Archive for the ‘Newsletters’ Category

Highlands Market

Six months ago in Madang the main town market was closed for renovations forcing new temporary markets to open along many of the side streets. The new temporary main market was moved to the outskirts of town. This has caused problems throughout town and therefore prices to increase slightly. Emily has found a small market she likes to visit frequently for broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. However, there are still some comforts of home that we can only find in the Highlands of PNG.

Two weeks ago we made a long weekend trip to Ukarumpa in the Eastern Highlands. Ukarumpa is the base for SIL in PNG. We went mainly for me to receive of shipment of solar panels that were sent from North Carolina via ocean container back in February. We also took the opportunity to have teeth cleanings at the dentist and visit friends. The highlight of the trip was to visit the local market on Friday for fresh highlands produce.

Emily has a strong desire for strawberries that are only grown in the highlands and cannot be found in Madang. The small local market is only open on M, W, F from 6 – 8 am. Early Friday morning we made the short trip to the market to load up on highlands produce such as lettuce, berries, carrots, and rhubarb. It was my job to be the money man while Emily took the joy to buy, buy, buy. We walked away with quite a load of produce which we are glad that we had the truck.

Of course I planned my Friday accordingly to be out of the house so I did not have to be involved in the washing, cutting, and chopping of the market produce which took the rest of the morning. After freezing the berries and rhubarb all weekend, we loaded the travel freezer full of goodies and headed back from Madang.

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Ordinary Men

Are there qualifications or requirements to meet to be apostles of Christ or a missionary or even a national Bible translator? I suppose there are some standards to follow though as I have been reading Luke’s chronicles of Acts there seems to be a different drift.

When they (Sanhedrin) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished […]. Acts 4:13

The early apostles were no one special. They didn’t have special Bible schooling or a diploma to display on the wall from some Bible College. They were unschooled. Though one could make the case that Peter, John, and the rest were schooled by the headmaster himself, Jesus. There was no teacher assistant or aide. It was Jesus in the flesh giving parables and live illustrations.

Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1) and left the begins of the church to his faithful eleven. Peter, rock, received the Holy Spirit and became a man of courage. Peter heals a lame man then starts a preaching crusade (Acts 3). Peter, the man you denied Christ three times and now has been transformed by the Holy Spirit is working miracles and preaching the Gospel. Remember, Peter is an unschooled, ordinary man.

When I think of national translators such as the men PBT typically works with in PNG, they are merely unschooled and ordinary men. Yes some have a grade 10 or grade 12 education though some have grade 3 or 4 level education. Still God uses these ordinary men to do the extraordinary work of Bible translation.

As the Sanhedrin were astonished, I am astonished as well to see God’s handiwork in action as these men work to translate the Good News in their heart language.

(Pictured: Casper, Leo, and Augustine)

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One of the joys of working with Pioneer Bible Translators is the ability to meet national co-workers such as Siria. Every morning I would poke my head into his office space and see how he was doing. Siria and I would small talk, smile and I would encourage him as he often gets discouraged from the process and others. As times I would encourage him to take a break and enjoy some hot tea or coffee to give him a rest.

Siria is a member of the Aruamu translation team. Back in 2005, this language group in north Madang Province dedicated the New Testament. This language group is now working on the whole Bible. The Aruamu translation team hopes to dedicated the whole Bible in 2020.

Over the past month, Siria along with another member of the team came to town to draft parts of the Old Testament. Siria (pictured) is doing his part in the long process of Bible translation by completing the first step of drafting. He is using the trade language of PNG, Tok Pisin, as a base layer to translate from. The Tok Pisin language has a complete Bible allowing Siria which he can read and understand to draft into his language, Aruamu.

Siria was tasked to draft the book of Deuteronomy. Siria reads the Tok Pisin, then does his best as in the sense of drafting into his local language, Aruamu. This is the very first step in the very long process of Bible translation. Siria is pictured writing in his notebook and using the computer program, Paratext for language resources such as the Tok Pisin Bible. Later, he will type his rough draft of Deut. into the computer program for others to check and edit.

Thank God for men like Siria who are working tirelessly to translate God’s Word into their language. Siria left his family, home, and garden to come to town which is an overnight truck ride to work. Pray for Siria that God will use him mighty to help translate the Old Testament for the people of the Aruamu language group. Pray for the translation team that they will complete the whole Bible by 2020. Praise God that they have the New Testament as of 2005.

