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Missions » Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Kobon Ministry


Pastor John Davies, Missionary Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, and his wife Maila have served the Lord in the mission field of Papua New Guinea for over 40 years. In 1972 they left for Papua New Guinea to begin their work among the Kobon people.

They began work among the Kobon people, living with them and caring for them while learning their language, and then devising an alphabet for this previously unwritten language. When the language could be written, they began the work of translating the New Testament into that language. As the translation work progressed, they established a school to teach children how to read.

The Kobon translation of the New Testament was finally published in late 2005 and presented to the Kobon people in April of 2006. It was joyfully received by the people, and it became the source text for New Testament translations in the languages of the neighboring Haruai and Minimib peoples. The Minimib translation was published in 2009, the Haruai in 2010. 

That first school has now exploded into a whole system of vernacular Christian schools that now number more than 30 - and it’s still growing! The Living Word Schools are teaching more than 1000 students to read today, using God’s Word as their textbook. Recently, Adult Literacy classes have also begun.

The Davies frequently state that the work they have done would have been impossible without the prayer and financial support given by the church here. Christ Lutheran members and friends continue in providing this kind of support, and have expanded into much-needed “hands on” projects in the form of Book and Calendar Bees. These are work parties where we assemble the Bible story books used in the Living Word Schools, and also yearly calendars used by the teachers, staff, and communities served by the Kobon Ministry. The calendars also contain daily readings that go through the complete New Testament in a year. Recently we began to produce an English language version also for use by our congregation.

The Davies may be contacted at john_davies@sil.org. For information about local support activities, contact Kobon Ministry executive secretary Nancy Kuhlman at nbkuhlman@gmail.com or 949.548.5429949.548.5429

 

Kobon Ministry News

Dear Friends,

Although I try to avoid the word, there really is no way to describe the conditions in which the Kobon, Minimib and Haruai people lived when we went to live with them 45 years ago other than “extremely primitive”. And the environment in which they live has not changed since then. But there have been other very significant changes to their lives in the area of their beliefs. Before they believed that no one except young babies died from natural causes, and that every sickness and death was caused by an enemy against whom the surviving members of the family must take revenge by killing them or a member of their family, either with a weapon or by the same means that they believed their relative had been killed – sorcery.

Now almost everyone believes that sickness and death are caused by disease and that they must pray for the sick and help them find treatment. But finding treatment is a challenge. When we first went, there was no medical help available whatsoever. We treated everyone who came and walked to treat those who were unable to come and had no one to carry them. Today there are first aid posts run and supplied by the government and staffed by medically trained first aid personnel, but they are few and far between and can not deal with any but straightforward cases. At present there is just one health center where more help is available. It was opened about twenty years ago at Singapi on the western border of the Kobon territory, adjacent to the Haruai territory. Now a second health center is being built at the eastern border of the Kobon and Minimib territory at Ainong. Please pray for project manager Morrison Wiam and for all those involved in getting it set up, including appointing staff and purchasing, flying into Dusin, and carrying all the necessary furniture and equipment over the 15 mile trail from Dusin to Ainong.

We are planning to make fresh clean drinking water available at each of the Bible Houses where the New Testaments, Bible storybooks and other materials are stored. An advantage of the corrugated iron roof is that the very rain from which it protects the New Testaments can be channeled down gutters into drinking water tanks. The first will be installed at the new Gebrau Bible House that was built in 2017. The Haruai Bible House will be the next. The people of Fankfank have a grueling walk to access water which they must then carry back up the mountain to their village in bamboo tubes that hold about two gallons each. Before installing guttering and a tank at Dusin we need to extend the Bible House to accommodate the increased number of board members and others who attend meetings, in addition to the 3000 Kobon New Testaments that are to be printed this year, a process that we are happy to say has already started.

Thank you for your prayers and support without which this work would not be possible.

In His Love and Grace,
Pastor John and Maila

 

 

November 2018
Dear Fellow Members in Christ,
From us and our 60 coworkers who are teaching 1,501 students in 37 Living Word Schools, together with the hundreds of children and adults who have come to know Jesus as their Savior and learned to read His Word this year, comes a big and heartfelt THANK YOU for your prayers and support during 2018.

By your prayers and financial support you have played a vital part in making 2018 the happiest and most successful year ever. 1501 students enrolled in 37 schools with 60 teachers and coordinators sets a new record. The combined population of the Haruai, Kobon, and Minimib is no more than 30,000. The lives of the 1501 students who are attending the Living Word Bible Schools for 40 weeks a year for three years are transformed as they trust in the Lord Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The lives of their families and of the members of their small local communities scattered over about 2000 square miles are transformed as the Good News is shared and spreads. This transformation of hearts and minds replaces fear, despondency and darkness with happiness, joy, light and life, and no one wants to go back.

 You’ve also been engaged taking your IN OUT in many other ways, touching lives in ways that express the love of Je-sus, and speaking His Life-Giving Word – the former opening hearts to receive and be transformed by the latter. If you’re in the market for a New Year’s Resolution, how about “Keep On Keeping On — Until He Comes.” Speaking about the New Year, 1900 Calendars and New Testament Reading Guides made by volunteers here at Christ are now being distributed to the Haruai, Kobon, and Minimib people for use in 2019.

Several hundred English versions were made. Please consider using this schedule to read through the entire New Tes-tament in one year. You’ll be surprised to see how familiar verses come out when translated from Kobon into English. People often say that when they see how concepts which the Kobon people never knew before, such as Grace, Mercy, and Peace, have to be expressed, they gain new insights into verses of Scripture they have known from childhood. And of course you can not be other than blessed to read the whole New Testament through in one year.

In His Love and Grace,
Pastor John and Maila