A little bit about Papua New Guinea

Trip Start Jun 02, 2005
Trip End Aug 12, 2005

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Flag of Papua New Guinea  ,
Saturday, June 4, 2005

Papua New Guinea lives up to its name, "the Land of the Unexpected." Cultural diversity is one thing that really ads to this air of the unknown. There are 820 living languages, and 10 extinct. All that with a population of only 5,420,280 people! (Source: the most recent report from the SIL ethnologue. http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=PG).

Papua New Guinea was under German and British control from 1885 until 1902 when it switched to Australian hands. PNG gained its independence in 1975. That was only four years before my parents moved to the country in 1979 to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Between 1988 and 1997 there was a secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville that ended only after claiming about 20,000 lives (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/pp.html). But God was up to his redemptive work, even in the midst of destruction. During the war revival broke out in the language group that our friends, the Hostetlers, work with, as well as in other areas. That was so exciting! (Also, Roman and Carolyn Hostelter have just finished their New Testament! The Dedication is on the 5th through the 7th of August! Please be praying for all the logistics yet to happen to get the Bible into the hands of the people. The Books are being printed in Korea right now, and are needed in Bougainville at least a few days ahead of the dedication).

During part of the the civil war, my dad was the Regional Assistant Director (or RAD) for the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) in the province that includes Bougainville. At one point he had to evacuate all of our Bible translating teams from the area. Still, there were times and areas where it was safe to live and work. My family got to go out to the islands a couple of times, too, to see how the work was going. We lived on Buka Island, which is immediately adjacent to Bougainville, for a short while in 1994. PNG Defense Force soldiers roamed town with their rifles, and stood on the guard at the airport. We felt safe, but Papua New Guinean friends told us stories of times when there had been violence in their area.

Most of my growing up years were in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. My parents held administrative roles at our missionary community, Ukarumpa, in the support of Bible translation. I love Ukarumpa - It is a beautiful community of faith and expectation, made up of real people (with real struggles and joys) from all over the world, united by the common dream of seeing God's Word in the minority languages of Papua New Guinea.

Enjoy these pictures that I have uploaded from my growing up years, and be on the lookout for new ones from this trip.
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jen_vanuatu on

Life Sharing
Hi Sarah,

Thank you for sharing your PNG life with us, I have learned so much from you and the Lutz's! Though I have not yet been to PNG, part of me feels as though it has, do to your pictures and stories. I look foward to hearing more. Thanks again!

In Christ, Jenny LeMahieu :)

Sashna on

Hi Sarah..,am so proud to see the city with its beautiful resources,for eg:like PNG has a great islands.people,plants for eg:cocoa,coffe,vanilla and others..etc:by the way hope we are all looking forward to see our country(PNG) look more great and safe:
<3 <3

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