Discerning choices in Papua New Guinea

By Glenice Hartwich

Which fruit to buy at the local market will be a minor choice compared to the major decision that Hanna Schulz has to make in these next months.

Which fruit to buy at the local market will be a minor choice compared to the major decision that Hanna Schulz has to make in these next months.

As a member of Lutheran Bible Translators Australia (LBTA) Hanna is currently living and working in Ukarumpa, the headquarters of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), Papua New Guinea (PNG) in readiness to move to a another region of PNG where together with her translation partner they will translate the Bible into a local language. Hanna will be guided in her decision to select a PNG ministry through considered prayer as her skills are in high demand.

Today in the diverse land of PNG – a country of where there are close to seven million people and more than 800 languages, there are still in excess of 280 major language groups where the people do not have the Word of God  in their mother tongue.

Hanna first heard God’s call to Bible translation work as a young person attending the Territory Throng, a gathering of mostly Lutheran young people from across Australia in Darwin in 1998. Through the stories shared by a speaker at that significant LCA youth event, Hanna’s life journey was directed and focused over the following ten years in preparation to fulfil what she sees as a life-long vocation.

She’s since studied anthropology, theology and gained skills as a second mate in sailing, in addition to acquiring Bible translation skills as a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Many and varied life experiences and studies have shaped Hanna into a person with resilience and resourcefulness.  Her sensitivity to people and different cultures, along with her joyful personality make Hanna so well suited for her life in PNG; a life amongst people with vastly different experiences and expectations than many living in Australia or New Zealand.

Following her return to PNG from a period of furlough in Australia, Hanna and Catherine (her translation partner in this major undertaking) will continue seeking to understand and learn where God is calling them to begin this ministry in earnest.

This discernment and the ultimate decision that these two women make, will be life-changing; not just for them, but also for the people they will live amongst, work with and eventually translate God’s Word for.

You are invited to join with Hanna in prayer as she and Catherine choose to follow where God leads them as Bible translators.

Lutheran Bible Translators Australia (LBTA) was formally endorsed as a committee to operate under the then Board for Overseas Mission and Church Cooperation (BOMCC) at the 1981 General Synod of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA). Today LBTA continues to operate under the guidelines adopted at that time and under the current LCA Board for Mission.

Since 1984, Margaret Mickan has worked tirelessly as an LBTA team member; initially as a literacy worker and more recently as a Bible translator, amongst the 30,000 Kriol speaking indigenous people across northern Australia.  Her work culminated in the production of the completed Kriol Bible in 2007.  She continues to work amongst Kriol speakers promoting use of this translation.

Between 1989 and 2001, Bill and Di Eckermann worked to produce a New Testament for the 10,000 speakers of the Bukawa language around Lae in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Bill continues as a consultant in various translation projects and as a member of the LBTA committee.

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