Monday, December 1, 2014

Basic Skills

During our very first village stay while we were completing our training in Madang, it very quickly became clear that I (Adam) was very ignorant about basic village living skills that even young Papua New Guinean children had mastered. For example, on our first walk down to the river, I was carrying Asher in my arms. As soon as we started walking down the slippery downhill path, however, I slipped and fell on my back and dropped Asher. (Fortunately, wet ground is also soft ground.) So we decided it was best to have a young boy carry Asher instead because we knew he wouldn't fall. Similarly, when people watched me try to chop firewood, they would feel sorry for me and volunteer to chop the wood for me. They would very quickly have the large log chopped up into perfect pieces of firewood, while it probably would have taken me all day to have various and oddly shaped pieces of firewood. The people in Papua New Guinea grow up with these skills, and so they are second nature to them.

But when it comes to computers and technology, many Papua New Guineans handle computers the same way that I handle an ax. They have never before touched a computer, and they have no idea how to make it work. And just like I needed very basic training regarding chopping firewood and walking down slippery paths, so they need very basic training regarding how to operate a computer and basic software programs. For the first couple of years of translation work, I have always been present with the translation team, and they have always asked me to sit down at the computer because they know how quickly and effectively I use the computer. But now with our furlough coming up next July, it is important for the Enga translation team to develop skills in using the computer themselves. So three of the Enga translators are currently in the midst of a two-week training session on Paratext, the software that we use to enter, edit, and check the Enga Bible translation.

Frank Paiyak, William Walewale, and Nete Talian at the Paratext workshop.
After two years of working together, the Enga translation team now has a very good understanding of the translation process, including common errors to avoid and strategies for creating a translation that is accurate, clear, and natural. As they develop their skills in Paratext, they will have all that they need to continue working on the translation even when we are on furlough. What's more is that they also have the ability to send their work to me via the internet using their cell phones, which means that I can continue checking and back-translating from America during our one-year furlough. It is an exciting world that we live in where even the most remote parts of the globe can communicate and send files instantly at the push of a button.

Please pray for Frank Paiyak, William Walewale, and Nete Talian as they continue learning Paratext. Pray that they will gain the basic skills and competencies necessary to effectively use the program to translate the Bible into Enga. And pray for all of us as we continue learning how to walk on slippery paths in Papua New Guinea without falling down!

Enga Missionaries Deported

Two weeks ago some of our fellow missionaries in Enga received notices that they were being deported. These missionaries are our good friends and have committed no wrong. Their deportation is the result of persecution against them and it is not the first time that this has happened. The missionaries are fighting this decision and not leaving the country, so please pray that this decision will be reversed and that the missionaries will be allowed to stay in the country and continue their work. You can read more about their situation in a recent article published in The National newspaper. This situation indirectly affects us as well. We were planning on building our house on the grounds of a seminary campus, where one of the families currently resides. Their residence at the seminary is one of the reasons cited for their deportation. It is a very complex situation, but the key point is that we do not want to find ourselves in a similar situation in the future where we are facing similar persecution and deportation. As a result, we are now seeking other options for where to build our house. Please pray that the Lord would give us wisdom and provide a good place for us to build our home in January.