Sepik Prayer Calendar for August – September 2016

Here is the Sepik Prayer Calendar Aug16-Sep16.  Thanks for praying with us!


We’re Not Coming

Tau Road

Are we there yet? The last hour of our 5.5 hour drive was spent on this road. The road was only passable because of a couple weeks of dry weather.

How do you go somewhere and convince people that you aren’t coming? Last week we went to the Tau villages which are part of the Kwanga language. All three Tau villages and both Kubiwat villages came to our meeting convinced we were announcing where we would be building a house and settling among them despite our constant denials on both this trip and the last one. For over twenty years they have been asking for someone to come and live with them to do literacy and translation work in their language.

Host Family

Andrew and his family, our hosts, cut up some greens for lunch.

For over twenty years we have told them to wait.

It’s not because their language is weak, we don’t like them, we don’t like their place, or we have some secret agenda. None of these things are true. It’s only because we have no one to send and we are unlikely to have anyone to send in the future. Kwanga is one of 300 languages in Papua New Guinea which have been told in the past to wait. Most of 300 languages will never have someone come live with them to translate or do literacy simply because there is no one to send.

Host House

This is Andrew’s house where we slept and ate.

And we are tired of telling them to wait. No one should have to see generations die without knowing God speaks their language. No one should wait a lifetime despairing that their children will not have a chance to read or write their language. Language is an integral part of who we are.


The community and church leaders gathered at this church for our meeting.

So for two days we laid out a different option than waiting. If the communities and denominations would be willing to work together to support and send their own people to get training, we would train them and support them with technical knowledge to empower them to meet their own needs in language work.

Finding the Border

Some of the people help us figure out where the language boundaries are and the names of the languages and dialects. For some reason, the language names the people use are often different from the official names.

Now we are waiting. Will they be able to grasp that we aren’t coming? Will they be able to put aside differences to work together? Will they be willing to put in the time and effort to support language work in their community? Do they see this as important or were they wanting us to come for other reasons?

We will find out soon.

What is the Sepik Partnership and Engagement Strategy (SPES)? A Brief Introduction

SPES is an SIL project targeting all the languages within the East Sepik and Sandaun Province of Papua New Guinea that have no translated Scripture in them. It invites them to be part of the Bible Translation movement. SIL’s decades of experience have resulted in strategies that prioritize impact.

In order to have impact, SPES embraces oral methods for initially working with language groups. From these oral activities, interest levels can be evaluated before SPES commits to long-term language development programs. Currently, SPES is visiting Bibleless language groups for the purpose of creating training clusters and developing local trainers for initial activities with the new language groups. One type of training that SPES plans to use with Bibleless language groups is Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS). Orally narrating a translated Scripture passage to Bibleless language groups ensures that there are Scripture portions in a language in the very initial phases. This is one of the innovative approaches SPES is using in its language activities.

The backbone of SPES’ impact strategies is derived from a model for effectively directing resources to needs. This model is known as Progressive Engagement. Language needs of a community range from language preservation to Bible translation. SPES is committed to meeting these needs; however, language communities have to show that they are truly interested and will support the language program. Identifying resource areas within a language cluster and providing resources which the community cannot supply ensures two-way participation and commitment from SPES and languages involved. An obvious resource that the language communities have is personnel to be trained. The care and support for these personnel is provided by some of SPES’ partners.

SPES’ objective is to provide training to all Bibleless language groups in the East Sepik and Sandaun provinces so that God’s Word can be heard in the languages that people know best. Using innovative approaches to direct resources to needs and ensure that there is impact enables SPES to carry out its Bible translation activities at an accelerated pace to all new languages.



SPES Hosts the International Mother Language Day to Students and the Public in Wewak, Papua New Guinea

Students at St. Benedict's Teacher's College looking at a  Display Board

(At St. Benedict’s Teachers’ College) Students gathered around to view items on our display board after video and powerpoint presentations

A crowd gathers around our display in a shop

(In town) A crowd gathers around our display as they listened to linguistic and cultural facts.

Wewak is the town of a linguistically and culturally diverse province of Papua New Guinea called East Sepik. SPES’s (The Sepik Partnership and Engagement Strategy) goal extends beyond this province to another province called Sandaun, which borders with Indonesia. Together these two provinces speak almost 250 languages. SPES desires to work with the Bibleless languages within these two provinces.

On February 21st, the annual International Mother Language Day was observed by SPES through a scheduled event with a Teacher’s college nearby and a display in town.



Second Training for Oral Bible Storytellers in the Sepik Region

OBS 2 Group Photo

Participants and facilitators of the 2nd Oral Bible Storytelling workshop

The Sepik Partnership and Engagement Strategy has facilitated the successful completion of the 2nd Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) workshop for SIL’s Sepik Region in Papua New Guinea.

Five months ago, most of the participants were introduced to this new way of Bible sharing for the first time. Now, they are able to facilitate devotions and story retention activities on their own with minimal assistance.

The Sepik Region has 100 plus Bibleless languages. With two more similar workshops in the upcoming year, SIL’s Sepik Region will have an abundance of 30 OBS trainers who can then reach out to the 100 plus Bibleless languages.

It is hoped that initial contacts made with these Bibleless languages will also be a time when OBS training will be facilitated so that stories in the Bible may be orally available to people in these languages.

Drama Scenes during the 2nd OBS

OBS participants working hard on their drama of a Bible story. Drama is a fun way to retain sequences of a long Bible story.