Kurt, Johanna, Kassia, Lukas and Matthias

Our family in Papua New Guinea | 2012

Ukarumpa and Aiyura Valley

Ukarumpa is SIL's center of opperations in Papua New Guinea and where we live and work.

Miniafia New Testaments from the dedication in 2010

"God is a Miniafia Man," the loincloth-clad speaker exulted! "Before He was English, and American, and Australian. But today He has become Miniafia!"

Doini Island

Photo by Tim McIntosh (SIL PNG's boat manager in 2008) | Many of the 100's of islands in PNG can only be reached by boat.

Where do you play when you live on an island?

Children from Nubwageta village playing near the shore.

Miniafia New Testament Dedication

New Testament dedications in PNG usually include elaborate processions to welcome the Bibles.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

{Metzger Ministry Update} Christmas 2011 | “Fragrant Aroma”

DSC_1353Dear Friends and Family,

We want to wish you a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with joy! We are rejoicing with the Nehan, Ata Kume, Agarabi, Bola, Saveeng-Tuam and Saveeng-Oov that received the New Testament in their own language this year, 2011. Now these people groups can learn of and understand in their hearts the joy that our Savior, Jesus Christ, brings. What an incredible Christmas gift that is!

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(New Testament Dedications in Papua New Guinea)

We thank God for a very fruitful year since we have returned to Papua New Guinea (PNG). You, our partners, have been a blessing to us encouraging us through prayers, notes, and giving. Thank you!

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(from left to right: Matthias, Lukas & Kassia)

At the beginning of December, Kurt was able to travel once again to the Sepik Province of PNG (North West Corner) where he went to in October. This time he was in Wewak, a small town where SIL has a regional center. This center is also a main hub for many of the translators located in the Sepik province.

While in Wewak, Kurt was able to install a VSAT (satellite dish) and networking equipment to bring the regional center online. He also trained one of his co-workers in the installation of the VSAT system. At this regional center, they used to depend on two different internet providers that they accessed via a USB broadband modem. One of the providers would be down for weeks at a time and the other was so slow many of the workers at the center couldn’t even download their email. They would have to wake up a 3 or 4 am to connect and get a decent connection to check email. Now they have a faster and more reliable connection. The connection is still very slow compared to what most of you have in your homes, but it is fast for PNG standards. This internet connection will enable translation and support teams to be much more productive while they stay at the center. They will also be able to upload and backup their translation data much faster now.

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(Wewak Center VSAT installation)

The Pehrsons are a translation team that works in the Sepik with the Aitape West multi-language cluster translation team. We are their support team while they are in the village. Please pray for the Pehrsons as they will be in the village for 5 weeks starting in January. Please pray for Ben as he juggles being the project administrator and translation advisor to the Onnele languages. Because there are so many administrative tasks, it is hard for him to find time to do translation advising. Arop translator Emil's son David has TB. Emil and his wife Alexia will be in Aitape town for the next three months with him at the hospital. Pray for the translators as they continue revising the book of Acts. They are preparing for consultant checking. Also, Andy Weaver and Dan Bauman plan to join the Pehrsons for a month to record the book of Luke. Please pray for them.

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(from left to right: Matthias, Lukas and the moth & Kassia and Johanna)

Thank YOU for being a faithful part of our ministry and the work that God is doing in Papua New Guinea!

Blessings,

Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias too!)

FamilySignature

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Speaking the Truth

Sursurunga people grow up with the belief that if they allow their young children to cry, evil spirits will come to take the child's spirit, and the child will become sick and die…”

Papua New Guinea

Bible reading, speaking the truth, showing forgiveness, and other basic elements of Christian discipleship are all part of a two-week course called “SALT”. The name stands for “Scripture Application and Leadership Training.”

When the Sursurunga people attended this course in May 2011, the New Testament had only been available in their language for 10 months. Now they were learning how to dig into the Sursurunga Scripture and apply it to their lives. God's Word spoke to them in many areas of their lives, and one in particular was the way they relate to their children.

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Sursurunga people grow up with the belief that if they allow their young children to cry, evil spirits will come to take the child's spirit, and the child will become sick and die. In order to keep their children from crying, parents start lying to their children from the day they are born. One example of this can be seen in the interactions between Tala and his mother. “Tala, we need to go.”  Little Tala refuses and cries so his mother says, “There’s a truck waiting on the road.  Do you want to go for a ride?” There is no truck, but Tala stops crying and goes with his mother.  Both missions are accomplished – Tala obeys his mother and stops crying. The evil spirits have been thwarted and Tala will not get sick and die.

Because of this belief, lying has become an integral part of their culture. However, when Sursurunga parents learned in the SALT course that lying is a sin against God, they were convicted to change the way they relate to their children.

