Sunday, July 15, 2012

God's Word in the Bariai Language

Here's one of the coolest things I've seen in a while.  It's a video of the Bariai people of Papua New Guinea receiving a copy of the New Testament in their own language for the very first time (you'll need to download the file to watch it).  Steve and Carol Jean Gallagher, whom Riverview supports as missionaries, have been working on translating the Bible for the Bariai people since 1993.  19 Years!  That's how long it has taken them to learn the language and translate the New Testament in its entirety, in addition to Genesis and Exodus.  What an amazing feat.

Think about this: there is at least one Bible in almost every house in America.  Probably more than one, even.  Most people don't read them, and those who have them almost certainly take them for granted - even Christians.  And here, these people halfway across the globe receive God's word in their own language for the first time.  They parade it through the village, dance around it, and sing songs!  What an amazing sight to behold!  May God bless Steve and Carol Jean for their faithfulness to this translation ministry, and brining God's word to a people who otherwise had no access to it.

The new Bariai Bible was dedicated last weekend on July 7.  Here's a brief written update on the translation project and the release of the new Bible from Steve and Carol Jean:

Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8 were great days of celebration for the Bariai people and for us.  On Saturday boats were loaded with the Bariai scriptures containing Genesis, Exodus, and the NEw Testament.  The boxes of books were loaded on a motorboat, but a representative copy was carried on a  special canoe paddled by men in traditional decorations, singing traditional songs.  With great honor, it was taken to the next village.  After being off-loaded, the books were paraded through the village and up the hill to the church.  There the priest declared that the church approves this translation of the scriptures for use and encouraged people to read it.
On Sunday morning, the Bibles were officially blessed by the priest during the church service, and he read a letter of endorsement sent by the bishop.  Again, he told the people that they need to read it and follow it.  We're thankful for his encouraging endorsement.  
The service was followed by a few speeches, a little rain, and then clear weather for feasting, dancing, and singing.  About 100 people bought copies of the scriptures, along with four audio scripture players.  

In my opinion, this is some of the most exciting work the church is doing: sending people out to preach the gospel and make God's word available for all who would like to read it.  Be praying for Steve and Carol Jean, and the kingdom impacting work they're doing on the other side of the world.

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