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Last weekend was a long holiday for us in PNG. In PNG, both Good Friday and Easter Monday are national holidays which means the office is closed. We get a four day weekend to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!

Holidays in a different country and different culture are not the same as our home country and home culture. Believe it or not, they don’t do the same things or have the same rituals as we do in America. But that is okay because we are not them and they are not us. However, this makes holidays such as Easter somewhat difficult to celebrate as our customs and traditions don’t match. No Easter egg hunts, no spring flowers, no change of seasons and the coming of spring, nor the tradition songs of Easter…’Up from the grave He arose’.

Though their is one universal standard, Jesus rose from the dead and He is alive! On Easter Sunday, we did celebrate the resurrection or in Tok Pisin, Jisas i kirap bek. The Sunday school children sang a special as they held the five letters that spelled the name, J-I-S-A-S. How fitting than to sing about the one who defeated death, overcame the odds of his disciples, and left the tomb empty on that glorious morning.

The story is the same no matter what language is spoken, Jesus died and rose on the third day to live forevermore. Isn’t it amazing that God’s Word transcends all boundaries, cultures, and languages? We may live in a different country, speak a different language and cater to a different culture but one thing remains the same, Jesus overcame death and is alive today.

Now the challenge is to translate that story into the many languages awaiting to read it or hear it in their heart language for the first time.

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Place of Residence

When flying internationally it is a requirement to complete the postcard size immigration form. Questions such as have you been on a farm, you have nuts or fruit, do you have more than $10,000 on your person, etc. It also asks for the obvious such as passport number, nationality, place of residence, etc.

While traveling back to the USA in March our port of entry was Honolulu. I have processed through immigration and customs in Hawaii twice before so I knew the drill for that airport. As always, I complete my immigration form as honesty and truthfully as possible.

As a citizen of the USA, I am also a resident of the State of Alaska. I have a drivers license and voters registration to prove it. However, I am also a resident of Papua New Guinea since I live and work there. I have government documents to prove it as well. On the line that asks for country of residence, I wrote down, USA. I consider myself a resident of my home country, why would I think likewise.

During the interview at the immigration kiosk, the woman asked where we came from. I said, Papua New Guinea. What do you do there? We are missionaries with Pioneer Bible Translators. How long were you there? We live there as missionaries, but this stint was 15 months. She looked at our immigration form and saw we wrote down, USA as our place of residence. She crossed it out and wrote PNG. She replied, you are residents of PNG. I didn’t question her judgment and she proceeded by returning our immigration forms to us and we proceeded to customs.

This made me think, where is my residence? I thought I was a USA resident though the immigration official corrected me as a PNG resident. I guess both statements are true depending where I am coming from. Who knows?

However I think we are all wrong, our residency is not of this world nor does it have a country name. My residence has been stamped heavenly bound.

[As Pilate was trying Jesus he had Jesus many questions to one] Jesus responded, “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world.” John 18:36

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The Good News has Arrived

Early on Feb 3, Emily, myself, and another teammate loaded into the truck for an important mission. Drive to the port city of Lae and receive the 1000 freshly printed Tay New Testaments that were shipped from India.

Translating the New Testament (NT) for any language does not happen overnight or even within a few years. The family who worked with this particular language invested 30 plus years to learn the language, draft the NT, check the NT, and the various other checks and reviews before the final stamp of approval. That stamp was received last summer then immediately was typeset and sent to the publisher for printing. They were printed in India and shipped to Papua New Guinea via sea freight that took 6 weeks.

It was our mission to simply drive 6.5 hours to Lae and receive the shipment. Through the shipping agent, everything was cleared and ready for pickup when we got there. There were no hang ups or problems to deal with whatsoever. God definitely showed His favor to us that day.

Early the next morning we loaded the truck with the pallet full of 1000 NTs and headed for Madang. My mine kept coming back to the theme, the Good News is coming. We literally were bringing the Good News to a language group that does not have a NT in their heart language. Of the roughly 2000 language groups in the world without God’s word in their language, we now can celebrate and cross the Tay language off that list.

