Bible translators celebrate PNG progress

By May 3, 2023

Papua New Guinea (MNN) — Papua New Guinea has more languages than the entire continent of Europe. Nearly nine million PNG residents use one or several of the island nation’s 840 recognized languages.

“PNG is the most linguistically diverse country in the world,” Wycliffe USA Field Coordinator Estella Trostle says.

Yara and Trostle pose for a picture.
(Photo courtesy of Estella Trostle/Wycliffe USA)

There are about 300 language groups that have no Scripture in their heart language. However, “a feast is happening now in Papua New Guinea. It started when scores of Bibles communities drafted the Scriptures, and they tasted the deliciousness of God’s Word in their own language,” Trostle says.

“Church leaders came to our team and asked for training so they could learn how to follow the globally recognized recipe to produce quality, assured translation. The result is more translation starts in Papua New Guinea in 12 months than in the past 12 years.”

Trostle credits the acceleration to a closer partnership between Wycliffe USA and local churches.

“People there are now willing to take ownership [of the] work, and as a result, Bible translation is accelerating at a faster rate than we’ve ever experienced in our history,” she says.

Working in tangent with local churches, Wycliffe USA translates God’s Word into minority languages.

“One of the people leading this initiative is a young, talented, passionate PNG woman named Yara [who] is about 35 years old,” Trostle says.

A child of missionaries, Yara has “a passion and understanding of the need for having God’s Word.”

Her leadership is unusual because “Papua New Guinea is a male-dominated culture; by and large, it’s just difficult for women,” Trostle continues.

“She is well respected among the leaders because she has been very well educated [and] she is a missionary to her own people. A few years ago, she got involved in Bible translation. There were some challenges, but she was committed to seeing her people get the Scriptures.”

Praise God for Yara and others like her. Thanks to their efforts, long-lost communities are finally hearing the Gospel in their heart languages.



Header and story images courtesy of Estella Trostle/Wycliffe USA.