A little stuff

​In addition to the song leaders, this photo shows a few simple things that North Fly Bible provides to help raise the standard for rural workshops:

1. Plenty of chalk (normally very precious).

2. Handmade posters showing the „books“ of the Bible and how they are organized.

3. A rope timeline showing the chronology from Genesis to Revelation – with no dates for start and finish (!), and approximate dates for historically verified events.

4. Wood to construct a long desk with a seat (there was a second one on the other side of the room).

5. A world map (many more maps, also of places and times relevant to understanding the Bible, were placed around the room).

This small investment of materials, and the cost of flying them in with the facilitators and observers, was still much less than the cost of running the workshop at a larger center near a town – with much greater community impact.

The partnership also provided one English and one Tok Pisin Bible for each officially registered couple or single, a few school supplies, and preprinted handouts.

The Pa-language participants, and observers from the Aekyom and Ninggirum language communities, improved their literate study skills and learned a storytelling method for transferring Bible passages into their local oral languages.


Physical food

​“Land of the Marsupials“ would be an accurate, if somewhat nerdy, description of the Papua New Guinea province of the Animal Kingdom. In the natural order of the world, humans find almost all of the fauna here good to eat – and marsupials are relatively easy to hunt! This specimen added to the variety of the protein portion of the Old Testament workshop menu, which was actually already pretty rich in fish and pig.

The workshop also provided a boost to the orality and literacy skills of the Pa-language participants and the Aekyom and Ninggirum observers.

A cross-language experience

​No snide comments from the Hebrew scholars please! The workshop participants received a handout on the original languages of the Bible. It included a display of an ancient form of the Hebrew pre-alphabet – no vowel points yet. The participants then did their best to write their names using Hebrew letters. The photo shows the handiwork of one of the Aekyom observers. The workshop took place in Debepari for the Pa language community.

Talking with a purpose

​As is appropriate in an oral society, guided discussion easily took up more workshop time than any other form of communication, learning, or identity building.

Each of the twenty select Old Testament texts was discussed at length – first to make sure everyone could retell the text accurately, second to allow everyone to express what they see in the text, and third to allow everyone to express what they want to „take away“ from the text.

In the second week, afternoon discussions were devoted to analyzing their communities by generations – in terms of their fears, dreams, what they can contribute to the community, how they function in their multilingual context, and their comfort with books and technology.

The goal: church leaders who understand how best to reach their communities in holistic ministry, centred around a common understanding of God’s Word.

Map of Samo speakers

​Why maps? (And I promise this is the last map photo for a while!)
Because our vision is „The Bible for Everyone“! And maps are a good first step in helping us to see where ‚everyone‘ is – their dialects, and what churches (if any) are already trying to reach them. 

This step in the participatory research part of the workshop series was a new addition, so one of the facilitators from ECPNG’s Honinabi District decided to do one of the Samo language community as well.
Can you see one mistake? (Which the mapmaker Biago Husi graciously accepted when Pastor Soli Ondiae pointed it out to him!)

Back from Debepari!

​This week the North Fly Bible team all returned to our respective homes after a very encouraging Old Testament workshop in partnership with the Pa-speaking Debepari district of the Evangelical Church of PNG. We’re still sorting through memories and photos, but I’ll try to start posting the best photos with their corresponding memories tomorrow.

Likely they will come out one a day in no particular order over the course of the next month :).