Mack and Doris Graham were dispirited. In 1983, their family had settled among the Kandawo people in Papua New Guinea and began to learn their language. Optimistic about the future for this new translation project, the Grahams were blissfully unaware of the trials and difficulties they were about the encounter.
Soon they experienced fierce opposition. While away from the village for a season, thieves broke in and vandalized their home.
Discouraged but determined to continue their work for God's glory, the Grahams decided to build again. But this time, the entire home was dismantled and stolen, piece by piece.
What should they do? The Grahams knew that hardships often happened to those who were working to bring God's Word to people, but to have their home destroyed twice? Maybe God was trying to say something to them.
They stopped to pray and ask God a simple question: should they try again, or was God closing the door? Could this be God's way of leading them in a new direction?
As they prayed, a colleague had a vision of small fires burning across the landscape. Maybe God was saying there was going to be a revival among the people, and that fires were going to be lit in the hearts of those hungry for Him.
Mack and Doris decided to ask God to confirm that He wanted them to return by providing other confirmation before a certain date .If the people asked them to return by that date, they would. But if not, it was over. They would leave their village home in Kandawo and go wherever God led.
The day finally arrived. Afternoon passed, and then evening, but still no word. Mack and Doris began to think that God was showing them that He was shutting the door, and maybe they weren't supposed to return to their village home.
Then, six hours before midnight, a letter was red over a two-way radio: "Would you please come back?" it read.
Mack and Doris knew that God had answered their prayers and confirmed their call to the village. So they returned and built yet another house. Later they watched in shock as the third house burned to the ground.
But instead of losing hope, the Graham family built a fourth house. Believing that God had clearly spoken to them about continuing their work among the Kandawo people, they continued to trust the Lord by placing this new house in his hands.
They gave many more years translating and ministering to the Kandawo people. And more than two decades ago, Mark's Gospel-the first book to be translated-reached the final stages of the translation process and was checked by a consultant. At the beginning of 2013, the same consultant checked the final book of the New Testament-Revelation.
In 2014, just over twenty years after they first moved to the Kandawo village, Mack and Doris hope to typeset the entire New Testament and finally see the Bible in the hands of the Kandawo people.
*This story was taken from the 2014 The Finish Line brochure, which teaches people how to pray for Bible Translation projects that are about to be finished.