By Jill Reipe
Every afternoon, I take Bella, my guard dog, for a walk. It’s a good chance to say, ‘hi’ to people see what’s going on in the village and stretch my legs especially if I’ve been working on the computer all day. That Sunday was just like the other days, I got Bella’s leash and called her to come for a walk. We set off to the air strip on the other side of Samban. We walked along greeting people as we went. It wasn’t until I was on my way back when something out of the ordinary happened.
Nik, my village uncle, stopped me on the road before the bridge to Samban and said, “Your father wants to see you.” We were a long way from my village father’s house so I checked to see which father. The term father is not as specific as the one in English. It turned out that it was my village father Edwik. Now I was a little worried to hear this. Edwik was going blind. He was angry about this and even though I had tried to help him by sending him to Madang to see the doctor, he was turning that anger toward me. He had written some nasty letters lying about me and the work of the translation project. I was a little hesitant to go up the ladder to Edwik’s house. Regardless, I attached Bella to a log in the ground near his house and went up to see Edwik. I was surprised to see several people sitting in the small veranda area of his house. The whole translation team was there. Some members of the church were there too. And there was the duck. I was given a seat next to the duck.
When I had taken my seat, Edwik asked Dama to speak. Dama said, “Edwik wants to say he is sorry for writing the two letters and lying about you and the translation project. He would like to return to translation work. His wife would like to be able to go to this course that will be happening next month. Here is some money for you and some money for the director of the STADI course to show he is sorry for all his lies. The duck is for you. You can keep it or eat it. It is up to you.”
Oh, wow, this was not what I was expecting at all. I shook hands with Edwik and accepted his apology and said that we would look into ways that he might be able to translate using a recorder and his wife was welcome to come to the course. At that point, Bella decided to chase a pig that the other dogs were chasing and she went off trailing the log behind her. It was a bit distracting, but my uncle Nik got her back and we all settled down to pray for Edwik and his eyes. After the prayer, Nik helped me by carrying the duck down to my house where we turned it over to my village brothers to take care of.
Most of my walks are not as exciting as this, but just goes to show you never know what might happen when you step out your door. Please keep Edwik in prayer as he learns how to use the recorder and we work on translating the Bible orally.
Jill is a Bible translator working with the Ap Ma language group.