Monday, February 4, 2013

Catching a Ride

The man who spoke is sitting in the middle
Rain rattled over the tarp roof, and the church leaders leaned forward to catch the muffled words. It was the closing evening of the Markham Tokples Scripture Conference, where nearly 40 delegates from six denominations had gathered to discuss church involvement in Bible translation. Despite the noisy downpour, they each stood and shared their excitement about translation; now an elderly man in a white collared shirt took the microphone.

When I received the invitation to the conference, I didn’t know where it was or how I’d get there, but I knew I wanted to attend. So, this past Monday, I traveled from my village to the market outside Lae, where I was told to hop on a PMV (public motor vehicle) named FGG. I searched the town and couldn’t find it, but, when I went back to the market, I saw FGG leaving to go back to town!  Immediately I began a chase—back to town, missed it, then back to market again, where it left just as I arrived! I decided to take a different PMV part of the way, and when I got to the end of its route, I again pulled out my letter and asked one of the local young men if he knew of any buses going to the conference site. “Yes,” he responded, “the one that just pulled up!”  I scrambled into the last open seat, and headed north. When I finally climbed out of the bus, I was amazed to see two of my friends standing at the PMV stop! Now I knew I was in the right place, and I praised God for bringing me all the way here!
His voice competing with the clattering rain, he shared passionately the need for the Bible to be translated into his language, Wampar. He looked around at his fellow church leaders and cried, “We can’t wait any longer! Let’s go and do it!

I was one of the staff members at this conference and was privileged to watch the leaders' excitement grow over the four days of discussion. Stay tuned for more stories (like the flooded river)!