Starting From Scratch

Posted on Posted in Mixed Nuts

By Lori Witham

One of my responsibilities is to routinely update my supporters. But because my work, the work of PBT, and the place I live are all so unique, I almost have to explain things from scratch with each update.

Take my 9 to 5 office job. It occasionally includes unusual activities like driving to the airport hangar for someone returning from a village.  And the vernacular storybooks I’m printing, just created by a PBT member and a national teacher for a village elementary school, are some of the school’s few vernacular reading materials, all of which they’ve produced with PBT’s help. That’s hard to comprehend when each of our schools at home have large English libraries.

Or explain the work of Bible translation. “Translate the Bible from one language to another.” OK, but these languages had no written language when we began a translation project, and we worked with them to create an alphabet because their language had none. Also dozens of language groups have asked us to help translate their Bible, but we’re prevented because we need people to say, “Send me.” Don’t forget to explain when the vernacular Bible is translated, people need to know how to read it (which takes literacy specialists), and how to use their Bible for it to impact their lives (which needs Scripture Use specialists).

Finally, Papua New Guinea is never what you expect. Christianity is the main religion (though still mixed with Animism), but the new beliefs are often surface level and it’s difficult to grow because people don’t have scriptures in their language to understand deeper teachings. Nevertheless we see God continually working to enable people to find Him. Also, we live on an island, but it is larger than Texas. Eighty percent of the country is hot tropical rainforests, with villages that may or may not be accessible by roads, rivers, or planes. But I live in a town with paved roads (with potholes), (faulty) electricity, (non-reliable) phones and air-conditioned offices. Clear as mud?

Lori is the Administrator of Publications.

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