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, 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.

png children01

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.