Even though Gary has trekked through numerous parts of the Sepik region, his most recent trip was like no previous trip. The hiking was more rigorous, the people more remote, and the languages seemingly more viable. Small language groups were nestled in isolated areas with little access to the outside world. Some days he hiked four to five hours up and down mountains, other days it was eight or nine hours. Simple trails under tropical rain forest canopies were his companion for many hours. At other times it was sand and water in the creek beds. The scenery was amazing.
Having visited four language groups, Gary was encouraged by what he heard and saw. Though the language groups were small, they were quite keen to hear about possible ways of working with SPES to get God’s Word into their languages. Because of their remoteness, the languages are less diluted with Tok Pisin, the trade language, and used more consistently through all generations.
There are another eight to ten language groups that haven’t been visited yet and they are even more remote. But, how will SPES reach these people? At this point, there are very few transportation options except to land at the same airstrip Gary did and travel at least two days to get to the next language groups that he wasn’t able to visit because of time constraints.
It would be wonderful if all these groups could come together as one cluster to do Oral Bible Storytelling. However, there are many logistics that will need to be discussed and figured out before that can happen. Where will the training be held – near where the language groups are or in Wewak? How will we get the participants to the training – will they hike, go by plane, or something else? Do we have enough trainers to do that large of a group at one time? These questions are being mulled over as we decide how to move forward with this next group.