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.

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.


{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 fiancé, 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.