It is always so exciting and encouraging to return to Malasiga and see God using His Word in the lives of the Tami people! How wonderful to remember that He loves the Tami and has a plan for them as a people group and as individuals. He is at work, calling people to Himself, giving some of them a hunger to know Him and His Word, convicting some of sin and showing them His great mercy and kindness. We saw God’s ‘fingerprints’ in the lives of many people over the past few months. Here are a few of their stories:
Morea, our Tami ‘son’, met with Kim to begin studying the Gospel of John. As I listened to him reading through the Tami text, I commented on how well he could read it. He told us that as a young boy he had gotten a copy of the very first book we published into Tami, the Christmas story. While other kids were playing in the school yard, Morea would sit and try to read his own language for the first time. As a result, he seems to have become quite a good reader of Tami and is hungry to use the translated Tami scriptures to help him understand God’s Word better.
Donga and Aiku went to a church women’s conference and came back changed ladies. They heard a talk there about the power of the Word of God to change lives and were both deeply convicted and challenged. They wanted to help their Tami friends and families understand the importance of “eating” the food of God’s Word on a daily basis so their spirits could be strong and healthy, and they could live in a way that would please God. I was at the meeting where Aiku stood up and through many tears shared passionately about what God was teaching her.
The Lord convicted Mocepe of the need for daily repentance. Typically, after a women’s meeting, Annie is asked if she has anything she wants to say…and she almost always does J! One morning a small group of them gathered on the beach for their weekly meeting. As it closed, the leader asked, “So, Annie, do you have anything you want to add?” Following up on the verses from Hebrews 12 that they had just read, she stood and gave quite a long and animated sermon about how sin weighs us down and hinders our ability to run life’s ‘race.’ She encouraged them to run often to the Cross of Christ where they could find forgiveness and freedom from sin’s burden. When she finished, Mocepe immediately began to speak, repeating much of what she had said and challenging the group with strong emotion, saying, “Yes, this is what we need to do! Living with unconfessed sin is messing up our community!”
Katepu, one of our main co-translators, was deeply moved as he prepared the sermon for Easter Sunday. He told us how he was so overwhelmed that he could hardly speak as he pondered that God loved him, a wretched, unworthy “tamu isan” (bad man), and had sent Jesus to die for him.
Matam was a member of the team who had been working on revising the Gospel of John. He stayed after work one day and told Kim he was sorry that in the past he had criticized how long it was taking to translate the Tami Bible. He said he didn’t understand before, but now that he himself was participating, he could see what an extremely difficult task it was. He thanked us for coming to PNG to live among them and do this work. He wanted to continue being involved with us in the translation project. We would love to thank Matam for his contribution to this project, as he completed his journey in this life in 2017.
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