Monday, November 14, 2016

Dedua SALT Course Reports

Dzudzumau SALT Course
1/10/2016 - 16/10/2016

There were 280 graduates from the Dzudzumau course. These were the attendees who met the 8 day attendance requirement. Each day many more people were in attendance.  Some days during the course the total number of attendees for the Bible lessons was closer to 400.
Roughly 300 people were ministered to during the course outreaches.  There were 4 outreaches run during this course. These were to villages a 2 to 3 hour hike away. Most of the population from the closer villages were already attending the course in Dzudzumau and so they chose to focus the outreaches on farther away villages.

A few Course Testimonies:

Elderly Man: 
      "I am so thankful to God for this Bible study. The study book is in my own language and shoots straight to the point. I have never had a Bible study workbook like this in my own language before. I grieve for my Fathers who went to their graves without a Bible study workbook like this one to help them in studying the Bible in their own language."
Lutheran Church Leader and School Headmaster:
       "I have been challenged by this entire study. But the main theme that has challenged me has been the teaching on love. Do I show love to others? I know here during the course it is easy... but when I go back to my home... will I show love to others? Especially those of other churches? I have been challenged by the unity of the SALT team. They are from different churches and yet work together in love. I need to show this same kind of love to others, especially my brothers and sisters from other churches."
Lutheran Evangelist:
      "I am a leader in the church... Yes... but in my own home, with my family, love is absent.  I have been greatly challenged by the love of God and realize I must show His love to others in everything I do."
Young Man:
      "I thank God for sending His servants here to preach the Word. I was running around like a fool. But God has be teaching me many things during this course. He is showing me the road I must take." (With this he asked forgiveness of the audience for the way that he had been acting/treating everyone in the community.)
Elderly Man:
      "I now realize that I have not been living in love as God has called me to be doing. Lesson 4 challenged me in how I have been living. I now pray that God will help me to show His love to others."
Young Man:
      "Normally when a Bible program has been run in this village, I am standing on the fringes of the crowd looking in.  I haven't been too interested before as to what was being said from the Word.  Praise God that this course has been different.  Some how God brought me inside the tarp structure on day one and I received a SALT workbook.  Since then I have been sitting inside listening to every word being shared from the Word.  The Word has been gripping me and now I have given my life to Christ!" (With this the young man broke into tears.)

Additional Highlights:

The Village of Dzudzumau was very organized.  They had gathered garden produce and firewood for all in attendance.  At the end of each day's lessons... the attendees would line up to receive firewood and food.  Thus nobody had to rush out of class to go find food for their family.  Because of this, everyone was able to focus on the Bible teaching for the whole two weeks.
There was quite a hunger for vernacular Bibles during the course.  Because Dedua is quite mountainous, many at the Dzudzumau course had not yet made it to Hoboc where the newly printed Bibles were stored for sale.  During the course many wanted to get a Bible, but didn't want to leave the teaching to go to Hoboc to purchase one.  By God's grace several woman from Hoboc carried 70 Bibles over the mountains to Dzudzumau.  When the Bibles arrived there was a stampede to purchase them.  The supply ran out within minutes... at the end the local police officers were trying to budge in line to get the remaining few copies.
The village had built a massive tarp and bamboo structure for the course to be held in.

Hoboc SALT Course
17/10/16 - 31/10/16

There were 288 graduates from the Hoboc course. These were the attendees who met the 8 day attendance requirement. Each day many more people were in attendance.  Some days during the course the total number of attendees for the Bible lessons was closer to 350.
Roughly 1014 people were ministered to during the 8 outreaches run in the surrounding villages. These villages were a 2 to 3 hour hike away.

