I was scrolling through my Facebook updates this morning when I saw my dad had posted this link to his wall.
The caption for the link states the following:
“This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Konai New Testament Dedication in Western Provence. Soren and Britten Arsjo have worked in this language area since 1994 after completing the Ama New Testament in the Sepik. Saturday (4 April) was filled with singsing presentations and cultural demonstrations of how people made fire and worked their gardens before modern tools were available. On Easter Sunday, the dedication was held to present the newly printed scriptures. It was a great time of rejoicing and celebration. The people who had pre-purchased a Bible were also most anxious to get their copy of the scriptures. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was the reading of the Easter story in tokples by a group of youth from the community. I was completely amazed at the literacy and fluency these youth had in reading their new Bible with many of the youth not even missing a beat as they read. During my speech as the SIL Director I encouraged those who couldn’t read to find youth like these ones to read it to them and I felt that with such a strong literacy rate among the younger generation that this Bible would be read over and over.
Please be in prayer for the Arsjo’s as they continue to say goodbye to the Konai speaking people over the next couple of weeks and as they say goodbye to PNG after working here for over 40 years.
Dahamo, the village where the Konai live, was and for the most part still is not much more than a remote dot on a map of vast, sprawling jungle in Papua New Guinea. was very large part of my life. My parents were Christian missionaries who wanted to teach the gospel to an unreached people group. In the early 1980’s the western province of Papua New Guinea remains very much the way it was back then… Unreached. Completely, and thoroughly unaffected by the outside world. I remember
I remember as a kid he would take a group of local nationals and go on long treks for weeks at a time in search of a remote people group. Eventually, he found the Konai people who call their village Dahamo. At first we would go there by canoe, walk and when the walking was too intense I was carried by stretcher since I was just a toddler at the time. At first he built a helicopter pad, and once established set about making an airstrip, aid post, school, and church. Once the government had established the village as an actual functioning community with a government provided teacher, health care provider and various other essentials to prepare a tribe living in the stone ages for modern times all that was left was ensuring the church could function on its own.
We left Papua New Guinea in the early nineties, moving “back to the states” according to my parents. My first real memories are of the Konai, I never really wore shoes growing up there, we would go hunting with bows and arrows, or spear fishing and swimming until dark all of that changed when we moved to the states.
I’m glad the people I knew as a kid have a book in their own language. I know that was no easy task.