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by Nickson Soal
I was contacted by Danny, an SIL missionary living with the people of Wantoat in Morobe Province. He told me that 15 years ago the New Testament had been translated into WANTOAT but it seems after the initial enthusiasm, the people lost interest in it and had long since given up reading it. Danny had brought his family to live with these people to help them rediscover God's word.
When I explained to him what GRN does and showed him our recordings and picture materials, he was very excited and asked me if I would help him help the Wantoat people. I gladly agreed. He asked if I would come soon and make some recordings and especially to record some songs in the local language. Plans were soon made.
More than 40 years ago, Don Richter, working for Gospel Recordings Australia, did some recording in Morobe Province. In 1965 he made recordings in the WANTOAT language. Would they be useful? I didn't know but there was only one way to find out. I made 12 copies of the "Words of Life" cassette made from Don's recordings and took them with me.
I arrived at my destination on 15th May 2006 and was met by Danny and the church Elders. We gathered at Kongaem, the head office for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG. I set up my recording equipment and put up a display of our Bible picture materials and recordings and hand wind cassette players.
Please pray for a spiritual awakening among the 8,000 people of Wantoat.
Slowly the church filled with people from around the district and I began to play the tape in the WANTOAT language.
As they listened to the recordings, these people who had lost interest in their New Testament found that their hearts were moved. Four speakers had been used to make the recordings. Three of them had long since died and the fourth was now very old. But these messages "from beyond the grave" spoke to their hearts and reawakened their thirst for God.
The 12 copies I had brought were soon sold along with many other useful resources. The people promised that it would not be long before all 8,000 speakers of that language would hear these "Words of Life" in their own language.
Don Richter recording in PNG in the 1960s
Taki Kesawa Gwambongwak is an assistant youth leader in that place. He publicly declared that he had given his life to Jesus after hearing the "Words of Life" Message. He is also keen to be involved in further outreach missions. Praise God for the impact of His Word on the lives of people."
While I was there I recorded 8 local songs. I also left the scripts for the "Good News" and "Look, Listen & Live" # 3, 5 and 7 of the Bible Picture presentations. Danny will arrange for them to be translated and I will go back in August to record them.