men who is coming has not been well, so pray for complete healing for him. The missionary’s health has also been challenged for the past few months, so pray for him as well. And as is always our request, pray for the translation to be accurate, to communicate well in the language, and to be natural in terms of how the people use their own language.

Thank you for your prayers. I am doing pretty well. Certainly the weather of the PNG Highlands agrees with my body more than the frigid cold temperatures back in Canada.  But when I tell people that I function better in warmer climates, often I get the response, “I think that’s true of most people”.  : )  At least my pain levels are lower and more tolerable. Please also continue praying for a clear mind and additional strength for the coming days of checking.

Looking ahead, on March 1st we will fly to Madang and have a few days break before I will start my third consultant checking session. This time it will be with a missionary woman and her team of the A. language. Pray that the men will be able to get into Madang as at this point there are difficulties with their transportation from bush to town.

And for all who have prayed for my wife Jill, she arrived safely here to join me 12 days ago.  She has done some language data work during her time here with me.  And as always, she is a great help and partner to me.  Having her with me is a joy, and she is able to help with so many little things around the house that I am unable to do, especially when I am doing these translation sessions.

Thank you for your continued partnership with us as we work among the peoples of Papua New Guinea.

As His Servants,

Norm & Jill Weatherhead

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