Konai Bible Dedication

One more New Testament is complete.  One more language group has the word of God in their hands.  One more Bible is definitely worth celebrating.

I once landed at the airstrip that serves this language group on my way back to Ukarumpa from the village.  I don’t remember exactly what the couple Soren and Britten Arsjo had requested but it was a small package and it was important.  They payed for the plane to go out of its way into Western Province and my co-worker and I were along for the ride.  The hot, dense air from this lower area hit us as the doors of the small plane opened.  We stepped outside for a few minutes while they opened the package and confirmed it’s contents.  Then we flew away and left them to continue their work.

Konai New Testaments

Over Easter weekend, the fruit of that work was finally seen in hand.  The Konai dedicated their New Testament.  This picture is thanks to Brian Frey who attended the dedication.  You can read more about it as well as see more pictures and video on their blog: Following the Freys.  Two things stuck out from reading about this dedication.

One: The Konai have a similar Christian story to the Onobasulu.  Both were evangelized, not by westerners or other foreigners but instead by another PNG tribe.  I love that when the gospel took hold of hearts in PNG, the people didn’t just keep it for themselves but spread the good news to other neighboring people groups.

Two: This is Soren and Britten’s SECOND New Testament translation.  One is already a lifetime of work.  If you’re interested in more of the story of how they came to translate a second New Testament check out the Frey’s blog.

There is still a lot of work Bible translation work to be done in PNG but let’s celebrate another huge milestone.  The Konai have the word of God in their language!

Update on Osa and Other Onobasulu Prayers and Praises

I’m happy to report that Osa is doing well after her snake bite last week which you can read about here: An Urgent Prayer Request From PNG.  She’s back in Walagu and there is no venom in her system.  This is a huge praise!  There are a lot of reasons they did not find venom even though there were bite marks on her leg, maybe it wasn’t a death adder that bit her, maybe the bandaging worked or the snake that bit her had already bit something else recently so the venom wasn’t strong.  Whatever reason, the prayers worked and we are glad that she didn’t have to have the full anti-venom shots which can often be very hard on the body.  Her husband Wabele (pictured below on the computer) was with her at the hospital which is also a praise.


Another praise is that we think the cost of the helicopter and treatment is going to be covered by the oil company’s community affairs fund.  This is basically money that is set aside to help the communities that they impact.  This is a huge praise because the cost of helicopters alone is astronomical.

While we’re praising God, let’s praise him that it seems like the Onobasulu airstrip is open again after two years of being closed.  It has had major work done on it by the Onobasulu people and the first SIL plane will land there next week to check it out.  Praise God that the Onobasulu may be able to use their airstrip instead of walking from another airstrip or paying the high cost of helicopters.  Having the airstrip open greatly benefits the work of Bible Translation as well as the community in general.


Please continue to keep the Onobasulu people in your prayers.  Work on the Onobasulu Bible translation and other scripture use materials is happening, people are hearing the gospel and learning more about the Bible.  All of these things invite spiritual warfare.  Another one of the workers named Hauwo (pictured below) has also been in the hospital with ongoing back pain, after a bad fall last year.  He has been involved with the translation and literacy work from the beginning.  Please pray for a full and quick recovery.


These three pictures in this post are of the 6 main Onobasulu workers- Joseph, Yobe, Jack, Wabele, Jeffery and Hauwo.  Please pray for them by name and their families as the work pushes forward.  Please pray for safety.  Please pray for good health.  Please pray for protection and care for these families as well as the entire Onobasulu community.  You’re continued prayers support the work of Bible translation.  Thank you!

More from Walagu

God is good.  He formed us.  He created us.  He knew us before we were even a thought to our earthly parents.  And even though I trust that our lives are in God’s hands, it is still hard when something happens.  Tuesday in PNG my co-worker Jeffery was hit by a tree.  He is alive but he has a wound on his head and being hit by a tree is never a good thing.  But we are praising God because of the open airstrip, an available pilot and the timing of a few crucial things that allowed for Jeffery to be picked up and taken to the hospital.  Please be in prayer for Jeffery’s full recovery and for his family while he is away from them in the hospital.  Please also continue to pray for the translation of Luke.  This accident takes away valuable time that should be spent translating and it also wears emotionally on the co-workers who are doing the translating.

When I left PNG last year I wrote in my December 2011 newsletter about the miracle lives of both my literacy co-workers, Hauwo and Jeffery.  Take some time to remember Jeffery’s story:


In 1974 my mother went into the bush to give birth to me.  She went by herself and built a small hut for shelter.  Then she gave birth to me.  There was no aid-post to help my mother.   After she has given birth to me, she looked at me and saw that I was not a healthy baby boy.  I was thin and sickly. She wanted to just kill me and bury me in the mud.  However, my aunt came and told my mother not to kill me.  She told my mother that her baby was good.  They washed me and my mother fed me.  It is our custom that mothers have to remain away from the village for some time after giving birth.  So my mother stayed in the bush with me for a few weeks and my aunt went back and told the village about me.


