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our first week out west

October 18, 2013

After we arrived on Kolombangara after our big ship trip in July, we moved in to a guest house and got ready for the upcoming translation awareness course.

we got to Kolombangara by motor canoe

After taking a ship to a nearby town, we took this motor boat to the island of Kolombangara.

The house had the things that I need to make it through the day and still have any energy left after supper:

  • a kitchen sink with running water
  • a bathroom indoors with a sink, shower, and toilet, all which had running water
  • drinkable water nearby. The silver tank on the right side of the picture collects rain water from the roof. We then filled a big jug and kept it in the kitchen.
  • a stove
  • doorknobs
  • electricity in the evenings. We were at a church headquarters, which had a generator that powered several buildings from sunset until 10PM. The house had ceiling lights and outlets. The outlets meant we could save batteries and plug in the small portable fan we’d brought along to help Baby M fall asleep more easily. We also charged our cell phones and camera batteries.  After the generator went off, we used flashlights and/or went to bed. Little D had a battery-powered nightlight that a co-worker made for him.
  • screens on the windows to keep most bugs out so that we didn’t need to sleep under mosquito nets

A fridge would have been another bonus, but my expectations have lowered enough that it wasn’t a big deal to not have one.

Thankfully, the house was enclosed enough to only have let mice in, not rats. I have a near-phobia of rats, and God has had enough mercy on me that I haven’t yet seen a rat in any village here. The only live rat I’ve seen in this country was in the room right beneath our house here in the capital.

guesthouse first week

The guesthouse we stayed in our first week

I washed clothes and diapers in buckets in the shower. The boys loved to “help.”

washing laundry

The boys helped me wash laundry.

We expected that workshop participants from villages around Kolombangara would be arriving when we did. When the workshop was planned back when John visited Kolombangara in May, it was scheduled to start on a Tuesday.

By Tuesday afternoon, nobody had arrived. We weren’t sure what to think and wondered whether anyone would come.

By Tuesday night, several motor canoes had arrived with participants, who apparently then stayed up late talking about Bible translation.

On Wednesday and Thursday, John helped teach the participants about translation work. They talked about things like:

  • how their language works and how it is changing,
  • what steps are involved in a translation project,
  • that they won’t get rich or famous by being involved,
  • and that the communities and churches can help by figuring out who wants to be involved and starting to raise funds.
John introduced us to the workshop participants

John introduced us to the workshop participants

They did practice exercises like translating verses into their language and then discussing how and why their translations differed from each other.

A workshop participant explains his translation of a Bible verse

A workshop participant explains his translation of a Bible verse

By the end of the workshops, people were there from several nearby villages. They seemed excited in getting Scripture into their language, and some were interested in being directly involved in that work. We wished people from further away had attended, so we knew we all needed to spread the news more.

We all had supper together on Thursday night to mark the end of the workshop. Several people gave speeches after supper. One man said that the project of Bible translation into their language is like a newborn baby that they must care for. He said something like,

This idea of translation is alive, but it is still very small like a newborn baby. We cannot let this die. The baby’s life is in our hands so it is our responsibility to make sure it grows well.

That was wonderful for us to hear!

the workshop participants, cooks, and teachers

most of the workshop participants, cooks, and teachers

John really enjoyed getting to know the people who were there. The man in the picture below ended up inviting us to his church.

John and a workshop participant chat after class

John and a workshop participant chat after class

He lived about mile away, so we walked to his church that weekend.

bridge to church

We crossed this bridge to get to church

After church, we were invited to a wonderful potluck. Local kids played with the boys and gave us some time to talk to the adults.

girls playing with Baby M

Kids playing with Baby M at a house after church

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from that week:

boys have tails

The boys had tails from a tree that has strings of red flowers

Although the guesthouse was pretty comfortable, it was at a church headquarters and not a village. People from all over the region go to school and work there. After the workshop participants went back to their homes, it was hard to even meet people who were from Kolombangara. That meant it would be really hard to start to learn the language.

When John visited Kolombangara before, he had stayed in a village where most people were native Kolombangarans. We’d been invited to stay there again. We figured one week there would let us hear some of the language, record some of it so that we could listen to it later, and get to know a few people. So we packed up a motor canoe to head to that village.

loading luggage

Men loading our luggage onto a boat for the next village

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2013 10:29 pm

    Love, love, love! Great pictures 🙂 Feels like I’m there with you!

  2. marty barkey permalink
    October 19, 2013 5:42 am

    Great to see the photos!

  3. Amy Hilmers permalink
    October 19, 2013 7:47 am

    So great to see your faces, those cute, growing boys, and the work you’re doing! In homeschool we’re reading Akebu to Zapotec, a picture book of Bibleless peoples published by Wycliffe. Praying for you!

  4. Dorothy (Dot) James permalink
    October 19, 2013 8:49 am

    This takes me back to my early days in PNG, dear ones, and the photos make me ‘homesick’ for PNG too, even though we mostly worked in the mountains rather than coastal or island situations. Continuing to pray for you all, and rejoicing with you for the encouragement of the Kolombangara participants already taking ‘ownership’ of the translation project — thank You, Lord!!

  5. Mom permalink
    October 19, 2013 12:26 pm

    And after all Grandpa’s jokes with D–he DOES have a tail!

  6. Donald Hardie permalink
    October 26, 2013 6:10 pm

    Dear John and Lori,

    Loved seeing the photos and reading your post. May God continue to strengthen and bless you as you settle in and begin work there. Keeping you in our prayers,

    Don & Michele Hardie

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