When I still lived in Papua New Guinea, one of my co-workers gave a seminar about a new strategy he was trying among the people group where he translated the Bible. It proved successful so he shared the story with us thinking we might want to try the same tactics.
After the presentation, my co-translator, Zumbek, and I discussed the pros and cons. Then he gave an illustration I’ve never forgotten. He described how the Nabak men ax down a tree in the jungle, then chop it up, carry it home and stack it for firewood. “But,” he said, “We can’t use it for firewood right away. The wind has to blow around it until it’s dry.” You know what I’m talking about, right? Some things are the same no matter which side of the world you live on.
Zumbek continued, “We can huff and puff as much as we want but that wood will not catch on fire if it’s wet. But if it has dried sufficiently, it only takes a spark and that wood will be blazing.” Then Zumbek added, “You know we can try this or that strategy. We can work with great gusto to make things happen but it is really the Holy Spirit who must blow over this project before anything can happen. Our job is to pray that the Holy Spirit will blow around and over this Word of God we are translating. Then in God’s time, it will only take a spark to get the fire going.”
Could that a-ha spark time be now? I just received an email from Zumbek. He says that many more Nabak people are reading their New Testaments than ever before. He wrote that all 7,000 copies we printed have been distributed. (That’s probably about one copy per family.) He also said all the hymn books I took over in 2012 have been distributed. He has started work on a new one.
What great news, but there’s more. Several Nabak men have stepped up to say they want to translate the Old Testament into Nabak. Pastor Tauke Somare will lead them. They asked Zumbek to make sure I knew. Yippee!
You, my dear friends, have been part of the team reaching the Nabak, and so I had to share this great news with you. Doesn’t it seem like the sweet wind of the Holy Spirit has indeed been blowing?
Lifted by His sweet wind,