“God wants His Word to be spread throughout the world. We are fulfilling this by translating the Bible,” observed Mbore translator Steven Piki. “Our people will see it, read it, and understand what it is saying about God.”
The dedication of their New Testament was a monumental event for the men, women, and children who speak the Mborena Kam language. This small group of people who live near the mouth of Papua New Guinea’s mighty Ramu River waited a long time for it. The publication of the Word of God in their heart language is a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of God coupled with the tenacity of the Mbore people and Pioneer Bible Translators in overcoming countless obstacles that impeded this work almost from its beginning.
Ripples of transformation began long before these Scriptures were formally dedicated. God’s words took root in the lives of the Mbore translators as they wrestled with what they meant and how to say them in their own language. The team members represented many villages, dialects, and denominations, yet they learned to work in unity to achieve their shared goal. They contracted malaria and struggled with other illnesses compounded by fatigue as they pushed to cross their finish line, yet they did not lose heart. Instead they experienced the reality of God’s great mercy in renewing them day by day.
Traditionally the Mbore people learn best by hearing rather than reading. So providing enduring access to God’s Word in their heart language includes having it in audio format. Sem was one of the men who immersed themselves in Scripture as they created the recording. The words impacted him deeply. When an arsonist burned his house and everything in it, the culturally expected response was for him to repay with greater destruction. But the way of Jesus that he was learning pointed to a different response. Sem chose not to retaliate. The ripples broadened.
Churches among the Mbore are now able to examine their teachings and practices through the lens of God’s Word. Change is beginning to happen. More ripples.
And the ripples don’t stop here. Some of the Mbore churches follow a liturgical calendar. They want the Old Testament Scriptures in it to be translated into Mborena Kam. The Mbore team, despite denominational differences, is united in their commitment to do that. They’re already laying the groundwork. They’re growing their team by adding younger men who can eventually take their places. This expanded team has already translated Jonah and is well into Genesis.
The ripples aren’t going to stop when they reach the boundaries of Mbore territory. The translation team wants to give God’s Word to the people groups around them—former enemies they once hunted and killed. Steven Piki will mentor heart-language translators from some of them. “God wants His Word to be spread throughout the world. We are fulfilling this by translating the Bible.”
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