Monday, April 25, 2011

Miniafia SALT - April 2011

Our travel to Tufi on Sunday 3rd April on the Airlines PNG flight from Port Moresby took an hour with a short stopover in Popondetta. Josiah Javeve met us at Tufi. He had left Ajoa the day before to paddle to Maras village where he organized a dinghy to come and pick us up. The trip on the 40 HP dinghy took a little over an hour. We arrived at Ayuwan beach around 11 A.M. Church Service was in session when we arrived. They stopped briefly to to welcome us. Shouts of Oro! Oro! Oro Kaiwa! Oro Kaiwa! echoed to the beating of drums as our din- ghy came to shore. Sunday School children dressed in their traditional attire led the welcome with singing and dancing as we were led to the church building. We joined them for the rest of the church service and were welcomed into Miniafia land. After church service, some lunch and a bit of rest we began the one hour walk inland to Ajoa Mission Station.

A large crowd awaited our arrival at Ajoa station to welcome us. As we were about to enter into the Station grounds, we were surprised with a mock attack by would be warriors hiding in the nearby bushes. Re-enacting what happened to strangers entering new ground in decades past, it was part of their welcome ceremony. Again, the shouts of Oro Kaiwa! and the beating of the drums wel- comed us. We were led into the Station with dancing and singing – “Tamei o ameraraji Ensairen Orokaiva, Iesu o ameraraji . .. Anun Kakafijin o ameraraji . . .” “Father God ... Jesus ... Holy Spirit we welcome you!” It was a humbling experience to be accorded such welcome! In reality, this welcome was more than just to us, they were really open and ready for the Word of God.

The workshop was opened by the Chairman of the Translation Committee, Moses Sairad. Sixty six people from all the Miniafia villages attended the SALT training. From young to old, they all represented a cross-section of the community and church. The majority of them came from the Anglican Church, a few from the CMI (Covenant Ministries International) and SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) churches. Entire families came – husbands and wives together with their young adult children.

According to the church calendar it was the Lent season, a time for prayer and fasting. What better time than these two weeks leading into Easter to sit under the Word of God. As early as 4 A.M. each morning, we were awakened to the beating of the drums and singing as the people went to prayer to prepare for the day. The course was conducted in the Anglican Church building.

Each day classes began at 8 A.M. and ended at 4:00 P.M. with a lunch break in between. There are 19 lessons in the SALT curriculum. Two lessons were taught each day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The lessons are de- signed to involve class interaction and participation through group discussions, skits, etc. The use of posters helped greatly to bring the message across. Each day began with the review of the lesson for the day before. This gave opportunity for people to share what the Lord was teaching them. Two brothers who were estranged from one another for a long time came together again in reconciliation. A church leader testified that he went home and told his wife to hold him accountable to speak the truth. It was the small lies that were a hindrance in his walk with God. These are a couple of testimonies that I understood because it was spoken in English. Many others were in Miniafia language so were unknown to us. However facial expressions and gestures revealed clearly that the Word of God was indeed making an impact in the lives of people.

An outreach to the community is a compulsory part of SALT. The group was divided to visit four villages that were within walking distance at the end of the first week. This gave opportunity for participants to share and apply what they learnt. The Miniafia New Testament was used in all sessions. This workshop revealed too that adult classes for fluency is a big need to help the people use their New Testament with confidence.

The visit from the Ubir team on the second week was a special highlight. Translators and storytellers with their spouses walked for 3 hours in the hot sun to come see us. Besides wanting to see what SALT was all about, they came with baskets of food and gifts to share with us and their Miniafia brothers and sisters. This gesture of love and sharing showed true brotherly love and their concern and desire that the Word of God be grounded and established in their Miniafia neighbours.

The last day culminated with much activity. What was originally planned to take a couple of hours took almost the whole day as we joined in celebration of God’s wonderful works of grace in building and strengthening the Church of God in Miniafia. This was more than just the celebration to end a course, in actual fact, it was the celebration of the beginnings to go out to every village in Miniafia and share the Truths of God’s Word.

Thank you for the many prayers made on our behalf and the Miniafia people. The BTA family in Port Moresby prayed and commissioned us and wel- comed us on our day of return. Wives and families of the BTA members in Ajoa ministered to our physical needs. All these and many others for one purpose – that the Church of God in Minifia grow strong to maturity and stand with the hosts of believers on the Day of the Lord!

Closing word Ivan Kauyet:

“The Word of God is like seed. Most of us received the Word a long time ago and some of us just received it now. I now understand that having the seed to myself is not what Christian life is all about. It is in planting, looking after it and letting it grow and bear- ing fruit in my life that makes the difference. These last two weeks, I learnt how to apply the Word in my life. For a long time I did not know the importance of planting the Word and so I just kept it to myself. I’m old now and very happy to grow and apply it in my life. God’s Word promises that if we look after it properly it will bear 30 fold, 60 fold or 100 fold. Jeremiah 1:10 exhorts us to build and plant. SALT has given us the tools to do this. I have attended many courses and re- ceived many certificates throughout my life. But I must say that I value this one much more. Even though it is only a piece of pa- per—the real certificate is in my heart. With God’s help I want to apply and live out this certificate moment by moment. We have a task as individuals to be careful how to lead and manage our lives first of all. Through our lives, people will be led to God.”

Report by Sineina Gela,
Certified SALT Instructor and BTA Member

April 4-15, 2011