Mea duoduo! Good morning! For the past five years, I have been privileged to be a translation advisor to the Kope people of Gulf Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). I am not the translator, the Kope translation team members do that work. They are, after all, the experts in their language. I am the […]
Mea duoduo! Good morning! For the past five years, I have been privileged to be a translation advisor to the Kope people of Gulf Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). I am not the translator, the Kope translation team members do that work. They are, after all, the experts in their language. I am the advisor to the team, training and supporting them in their work.
The area of PNG where I work is a delta, as several big rivers drain from the Highlands to the sea, tied together by many smaller waterways. In this delta area, Kope is just one among more than a dozen languages spoken. I recently travelled these rivers, visiting five of these language groups and asking them what made it difficult for them to use the Bible. Among the most common responses were:
‘English is hard to understand, we need the Bible in our own language.’
‘The Bible is hard to understand, we need people to teach us more about God.’
‘Many people in our community cannot read well.’
Hearing these comments in village after village made my heart heavy.
What can we do? I believe the way forward is through training. If vernacular literacy teachers are trained so that people can learn to read their own languages, they then have a better chance of success at learning to read national languages. The way forward includes training Christians about the Bible to deepen their understanding and training people in Bible translation.
What is the first step in this big vision? It’s a dedicated space in which to do training. In consultation with the Kope translation team, we are planning to build a Translation and Literacy Training Centre in Ubuo, the village where I live and work. The building will have a classroom for 50 people, plus two offices and a storeroom. To view the plans for the Training Centre, please click here.
Can you help me to build this training space?
We already have the land and the plans and we have drawn up a budget – although the falling Australian dollar and closure of the local timber mill keep changing it. We also have a timeline to build in October, but we need money for this expensive undertaking.
Keito hi’a-ka! Thank you very much! Thank you for your gifts and your prayers as I continue to work alongside the Kope people in Bible translation and as we reach out to our gulf delta neighbours to offer them the training they have requested.
This story was also published in the August 2020 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.
If you would like to support this project, please visit https://wycliffe.org.au/projects/ubuo-training-centre-png/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line of ‘Ubuo Training Centre PNG’.
Read more stories about Bible Translation at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/bible-translation/