This same man grew up to be a vital part of the literacy and Bible translation program for the Onobasulu.  I am very thankful for him and the friendship I have with his family.  He is also little Segea’s father so that makes him extra special too.  Thanks for your prayers, the Onobasulu people and I really need them this week.



Lawnmowers, Scanners and A New Baby…Update from Walagu

Beverly (my Texan co-worker still in PNG), is now back in Ukarumpa and has sent me some great pictures with exciting village news.  It’s nice to have email contact with her after everything was fried in the lightning strike a few weeks ago.

Meet the newest Onobasulu child.  She is the daughter of Joseph (one of the translators) and his wife Sisi.  In September of 2010, they lost their little girl Asena.  This was a very hard time for all of us.  But now they have a new little sweetheart and her name is…Asena.  Naming children after a previous deceased child is common accepted practice for the Onobasulu.  Remember little Kibili?  She was also given the same name as her older sister who had died a couple years earlier.  Look at these proud parents.  I pray that little Asena grows up strong and happy, knowing that she is loved by her family and the Onobasulu community.

Beverly wasn’t just welcoming babies, she also had the auspicious task of teaching Hauwo and Jeffery how to use their new scanner.  I realized that a computer and a printer are only as good as the information you can send to them.  If the Onobasulu were ever going to create their own books, they would need a way to get the pictures into the computer.  But like anything else with technology scanning is a skill that should be learned and then continually practiced.

It is always encouraging to see the guys working together because two heads are better then one.  Hopefully they can help each other to remember all the steps.  I am excited to see how they use the scanner and a bit anxious to see if they could really take a book from just an idea all the way through the process.  This would mean writing a story, editing a story, typing the story, editing it again, drawing the pictures, scanning the pictures, using the book template to insert the pictures, story and title page and cover information, checking their work, pdfing their work, printing the book, assembling the book.  And all the little steps and details in between.  I never said it was going to be easy but they have all the tools to make it happen.

Assembling books isn’t the only job that requires multiple people.  Remember the push lawn mowers?  Well the little one now has 5 bigger siblings.  I already announced that the mowers had arrived in Walagu but here are the pictures of them being put together.  I am thankful for the financial gifts that made buying and shipping these mowers possible.  This is a trial run to see if these mowers will last better then gas powered large mower that always seems to have a problem.  Although the reel mowers don’t have as much power, the lower tech side will make them easier to care for and easier to use.  Hopefully next time we will get pictures of them in action on the airstrip as well as around the village.  And another positive- no petrol use!

Thanks Beverly for these great pictures.  For more information on how the Walagu lodge power situation got sorted out, go to Beverly’s blog and read about the hiking electrician.



What did I do yesterday?

Every day in the village yields a different answer to the question, “What did you do today?” Yesterday I had a great optimistic plan but plans don’t guarantee anything and I should be use to it by now…plans change. In the morning I handed my co-workers the little push mower and the rake and said good-bye to them as they walked down to the airstrip to work. I then went over to the literacy office, printed some books and worked on some fixing some numbering mistakes that I had found in the curriculum. Then I plugged in the computer to charge and headed over to the house to do emails. I was followed by an entourage of little girls who were waiting with me and would walk down with me to the airstrip when I was ready. I checked my email, did some other things around the house and got myself together to go down to the airstrip. The plan was to see what work was being done and give them some encouragement, come back to the house and keep working.

The walk down to the airstrip was quite amusing because one little girl had a sore on her foot and so her friends who were about the same size were taking turns carrying her. I finally convinced her that she wouldn’t break my riding on my back so (except for the bridges) I carried her most of the way down the hill. Part of the way because I was hot they also took turns carrying an umbrella over us. This was probably a sight because I am so tall, the little girls were walking beside me on their tips toes trying not to hit me or my little human backpack in the heads. We finally got to the second to the last bridge and spent some time discussing what the best way for me to cross would be. Two of the four logs had already split and the other two were far apart. However, thanks to a wiggly hand rail I walked across the smallest log just fine. The little girls were relieved that I didn’t tumble into the creek on their watch. We finally made it up to the airstrip and there was no work being done and I could hear the sounds of wailing coming from the village.

We crossed another bridge into the village and I left my airstrip tools at a house before making my way around to where the funeral was still going on. The body of John Malimi had been buried on Saturday but earlier in the morning a helicopter arrived with some of his children who live in cities so they were now having their chance to grieve and mourn. There were groups of men and women sitting throughout the area and so I approached the group with the largest concentration of women. I then chook hands with John’s oldest daughter and greeted some other people before sitting down next to a friend and her daughter. My friend explained who the people were on top of the grave crying and wailing. John had 5 wives and lots of children and one of these children had not seen his father in 5 years but was planning on coming for Christmas. However, since his father died before Christmas, he will never see him again. This man in particular was showing his grief very loudly and openly.

