This past week, almost everyone in our organization currently working on Bible translation in PNG (and supporting it) gathered together in our little town. It was the biennial Branch Conference – a time to reflect on what has been going on the last two years, and to plan for the next years. This year, it was mostly a time to encourage each other in the work that God is doing in this country.
In the midst of it all, we heard from the Grahams – faithful translators for the Kandawo people for the past thirty years. In those years, despite all the work the Grahams did, all the relationships they built, and all the time they put into the people of their language, very few were interested in God’s Word. In fact, many resisted it. So much so that the Grahams had to stop and ask “Why are we doing this?” several times. But knowing they were led to continue, they didn’t give up.
And in the last few months, just as the New Testament was coming to its completion, people suddenly started getting excited about it.
The local priest endorsed the translation, bringing together different denominations in the area that refused to work with each other before. New AudiBibles came out, and people walked for miles just to get one. A group of literacy workers put on a workshop that was attended by far more people than anyone expected. In just two weeks, the dedication ceremony will be held – and already people are gathering together in excitement.
Here are some words from some of the Kandawo people, eager to hear more of the Word:
“We were starving and we didn’t know it. Now this AudiBible satisfies our hunger and tastes sweet…You have to understand how very much this has completely changed me and my situation! This has changed everything for me.”
“Before I got the AudiBible I felt like a pig that was tied to a stick. But now I feel like I’ve been freed. I’m only a rotted old woman and I was going to church every week and I always wondered during the Bible reading. We thought that it was some language from some far away people. But now this machine has brought it close to me. We were ignorant pigs and dogs, but now we are changed. I take it to bed with me and leave it playing on my chest while I fall asleep. I had no idea how Jesus died but I am amazed…”
If you’re the praying sort, do pray that the Kandawo New Testament will reach many more readers and listeners – and that those who hear will be free indeed.