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Latest Updates from Jim Bowen
14 May 2018
The Bunong New Testament, released in May 2016, is having such a significant impact in the Bunong community that momentum for the translation of the Bunong Old Testament is high! Wycliffe Australia translation advisors DiDi and MiMi recently returned from a visit to launch this new project. They are rejoicing over the strong foundation that is already in place there. Everyone, from top church leaders, to men and women from every church, is using the Bunong New Testament. A church planter told them, “I want to thank you for your teachings of how to disciple new believers, of building a firm foundation upon the Word of God, of how to be a shepherd to the people.” The Bunong church has invited Didi and MiMi to help them again. They have committed to financially supporting the new project and providing church members to work on the translation. Wycliffe Australia will supplement their efforts, mainly by covering the cost of travel and accommodation for those who travel away from home to attend workshops to translate the Bunong Old Testament.
24 February 2018
Taking the Next Step
A report on the Trenem Tingting Short Course
Rain welcomed us to Imayo village on Tanna island and remained our close friend for the rest of our stay. But the cloud and soggy ground in no way dampened the enthusiasm of the Imayo community who became the daily participants of the Trenem Tingting Course.
Only two of those we had invited and expected to come, came to the course, but as Loui boldly announced, “It just must be God’s will that we teach these people.” And so we did.
After devotions focussing on the creator rights of God over his creation, Ross, Loui and Epson opened the ‘show’ with a few short dramas. The dramas portrayed real life situations where we are prone to act before we think. We then moved quickly to various activities related to Bible reading and the errors we commonly make such as taking a glance rather than reading carefully. Or taking a single verse out of the passage and so distorting the meaning. Or trying to answer questions the Bible text doesn’t answer. And more!
Loui and Epson, members of Vanuatu Bible Translation, have listened, learned and taken minor teaching roles in these courses for the last year or two, but the Imayo course saw them take a good step forward. They really did step up to confidently present the prepared material using colourful illustrations to point out needed Bible reading skills. Loui then bravely tackled a passage from Mark’s gospel, helping the participants to read through it carefully and determine Mark’s intended meaning. Epson lead them through another activity to stimulate ‘asking questions’. They made comments, answered questions, chatted after hours. They excelled, and were pleased.
Perhaps even better than witnessing their teaching talents was seeing Loui and Epson’s pleasure in seeing their new friends respond with interest and many an ‘ah-ha’ as they grasped what was being presented. That seems like a sign that they are ready to take yet another step and the next one after that.
Back from Tanna, tired but happy and time to relax? No. There’s one more part of the men’s agenda to fulfill. Another step forward is that Loui has recently begun acting on his thoughts; “I hate seeing cartons of New Testaments in the storage container. We’ve got to get them out there,” he says. So Sunday saw us all at Melemaat church handing out New Testaments to Epson’s wider family, from South East Ambrym, who live in Port Vila.
Vanuatu Bible Translation members are increasing in confidence and competence. Thankyou Wycliffe Australia for financially enabling Loui and Epson to move forward. They are already warming up to give it another go in September, God willing!
Submitted by Lyndal Webb
30 January 2017
Both the local community and churches are supportive of the translation and literacy efforts. The publishing of Luke in March 2015 has been well received.
Déli Timothée, Sunday school instructor, says:
As a Sunday School instructor, I have realized that these translated Scriptures make teaching more effective. Children easily understand the message when they are taught in their heart language rather than in Fulfulde or in French. It has been a wonderful experience for me.
ZRA Konaï says:
I have never been to school, but thanks to the literacy classes, I learned to read and write in my language. Now I can read the book of Luke in my language that allows me to discover God. I now know that God loves me but he hates sin. I would love to live in the fear of God so that sin does not prevent me to benefit from his love.
02 January 2017
This project has been renamed. The following 2016 projects are now combined into this one project for 2017:
Project 8814 Consultant Support for National Translators – South Asia
Project 8810 K* Literacy & Health Training – South Asia
Project 8812 T* Translation, Literacy & Community Health Training – South Asia
30 November 2016
The Moba literacy project has been ongoing for a few years. We thank the faithful supporters who have given towards this project and enabled testimonies such as Noumpoa’s, mother of seven:
I had gone to spend Sunday night with my parents in order to be able to get medical care on Monday morning. On my return, I did not see my daughter, who is eleven years of age and illiterate.
After asking around, I learned that a young man came to take her Sunday night. Thank God that we learned in the primers the seriously bad consequences of child marriage and the advice that the primers gave us for having an enlightened marriage (to be at least twenty years old and have a job so as not to be always dependent on one’s husband). Thus I went to see the sub-chief of my village on Thursday. Since the sub-chief did not want to deal with the situation immediately, I told him that I preferred to put the problem into the hands of more competent authorities.
I was in the process of going to see that authority when I received a telephone call that my daughter had been returned. I am very happy that literacy brought me out of ignorance. Without literacy, my daughter would have had to live with the seriously bad consequences of child marriage.’
31 January 2016
Since its publication in March 2015, the Gospel of Luke in Basnami* has been used in almost all the local churches and many home Bible study groups. And the impact of having Scripture in their mother tongue is very clear, as people begin to understand the meaning of God’s Word for themselves.
The team’s aim for 2016 is to finish Acts, draft Matthew, and expand their 11 literacy classes currently operating in the community.
14 May 2018
Your gifts have been helping SIL Vanuatu to run a series of training courses in translation principles. The course is equipping local Ni Vanuatu Bible translators to comprehend and practically apply Scripture, as well as be able to train others in these skills. The participants have already begun implementing what they have learned in creative ways that are reaching their communities. Following the March 2018 workshop, one trainer said, “I am so thankful to have this chance to discuss God’s Word with like-minded people. I wish I had the same situation on my island.” More encouraging testimonies are sure to emerge from the next workshop planned for September. Please consider helping us to continue sponsoring this ongoing project so that more Ni Vanuatu people are better able to help their communities understand God’s Word.