By Jill Riepe
My computer was possessed. At start up, it started making an angry loud beeping noise and every time I tried to edit the translation, the cursor would race to the top of the screen. I tried to delete a misspelled word and ended up deleting a few letters from another word three lines up. What was going on? I needed to finish editing this text so that we could finish the village checking of these portions. The translation team would be here the next week to finish the checking. What was I going to do?
I thought of asking the new IT person who had just come to help us with our work here in Papua New Guinea, but he was still in village living so I didn’t think that he would have access to email. Village living generally means no electricity and other modern conveniences like plumbing, computers or email. The other person in Pioneer Bible Translators that I usually go to when I have computer troubles had just finished teaching a course on how to use Paratext, a translation software program, so I knew that he would be exhausted and most likely not checking email.
Then I remembered that I had gone through training with a person who worked up in Ukarumpa for the computer department. I email him to explain my problem. Fortunately, he has the same computer that I have so he knew immediately what was wrong. My ‘up’ arrow key was stuck. I needed to disconnect my internal keyboard and use an external keyboard. I was relieved to hear that there was a fairly simple solution and to know that I already had an external keyboard so I would be able to fix this problem quickly. My friend provided detailed instructions on how to remove the keyboard and then to remove the ribbon that connected the keyboard to the computer so it would not interfere with the external keyboard that I was using.
With much prayer, I took a large flat-head screwdriver and a small Philips head screwdriver to remove my keyboard from my computer to disconnect the ribbon where the internal keyboard was connected to the computer. I then put everything back together again and tried to use the external keyboard. It worked. The cursor no longer raced to the top of the screen. I was able to finish my editing and prepare for the checking session.
I am grateful to the many experts who serve here in Papua New Guinea. I spent many years studying linguistics, Bible and cultural studies; however, living in Papua New Guinea requires knowing about international finances, aviation, computers, solar systems, radios, tropical medicine, and many other fields. I have been able to talk with these experts and gain invaluable help regarding these various fields and this allows me to continue to serve in the village. Perhaps you aren’t a linguist or a Bible translator, but God could still be calling you to use your particular skills to help people hear His Word in their heart language.
Jill is a Bible translator serving the Ap Ma language group.