The dedication is scheduled for July when the NT will be passed out with joy and the Tay people can read the words that you and me are so blessed to already have. Please pray for the dedication in June as well as preparing the hearts of the Tay to receive God’s Word.

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The New Year is a time to reflect on the previous year and a time to peer into the year to come. I am not a person to set goals or resolutions going into the new year. I like to reaffirm the covenants that I have made with God and try to strive towards Christlikeness as an ambassador, disciple, and servant.

In the past few days I read one of my favorite passages in John 15, Jesus is the True Vine.

Jesus said to his disciples, […] Stayed joined to me and I will stay joined to you. If you stay joined to me and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. John 15:4-5

I love to read the promises of God. This is yet another promise to hold onto. We must stay joined to the vine, the source. Christ is our strength, He is our source which is the vine. Without the vine, we lose our life, our aim, our purpose. Though the flip side is great, if we do our part, then Jesus will remain connected to us.

This year I reaffirm and hold to the promise of John 15. I pledge this year to stay joined to the vine, the source of life. I know God will remain in me as long as I remain in Him.

This past Christmas holiday, Emily and I had a chance to relax and enjoy some downtime. We took some guests to Malolo Plantation which is a black sand beach 45 minutes north of Madang. We were lucky to be the only beach bums there that day. We both took our hammocks and laid gently between two palm trees. It was a true delight to let the worries of the day slip away as we our eyes became gazed over. We also enjoyed the cooler weather of breeze and rain throughout the Christmas week. Not to forget that we hosted 14 fellow teammates for Christmas Eve dinner that is a traditional dinner for Emily’s family.

An evergreen Christmas tree is hard to find in PNG. I expressed the idea of using palm leafs but they would dry up to fast. Emily found an idea to make a non-traditional tree out of books which we did. We were also fortunate enough to have three care packages to open on Christmas morning. It was a challenge for Emily to have to wait though she agreed it was a fun surprise and a taste of home to open presents on Christmas morning.








For the record in 2013, I managed to post a total of 22 articles. The blog site had little over 3000 visitors. Yet today, I still draw those you love to live vicariously through me. I will make no promises going forward in 2014 but I do enjoy sharing what is happening in our lives in Papua New Guinea. Happy New Year! (The top picture is clipping from the Tok Pisin newspaper.)

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Today I am re-posting an article that Emily submitted to our branch website this week. Emily did a great job summarizing how easily it is to get derailed in our daily work that we often miss our aim or goal.

Original post: http://www.pbtpng.org/seeking-him-in-the-chaos-of-life

By Emily Hewitt

I have the best seat in the office. I am convinced. It may not be apparent to people some days because my seat seems chaotic, challenging and half the time empty. But when I sit down at my desk and look out at the chairs that seat nationals coming from many different language groups Pioneer Bible Translators works with, and others I really don’t know, I see many things. Some days I see faces broken from receiving bad news while they were in town at the hospital. Other days the seats are filled with people who are waiting for someone to set them up on their computers so they can work on translation, literacy or some other assigned task. Still other days the seats can be filled with people waiting for someone to come help bring the New Testament into their language. These seats are filled with opportunities God gives Pioneer Bible Translators to serve the least of these.

My heart softened in the midst of one of those crazy, chaotic weeks when I looked out to see a faithful follower sitting in one of those seats. His head was bowed and his lips moving, obviously pleading to the Father. I don’t know what his prayer was about that day, but it compelled me. My week had been full of busyness where I was attempting to solve things I couldn’t solve and get through the never ending to-do list. I hadn’t slowed down enough that day to pray about which problems needed to be solved or what should be on my to-do list. As I said, I’m not sure what this man was praying about, but just the picture of his conversation with God reminded me of the gift and power we have in prayer. What a gentle reminder God sent me to more fully rely on His answers. The example that this faithful follower showed me that day is what I came to Papua New Guinea to help make real for non-believers: showing the example of Christ. I’m humbled to see the many faces that come through the door each day; I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

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A few weeks back I was asked to join a work team to help a family with some repairs and setting up solar panels for their village house. The village of Igoi is only accessible by foot or helicopter. There is no road or waterway for travel. Igoi sits on top of a mountain around 2000 ft above sea level in the Madang Province. My role of the team was to mount two solar panels on the roof, stop bees from coming into the house, and clearing a clogged water line from the header tank. So after praying and considering the trip I agreed to go on this short 3 day/2 night trip.

