Saturday, January 31, 2015

Still Waiting

A boy who needs God's Word

Papua New Guinea has over 830 languages and more than 7 million people. Almost 300 languages of the above 830 in PNG are still needing a Bible translation project to begin. This boy's language group representatives met translators who were in transit to their work site. They pleaded with the translators to come to their language group after they finished the translation they were working on. Sadly, that commitment could not be made. They did, however, give them information on how to create a team and where they could get the training they needed so that they could begin. Pray that more translation teams could be formed to meet the needs of all the languages.  

*This post was taken from the PNG Experience blog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Using Your Gifts for God's Glory

"I want you in full-time ministry," God told him.

This calling  came out of the blue for Steve. After all, he was enjoying his life and work as a band and choir teacher near Spokane, Washington. He and his family had a great community of friends, and they even saw themselves staying in Spokane long-term. But it seemed God had other plans for them.

Teaching a Music Lesson
When recalling the day he heard God's voice, Steve admits he was hoping for more details from God. After all, he didn't feel qualified spiritually, and his particular gifts didn't seem to fit the mold of full-time ministry. Steve thought about possibly going to Bible college to further his education, but that wasn't something he really wanted to do-he'd already received an education and loved what he did. He was confused by God's call and didn't know what it meant for him and his family.

A year later, Steve happened to meet a Wycliffe recruiter who told him about the remaining need for Bible translation in almost 2,000 languages. But Steve still didn't see where he fit. "There's no way I could be a Bible translator!" Steve shared. And isn't that what he would have to do if he worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators? 

But then Steve learned something exciting-something that seemed to answer that haunting question of where his gifts fit in ministry. The recruiter told him that Wycliffe needs teachers, particularly for missionary kids. Even music teachers!

This news struck a chord with Steve. He had a set of gifts and qualifications that could be used right away, and in full-time ministry!

A Choir at Ukarumpa
So in 2006, Steve and his family moved to Papua New Guinea where he now teaches at Ukarumpa International School. And through teaching, Steve's making a difference in the lives of his students, their families and even those who are still waiting for the Bible in their own language.

"I'm helping God's Word reach new places, new hearts," Steve shared. "It's cool to hear parents say, 'We wouldn't be missionaries here if it wasn't for the school.' These parents are able to focus on translation, literacy, and other work because they know their children are being given a solid education."

And it's true. When people like Steve use the gifts God has given them for this glory, they're contributing to the work of Bible translation. Every role is important in this work-even teaching music to missionary kids. It's just a matter of faithfully answering God's call when your hear his voice.

*This post was taken from Wycliffe's blog. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Break, Break, Break

The following is one of my favorite poems by Tennyson.

Break, Break, Break  
By Lord Alfred Tennyson

Break, break, break, 
On thy cold, grey stones, O Sea!
And I would that I could utter 
The thoughts that arise in me. 

O well for the fisherman's boy, 
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad, 
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

   And the stately ships go on 
  To their haven under the hill; 
         But O for the touch of a vanished hand, 
      And the sound of a voice that is still!

 Break, break, break, 
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
           But the tender grace of a day that is dead
      Will never come back to me. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Early Start

Morning in Papua New Guinea

Just before the sun crests the hills near Ukarumpa Center, Papua New Guinea, the sky will often produce a dazzling array of colors. In the far corners of the sky, the blues and greys are just beginning to get a hint of red while close to the source, the sky is ablaze with oranges and yellows. It is as if they can't wait to be announced, but work has already begun in many places. 

Pilots and mechanics ready planes, teachers are putting the final touches on their lessons, the training center is serving breakfast and linguists and translators are working in the silence of their offices. Pray for the early morning work being started. Pray that the work will be done with full attention and great skill. 

*This post was taken from the PNG Experience blog. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Words for the Heart

What speaks clearly to the heart? Certainly not a foreign language. Yet many language groups in Papua New Guinea only have access to the Scriptures through  Bible that is written in a language different than the one the learned at birth. But...that can be changed! Prayer is the greatest tool that we have to change things. Pray today that more resources and works would be found so that the Word of God would come to all language groups that are waiting for them. 

*This blog post was taken from the PNG Experience blog. 

