Thursday, February 18, 2016

Walking A Bush Road

Bush roads in Papua New Guinea!
“As Christians, we walk a narrow road—like a bush path. You climb up and down mountains, you cross lots of ditches, and it’s hard work. But, on the other side...there is blessing.”

When Sakias joined the Agarabi translation team in 2003, he found this road was rather rocky and soon was ready to abandon translation to find a better job. “I was just an [unpaid] volunteer, and I had to support a wife and three young children,” he explained. “But, my wife [Ampiya] encouraged me to stay with it. And so I did, and we dedicated the Agarabi New Testament in 2011.”

A few years later, Sakias began audio recording several New Testaments. But in the middle of his second project, tragedy struck. Ampiya, his beloved wife and strong supporter, became deathly ill. Within a week, she had died.

During her illness, Sakias fasted and prayed and begged God to save his wife’s life, but still she died. Angry and defeated, Sakias turned away from God and left his recording work behind. “I just wanted to give up,” he said.

But, several months later, Sakias had a dream. “God told me, ‘You read Ecclesiastes 3.’” Reluctantly, Sakias opened his Bible, and as he read, he was struck by not only God’s control over life and death, past and future, but that God has given each person a specific work to do. “I read this chapter, and the Lord spoke to me,” Sakias said. In surrender and gratefulness, Sakias returned to the New Testament recordings.

Today, Sakias is encouraged by the many testimonies of those who listen to the recordings. “God has a purpose for my life...because plenty of men and women who can’t read can now know God through these Scripture recordings.”

“My life hasn’t been easy,” Sakias shared, “But I believe God is there with us, despite it all...He showed us the road we were supposed to walk, and now I couldn’t leave it... I am with the Lord, and I’ll die with Him.”

Saki is one of my co-workers, and I enjoy seeing his smile every time I walk into the office! I originally wrote this article for the The PNG Experience (our publication site for translation in Papua New Guinea).