After the first lesson, one grandfather went home, called his family together, and confessed to them his sin of lying to his kids when they were small, saying that the moon would eat them if they cried. One of his daughters had started telling her kids the same lie. He picked up his 9 month old grandchild, told her he was sorry, and asked her forgiveness. He asked his whole family to do the same thing, and he prayed, asking God to cut this sin from his family.

Another man said, “The talk about truth really pierced my liver, causing me to feel sorrow and begin new behavior. I am committed to speak the truth to my new grandchild.”

A woman who has been a believer and teacher for many years confessed, “I must always speak the truth. I have been manipulating my grandchildren with lies. I need to focus on speaking the truth in every situation.”

Praise God that He is using the Sursurunga Scriptures to bear fruit and change lives. Pray for the people who participated in this SALT course that they would stand firm in their convictions and continue to apply the lessons they learned.

III John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

by Karen Weaver

This story can also be found on TheWordisLife.net

Ethnologue entry for Sursurunga | Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,909 known living languages.

Where do the Sursurunga people of Papua New Guinea live? Here’s a Map.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{Metzger Ministry Update} 10/2011 | "Internet in the jungle"

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV)

Dear Friends and Family,

How time flies! We have been back in Papua New Guinea for almost a whole year now. God has been faithful as always and given us above and beyond what we asked for or imagined. Thank you for being such an encouraging team to us as we serve here in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

October has already been a busy month. Last week Kurt was in the Sepik province of PNG (North West corner). Thank you for your prayers for him as he was working in Arop village. He and his co-worker were able to install a VSAT (satellite) internet connection for the Aitape West Translation Project (AWTP) running off of 12Vdc power from solar panels. The AWTP is a multi-language cluster translation project with up to 11 language groups working at any one time. The new satellite connection will allow the teams to backup translation data via the internet and make Skype calls with their advisors. The teams will be able to keep working together, even when team members are in other parts of the world.

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(left to right: PNG Map with Aitape located; Kurt with the AWTP manager and co-worker Wayne Ferris)

Kurt really enjoyed being at Aitape West where our good friends Ben and Mandy Pehrson work. We are the Pehrsons’ support team while they are in the village. When they are there and need something from Ukarumpa, we help purchase it and get it to our aviation department so they can receive it quickly.

I (Johanna) was able to attend Encounter (the retreat for our youth in Ukarumpa) from October 1st through the 5th. I really enjoyed being able to deepen my relationship with my 10th grade Bible study girls. Our speakers theme was The Gospel and he took us on a journey through Romans 1-3. Please pray that the Lord would continue to teach and challenge the students as they return to normal life and routines in Ukarumpa.

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(left to right: Johanna with her Bible study; Kassia and Lukas on his first day of pre-K)

Thank you for standing with us in prayer!

Blessings,

Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias too!)

FamilySignature

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Word | Translation Training

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Word | HIV/AIDS Education Book

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HIV/AIDS Education Book

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Through established HIV/AIDS community education programs, translators are able to begin work in language learning while quickly benefiting the communities they serve on a piratical level. | Photo by Matt Taylor

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

{Metzger Ministry Update} August 2011 | "There is no law..."

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! -- Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

Dear Loved Ones,

First of all we would like to thank you for being a part of our ministry team through encouragement, prayer and partnering with us financially. We have now been back in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for 9 months and feel much more settled than when we first arrived. Kurt has been busy at work and he continues to enjoy what he does. In mid-June, he took a work trip to Madang (a town on the North coast) to help install a 8.5 km wireless link from the Pacific Orientation Course (POC) Center into town. POC is the training center where all new SIL/Wycliffe field members in the Pacific area come to receive basic culture- acquisition and language training. Kurt was gone for 5 days and it was a very effective trip.

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(right to left: Kurt installing the wireless link at POC; our family on Matthias’ first birthday)

At the end of June, Kurt and Kassia were able to attend the Agarabi New Testament Dedication. This took place about 30 minutes from Ukarumpa (where we live) and it was a privilege for them to attend this life changing event for the Agarabi people.

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(Agarabi New Testament Dedication) – for more pictures see our facebook album: Agarabi NT Dedication

Near the end of July, I (Johanna) began leading a small Bible study for a group of 10th grade girls from our community. I have really enjoyed getting to know these girls and am looking forward to growing with them in our knowledge of the Lord and in loving Him and each other more.

Kassia started 1st grade a few weeks ago and she stays in school until past 3pm! She loves computer class, music, and art. Lukas is starting to play more with his little brother and asks us to bring him into his room in the mornings. Matthias is 1 year old as of August 8th and he is crawling all over but not quite walking yet. We thank God for the gift He has given us in our three precious children!

