Papua New Guinea Bible translations continue despite violence

Wycliffe Bible Translators is continuing to translate Bibles in Papua New Guinea in spite of ongoing tribal conflict.

Published 07 September 2009
|PIC1|In the last month, the dedication of three New Testaments was overshadowed by a fresh outbreak of tribal conflict in the valley where the main Bible translation centre is situated. Many of Wycliffe’s members live and work in the valley.

Heather Patrick has spent the last 30 years living and working in Papua New Guinea and is currently based in the UK. She says the violence is not surprising.

“It’s very sad to hear of the violence – sad, but not a surprise,” she said. “With three New Testament dedications in the past month and progress in many other translation projects, we shouldn’t be surprised that the devil wants to make things difficult.”

Violence has flared up around the centre of Ukarumpa in recent weeks, the latest disturbance in a long running dispute over access to water.

Wycliffe said the dispute had renewed ancient tribal conflicts and brought violence inside and outside the centre, home to an international team of linguists and support workers dedicated to Bible translation projects.

A criminal gang broke into an employee’s home and a vehicle was hijacked, but so far centre staff have escaped harm.

Despite being a relatively small island, Papua New Guinea is home to around 830 living languages. The three New Testaments were dedicated for the Iyo, Gapapaiwa and Minaveha language groups, while another eleven dedications have been scheduled for next year.

Wycliffe is working on the translations of 185 languages, with around 300 languages still awaiting translation.

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