Thursday, June 1, 2017

Preaching in Enga

In April, I (Adam) shared with you that I was feeling led by the Holy Spirit to begin preaching, both in Enga as well as among the missionary community in Ukarumpa. Well, I am happy to report that I have preached twice now in the Enga language. It took me a long time to prepare my first sermon. Each sentence was a struggle as I would painstakingly have to figure out how to communicate in Enga what came so naturally and easily in English. Sometimes I just didn’t have the level of fluency in Enga to say what I wanted to say, so I would have to find creative ways to make the same point. Nevertheless, I was able to compose the sermon in such a way as to communicate the message that God had laid upon my heart. Surprisingly, as I was in the worship service waiting for my time to deliver my message, I was not the least bit nervous. And while I was forced to read most of the sermon as I delivered it, I was still able to get good eye contact with the congregation and preach rather than just read aloud. I was encouraged to know that the congregation was following along because they applauded at the right moments. A few weeks later I delivered the same sermon again at another church, this time feeling a little more comfortable and even straying from the script at a couple of points, speaking off the cuff in Enga. Please pray for me as I attempt to write more sermons in the future. Pray specifically that my skills in the Enga language will increase and that I will not be bound to reading the majority of the sermon from a printed script.

Preaching my first sermon in Enga
Later this month I will be preaching my first sermon among the missionary community in Ukarumpa. And while I was not at all nervous about preaching in Enga, I am a bit more nervous about preaching to this community in English. It is intimidating to preach to your peers, especially when so many of them are Bible translators with an in-depth knowledge of the text. It is also difficult to preach to a group that comes from a wide variety of church backgrounds and cultures. So please pray that the Lord will guide me I deliver my first sermon to the Ukarumpa community on June 18.

Last month we began literacy training with a small group in the village of Immi where we live. Included in the group were three teenage boys, not much older than our son Jacob. I had selected Matthew 4:18-22 as a short text for us to read together, and each person took a turn reading one sentence at a time. Because everyone there had some experience reading in Tok Pisin and/or English, they were quickly able to pick up on how to read in Enga, even though some of them had never tried reading in Enga before. Benjamin’s son Lami was particularly skilled at reading, and Martha and I were encouraged to see the group doing so well. Please pray for the group to gain fluency in reading in Enga, and pray that more in the village will develop an interest in learning how to read.

Benjamin and his son Lami reading Scripture in Enga
Translation Progress
During our six-week stay in the village, we were able to make great progress on the translation. We finished our final checks of the book of Luke, which we are in the process of recording as you read this. We also finished reviewing all of my advisor notes for the book of John, and so I am now ready to back-translate John into English for a consultant check. We then drafted 1 Timothy and Titus, and the team is continuing to draft 2 Timothy. The epistles are more difficult to translate than the gospels, so please pray for wisdom for us as we translate. For example, we spent about an hour and a half on 1 Timothy 1:11, which says, "in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted." The problem was that the translators kept wanting to make 'I have been entrusted' the main point of the text, when actually that clause functions like an adjective to modify 'the glorious gospel of the blessed God'. It is subtleties like these that non-native English speakers can really struggle with, and the epistles are full of constructions like that. In Enga, the main verb always comes at the end of the sentence, and so when they see a verb at the end of the sentence in English, they assume that it is the main verb.