Rough waters are much easier to face with a good boat and safety gear.
The only way to a village might be canoeing across open ocean. Or catching a crowded, run-down boat out to an island. Most vessels don’t even have life jackets. With the right help—whether it’s a safety kit, a small boat, or a large vessel for a whole region—translation teams can stay safe on the water.
How JAARS Fits In
We visit our partners, assess their travel challenges, and help them choose the best boats for their situation. If they need a large boat, we’ll help them plan, launch, and run the program. We also teach people how to swim, use safety gear, and give first aid.
How You Can Help
- At a gathering of local ministers, arranged by the Thursday Island mayor Napau Steven, the team shared the vision of Islanders engaging with the Bible in their own languages. According to one senior pastor, the gathering "stirred up the ministry of the body of Christ like a breath of fresh air." Later, attendance at a language symposium organized by the Gab Titui Cultural Centre afforded an opportunity to speak with Islanders gathered from all over the Torres Strait and share their dreams and hopes for ongoing use of their languages.
- On a visit to the city library, the team provided a Yumplatok Bible, Islander praise song CDs, and a list of all materials available in Islander heart languages. The librarian, Mavis Bani, was very excited about having more materials available in Islander heart languages, especially the Yumplatok version of the Jesus Film DVD series.
- A Christian book store is now stocked with a display copy of the Yumplatok Bible and several Yumplatok children’s books after a contact from the team. These materials can be ordered through the book store.
- A meeting with John McSweeny, supervisor of Torres Strait Island schools, provided helpful information about the use of local languages on various islands and about Yumplatok’s use as a spoken language.
Through God’s provision and our partnership with AuSIL, a solid foundation for the new Scripture engagement initiative in the Torres Strait Island region is in place. In the first six months, the crew of the Coweambah established important relationships with Islander church and civic leaders while promoting the newly printed Scriptures in languages of the Torres Strait.
The growing interest among Islanders for using the Yumplatok New Testament is encouraging. There’s also a growing desire to use the Yumplatok Scriptures as a tool to accelerate translation into the actual heart languages of the Torres Strait. We praise God for all that’s been accomplished during the first phase of this project!
That said, operating in the Torres Strait for just six months has given us the chance to better understand both the opportunities and challenges that exist. In collaboration with AuSIL, we’ve decided to take some time to evaluate the situation and better equip ourselves to engage in the Torres Strait … and perhaps beyond into areas like the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. After laying a solid foundation for ongoing impact, but with several of these questions in mind, our program managers have also decided to take a new assignment with Wycliffe US.
So, while Scripture engagement and even additional heart language translation is underway in the Islands, “on-the sea” operations are currently on hold while we work with AuSIL to pray, assess, and plan the best next steps. We appreciate your prayers for the next phase of the program.
Ask God to reveal his love and transforming power to the people of the Torres Strait.
Praise God for the relationships built by Coweambah’s crew and the progress made in a relatively short time.
Pray for AuSIL and JAARS leadership as they fine-tune plans for Scripture distribution and engagement in the Torres Strait and nearby regions.