Post taken from Fall 2011 ‘Storyboard’ written by Martha Wade
Steven Piki, one of the national translators in the Mborena Kam program, sat in my office with tears trickling down his face. How could they possibly finish? For the second time since their translation work had started, their full-time advisor had left Papua New Guinea. He just didn’t see how the work could continue. Moved by Steven’s tears, I assured him, “I promise you that somehow we will help you finish the Mborena Kam New Testament. I don’t know how, I don’t know who, but we will help you finish.”
As we continued talking, an unusual plan began to take shape. Each summer Dave Robinson, a former advisor who now teaches at a Bible college in the U.S., returns to Papua New Guinea to do the exegetical checking of the epistles with the Mbore team. Each fall Erastus Otairobo, a translation consultant from the Solomon Islands who works part-time for PBT, does the consultant checking of those same books. Each spring Erastus or another advisor works with the Mbore team revising narrative materials in preparation for consultant checking that will be done by another translation consultant.
This collaborative approach is possible in part because Steven has learned to use the computer. Before each checking session he spends many weeks in town typing in corrections and other changes. Our new building will have desks and lockable rooms. Steven will be able to work on the computer in the evenings and on weekends. This may enable him to accomplish his work in less time, thus spending fewer weeks in town away from his family.
In addition, our new building will have two rooms suitable for couples. This will allow Steven’s wife to join him and even participate as a checker. I was a bit dubious about whether or not a wife would speak up about an error in the translation. When I voiced my concern, Steven said the equivalent of, “Are you kidding? She has no problem at all telling me that I am wrong and that it needs to be corrected.” Steven’s wife has been very supportive of the translation work. Participating in the checking has enabled her to see firsthand the difficulties her husband has faced through the years. Steven Piki thought that he had been abandoned. Instead God has been building a bigger team of people who are helping to make sure that the Mborena Kam New Testament will be not only finished but also read. In June Dave and Alice Parrish, who formerly worked with the Mbore people, made the first of what we hope will be annual trips to encourage the use of Mborena Kam scriptures. Several of our current missionaries have assisted with the production of Scripture use materials. Ted Grey, a retired Australian missionary, recently visited the Mbore to record Christian songs that they themselves had written. The team continues to grow as we work together to help Steven Piki and the other members of the Mbore team to complete their New Testament. If all goes as planned, 74% will have been consultant checked by the end of this year.
Please pray for God’s protection and strength, particularly for Steven Piki, for his co-translator Denny Ram, and for the rest of the Mbore team as together we work toward the goal of a published New Testament in 2015.