The body was buried in the middle of a large open area, on top of a trapezoid-ish shaped mound so when the sun was up, it must have been blazing hot to sit or lay on the red clay covering the burial area. The mourners closest to it would sob and beat the ground and return with their faces and clothes covered in the clay. I watched as many would mourn and then leave to go bath and return some time later in fresh clothes with the dirt removed from their faces. Others wept silently near the grave and many more looked on speaking in hushed whispers from the shade underneath the houses surrounding the area.

We all noticed the rain beginning to come closer as the wall of white swept down from the hills towards us from Mt.Bosavi and we everyone moved in under the houses where it was drier. I sat on a log with a group of women, listening to them talk, watching other women cook and the children playing a game like marbles but with rocks instead. Some of the kids would try to play with me but most of them were sent away by their mothers who were afraid I would fall off the precariously placed log. We sat for a long time as the rain poured and slowly the conversation turned to the airstrip. The man’s children from town had chartered a large plane to come and bring supplies for the gravesite and other relatives in from other places. However with the airstrips poor condition and now with the rain, no one was sure if the plane would come or not. I listened to the conversations around me and told them that I was afraid what would happen if I large plane landed now. If small planes were not happy landing here, I couldn’t even imagine what would happen if a big plane landed.

The conversation ended as the ripples of what was said slowly moved through the groups of people sitting together under the houses. I was offered a slice of pineapple and munched happily while the kids continued playing and watched as the women started removing the sago from the fire. Sago wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over the fire leaves the outside the consistency of a firm gummy bear and the inside dry and flakey. I was given a hunk of sago and tried not to laugh as the women around me used me as an excuse to get more for our area. Since they had to share with the white lady, they should get another bundle to eat. I ate the sago happily since it was well after noon by this time.

The rain had let down and there were now some young men moving towards the airstrip. I noticed one of my co-workers standing on the outside of a group of men so I thought I would ask him what he knew about the plane and the airstrip. Sometimes being a white woman has its advantages because I can approach a group of men more easily without being offensive. My co-worker explained that some of the young guys would cut a bit of the airstrip now but that the plane was delayed and might not come until tomorrow morning. While I was talking with the men I was handed a plate of greens, sweet potato and 2 minute noodles. One of the other perks of being white is if there is any food being served, you will probably at least be the recipient of something. I ate my plate of food and then spent a little time talking with more people about the airstrip before deciding to go home.

While I was walking back through the village, I said good-bye to a few people and bribed a few small girls with the gift of peanut butter back in Walagu if they would walk with me. I had heard them complaining that they were hungry so they happily agreed. The walk back was much more slippery and the bridges a bit more slick since the rain storm but we made it into the village without incident. Everyone came into my house, drank water and then happily ate cracker and peanut butter sandwiches.

The rest of the afternoon I did computer work while different groups of kids rotated through playing with the puzzles and games. I was exhausted by the time I closed the door at 6 wanting nothing more than I quick shower and a hot cup of tea. I had just finished my shower and was getting ready to put up my wet hair when there was a knock at my door. I answered the door clad in my pajamas, covered in a laplap (piece of cloth used like a skirt) with wet hair hanging down my back. Another co-worker and his wife were at the door wanting to discuss the possibility of him leaving the following day for Port Moresby and not returning before I left. We spent the next hour talking about what he needed to do and why he was also needed here. We prayed together and they left.

Needless to say I didn’t really sleep well last night but prayer is powerful and this morning I woke up and the day started and my co-worker had straightened things out with those in Port Moresby and will be staying in the village. It may seem like just a little thing but after such a long day it was almost too much to have to think about saying good-bye so soon. Each day brings new challenges but the memories and good time with the people especially the children, make all the struggles worth while.

The airstrip saga continues…

Many of you have been praying and thinking about the Walagu airstrip situation. As I type there are about 30 people down working on the airstrip. The men are digging up the ground and removing the grass that just hold in water. And the women are gathering stones from the river to fill in and stabilize the top of the airstrip. It’s backbreaking work but there is really no easier option at this point if the airstrip is to remain open. They know it’s important and are working despite many obstacles.

The first main obstacle is lawn mowers not working. Pray that somehow the makeshift rope starter would work. And that I would be able to find a more suitable bush-fix with the help of my support team back in Ukarumpa. Sometimes it’s helpful to have your own personal mechanic.

The second obstacle is the sheer volume of work that needs to be done. When was the last time you stood on an airstrip? These things are huge even for a short bush strip.

The third obstacle is the community itself. There is other work to be done, it is planting season, the school head master is demanding people’s time for work on the community school, there are other community things happening and even I am demanding of the teachers and my other co-workers time because I have other things that need to get done.

But like I said, despite all of these things people are working. Please pray that this would be a good time for people to come together and take responsibility for their airstrip. I have no idea what the outcome will be at this point but maybe this is the start of the Onobasulu making it work their own. Maybe this will give them the momentum they need to keep working week by week until the airstrip is good and solid once again. Keep praying!