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A mystery package arrived at our Sydney office on Tuesday. The sender was unknown and the package unexpected. We opened it with some curiosity and found a Bible inside in an unknown language.
Further investigation produced a letter, written by Pioneer Bible translator Dr. Martha L. Wade, thanking us for allowing one of our pictures to be used in the Bible she sent and also telling us the story of GRN's involvement in this translation.
In the early 1980s GRN recordists Deb Marcusse and Pam Whitley (pictured above) travelled to the village of Angguna in PNG and recorded gospel messages in the Apal language.
They met Martha Wade in 1985 and told her about this small people group's (500 at the time) need for a Bible translation. They also gave Martha a way to visit Angguna in the next couple of weeks. Because of this connection, Martha went. The rest is history. The Apal Scriptures are now published and will be dedicated on 1 August 2023.
Martha found the old GRN recordings on the internet last year. She played them to the translation team. While some translation choices were not what they settled on for the published translation, the leaders wanted the old recordings distributed as they showed how their knowledge of the scriptures and translation approaches had improved over the years. It also allowed the people to hear the voices of leaders who died long ago.
The songs with the recordings were of the old traditional style and renewed interest in listening to them. Those old recordings encouraged people to buy MegaVoice mp3 players. Pray for the people to listen to the scriptures along with the old recordings and songs.
In 1985 GRN recordist Marion Roberts (now Gunton) visited Angguna. She recorded the gospel of Luke, more GRN recordings and lots of songs. The gospel of Luke has been replaced by a recording of the revised version of text. The other recordings Marion made live on in the Song app and Bible Story app where there are 9 GRN audio-visual programs. these are available to people with phones or tablets.
Martha thanked us for sharing the old recordings, for reaching out to a small language group that has little value in the eyes of the world but are loved by God, and for the excellent series of booklets she has used in various forms over the years.
It was such a joy to receive this package. I have contacted the recordists mentioned in this letter who have been so encouraged. I am so thankful to Martha for telling us her story and sending the Bible. I am so thankful to God for giving us glimpse into what he has done for a small people group living in the depths of PNG and for the privilege GRN has had to be part of it. Praise the Lord!