By Steve Hayward
As mentioned in this column three weeks ago, we finished the last consultant checking session on the Tay New Testament. The Tay have been working on this translation for nearly 30 years. Many have worked hard and persevered over the years, so that their people could have God’s Word in their language. Sometimes, it is doing things we might consider ‘less worthy of honor’ that have really stood out to me. These actions really show me the desire and motivation God has put in these people’s hearts to know Him and His Word more clearly.
In preparation for that last checking session, Mas and Jepili left their village and hiked 8 hours down the mountain and across a swamp to get to the Ramu River, in order to catch a canoe ride to get closer to Madang. A big river, like the Missouri as it nears the Mississippi. Only it was bigger and dangerous because of recent heavy rains and flooding, so they waited for three days without finding a ride. While waiting, they heard that one of Mas’ nieces had died, so they made the 8 hour hike back up the mountain. He needed to stay, so a couple of days later Jepili found another man, Daniel, who was willing to leave the work in his garden and head back down the mountain with him. They made that 8 hour trip, and this time waited five more days before a canoe finally came by. They made that one-day trip up the river, slept by the river that night, and the next morning found a flatbed truck that was driving to Madang. A long trip to ‘get to the office’.
They arrived on a Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning at 8am they were helping to check the last of the Tay New Testament books that needed it. Because they love God. Because they love their people and want them to know God’s Words. I am thankful for, and proud of, and often taught lessons by the Tay people. The next time you are having trouble getting somewhere, or getting something to work out the way you want it, remember these Tay men and their perseverance to accomplish what God has given them to do.
Steve and Rhonda Hayward serve the Tay language group through Bible translation.