We want to share a fun story with you that reflects God’s work of weaving our lives together in His plan to bring many to salvation and that honors His name above all things. This litter chapter of the story begins at New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan about 10 years ago. Missy was ministering there as the Dean of Single Women and April and Sharon were students.
During their time at NTBI April and Sharon and Missy spent time together talking about life on the mission field and how necessary it is to be well grounded in your relationship with the Lord if you are going to be an effective ambassador for Christ. The girls graduated and decided to go to the mission field together after they completed New Tribes Missions missionary training. The joined a team of missionaries ministering to an unreached people group and have been a key part of bringing the Gospel and discipling the believers.
Years later we arrived in PNG and began to work with the Amdu people. This is the part of the story you are more familiar with. As God has enabled us we have progressed in our understanding of the Amdu language enough to be able to start the work of preparing literacy material for the, yet to be launched, Amdu literacy program.
Recently we wrote to you explaining how we are going to represent the sounds of the Amdu language (their alphabet) and even how the sounds work together to convey meaning (the grammar). Accomplishing these goals opened up the door for us to invite literacy consultants to come and help us build our primers which will be the books the Amdu people use to learn how to read and write in their own language.
You probably already guessed who these consultants were! April and Sharon along with our dear friend Hope Sharp came to Amdu and spent a week teaching us the ins-and-outs of how to construct a good primer. We were thrilled to learn so much from such accomplished women. They represent lots of experience and combined that with much grace as they directed us in building the Amdu primers. It was a lot of hard work but it was supremely rewarding both to work with these ladies again and to see the excitement building in the eyes of our Amdu friends!
It’s hard to express in words just how important this program will be to the Amdu people and the future Amdu church, especially to those of us who are literate and take reading for granted most of the time. For you and me growing to maturity in Christ is never linked to our ability to read. That is a given for most of us. But in Amdu it could be one of the main hindrances to discipleship. It doesn’t matter if the Bible is translated and available in the Amdu language if no one can read it.
God has given us His word in written form and it must stand as the final authority in the lives of the Amdu people. But first they need to be able to read, and then they need to be able to grow to read at the a very accomplished level so that they, too, can have the intimate relationship with God through is Word that many of us take for granted. Pray with us that their enthusiasm for learning to read would be unparalleled and that we would figure out by God’s wisdom how to present this literacy course to them in such a way that they get hooked on reading and never quit.