Since the first time we set foot in Dinangat, Papua New Guinea in January 2003, we have had 5 primary ministry goals. The goals are to learn the language and culture of the Dinangat people, to develop a literacy program in their own language, to translate the entire New Testament and portions of the Old Testament into their language, to teach them God’s Word in their language, and finally, to see an indigenous, independent church functioning under the headship of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Word of God.
By God’s grace, April and I have both learned the language and culture of the people and have been focused on the other four goals. Jeremiah has been overseeing the literacy program. He along with the missionary team spent months analyzing the language and developed an alphabet for the language. We then developed a 5 month course to teach the Dinangat people how to read and write in their own language. Most of the adults in the home village and the first outreach village have learned to read and write and are continuing the work by training to be teachers and teaching others.
Our team has been busily working on translating the Bible since 2006. Our co-worker Ralf Schlegel is the primary translator for our team, but the whole team is heavily involved in comprehension and content checking. I have translated roughly half of the book of Acts, and at the latter end of 2011 will take on a more full time responsibility in the translation. April has had a vital role in checking the translation as well and often several hours each week devoted to translation work when her schedule allows.
In 2008, our team was ready to begin the first phase of teaching: from Creation to Christ. We taught the foundational truths of Who God is, where we came from, what sin is and what the penalty for sin is. Using many Old Testament stories we showed God’s love for man and man’s bent toward sin. We taught on God’s standard of righteousness and our need for a Savior, all the way up to the hope and grace of the Cross! It is GOD who saves, and His work in preparing the hearts of these precious souls was evident as we watched many of them place their faith in our Awesome Savior!
Our fifth goal of putting the ministry in the hands of the Dinangat people is one of the most important. To the end of seeing a functioning, independent church as stated above, we are committed to discipleship and training them to teach in literacy, Bible teaching, and making disciples. It has been our joy already to watch the Lord grow and mature these young believers by leaps and bounds! Through their desire to serve Him and grow in the knowledge of Him, the Lord has been using the young Dinangat church to encourage, teach and disciple their own, and to be an outstanding testimony of His grace and love to other villages!