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(our family on vacation in Madang)

Kurt will be taking another work trip this coming October. This time he will go to the Sepik region of PNG (North West corner) where he and coworker will install a VSAT (satellite) internet connection for the Aitape West multi-language cluster translation team and a second one for our SIL regional center in Wewak. Kurt is really looking forward to going to the Sepik, specifically to Aitape West where our good friends Ben and Mandy Pehrson work. We are the Pehrsons’ support team while they are in the village. When they are there and need something from Ukarumpa, we help purchase it and get it to our aviation department so they can receive it quickly.

PRAISE:

  • Kurt’s trip to Madang went well and his computer skills were much appreciated.
  • For YOU our great partners who pray and support us so faithfully.
  • Kassia is enjoying school and our two boys are doing well.
  • For the girls’ Bible study I (Johanna) have the opportunity of leading.
  • For the Agarabi New Testament Dedication in June.

PRAYER:

  • For Kurt as he travels to the Sepik in October. For his work to go smoothly.
  • For me (Johanna) and the kids as we stay home without Kurt for 8 days.
  • For our relationship with the Lord to become deeper and stronger and that we can be an example to those around us.

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(Matthias and Lukas)

Once again, thank YOU for being a faithful part of our ministry and the work that God is doing in Papua New Guinea.

Blessings,
Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias too!)

FamilySignature

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Word | Old and New

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Scripture Application Changes Lives

“People have to know God. He is the only answer." | Yopno Church Leader

Papua New Guinea

After more than two decades of tedious translation work, the Yopno New Testament and Psalms was printed and ready to be placed in the hands of the Yopno people. But would they know how to study it and apply God's truth to their daily lives?

That's an important question, and it's the reason Wes and Lee-Ann Reed followed the example of some other translation teams in Papua New Guinea in inviting a SALT team to come to their village following the New Testament dedication.

SALT stands for "Scripture Application and Leadership Training." Marjan Sikkema and three others formed the SALT team that went to Tapmange village to teach basic Biblical truths and how to use God's Word and apply it to daily life.

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The building was full of people, so some sat around the outside listening intently to the lessons on God’s word through the thatched walls

More than 200 participants were enrolled in the course, and many of them had purchased the Yopno New Testament and Psalms at the dedication. They were eager to attend the SALT course which began two days later. In fact, so many people wanted to hear the lessons that there was not enough room for them in the building. Some sat outside, listening intently to the teaching through the thatched walls.

SALT teacher Marjan Sikkema said, "The people sat on the ground inside the building from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day for two weeks. The first several days we could hear their tongues clicking to express their wonder as they learned things that were new to them. They especially responded to the part about God's love and his holiness."

Another topic that touched their hearts was the teaching about families. They studied II Timothy 1:5, "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother, Lois, and in your mother Eunice . . . " This verse taught them that it is important for children to grow up with the example of parents who put their faith in Christ. They also studied Ephesians 5:22,25 to learn how husbands and wives should treat each other in the home. God's Word in their own Yopno language spoke clearly to them and motivated them to change the way they treat each other so they can live for God's glory.

One church leader testified, "Our village has had programs to teach us about the dangers of AIDS and how people need to change their lifestyles. Even though there has been a lot of money put into these programs, they haven't worked. But having the Scriptures will be the key for solving all our problems. People have to know God. He is the only answer."

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Studying the Bible

Another man told Marjan, "Now I am sure of my faith in Christ. But I wonder how people will react. How do I go back to my village and tell them what I believe?" Marjan showed him Scriptures to help him remain strong in his faith. She assured him, "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (I John 4:4)

Each morning of SALT, participants were given the opportunity to share what God was teaching them. Early in the second week, a young man stood before the group and told his story. He said that previously he had been involved in a life of sin, but now he wanted to follow Jesus. He pointed to the chart that showed the evil things the devil puts in our hearts: greed, envy, wrath, etc. He told the group, "I am turning away from all these things." Later one of the Christian leaders put his arm around him and said reassuringly, "God still loves you and with Christ you have the opportunity to start again." He burst into tears upon hearing this message of hope and forgiveness.

Each of the 200+ participants left the SALT course knowing how to dig out the truth in God's Word and how to apply it to their lives. They returned home to their villages armed with a two-edged sword for combating sin, fear and hopelessness. When friends and family ask questions about the Lord, they will now be able to open God's Book and read to them the message of life and hope in the language that will speak to their hearts - God's Word in Yopno!

Story by Karen Weaver and photos by Marjan Sikkema

This story can also be found on TheWordisLife.net

Ethnologue entry for Yopno | Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,909 known living languages.

Where do the Yopno people of Papua New Guinea live? Here’s a Map.

The Word | Learning Trade Skills

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Word | Learning Hebrew

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Word | Hearers of the Word

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

{Metzger Ministry Update} April 2011 | "An eternal prize"

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. -- 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NLT)

Dear friends and family,

Thank you for being such an encouraging team to us as we serve here in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We have been busy the last several months.

