A 7-Hour Hike or a 7-Minute Plane Ride?

By Rachel Greco

Mike and Amy Martin have been working with the Kosarek people in Papua, Indonesia, since 2003 and on the New Testament translation since 2005. They plan to dedicate the Kosarek New Testament in August! 

“We would not have been able to accomplish any of our work if it were not for the YAJASI team!” Amy said. YAJASI, an aviation partner of JAARS, serves unreached people in Papua, Indonesia, through aviation. 

The Kosarek translation team recently wanted to spend time with various communities to conduct read-throughs of the New Testament and catch mistakes or find other ways to improve the translation before printing it. 

And guess who took the translation team out to the communities? JAARS-trained YAJASI pilots! All these pilots have received training at JAARS—either Pre-Field Orientation or recurrency training, or both—enabling them to fly safely into challenging airstrips. Thank you for giving to Training Solutions

In the past couple of years, the Martins have asked YAJASI to fly into three airstrips that the organization had not gone into before, allowing the translation team to test the people group’s understanding of the translation and their interest level. 

The YAJASI pilots turned a seven-hour hike into a seven-minute plane ride! “Without YAJASI, we likely would not have made the trek into the other two villages,” the Martins said. YAJASI would fly the team to one village and, a few days later, pick them up and take them to the next village, and a few days later, to the next.

Four Kosarek men from the translation team stepped up to help lead the reading of the New Testament in these villages. 

A Kosarek translator talks to one of the communities about the upcoming publication of the New Testament. Photo by Mike Martin

Yesaya was the first translator with whom Mike began working to learn and translate the Kosarek language. “He often shared with the people the importance of preserving the native language and culture, and how valuable it is to have God’s Word in their own language,” the Martins explained. 

Simon, the quietest member of the team, was frequently seen helping others learn to read the Scripture portions long after the daily sessions were finished.

Gerson joined the team about six years ago and has brought much enthusiasm, working diligently to connect the people in town with those in the village. “He went the extra mile and contacted all the villages that we were going to visit ahead of time to let them know when we would be coming and what we needed,” the Martins said. 

Anderson, the youngest member of the team, found a lot of people he knew in all the villages. 

During these trips, the Martins were able to get corrections for final printing, but more than that, they learned that all three villages have a strong desire to have the printed word of God. 

Pilatus Porter parked at Volmimpi. Photo by Mike Martin

A couple of the locations they visited are on the border of the recognized language area, so the Martins and their team went to test whether the translation was understandable in the dialect. People told them over and over again how glad they were to be able to understand the Scripture immediately, and they were so blessed by the reading of the Scriptures in an understandable language. “They were hungry for the Word of God in a language that they could understand,” the Martins said. “They were honored [that] we came to each of their villages to discuss the Scripture and to ask their opinions so that we could consider their perspective before publishing the New Testament.” 

Praise the Lord with us for what he is doing among the Kosarek people in Indonesia! Pray that God would use the Kosarek New Testament to bring many people to him.