What is our Ministry?

What do we do in Vanuatu?
We work with Wycliffe Bible Translators, who second us to SIL in Vanuatu.  Our SIL Vanuatu group is small, and we are always looking for more support people (book keepers, IT people, construction workers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, etc), admin, Bible translators, literacy workers, and people to get translated Scriptures being used (Scripture Engagement workers).  Let me know if you are interested!!
Ranbwe village
Our team in North Ambrym consists of Bible translators (Richards and I) and Scripture Engagement workers (Ellis family).  Vanuatu has over 100 languages, and only 15 of those have New Testaments.  Only one of the 15 has bits of the Old Testament.  We are working in one language group, of about 5,000 people, to see them come to know Jesus Christ through His Word in the language they understand best, Rral, and to be able to rightly divide the Word of truth. 

Bible translation is a long-term ministry, especially in a place like Vanuatu, where progress moves very very slowly.  Communities here like to discuss and come to agreement about how the process will work, who will be involved, and how.  Building solid relationships take time, and is a vital foundation for the work.  We were invited in to the language group of Rral, on the northern part of Ambrym island and given ground on which to build a house and translation office.  These were built to the standards and wishes of the local people, as the properties will revert back to them when we have gone.  A Translation Committee representing leaders from all different villages and backgrounds was selected by the people to help in the work and give feedback and suggestions.

At our current stage in the work, we have completed a Family Story Bible, which consists of 142 major redemptive stories from Genesis to Acts along with pictures and a glossary.  This was distributed in October of 2016.  Literacy curriculum for the schools for grades K-3 has been developed and teachers and community leaders participated in workshops to learn the curriculum and how to teach it in school and community contexts.  Prior to this work, however, because Rral had only been a spoken language, an orthography (alphabet) was developed and voted on by community leaders.
Family Story Bible distribution in Olal village
Current work is in progress to translate the Bible.  As of May 2017, first drafts of the books of Mark, Luke, and Acts have been completed and are in the editing stage, which is fairly in-depth and time-consuming.  We do exegetical checks (ensuring what the translated version says is what the original Greek and Hebrew said and meant), clarity checks, natural language flow checks, and just general editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting.  Aside from Houghton and I, this requires a large group of occasional local volunteers, as well as regular, committed volunteers.  We have a team of 2 women and 3 men who have committed to regular work on translation, and we depend heavily on their language insights and assistance.  God has graciously given our local team a passion and commitment to be faithfully involved, and we are so grateful for them! 
Ranvetlam village
Ultimately we are dependent on God and His provision of volunteers and supporters in practical, financial, and prayerful ways to keep this ministry afloat.  Please pray for our faithfulness to see the work to its completion (however many years down the track that may be).  If you want to be involved either by coming yourself to support the work or work in another language group, or be a financial or prayer partner, let me know.  You can find more information about getting involved at the "Partner with Me"! tab. 
walking up to the village

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