Archive for August 2006
Here I am in the mud on the mighty Bamu River. We traveled up and down the river in the dinghy behind me. My pictures from Bamu are coming soon; this one is by Phil Carr.
The Nama people in Daraia village thought it was a good idea to dress me up in some traditional decorations. After Nico van Bodegraven took this picture, he put the feathers on and I snapped him.
We traveled around the Morehead District by bicycle. I’ll post pictures from Morehead soon; Nico van Bodegraven took this one.
Koreans Namsoo and Duckshin Kim have lived among PNG’s Waima people for many years, working with them to translate the New Testament and portions of the Old. Now, the Waima translators continue with Old Testament translation, and the Kims have started to work with speakers of three languages related to Waima.
Celebrations are an important part of life in Waima villages. Here, a crowd gathers to celebrate the birth of a young wife’s (in red) first child.
The birth is marked by an exchange of food between the husband’s family and the wife’s family. Because the young woman’s parents are divorced, one pig went to her mother, and one pig went to her father. The situation is not uncommon; Waima marriages are often short-lived.
Soil is poor along the coast where Waima people live. Women catch fish and crabs and take them to market to trade with inland-dwelling Mekeo women for betel nuts or cooking bananas. A bunch of bananas can weigh 50 pounds or more, and some women will carry two of them on their two-hour walk through the hills.
Waima women once tattooed every surface of their bodies, save their palms and soles. The process, accomplished with stones and leaves, is said to be very painful. If a young woman could undergo the tattooing in only two or three months, her bride price was very high, because she was strong. Today, young women pursue different means of beautification.
In May, floods devastated some villages at the eastern end of Waima territory. The government gave villagers plastic tarps to build temporary homes — temporary homes where they are still living.
I timed my visit to coincide with the Waima SALT course, taught by a mix of Americans, Papua New Guineans, and an Aussie. Through teachings, Scripture readings, skits, discussions, and object lessons, SALT courses help people study basic Biblical truths.
SALT courses emphasize the use of Scripture in the mother tongue. For many people, this is the first time they have systematically studied God’s Word in their own language.
After a teaching on the nature of sin, people came forward to pray, some weeping. Thursday and Friday of this week (August 17 and 18), the course participants are conducting outreaches to other people in their communities. Will you take a moment to pray for the SALT course participants and the people to whom they are ministering?
The Kims helped the Waima people set up their very own radio station, 99.5 Waima FM. The station is on the air from 7-10 p.m. every day. It reaches about 20,000 people with a mix of music in many languages, announcements, and Scripture portions in Waima. The station is powered by three solar panels and a windmill.
God is at work among the Waima people, but Satan isn’t giving up without a fight. After the New Testament dedication three years ago, one young man got up to preach in Ere’ere village, denouncing sorcery and calling on known sorcerers to repent. Everyone said he was crazy.
It’s been awhile since I had an internet connection (nearly three weeks!), but rest assured that I’m still alive and well.
I’m in Port Moresby right now; I flew in from Western Province today. I spent a week on the Bamu River, and then I visited Morehead — a district in extreme southwestern PNG, not far from the Indonesian border.
Morehead is flat and dry, very different from other parts of PNG. We rode around on bicycles, visiting people in several villages over the last week. For three nights, we slept in houses made of bark.
In the Morhead region, there are sixteen languages without the Bible. The people we talked with are eager for translation work to begin, but they cannot do the work alone. So far, there is no one to help them.
Saturday, I’m headed for a village in Central Province, just up the coast from Port Moresby. I’ll write more when I’m able. Thank you for your prayers.