So, what does it take for the Oral Bible Storytelling workshop to happen in Yabru? Some things are similar to the workshops in Wewak. We have trainers in both locations who carry the vast majority of the teaching times as well as mentor the language groups. Local ladies prepare two large meals a day for the participants and trainers. Consultant checkers are needed to make sure the stories are clear and accurate. God’s Word is going out to language areas in both East Sepik and Sandaun provinces for the first time and people are hearing stories and being changed.
Other aspects are different. There are no roads that take us to Yabru, so multiple emails are exchanged with SIL aviation to book flights in the Kodiak to get the trainers and staff to Yabru. We often need to book in conjunction with other teams so putting the puzzle pieces together can be a challenge.
Additional supplies are needed. Mosquito coils will help keep the mosquitoes at bay at night. Reading glasses will be purchased by some who struggle to read the stories as they are working to internalize and translate. With no stores nearby, a shopping trip in Wewak to purchase over three hundred kilos of rice, crackers, tin meat, flour, sugar, two minute noodles, oil, salt, milk powder, and several other things is necessary. After everything is bought, each box is weighed and marked. When the plane lands in the village, carriers will take the boxes back to the center and receive pay based on how many kilos they carried. We rely on the people from the village to provide market food for the meals.
With limited power from solar panels, charging batteries for the recorders has to be strategic. We pray for a good amount of sun to give maximum power. Battery powered lanterns will serve to help the participants as they work to craft and back translate their stories in the evenings.
As the team prepares to depart for Yabru this week, we know that God will go before us and lead the way. We are grateful that this promise holds true wherever we work.