Kurt had the opportunity at the beginning of March to travel to Port Moresby (the capital of PNG) for his work. There he was able to help at the SIL regional center with their computer and internet connection needs. The kids and I (Johanna) missed him greatly, but we were thankful to know that he was able to support the Port Moresby staff.

Kurt was also able to help here in Ukarumpa to install network access, via fiber optic cable, to our new National Training Center (this is where SIL’s Translator Training courses (TTC) and Strengthening Tok Ples Education (STEP) courses are taught).

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(National Training Center dorms, dining hall and fiber optic cable install)

Kassia (6) is enjoying her time in kindergarten and has taken off reading and writing in English. She loves to read in her bed on her own and likes for us to read to her as well. Lukas (3) continues to grow and make us laugh daily with his Spanish accent as he speaks in English. Matthias is seven months now and is trying to crawl and smiling constantly.

The kids keep me busy at home but I also enjoy being able to help our Latino colleges translate their newsletters from Spanish into English or edit their letters in Spanish. I have also been able to help translate a new document that our SIL PNG branch is producing called “The Word”. It is sent to many weekly and gives a glimpse of what the work of SIL is in PNG. SIL PNG has been publishing this document in English and in Spanish. If you would like to take a look at it, check it out on our blog: www.kurtandjohanna.com

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(from left to right: Matthias; Kassia)

As we write we are in the middle of our biennial SIL PNG Branch Conference. We are working through how we can best get the Word of God translated into the 300+ languages in PNG that as yet do not have it. Please join us in prayer as you think of it how we can effectively do this task.

Praise:

  • For YOU our great partners who pray and support us so faithfully.
  • Our health has improved much since we last wrote and we have adjusted to the food and water here in PNG.
  • Kurt’s trip to Port Moresby to help at the regional center with his computer skills was much appreciated.
  • Kurt’s involvement in installing network access to the new National Training Center.

Prayer:

  • For the upcoming New Testament Bible Translations here in PNG in 2011.
  • For Kurt as he makes more trips in the country to help regional centers with network access, and for Johanna and the kids as they stay home.
  • For our biennial SIL PNG conference.

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(Lukas loves playing with Matthias)

Thank YOU for being a faithful part of our ministry and the work that God is doing in Papua New Guinea.

Blessings,

Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias too)

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Word | Encouraging Scripture Use

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Immeasurably More

Papua New Guinea

It’s fascinating the way God plants a vision in people’s hearts and moves heaven and earth to fulfill His purposes.

Steven Hong’s family moved from South Korea to Los Angeles in 1973. Steven was 19 years old and still not a Christian. Before long, he was working full time, pumping gas at a local filling station. After graduating from college, Steven worked as a computer engineer for Hughes Aircraft company for six years.

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{Holly and Steven Hong in Papua New Guinea | Photo by Alan Hood}

Back then, could Steven imagine that God would bring him to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to serve the Mandara people? Or that he would one day be honoured as a chief of this isolated language group?

Probably not, because our God is the one who is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Back in Steven’s homeland, God had drawn another Korean, Holly Park, to Himself through a college Bible study. The daughter of a pastor, Holly also committed to become a missionary. However, she moved to the U.S. in 1976, to work as a computer programmer.

But God had something very different in mind. In 1980, Holly had a chance to visit the Wycliffe Bible Translators office in Huntington Beach, California. As Holly heard about the Bibleless people, she recalled how her grandmother became a Christian through the Bible written in Korean, her heart language. She also remembered her grandmother’s prayer that someone in her family would become a missionary.

Holly shared the news about Wycliffe with her fiancĂ©, Steven Hong (now a believer). He also began sensing God’s calling to serve with Wycliffe. Their new journey began.

God knew the Mandara had no written language, and no translation of Scripture they could clearly understand. Out of His love for them, and His intimate knowledge of Steven and Holly, God called the unlikely missionary couple—who never even intended to translate Scripture when they moved to PNG—to change careers and move to an island with their four young children.

Because they did, the Mandara Church now has God’s Word in its heart language. And He is changing lives in some remarkable ways.

Immeasurably more—that is what our powerful God is all about. So often He smashes through our low-ceiling expectations with His sky-high results. Should we really expect anything less? After all, our God is the creator of the universe.

Adapted from the Foreword to the Spring 2011 issue of Word Alive (a publication of Wycliffe Canada), covering the Mandara language project in Papua New Guinea.

by Dwayne Janke {Dwayne Janke is Editor of Word Alive magazine | Wycliffe Canada}.

This story can also be found on TheWordisLife.net

Ethnologue entry for Mandara | Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,909 known living languages.

Where do the Mandara people of Papua New Guinea live? Here’s a Map.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Word | SALT Course

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Word | Cooking for Jesus

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Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Word | Healing the Wounds of Trauma

Healing the Wounds of Trama

Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

“The Word” is a weekly photo and caption detailing the impact of Bible translation.