More than 8,000 Miles

By Rachel Greco


Musula village, home of the Kasua people of Papua New Guinea

For almost thirty years, Tommy and Konni Logan toiled as translators among the 1,000 Kasua speakers in the village of Musula in Papua New Guinea. On the day of the dedication of the New Testament in 2017, Tommy said, “Today was glorious fulfillment! Soon after coming to the Kasua, I took a picture of a baby. As I did, the Lord told me that he would grow up and be one of the first people to read the New Testament that we’ll translate.”

After the celebration, the Logans flew home to the United States to be close to family. The local translators in Musula want to continue working on the Old Testament so that their people can possess the whole Bible in their language. Tommy’s heart desire here in the States is to advise and encourage them as they translate the Old Testament.

But being separated from a team by more than 8,000 miles—a team situated in the rugged jungles of Papua New Guinea—can cast shadows on the best intentions. About his current situation with the Old Testament Musula team, Tommy says, “At the moment, I have no direct communication with my team. If I want to get a message to them, I have to send an email to the center at Ukarumpa. Then after a few days or a week, I’ll get a return message from them.” The lack of communication is a mountain standing in the way of finishing the Scriptures.

The solution to the communication problem emerged when Tommy contacted Karl Crossman, a friend he had met in Papua New Guinea. Karl currently works on the JAARS campus in SIL’s* Global Technologies and Information Services department (GTIS) with satellite communication equipment. He manages the accounts for their many BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) customers, as well as helping with the purchase, setup, training, and troubleshooting when needed.

Tommy Logan and Karl Crossman with the BGAN terminals

A BGAN terminal gives a computer limited internet access. It enables people in remote areas to send/receive email, synchronize language-translation data in Paratext—a software application used to develop and check new Bible-translation texts—and make telephone calls anywhere in the world.

The BGAN is important, because, according to Karl, “while translation work is going on in a village setting, the team’s language work is being backed up from their computer to the Paratext server here in the United States. This alone prevents complete loss of this valuable data if a language team’s computer is lost, stolen, or damaged while traveling to/from the village.” BGANs have cut many years, if not decades, off the translation process.

The Musula airstrip has always been the only way to reach the remote Kasua community on the south side of Mount Bosavi.

Tommy recently made a trip to JAARS and purchased one of these satellite systems from Karl to set up in Musula village. He will be traveling to Papua New Guinea to set up the BGAN on October 10. With this system he can have direct email contact with the translation team as well as sending and receiving translation documents. The team will just need to connect the BGAN first thing in the morning to synchronize their email account and Paratext and turn it back on later in the day to ensure translation documents are saved and sending. “Karl Crossman and his team were instrumental in getting me set up with this,” Tommy remarked.

Praise God for enabling the Musula team to continue translating the Old Testament from more than 8,000 miles away!

 *A JAARS translation partner