by Emily Hinebauch
“Practice makes perfect,” my mom would say. Growing up I didn’t like those words. But in hindsight my mom was pretty wise in making me practice reading, baking, or whatever I was struggling with. August 21-27 I had the opportunity to go on an adventure to one of the two villages in the Akukem language group. My purpose was to help facilitate a Scripture Use course in order to see what the interest and abilities of this language group had in reading and understanding Scripture. I was the fly on the wall as two Akukem men, Caspar and Nik, led the class. I was so very happy to see their motivation in helping their community open up the book of Acts, their most recent book from their work translating the New Testament. I was the person given the privilege to hand out the book of Acts to some of the community for the first time ever in their Akukem language. I’m thinking that wasn’t such a bad job, but then there is that big question; after they receive the book…can they read it? Have they been taught to read it?
There were some who had never learned the skill of reading. There were others who had read plenty, but not books that had two very unfamiliar characters: the barred i and the eng. Here they are:
I was amazed at those who came knowing they didn’t have the ability to read, but they wanted to be a part of the community and see what was offered in reading this book. At least they could hear it read. I was also blessed by seeing the persistence of those who could read but were uncomfortable with the new letters as they read each new passage assigned to them each day.
I stood in front of the students and encouraged them to practice, because I had seen how practicing had helped them throughout the week. I know that if they continue, not only will they hone the skill of reading, but the content of what they read will be a guiding light to their paths. I wish I could help all the men and women of the Akukem language group, and the rest of the language groups in Papua New Guinea, realize that practice makes perfect, and that if they persevere through the patches where it just doesn’t seem worth it they will in fact learn. So please pray with me for the Akukem people as they now have copies of the Akukem Acts in their villages. Pray for motivated individuals who desire to read it and allow it to speak their hearts. To God be the glory!
Emily has joined the PBT team in Papua New Guinea as a Scripture Use Specialist, helping our language programs dig into the Scripture that has already been translated. She arrived in May of this year (2010), but previously served as a STA for us in 2007 for seven months.