Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The PNG BTA Ministry

By Andrew Kwimberi

I have one need to share with you all to pray and see how you might help us. Many of you know PNG BTA and those involved with this ministry very well. This ministry has been around for almost 40 years now since its humble begingings. It was started by some of our founding members of TSCF ministry in the late 60s. 

BTA Board Chair, Andrew Kwimberi
For those on this network who do not know BTA and what it does, we basically work with our PNG/local language communities to translate the Bible into their mother tongues. Apart from that we also help them with litracy work in developing materials for them to teach the people how to read and write in their own tokples. 

This helps them to read their tokples Bible. Also we use these materials for elementary schools run by those trained by our litracy department. These are core activties we are involved in apart from others. If you need more information, please go to our website: www.pngbta.com.pg or just type in PNG Bible Translation Association on google search and it will take you there. 

BTA's vision: Our vision is to see Papa New Guineans transformed by the translated word of God. When people understand the truth, obey and live by it every day, their lives will be transformed. This change will have positive and restorative effect on their marriages, their families, their homes, their neighbours and wil flow down to their communities, provinces and country. Many will begin to do their work honestly and sincerely. 

Fear of God will permeate every sector of our nation. A nation is made up of people, who are directly and indirectly related to thousand of tribes, clans and familes. It is not made of money, buidings, roads and bridges. Those things were created or built to serve the people. 

Just as the Church as an invisible organic body that is made up of believers across the world including PNG, a nation consist of its citizens. It is therefore a social and spiritual creature and it is the activities of its people that give it meaning and purpose. As the people are, so is the nation. 

I believe that a genuine transformation will only take place when the truth is understood and accepted in the heart, which transforms the mind and the whole being or person. 

Our mother-tongue is the heart or soul's language and when the truth is communicated in our heart language, our souls respond to it just like a plant that respond to the sunshine. Just as a plant grows towards the sun, our souls will grow towards God when truths are communicated through the language they know best. 

When our people in the rural villages and communities change, our country will truly change and be transformed for God's glory and for his pleasure. 

But it must start with the Church of God. It must start with Christians in those rural communities. Our country is struggling because our people still hold onto the gods of this world. I heard a testimony of one old man in telifomin saying: "The country is not run by those in Waigani. We run it". 

He was one of the powerful spiritual leaders in his area who were engaged in witchcraft activities. A number of their leaders surrendered and gave their lives when Pastor Dian Warep conducted crusades in their villages some years ago.

The above realization has shifted my heart from the corridors of power, politics and business in Waigani to working with BTA to support its vision to reach out to our people in the remote communities. 

I am slowly making inroads into some of the areas and where I have set my feet, it has always been heartbreaking experiences of seeing our people struggling with very little or no government services. Everyday is a struggle. While they suffer like this, those who already has enough are cointuing to fill their pockets. My heart breaks so much when I hear of Christians are part of this corrupt network. Lord have mercy on us! 

When God's people are truly tranformed and allow God to come and dwell among his people, success and prosperity becomes natural consequences of his presence. See the story of Obed-idom in 2 Samuel 6:1-12. See also Haggai chapter 1. God's presence breaks ignorance and opens the eyes of our understanding. He restores sanity and enables us to think clearly. 

He releases the untapped potential in us to invent new ideas and ways of doing things. He doesn't pour money out of nowhere, as some expects but gives us the ability to create wealth. It only takes a few in those communities to trigger this revival that will lead to national transformation. A genuine revival from God will always lead to societal tranformation, not just good feelings. 

While some of us like myself are supporting ourselves to do this work, as tent-makers, there are others who have to raise their own support to do this work. Unfortunately many struggle because their support is not enough to pay for their day-to-day family and personal expenses, thus they end up borrowing money from BTA's admin funds. 

Thus incurring substantial debts which has contributed to a major budget dificit we are facing right now. As for the projects, most if not all of their funding has been through gifts & donations from overseas Churches, especially USA. But due to financial/economic crissis they are experiencing, this source of funding has dropped significantly by some 90%. 

This has affected our work in a big way and we had to rely on whatever monies we could raise internally. One of the main income sources is through office space rentals here at BTA POM office. Tenants have not paid up on time and this has accrued to a substantial debt and the board and admin are taking steps to recoup those moneys, which would take some time. 

We have one property in Madang that needs a major maintenance to be done so that we can rent it out to bring in some income. But right now given our financial constrain, we are not able to do that. If you are in Madang and want to assist us, we would appreciate your help very much. 

Our national Church has not been supporting our work except for one or two Churches are now realizing the importance of the work of Bible Translation and giving towards specific language groups. 

For example, Cassowary Road United Church is the first Church in PNG to take ownership of the Bible Translation work and is supporting three language groups in Morobe with at least K1500 per quarter which is a good start. 

If we have say 10 Churches in PNG giving a minimum of K1500 per quaterly or monthly, it will be a big help to enable us to fully support our language projects and speed up the work of getting their Bible Translations completed within less time. As you all know, BTA and TSCF has a very close relationship over the years and BTA has helped and continues to help TSCF in many ways. 

We are now in need and I am appealing to you all to pray with us and if God compels you to help in anyway, we would appreciate it. 

You could get your Church to consider supporting our work and if that is an option, let me know and I will direct you to our Church Engagement team to get in touch with you. Steven Thomas is in charge of our Church Engagment team.

God bless you all and thank you for your attention and time.

Andrew Kwimberi

BTA Board Chair.

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