Thursday, December 3, 2015

"I'm just a man from the village"

“I had been praying for five years that that a revision of the Tok Pisin [Papua New Guinea’s trade language] Bible would happen.”

James, the audio-recording headphones around his neck, leaned back in his chair. “So when I heard that Rich, the translation adviser, requested we come and look over the old Kamano-Kafe New Testament [to see if it needed revision or re-translation], I came to find out. He smiled faintly in remembrance—he had never dreamed that God would answer his prayer through a retranslated Bible in his own language!

For these women, just like James' cousin,
 the audio recordings speak life!
“At that time, my prayer was, ‘Please, God, I don’t have lots of knowledge. I’m just a man from the village. I’m not able to do great ministry among policeman or criminals or doctors or soldiers or men who have lots of education and knowledge or those who live in towns, or even those who live in villages. I’m not able to do that. But, Lord, if I was able to help translate the Bible, well, then the Bible can go to all those corners and meet those people and fit their needs.”

For the last ten years, James worked closely on the translation team, re-translating the New Testament and finally dedicating it at Christmas 2014. But the task isn’t over yet, and now he’s determined that his people will have the Old Testament too, and in this fashion, they have just completed recording the book of Exodus. So, when James’ cousin, an engineer with a big company, called him the previous week and shared with him how much this Kamano-Kafe translation had impacted his life, James’ heart was full.

“When this man shared with me, it confirmed in my heart that what I had prayed for so many years ago has happened. All this work hasn’t been a waste...[God’s Word] has gone out to all kinds of people and it has reached them directly and settled in their hearts. I rejoice how God has answered this prayer!”

I have the delight of working with James every week on the Kamano-Kafe translation of the Old Testament. I originally wrote this article for the The PNG Experience (our publication site for translation in Papua New Guinea).