Q & A with Grace Fabian

January 23, 2018 12:46 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


People sometimes ask me questions when they meet me. If we haven’t met face to face in a while, maybe you haven’t been able to ask me yours. But there’s no need to let that stop you – feel free to send them to me here from my website.

In the meantime, I’ll share with you some Q&A from an e-interview.  I recently received an email from a lady who heard me speak at a Wycliffe banquet a number of years ago, and also bought and read my book. Wanting to do a biographical sketch of me for a Sunday school class, she sent me a questionnaire with seven questions pertaining to my life and experience as a missionary. She asked some very good questions, so I thought I’d share them with you. Hopefully this will be informative about the work Edmund and I did in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and help you get to know me a little better!


  1. Q: What is the status on the translation of the Old Testament into Nabak?

A: The head of the O.T. translation project is Pastor Tauke Somare. He has several men on the committee. When they finish a book they give it to Zumbek Molong who is a trained translation consultant. If you’ve read my book or followed me for a while, you’ll recognize Zumbek as one of the Nabak men who helped us with the original translation work. He will check to make sure they haven’t left something out or misinterpreted something. I don’t know how far along they are in the process, but I am sure they will fall in love with those stories from the O.T. The Nabak people talk with pictures so I know they will enjoy the Psalms.

Nabak women with new New Testaments

  1. Q: Have you been able to return to PNG and collect more hymns for a hymn book?

A: When I returned to PNG in 2012 for a short visit I took 1,000 hymnbooks with me as they had told me that the previous ones were all tattered and faded. Recently Zumbek sent an e-mail saying that those hymnbooks have all been distributed and they need a reprint. He has plans for doing that. The Nabak are always writing new songs. They hear a tune on the radio that they like and they put Christian words to it. One which made me laugh was to the tune of “O My Darling Clementine.” And they write many songs following their unique Nabak pattern of music. The man who killed my husband wrote many deep and insightful songs while in jail.


  1. Q: As you look back over a very fruitful life, how would you sum up what God has done in you and through you?

A: I don’t know if I can sum it up well. I have found that pain is instructive. Through it God has molded me to become more that I would be otherwise.


  1. Q: A hymn and/or Scripture passage that you keep coming back to?

A: The promises of God like Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 31:3, Nahum 1:7 are words I come back to often. He is the fountain of all goodness and we are wealthy beyond measure because of His promises.

A precious hymn is,

Nabak woman showing proper use of an “ele” bag (“ele” means “womb”)

 “O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.”

But my absolute favorite is “God of Ages.” The melody is traditional but the words by Margaret Clarkson are full of grand theology and beautiful beyond description.


  1. Q: What hopes, dreams, or goals propel you as you advance in years?

A: I am directionally challenged, so for years I have kept a list of goals in front of my Bible. I don’t read them every day but I check myself every now and then. Do I need to re-calibrate? Am I still headed the right direction? Here they are for what they’re worth:

  • That my relationship with God would be more expansive
  • That I would love Him more fully
  • That I would be deeper as a person
  • That I would have a more disciplined mind and live on the growing edge
  • That I would touch people in permanent and redeeming ways
  • That I would be a genuinely noble person
  • That I would be a better friend, parent and grandmother
  • That I would serve with authenticity and greater humility
  • That I would live in such a way as to make a significant impact on the world.


Nabak woman knotting a bag

  1. Q: If you had the opportunity, were there decisions or situations which you would have liked to do over?

A: I wish I would have documented all the home remedies and natural medicines that the Nabak people used.

I wish I would have prayed more often with the village people. I shouldn’t have hesitated just because I didn’t feel that fluent in the language.

I wish my hand wasn’t so “heavy,” as the Nabak women told me, so I could have learned to make a traditional Nabak string bag, called a Bilum.


  1. Q: Any advice on sustaining a healthy marital relationship during changes and challenges of life?

A: Such a life can put pressure on the marriage. I recommend that every woman have some kind of ministry outside of homemaking and child rearing. I have seen that women are happier if they have some other outreach, even if it is a Bible study with a few national women just once a week, or a sewing class. Every woman needs to find a niche where she can bless others.

Edmund and Grace Fabian with Jonathan

I also recommend, at least this worked for us, that there be a division of labor. If you are constantly doing everything together there’s obviously going to be tension because he has a different idea of how it should go than she does. But if you divide certain parts of the job and don’t interfere with how your partner does his/her part then it gives each one a chance to follow their own creativity or way of doing it. Of course, if the partner asks for help or advice then they can make a suggestion. But again the one who is in charge of that project doesn’t have to take the advice. They can sort it out or go to someone else for advice.


People write books about some of these things, so I haven’t been elaborate in my answers. But they come from my heart. I hope you gain some insight from them.

Again, feel free to click here and send me your question!

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