Monday, June 1, 2015

Redeeming the Time

The last two months have been a whirlwind of activity as we have sought to make the most of the our time before returning home on furlough on July 7.

During the last week of April and first week of May, we spent our time in the village of Birip in Enga Province, polishing up the book of Matthew for recording and saying goodbye to our friends and coworkers. Our translation coworkers sent us off with a good Engan meal, including boiled chicken, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cooked bananas, broccoli, Japanese parsley, ginger, and rice. It was a good trip, and we found ourselves wishing that we could have stayed a little longer.

Our last day in Enga before furlough.
One of the highlights of the trip was when I (Adam) got to see my good friend Benjamin graduate from a short pastoral training course sponsored by the Wabag Assembly of God church. You may remember my story about Benjamin from a couple of years ago. (At that time I referred to him as Joseph.) Benjamin used to be a mercenary hired out by other tribes to do their tribal fighting for them (and he did a fair amount of fighting for his own tribe as well). At one point he showed me the shotgun that he used to use (a Winchester Model 37A). But God got ahold of his life, and he became a Christian. When we lived in the village of Immi for five weeks, Benjamin became one of our good friends, and I gave him a Tok Pisin Bible, which he received with great emotion and tears. Later he helped us to consultant check the book of Mark in Enga, and now he has graduated from a basic pastoral training course despite never having had any formal schooling. At the graduation he told me that our stay in Immi and my relationship with him was one of the driving factors that led him to pursue this training. Now the Assemblies of God church has appointed him to plant a new church in the Kompiam District of Enga Province. This is an area where many pastors who go to formal Bible schools won't go, but Benjamin is open to serving God wherever God chooses to send him. What a blessing to see God use Benjamin in this way! Please pray for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide Benjamin as he takes on this new role as a pastor.

Benjamin's graduation ceremony.
After returning to Ukarumpa, we didn't have much down time as two of our coworkers, Martin Harty and Maniosa Yakasa, arrived the next day to begin recording the book of Matthew. Martin did a tremendous job of recording. The recordist told us that many Papua New Guineans read phrase-by-phrase, practicing each phrase two or three times before reading it. Martin would often read multiple verses with no mistakes, and sometimes we had to stop him so that we could scroll the text up on the screen that he was reading from. Not only that, but his voice sounds like a professional radio broadcaster. With Martin's help, we were able to record the whole book of Matthew in just over six days! The Enga translators have already begun planning the launching of Matthew in October (while we are on furlough), so pray for me as I edit the recordings and prepare the book for print in time for them to launch it. It is so encouraging that the team is planning on continuing their work even while we will be gone because it shows how much ownership they have in the translation. Please pray for them to work well and be able to upload their work to the Internet while we are on furlough.

Martin recording the book of Matthew.
On a final note, Martha had her annual heart checkup a few days ago, and her heart is doing well. Thank you for your continued prayers for her health.