Nationals sow seeds for a harvest.

By March 28, 2006

Papua New Guinea (MNN)–Literacy–a majority of the world’s population struggles with the inability to read.

Because so many millions are unable to read, that puts Bible translators in an interesting quandry. Their mission is to provide the Scriptures in the many languages of the world, but if those they’re translating for can’t read, how will they own the message?

Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Ruth Hubbard says that’s one reason they’re modifying their approach to Bible translation. “It’s a change that’s come over time, but one that we’re really committed to right now. It’s not just taking Western missionaries and teaching people to read and write, but teaching nationals to teach the literacy classes themselves.”

Hubbard cites the case of a young student named James Warebu as a perfect example of how their approach to literacy training works.

Warebu’s first connection with Wycliffe and Bible translation was in 1971 when he did yard work for some missionaries in the area. They were impressed by his character and his diligence so they sent him to school.

After graduating, he and his family worked in Ukarumpa where they lived and served for almost ten years.

In November 2003, James returned to his home village of Moefe (mow-efay) in Papua New Guinea to serve in yet another capacity. “In 2004, he started building a literacy class at his own expense, on his own time, he completed the building and officially opened the literacy school in February of 2005.”

As a result of his work, Hubbard says he set an example. “We’re seeing someone who is committed to his people, committed to the Word of God, committed to the development that can happen in a people group when literacy comes.”

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