A Great Responsibility!
We recently celebrated the completion of the Una Bible, both Old and New Testaments, in Papua, Indonesia. The Una people live high in the mountains of Papua. They are experts in gardening and raising livestock in their stunning but challenging environment. Their first contact with missionaries was in 1973. Shortly thereafter, they carved a runway into a natural plateau at 6,100 feet elevation in the central village of Langda.
Landing at this runway is one of my favorite challenges. It is only 445 meters long, with sheer drop-offs on either end. I’ve never landed on an aircraft carrier, but this is probably as close as I will get. The approach path has to be controlled carefully to assure a landing in a precise 30-meter zone, so that there is enough room to stop the three-ton aircraft before the end of the runway.
The New Testament was completed in 2007, with much of the work done by the Kroneman family. Since then, Dick and Margreet have continued to serve as consultants for a team of Una translators working on the Old Testament. Fifteen years of hard work later, the printed complete Bibles are in the hands of the Una people!
Many pastors and elders were present for the celebration, along with most of the Kroneman family and the translation team. Government officials also flew in, and even some YAJASI employees got to share in the experience. Those of us in attendance enjoyed hearing one of the pastors preach a short sermon based on a passage in Isaiah, which he got to read from his brand new Bible.
I was challenged by one theme in particular during the event. The Una people are privileged to be one of the few people groups in Papua with the complete Bible in their language. Of over 250 unique language groups in Papua, only around 50 have the New Testament, and the Una dedication marks the sixth complete Bible among these language groups. However, this also comes with great responsibility—a responsibility to read, believe, and follow God’s Word, and to share it with others. What about those of us who have had the Bible for generations? Are we treating God’s Word with the respect and responsibility it deserves?
Thank you for praying for the Una church!