A few Course Testimonies:

A middle aged woman:
            "I am a sinner. I praise God for the teaching from His word. I have been convicted about worshipping stones and leaves along with my family. We are on the border of this language group and so we have not received teaching from God's Word like this before. I thank God that I have come and He has been teaching me His truth."
A retired church leader:
            "I have been deeply convicted by God. Through the lessons He has shown me that I have been living like a Pharisee. I am always judging others. And the words I use are designed to cut others down. I pray I can start living out of love."
Two Men:
            During the first week of the course, a man was cut up by several boys on drugs. However over the weekend they reconciled and started attending the course. During lesson eleven, the two parties stood up to testify about God's grace in their lives in brining them to the point of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Additional Highlights:

There were people who walked from two to three hours one way every day to come to the SALT lessons. 
Over 50 vernacular Bibles were bought during the course.  Almost everyone else had one already.
The outreach was a big hit.  The church leaders were excited about the possibility of going on more outreaches. Pray that God would guide the leaders as they seek to take the teaching from the Word to the surrounding villages.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tay SALT - July 2014

From the 22nd of July to the 6th of August 2014, a team of four SALT instructors ran a two week SALT course in the Tay language group.  It was a joy to see God work and move in the hearts of Tay brothers and sisters. The Tay people live in a remote mountainous region of Madang Province in Papua New Guinea that sees little outside attention or government service. Though isolated and seemingly forgotten by the world, they are far from forgotten by God.  

As the Tay people celebrated the dedication of their NT and then began to study from it during the SALT course, they were reminded of how God had not forgotten them.  Praise and gratitude to God overflowed in the lives of many as they received training and truths they had been hungering after for years.  Many church leaders got up to share how they had prayed for years for this kind of training to come to their area.  Now their prayers were being answered by God, the God who cares about a small remote people group in the mountains of PNG that the rest of the world is unaware of.

From the start it was clear that God had something special planned for this SALT course.  In September of 2013, SALT trained Tay co-translators John and Gabriel at a SALT instructor training course held in Ukarumpa.  These two men then returned to Tay and began to faithfully lay the ground work for the Tay SALT course.  The translation of material was completed with the help of PBT translators Steve and Rhonda Hayward, awareness was made, and invitations were sent out to reliable pastors and church leaders scattered all throughout the mountains and valleys of the Tay language area.  Word had gotten out so well that when the team arrived by plane, many of the participants from far away were already in the village waiting for the course to begin.  Some hiked two days just to get there.  On the first day of the course the participants were so eager to begin that they beat the instructors to the church area where the course was being held; and from day one till the end of the course the hunger of these pastors and leaders for teaching from the Word did not lessen.  

In total there were twenty-eight pastors and church leaders who graduated.  However many other community members attended the course as well to hear teaching from God's Word in their own language.  After hours, the participants could be found studying or discussing with each other the truths they had learned that day and how to apply them to their lives, families, churches, and communities.  The humility displayed by these pastors and leaders was amazing as they were stretched, grown, and challenged from the Word.
Perhaps one of the most exciting things to see in this course was the desire and hunger of these church leaders and pastors to take these teachings from God’s Word and share them with others.  SALT’s motto is 2 Timothy 2:2 and it was truly a joy to see these reliable men and women getting excited about how they could now use these tools, truths, and teaching to help others in their homes, churches, communities, and language group.  The 28 men and women were truly hand picked by God to come receive this training, and it was a blessing to see them processing all they were learning during the course.  In morning devotions held by the participants, truths from previous lessons could be seen being presented.  At night, participants spent hours sitting around fires discussing how they could apply these truths and teachings to their ministries. Their focus was truly one of self-less service to the Lord. 

It was amazing to see God work and move through His Word as many of the older generation who have trouble understanding Tok Pisin were touched by God's truths being expressed in their heart language.  Many were in tears. After the service, members from all of the churches expressed how they were blessed by coming together for worship.  Some pastors shared how they were challenged by seeing how they need to be using their heart language to deliver God's truths to their congregations so that all can clearly understand the message of the Word. 
United in Christ's love,
Luke Aubrey
Pacific Area SALT Instructor