This article will probably be shorter than most. “Why is that?” you might ask. Putting it simply, God has allowed me the privilege to be so active in the mission work we are doing over here in Papua New Guinea that I find it is getting harder to carve out time for my article writing. Normally, there would be the next instalment of the Bible study on the Gospel of John right here, instead of this short personal article.
But let me tell you what I have been up to this past week. It’s really quite exciting when I think about it. First of all, I am involved with a team of men who speak the Tay language in PNG. We are checking the translation of James, 1 & 2 Peter into their mother tongue. I am the consultant who comes along at the end of the translation process (after they do the rough draft, village check and exegetical check of the books), and I listen to an oral back translation of the material and asks lots of questions. We want to make sure that the translation communicates well and is accurate to the Greek New Testament.
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The second thing that has been keeping me busy for a few weeks now is to sit down with many people here in the PNG Branch of our mission and have meetings with them. Now that may not sound very exciting, but we talking about BIG ideas in many of these meetings. We are looking at ways of how we can continue doing Bible translation, Literacy and Scripture Use among over a dozen languages here in PNG.
The second reason that I am in many meetings these days (mostly lunch meetings with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) is that I will be assuming a position of leadership within our Branch very soon. At our annual meeting in January, I was elected to become the next Director of Language Affairs (DLA) who oversees all the linguistic projects that we are involved with within the country. This position will begin officially on May 1st, but I have already begun doing some of the work of this position.
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Finally, one more thing that I am involved with each week, is to hold a Bible study with all the national men who may be in town at the time. These men put in long hard hours just like all of our missionary translators doing the work of translating the Scriptures into their languages. But most of them have never had the opportunity to go to any Bible College, and may have very little background on the whole message of the Bible.
So it is my privilege to prepare studies of various biblical topics each week and have a time of learning and sharing with these men. We read verses from the Tok Pisin Bible (the trade language of PNG) to see what God’s Word says about the topic, and then go around the room to see if people are understanding what Scripture says. This Wednesday we will conclude a three-week series on “Who is God?” and “What is God like?” Praise God for these committed workers of God who want to learn more and more about Him.
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So that is what my weeks are looking like right now. I have a very full plate of activities here in PNG, but I am filled with joy in what I am doing for the Lord. It was not that long ago that I wondered if I would have the strength and ability to do much for God any more. But God has been so good to me. He began last summer to increase my strength and tolerance of being more active. There is no doubt in my mind that I am doing what I am doing by the grace of God.
Well, I said this would be a shorter article. And it is slightly. But I am just so excited about what God is doing in me and through me to advance His Kingdom work over here in PNG that my fingers just keep flying over the keyboard. There is so much more to say about all this, but I will need to take the time to make separate articles about these things. And then you too will be rejoicing along with me at the marvellous things that God is doing to reach the nations with His Word, and transforming their lives. Stay tuned, there will be more to come.