live in Papua, Indonesia, formerly known as Irian Jaya. Our family
serves a tribe called the Yetfa, who are 96 miles deep in the heart of
the world's second largest rainforest. Our primary ministry is Bible
translation, but there are many facets to that. Yetfa ma (the
language) is a purely oral language--it has never been written down or
depicted by symbols or pictures. History, folklore, even the gospel
message is passed in speech alone. Only a small handful can read the
national language Indonesian, so the Lord led us to translate the Bible orally--perfect for a pre-literate people.
first task was to learn and analyze the language. Using only the
training we received, we began to listen and parse each sound we heard.
Lots of pointing and asking "What is this/that?" and then writing out
those sounds phonetically. After building a vocabulary word list, we
began to ask for whole sentences and short stories, so we could analyze
sentence structure and how to build a thought in Yetfa. While language
learning continues and will continue for a long time, the Lord has
given us the keys to this language and the analysis is almost complete.
Because it has never been written, Yetfa ma
has no alphabet or writing system. We are currently testing an alphabet
to see how it is accepted among those who can already read. After more
testing and any changes, we will make it the official alphabet for Yetfa ma and the written translation process can begin!
Presenting the first 17 stories to a village-wide meeting
currently have 50 chronological oral Bible stories displaying God's
salvation story. Starting in Genesis with creation, the story set spans
the entire Bible and ends with Jesus' return and our reign with him in
heaven. completed with 7 more to go. Each story was
carefully crafted, checking each word and phrase for precise meaning
understanding. After testing with native speakers and 2 or 3 consultant
checks, the stories were approved, recorded and distributed. It's quite
process, but the outcome is life-changing! Yetfa people throughout the
region can hear and grasp God's word in the language they understand. We
are currently working on an oral translation of the Gospel of Luke. It
goes through the same process--fine-tuning with careful attention to
word usage and meaning and then testing each passage with native
speakers to check for clarity and understanding.
Bible translation is not a quick process. It takes
years. The use of computers has greatly accelerated the process, but
it's still a long while. Translating God's word is not something that
can be rushed. Every word and phrase must be checked for accuracy,
precision, and naturalness. It's a serious process, and we beg for your
prayers. We do not take it lightly and rely on God to reveal correct
word usage and flow and guide us and the translation team as we go. He
longs for people to know Him in their heart language, and He goes
before us in everything.
may ask why we are taking an oral approach to translation.
Currently, the literacy rate among the Yetfa is less than 5%. Although
there are school buildings, the villages do not have consistent
teachers. Many kids move to town to go to school. In the coming years,
the literacy rate will greatly increase. But what about the adults or
the remaining kids who can't read? By doing an oral translation, no one
will be hindered from God's Word simply because he or she cannot
yet read. Within the Bible translation process, a number of other things happen as well:
a local church becomes Bible-based and strengthenedspiritual leaders are trained and equipped to leadrelationships with Yetfa people are formed and deepenedGod's salvation message in Yetfa ma is spread from village to villagewe ALL grow closer to our Creator, Savior, and Redeemer
translation is our main job here, but caring for the Yetfa people's
physical and spiritual needs has become our passion as well. Currently,
no consistent medical care available in the Yetfa area. Three times a
government health team hikes from village to village and provides a
two-day clinic, and a couple nurses will stay for a few weeks in the
bigger village, but the majority of the time, there is no medical
personnel. While we are in the village, we provide basic medical care.
are NOT medical staff, but we can help with first aid and wound care,
basic medications and common infections. There is missionary
medical staff on call in town, and we can call or email them using our
satellite terminal should we need advice or emergency help.
is quite the calling and adventure, and we LOVE it. We often realize
again how amazing the Lord is in allowing us to do this. And we cannot
do this alone. He uses you and countless others around the world to
pray and give so this ministry is possible. Thank
you for checking us out, reading our updates, and supporting this
ministry with your prayers and gifts. We appreciate you so much--more
than we can ever express.
We have an incredible sending church!
If you are ever in the Arlington, Texas area on a weekend or Wednesday
night, stop by and worship with them. They are a great group of people
who love the Lord and serve Him faithfully. To learn more about this
ministry and others of the church, contact them atSublett Road Baptist Churchwww.sublettroad.org4211 Sublett Rd
Arlington, TX 76017817-483-0318If you are interested in financially supporting the ministry to the Yetfa people, gifts can be sent to
Sublett Road Baptist Church
Reynolds Mission Fund
P.O. Box 172076
Arlington, TX 76003