Saturday, February 1, 2014

Love Your Enemies

In a culture where payback and retribution are still common practices, small acts of love and forgiveness show that God’s Word is beginning to take root.

I (Adam) will never forget when I called our dear friend and co-translator Maniosa Yakasa to see if his house had been burned down in tribal fighting. He told me in his unique singsong style of English, “They murdered seven of my pigs and burned down eleven houses.” I had never heard the term ‘murdered’ said with such pleasant intonations, nor used to describe the killing of pigs. But the way Maniosa said it showed the joy and peace that was in his heart because of Christ. Most Engans would be on the warpath if someone ‘murdered’ such highly prized possessions as pigs. Fortunately Maniosa’s house was not touched, even though some of the houses right behind his were burned to the ground. 

On our next trip out to Enga, we brought some children’s clothes and shoes for the people of Sakarip who had fled because of the tribal fighting. I gave them to Maniosa to deliver to whoever needed them most. Even though most people had fled, Maniosa was still living in Sakarip, where gunmen were nightly roaming through the village hunting their enemies who had previously sought refuge in Sakarip.

The next time I saw Maniosa he told me that he had delivered the clothes and shoes to his enemies! I was amazed by Maniosa’s ability to love the same enemies who had caused so much destruction and turmoil in his village. It gave me hope to see that God’s Word is changing even the most deeply rooted cultural norms. Maniosa understands that the only way to stop fighting and killing is by love and not by more fighting and killing. I pray that as people hear God’s Word in Enga that they too will learn to love their enemies!

Translation Progress
During our recent six-week stay in Wabag, we completed drafting the first twelve chapters of the Gospel of Mark. Our goal was to finish the first eight chapters, and so it was encouraging to be so far ahead of schedule. Immediately after returning to Ukarumpa, we had three Engans join us to have our translation of the Abraham story, which we had completed earlier in the year, checked by a consultant. The consultant check is a tedious but necessary part of the translation process, whereby a person who does not speak Enga and who has not been involved in the translation process checks our work. Because the consultant does not speak Enga, we must first translate our work back into English. The consultant then checks our English back-translation to make sure that we haven’t missed anything and to provide other helpful suggestions based on his own experience.

After the consultant check, I (Adam) prepared the back translation of the first twelve chapters of Mark that we had drafted in preparation to have that checked later this year. Now I am back in Wabag for a short trip to review the notes from the consultant check for the Abraham story as well as my own notes on the first twelve chapters of Mark. There are a lot of steps to the process!

Prayer for Building a House
During our last stay in Enga, we were informed that the apartment where we are staying in town will no longer be available after 2014. That news is a blessing in disguise because it has been difficult for the kids to be in town without space outside to run around and play. We have now lived in three different places in Enga and honestly we are tired of moving and not having a stable place of our own. As a result, we are praying about building a small house on a seminary campus in Birip, a village about twenty minutes outside of Wabag town. This area has been relatively insulated from tribal fighting over the years, and it has lots of space for the kids to play. The seminary seems willing to give us land to build, but the thought of building a house is daunting! Please pray that God would give us clear direction and provide the funds and practical help that we need to build a home that will provide a stable place for our family.