About the COC guys, Ryan asked:
So, what do these guys do for church… do they have the bible in their language? With that in mind, is their only language Pidgin, or do they have a tribal language they prefer to speak when they aren’t talking to you?
I’ll answer these questions in order from easiest to hardest.
All of these guys know and speak their own tribal language, but there are at least four tribal languages represented in this group so they speak Pidgin at work.
There is an (inadequate) Pidgin Bible.
As far as I know, one of these guys speaks a language (Yagoria) which has an NTM translated New Testament and another one of the guys is from Kuman (the first tribe I ever visited) where there are currently NTM missionaries working and translating. For the rest, their only access to the Bible would be the Pidgin version.
What these guys do for church is harder to answer. In Yagoria there are dozens of churches that have come from the original church planted by NTM missionaries and Malon commutes from that area to work. In Kuman, there is (I think) just one group of believers meeting on a regular basis, but that is many treacherous hours from here by car. In our local area (and all over PNG) there are numerous “churches” where Pidgin is spoken and salvation by works is preached. So most of these guys don’t have a very good opportunity to be a part of a church. It would be challenging even in a church with a good foundation for believers to grow with only the Pidgin Bible because the language is not full enough to communicate all the truths of God’s word.
That is why our goal (and NTM’s model) is to learn a tribal language and communicate to people in a way that they can grasp all of what God has to say and read his word in their language with full comprehension. And there is lots of work yet to be done, so feel free to come and join us!