Reaching the Lower Ramu

Posted on Posted in Translation

During August we’re focusing on responding to God’s call. Please see the Monthly Prayer Focus page to read our strategic prayer request for this month.

The following was written by Lindy as a prayer update for her supporters. She wrote it one year ago after several trips out to the Lower Ramu area. This is intended to give you a view of the Lower Ramu groups from our perspective. The Lower Ramu Project continues to be audacious and bold. Please pray with us for the Abu, Kayan, and Bosmun languages groups!

By Lindy Pate

I’m used to life in Papua New Guinea… sometimes. Life here seems normal and the unusual has become white noise. The potholes and the coconut trees. Functioning in a second language and beautiful carvings. Sweat, mosquito nets, volcanic eruptions, ocean breezes, poinsettias the size of trees. It’s life.

I forget that working in a multilingual environment and having conversations about key Biblical Terms is unique. Then there are times when I come face to face with the reality of the task. These two trips to the Lower Ramu have reminded me of the audacity of our goals and the boldness of our efforts.

Really?! It almost sounds like a joke sometimes. A pastor from the US, a financial administrator, and a young lady with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are in a boat. They go to visit villages in 4 languages whose ancestors were fighting, taking captives, and eating each other 75 years ago. We had two Papua New Guineans who traveled and presented with us. Steven, is a rising star and an incredibly Godly man. He is participating in an internship with The Seed Company and traveling to Israel at the end of the month. Benny, the chairman of the Mborena Kam translation board is the descendant of a captive from the Abu language area. Quite the crew, right?

So what happened on the trip? Well, let’s start with what almost happened but didn’t thanks to your prayers. We were almost held up on the road. Our canoe got stuck on a log and we almost flooded with water. We had car trouble on a remote road but someone came up right after we stopped. We almost capsized on a dangerous part of the ocean (there had been three boats that did in the last week). But we didn’t. Praise God and know that your prayers were effective.

Now what happened? I can’t explain it all, but I will give you some quotes that surprised and encouraged me.

“We will humble ourselves and work with the people in Asau. We will go meet in their village. If they want to switch out board members, we will do it. But if they are really upset with us we need you to help us resolve the issues.”-Someone from Akarai, Abu language area

“The dialect difference isn’t a major issue. We can figure it out. We are at peace with using the translation board from before.” –Someone from Asau, Abu language area (Mind you this was the village where, 2 years ago, someone threw an Abu book on the ground and vehemently argued that it wasn’t their language.)

“I will step down from leading the project so that the majority denomination doesn’t feel like I am trying to convert them. I support the translation program, but I want the whole community to be involved. God’s word is bigger than one denomination.” –Leader of minority church in Bosmun language area

“Can we have more of these Bible Study guides? I want all the board members and translators to do them.” –Someone from Nemnem, Bosmun language area

“Can you tell us please, what are some of the other problems that can come up when working on a translation? We want to be prepared”–Someone from Kayan, Kayan language area (Said after we did a skit to illustrate some problems that arise during translation.)

Please continue to pray for these people groups. Pray that they would grow closer to Jesus as they do the Bible Study on Mark 1-4. Pray that the local boards would meet and complete the tasks that we asked them to do. Pray that people from different villages would continue to humble themselves and seek unity. Pray that people would use the books in their language to study their writing system. Pray that they would recognize the mistakes and discuss the spelling issues. Pray for us as we do our part to prepare for the next step. Pray for God to inspire great progress in the writing of the Translation Helps in PNG Pidgin.

Lindy serves as a Bible translator.

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