July 26, 2017, was a historic day in the ministry of Pioneer Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It was the dedication day for the Mborena Kam New Testament, an achievement that had taken 34 years of hard work to complete. Emily Hewitt, director of support services, made the difficult journey out to Tambapmuning village to attend. She describes this special day.
The long awaited day finally dawned to the sound of a beating drum off in the distance. The cry of the drum was signaling the community to arise for the arrival of the New Testament. The New Testaments were marched to the grand stand from the first community about two miles away in a long procession. The New Testaments were handed off at different points along the route giving each community a chance to carry the New Testaments to the grandstand for dedication. As the procession arrived into Tambapmuning (the last community), the parade line was rather long.
The New Testaments were being carried much like the Ark of the Covenant might have been carried–four men each with a long stick on their shoulder while the New Testaments were covered with a white cloth. Once the ark arrived at the grandstand, it was gently placed at the very front for everyone to see.
The dedication started with prayer. Then different speakers took turns giving remarks. The Mborena Kam New Testament was finally dedicated as men laid their hands on the New Testament and lifted it high as they prayed. The village leader held the New Testament in his hand as he slowly walked around the crowd to give each person a chance to see the Word of God in their language for the first time. It was a special moment for us as we peered into the hearts and lives of the Mborena Kam people as they laid their eyes on this life-transforming book.
As the dedication moved along, I was asked to help sell the New Testaments along with my village brothers and papas. Tyler (my husband) was on the other side of the grandstand selling SD cards that were filled with 260 chapters of audio recording from the New Testament, as well as the Android app. It was humbling for both of us to take part in handing out God’s Word to the once known Bibleless people. As the day ended we were rejoicing with our Papua New Guinean families that the New Testament was indeed finally in their hands and available to them for the first time.
However, the task is not completed and there is still work to be done. The next step and perhaps the most important is Scripture impact. The message was iterated from the grandstand from more than one speaker that the New Testament is not a static book but a book to be used and read. The next step is coming in just a few weeks for church leaders and layman to take part in a two-week course called SALT (Scripture Application Leadership Training). This course is designed to train local leaders how to use their newly dedicated New Testaments to impact their lives and community.
Our prayer that we invite you to pray with us for the Mborena Kam people is Philippians 1:9-10: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”
(Borrowed from, The Prayer Partner Letter is a publication of Pioneer Bible Translators, Oct 2017)