We left at 7am for a two hour drive to meet the helicopter for a very short 5 minute ride to the village of Igoi. The 5 minute ride is the equivalent of 6 hours or more of hiking . Once we landed, we began to unload and grasp our bearings on what needed to be fixed. Of course the most important item is power. In the village your only options are generator or solar. Luckily there is both but once petrol runs out after a few weeks, you need to be more resourceful. Good thing in the tropics of PNG there is plenty of free sunshine to use for energy.

Right away the solar electronics were tested by another individual on the team and the 200 amp hour battery was set in place. Luckily the battery had a charge at 12.6 volts. We were immediately able to pump water from the 5000 liter tank to the two header tanks mounted on the roof which provides gravity feed water to the kitchen and bathroom. In the meantime, the third part of the team was sweeping and cleaning the house.

I found the extension ladder and went to the roof to find out what was next for the solar panels. I found the old structures for the previous panels were rotten and too far beyond for use. I also found the hot water header tank had 6 empty plastic containers floating in it. I knew the clog was from the cold water header tank and found it to be algae buildup in the outlet line of the header tank. That was easily freed to allow cold water to the taps.

As I planned the mounting of the new solar panel stand which I previously bought, painted, and cut in town before bringing them to the village; it was time to figure out where they would be placed on the roof. After that, it was time to begin the assembly of the stand. Thanks to the generator I was able to use a power drill to predrill holes in the very dense hardwood of PNG, kwila. Though my cordless 20v DeWalt hammer drill was excellent at sinking 4” screws into the 2”x2” timber.

The next day the panels were mounted and the stand went up the ladder to be screwed into the roof rafters. The wiring was completed and tested. Right away, the solar controller was charging the batteries even though the day was cloudy. The two 65 watt panels will provide the family enough power for lights, charging phone and computers, as well as the water pump. The refrigerator/freezer is configured for LP gas as well as the stove/oven.

For the bees, the simplest and easiest fix was just to seal up the gaps where the bees were coming and going from. A tube of No More Gaps caulk got the job done and not a single bee sting though they were very upset.

The next day, day 3, the helicopter came back to pick us up for our 5 minute shuttle ride to the truck for our 2 hour ride back to town. It was a trip well worth it and got much accomplished in a short amount of time.

The thing that continues to amaze me is how God still uses me in ways I never could have imagined. What next God? You must be careful when you sign your name and say ‘Here I am, Send Me.’ To God be the Glory.

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Wewak Getaway

Emily and I took last week off from work for a week long holiday (vacation). Turned out, I worked on the boat over the weekend, installed new screen wire on the front window and mowed grass before leaving on Wednesday afternoon for Wewak. Finally in Wewak we both were able to relax and enjoy the sights as well.

Wewak is the Gateway to the Sepik. Wewak is the provincial centre of the East Sepik province that lies northwest of Madang along the Pacific Ocean. We left Madang for a 45 minute flight to Wewak. Wewak is off the road system and only accessible via plane or boat. One of the main draws to Wewak was to visit our friend Missy who works with SIL and was staying at the SIL Guesthouse in Wewak. We made arrangements to stay at the guesthouse for three nights and visit with Missy. (Missy is from Australia and came to visit us in Alaska last year.)

Approaching Wewak town along the beach drive

In Wewak, we went to the town market, did some errands, and went to lunch at a local hotel restaurant. That afternoon we drove to Passam (1 hr drive out of town towards the mountains) to enjoy a waterfall. I was thinking of a more traditional waterfall with water free falling into a pool rather than cascading water over rocks. The water was refreshing and many spots along the rocks offered great hydrotherapy back massages.

Friday we relaxed at the guesthouse reading and playing card games before venturing out in the afternoon to the beach and a seaside dinner at the other local hotel restaurant. The breeze was pleasant and the white sand provided excellent beach walking.

It all ended with a 7:30 am flight back to Madang the next morning. Only to come home and find a coconut tree snapped in half and lying in the ocean. Luckily the tree did not fall the other direction that would have hit our truck or the house…odd how things happen while you are away. Overall, it was a good getaway and a great opportunity for Emily and I to leave town, the house, the office, and find some R&R.

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