*In regard to my Wycliffe ministry, I am now at 48% for my one-time gifts and 15% for my monthly gifts, and that much closer to the Bibleless people in Papua New Guinea! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and provision!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What's New

January is often a time for new beginnings. We sometimes make New Year resolutions that focus on things that we want to do this year that we didn't do last year... or the budget year may have ended and a new budget year started. Perhaps new programs and projects will be initiated on this date. However, in reality,  January 1 is just another day... with a day before that is now history and a day to come that brings bright hopes and prospects. In the world of language development and Bible translation, it may mean that another year of work has been completed or sadly, another year where a language group still hasn't tasted even the smallest amount of Scripture in their heart language. Why not pray today that the year 2015 would be the year that a record number of languages in Papua New Guinea would have a project started in their language.
New Words for a New Year

*This blog was taken from the PNG Experience blog. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Review: The Chronicles of Narnia

So, I haven't posted a book review in a looong time (since September, to be precise), and although Bible translation is of the utmost importance, I still love books. And, I just finished re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia, which are some of my favorite books of all time!

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fantasy

These seven tales take the reader along with the main characters into the magical lands of Narnia, where a rarely-seen, but beautiful, good lion rules, evil often sneaks into existence, fauns dance, and trees come alive.

In these books, characters come from our world (London, to be precise) help save Narnia from wicked schemes or just to travel on daring adventures, conquering the evil inside them and maturing in this beautiful land.

I am not going to talk about each novel, because if I did, your eyes would melt by the time you came to the end of the post (from the length, not from boredom, of course :).

Although Lewis wrote these novels for children, you never really grow out of them, or if you do, it is a shame because of all the timeless themes woven through this series. And that is actually one of the themes: that children have belief, and this belief is more real than that of adults at times. Sometimes children need to be more mature, but adults can also afford to be more childish.

There is also, of course, the large symbol of Aslan the lion, who takes the place of Christ in these novels. And there are so many different aspects to him that he does seem truly alive and impresses the attributes of Christ deeper into your mind and soul, so that I also longed to feel Aslan's mane (or Christ's arms) and walk beside him in the cool of the evening.  

Yearning is yet another theme that runs through these stories. Yearning for something more, deeper, longer-lasting, for a true, real home that one never has to leave, and for adventure, to live a life that matters.

 Although it caused me great pains to decide, because I like all of them so much, my favorites of the series would have to be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Horse and His Boy. I love The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because there is a high sense of adventure as the characters sail through unknown seas, there is a dragon and mermaids. Also, the characters come close to Aslan's land, which turned my thoughts toward Heaven and the joys I will experience there some day. I also just love the character of Reepicheep; he may be small (he's a mouse), but his heart is as large as at least three men's.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is probably the most popular book and features how the main characters in the series enter Narnia. Lucy, one of the children in the series that I relate to more than the others, has a main part in this book. I also love the imagery of the Stone Table and how it points to Christ's death and resurrection.

The Horse and His Boy is different from all of the other books because it takes place wholly in Narnia; no children enter the world from London. The talking horses are so fun to listen to, and I found the culture in this tale-a southern Arabic climate-fascinating. Shasta also pulls on my heart strings, and it has a lovely ending.

Well, there you have it; a tiny summary on my favorite books in the series. The narrator in all of them can be irritating at times because he talks to you, but once you get used to him, he becomes more humorous than annoying. What's more, all of the endings are hopeful/happy!

I give this series a 5 out of 5. Yes, a perfect score. Good job, Lewis! It is suited for ages 11 and up (it is written in an older, British-styled English).

What I learned: Oh dear. Where to begin? We are not made for this world; it is a mere Shadowland compared to eternity spent with God. Sometimes bravery and doing what is right is more difficult than the opposite, but it is always worth it in the end.

My favorite quote: "All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before." 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Look Back, a Step Forward

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year's celebration! May this New Year be filled with God's glory and His people seeking his face.

Here is a poem written by an accountant serving in Papua New Guinea by keeping track of the resources used for Bible Translation:

The Coming of the Word

The ancient little village had not yet seen or heard
The baby born among them, the living, breathing Word.
The prophecy of Micah as known-as least by some-
In Bethlehem of Judah the Promised One would come.

This unknown little baby, so fragile and so small-
The long-awaited Savior, the Word of God to all.
He came to earth so humble and all but hid from sight,
But we who know and love him still celebrate that night.

Now in another village the far side of the earth
Another group is hearing the story of his birth.
A story more important than any they have heard-
The God who speaks their language has given them his Word.

They never understood it in language used before,
But now it speaks so clearly! "We love it!" "Tell us more!"
So with their full attention, the Word is read aloud,
And faith is mixed with hearing among the joyful crowd.

But in another village somewhere between those two,
They read a foreign Bible that's still not getting through.
They want to understand it but only can in part
Because they're still not hearing the language of their heart.

In city, town and village we're challenged with the call
To be a part of bringing the Word of Life to all.
Through prayers, gifts and service, we take the Living Word
To ev'ry heart and language...till all the world has heard.