Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Greatly Anticipated Day for the Malê

“Jesus Himself has come,” sang the Malê people of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, as they received the New Testament in their own language. The village of Yemli, which sits high on a ridge in the mountains of the Morobe Province, was the site of the three-day celebration beginning on 11 December 2010.

U.S Deputy Ambassador Paul Berg was among the special guests attending who spoke to the almost 800 people at the dedication. “This is a wonderful day—a blessed day,” Berg told the crowd. “All of you who worked on this project have my deep respect.” Of SIL Papua New Guinea Berg commented, “SIL does incredible work here. They are saving souls and saving the cultures of PNG.”

Also on hand to address the crowd on Saturday was the Governor of Morobe Province, Luther Wenge. “The Bible in your language has meaning and weight. God’s wisdom is inside it. All good things are inside it. Get a Bible and read it,” Wenge said.

Representative David Lini Siba, a Malê speaker, told the crowd, “This is a miracle for the Malê people. After 34 years we now have the Bible in our language and we can understand it.”

Sharing in the celebration were representatives from the Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association (BTA), Steven Ttopo’ogo and Board member Dominik Sebung, who spoke to the crowd in Yamap, a dialect close to Malê.

The celebration began with a procession through the village led by singsing groups in traditional dress, singing in Malê and Tok PIsin.  Besides the speeches and music, there were times of praise and worship. A worship service was led by the Rev. Don B. Muhuyupe who represented the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea. After the evening services the JESUS video, which had been dubbed into the Malê language, was shown.

Malei New Testament

SIL has supported the Malê translation from the beginning. Director of Support Services Jerry Walker presented official certificates to all the translators and encouraged the people to not let their New Testaments sit around and collect dust. “You must learn to use it. It can change your life.”

Linguist Marguerite Muzzey (USA) started working with the Malê people in 1976. Then in 1992 John and Amy Lindstrom, also from the USA and in connection with SIL, continued the project after Muzzey’s departure and in conjunction with several of the Malê translators.

One of those men was Elisa Kipuctung, who worked on the translation for most of the 34 years. He was also the main organizer of the three-day event. “Elisa has a real heart for the Malê people and is committed to ministry,” said Lindstrom.

Other key Malê men who worked on the translation were Tengeng Kali and Kelopas Kipuctung. Two other Malê men, Maluku Aindek and Silingwaga Kipuctung, also helped for many years, but sadly died before the New Testament was completed.

Nine special guests from the USA also attended the celebration. Faith Community Church of Hudson, Wisconsin, funded the printing of the New Testament and Pastor Larry Szyman said, “It was our privilege to pay for the printing. We are just so honored to be here. I love seeing what God’s done here.”

by Becky Reffey

Posted via email from boundforpng's posterous

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