PNG (MNN) — The Gospel is transforming lives in Papua New Guinea.
Wycliffe Bible Translators USA is producing an audio Bible, as well as a physical copy of the Scriptures, for 300,000 people in the Enga province. This province is the highest in Papua New Guinea, with altitudes reaching over 2,000 meters above sea level.
While rugged mountain terrain is a trademark of this region, so is tribal fighting. Inherent to Enga culture, fighting can last for a few days or run on for years, depending on how fights are resolved.
In Imma, the village where Wycliffe works, one man was known for his fighting prowess. Joseph* had fought countless battles with neighboring tribes; he was so ruthless that other tribes even hired him as a mercenary to fight on their behalf!
But the Gospel changed all that.
Three years ago, a pastor started a church in Immi to reach out to those who had experienced heavy fighting. In his messages, the pastor emphasized forgiveness, stating, "When Christ died on the cross, He died for all of our sins, even the most heinous."
When Joseph heard those words, he humbled himself and accepted Christ as his Savior. Now, instead of fighting, Joseph is helping Wycliffe translate God's Word for his people.
Joseph has also become a leader of his people, a man who leverages his life for the well-being of others.
Matt*, one of the people involved in Wycliffe's Enga translation project, recently honored Joseph and two other men at a ceremony. At the local church, Matt thanked these men for helping him learn the Enga language and taking care of his family.
He presented each man with an axe or a machete, and then a Bible– one in English, one in the trade language of Tok Pisin, and one in a language spoken nearby.
"Before, your lives were based on weapons like these, and you used them to destroy. Now, your lives are based on the Word of God," said Matt. "These axes and machetes you once used to destroy will now be used to build new houses and build a new life on the Word of God."
Pray that more village fighters, like Joseph, will be transformed by the Gospel.
* names changed for security