Through The Eyes of a New Missionary

Pioneer Bible Translators is growing rapidly in the number of career missionaries.  There is still such a big job out there to try to start language projects in every language group of the world that needs a translation.  One of the ways in which we are proactive in the area of recruitment, is to have young people go to the mission field for a summer experience.  Below is a letter from our of our 2012 interns to Papua New Guinea.  Catch the excitement as she shares about her first-time experience to PNG.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦          ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦          ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I am currently having a splendid time on the other side of the world and have added a new location to the places I consider home.  After finishing the two weeks of training in Texas and saying goodbye to my other intern friends who went to another country, our group of three successfully completed the 50 hours of travel, making several tight connections and arriving safely in Madang with our luggage!  We spent one full day in the city before catching a small MAF mission plane and went out to a remote village.

The missionary who lead our excursion grew up in this village while her parents worked on translating the Bible into the language of the people.  She works in the PBT (Pioneer Bible Translators) office in Madang, so going back to the village, for her, was really like going home. Not only did the people welcome her as their family but they also welcomed us.  We were so well loved by the people; they took us in and treated us like family and it was wonderful.

This village is so beautiful and is built right on a spectacular river.  The landscape is dotted with coconut palms and fruit trees and picturesque thatched houses.  We were constantly surrounded by breathtaking views. It was so beautiful; we basically lived in a postcard for two weeks.  We stayed in the missionary house,  which is in the middle of the village. 

 

Our primary task was language learning, so on a typical day, we would go to one of the neighboring houses and do whatever the people were doing and try to pick up as much Tok Pisin (which is the PNG trade language) as we could.  We would often sit with the women as they made bilums (which are the all purpose bags that are made out of woven string and I even learned to make one myself).

The people in Papua New Guinea live off what they can hunt or gather from the land.  Some days we went to the gardens and helped gather fire wood or bring back yams or we hiked to the sago swamps and helped in the laborious process of harvesting the white paste from the middle of a certain kind of palm tree.  Sago is served in a number of different ways but is best fried with grub worms imbedded in it.  (Not really, but it was worth the experience. It is best, fried, sans grubs).

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Although most meals we ate in our own food in the house, the women were happy to teach us to cook over an open fire and to help make their meals.  Some of our other experiences include hiking to see a WWII plane that had crashed in the area, going fishing, visiting the school in the village, going to a neighboring village and meeting with the national translators, having a village wide meal, learning some of the native song and dance, and swimming in our fantastic river nearly every day.

My time in the village was wonderful and I would still rather be there.  I did a lot of really cool things, but more importantly I built wonderful relationships and was sad to leave the people who had become so dear to me after such a short time.  I am proud to say that my language learning went well and after only two weeks I can understand most of what I hear and carry on a decent conversation.

The time of meeting with the national translator was very helpful and encouraging.  Throughout this entire time, God has been confirming His call on my life.  I know that being a Bible translator and living so far away will not be easy but I am trusting that God will give me the strength to do what He has called me to.  I am excited to say that I have left a piece of my heart in PNG and have found another place to call home.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦          ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦          ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

As a “veteran” missionary and Bible translator, I am thrilled when I read letters, such as the one above.  At times, when I go back to PNG on another trip, I can sometimes forget to look around and enjoy the beautiful scenery around me since I have been over there so many times.  But most times I do get that sense again of being transported over into a true Paradise on earth.

More importantly, I am very encouraged when I read of the excitement that a new missionary has on their first-time experiences.  And to see one write of her desire to come back and work long-term as a Bible translator is definitely the best news of all.  I only had a brief chance to meet this young woman in Dallas as she was in my “Introduction to Linguistics” class before she flew to PNG.  But I look forward to the day that God will bring her back to PNG as a full-time missionary.

Remember: “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”.
Praise God for this potential new Bible translator who wants to return to PNG to serve the Lord in Bible translation.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

* If this article has been helpful to you and a blessing, please invite your friends to come visit this devotional blog site.

Advertisements