It's been a long time since our last post, but as you probably all suspect, we're still alive and kicking. Mary is immersed in the summer semester at CanIL; and for the first time in our married life, Ben is working a normal 8-5 job - human hours! We are so thankful for this provision.
That's not the exciting news though.
For the last two weeks we've been refining an idea, asking for advice and prayer, and slowly forming a picture of what the next step might look like for us.
|PNG Sepik Region - photo courtesy of Curt Sharp|
Here's the plan:
In January we fly to Papua New Guinea (PNG) for a 'scouting mission.' This means that we will spend 4-6 months in country with a few primary goals and questions that we hope to answer.
- Begin to learn Tok Pisin (the language used throughout PNG to communicate between ethnic groups).
- Assist Clemence Komnapi (a national* pastor and translator) in his work on a Bible Translation.
Clemence and his wife are with the Salvation Army
- Complete a survey in the East Sepik/Sandaun Provinces that will determine if a cluster project** among multiple languages in that area is viable.
- Network with people from the communities, Churches, and missions organizations that are working in that region.
- Get hands on experience working with community development projects in country.
- Should we partner with a larger organization? And if so, which one?
- Is it viable for us to work and partner long term with the local network of believers as independents (sent from a Church rather than a missions organization)?
- Do we need to pursue more training for Ben or Mary? And if so, what kind?
With love and joy,
*The term 'national' in this case refers to someone who is was born and raised in country. Clemence is from the Yamano people of PNG.
** the term 'cluster project' refers to a translation or language development project that includes multiple language groups. In a cluster project, we would be working with people from 6-8 different languages, facilitating translation and literacy work and giving input when it is helpful. People from each language community would be responsible for the bulk of the work being done in their language. Many of these language groups are so small that large organizations do not consider it worth their time to do a Bible Translation or help them develop literacy. A cluster project provides the opportunity for multiple communities to take responsibility for their own Bible Translation, while providing them with resources and input that they would not otherwise have access to.