Recently four SPES team members were privileged to be part of a Scripture portion dedication among the Urim Kukwo language communities in the Sandaun province. The team started out early on a Saturday morning and navigated a six and a half hour drive by truck followed by a three hour hike. They were all happy to reach their destination that night. Hospitable village people gladly opened their homes and shared what they had with the outsiders including food and a place to stay. Lots of activity led up to the event including making a grand stand and gathering food from the gardens and fish from the river.
Wycliffe member, Seija Meinander has been working among the Urim Kukwo people for more than ten years, along with Joyce Wood who joined the project more recently. Many people came and joined in the festivities to celebrate the coming of four New Testament books to the people. Singsing dancers adorned with scores of white bird feathers and traditional body paint led the procession to the gathering. Kundu drums hammered out the beat for the music. Speeches were given, a prayer of blessing was shared and a challenge was given. All the books of Scripture were sold in about forty-five minutes. Pray that they would take this challenge to heart. God’s Word is like a packet of seeds. If the seeds sit on the shelf in the house, they have no value to anyone. It is only when they are taken from the packet, planted in the ground, watered, and begin to produce a crop, that their value increases. God’s Word is the same. If the book sits on the table and never gets opened, it gives no benefit to anyone. Only when God’s book is opened and applied to lives can the difference really be seen. How much value does God’s Word have to us?
The day after the dedication, the team was asked to address a smaller crowd regarding the vitality of the Urim Kukwo language and what they want to do with their language in the future. Male leaders from each of the three villages came as well as a group of women. Through a couple hands-on activities they were able to visualize some of what is happening in their language community. Already some of the children do not know the language. What does that mean for the future of the language? Are there things they can do to help those children begin to understand more of the language? Pray for direction for these language communities as they decide what their next steps should be.