Below is the timeline of key events in our short history. Our story begins with the Mibu and Mina churches, and the vision they have to reach every language group in the Finisterre Mountain Range. One of our founders ministered among the Mibu and Mina people with New Tribes Mission, and so, much of our story (so far) has taken place place prior to the formal incorporation of Finisterre Vision. Our strategy and ministry philosophy has the fingerprints of New Tribes Mission all over it.
It is not possible for us to tell the story of our beginnings without mentioning these two missionary families with New Tribes Mission – Chris & Angie Walker and Geoff & Shannon Husa. These two couples worked alongside one of our founders in Mibu, continue to faithfully minister there, and function as consultants for missionaries that we have sent out. You will see their names at different places on our website, but not nearly enough in proportion to what their efforts deserve.
With much gratitude to New Tribes Mission for their long history in PNG, and continuing efforts in Mibu, we present this timeline of the history of Finisterre Vision.
February 14 - First Contact with the Mibu people (read more...)
We first researched every language group in the Finisterre Mountains. This was about 70 languages plus, another 30 or so to the east on the Huon Peninsula. We created a spreadsheet called “Finisterre Languages”, where we recorded every bit of information we could find. From that we determined that the least likely place that the Gospel would go would be to Mibu (called “Mebu” on maps at the time). 10 years later, when Finisterre Vision was formed, this spreadsheet became a critical part in helping our missionaries determine the most strategic places to allocate. We continue to update it regularly.
Report from our First Contact with the Mibu People
The following report was written by Sonni Poulsen, with New Tribes Mission. It has been edited slightly.
Mebu (Ma) and Nankina Survey
February 14-15, 2002
Curtis Lee, Sonni Poulsen, Chris Walker, Joey Tartaglia
Note: Before this survey, it was believed that the language bordering Nankina to the north was called “Mebu”. On this survey, we discovered that the language group is actually called “Ma”, while Mebu is the name of one of the 2 Ma villages.
Curtis Lee and Sonni Poulsen head out of Goroka for Teptep. Within an hour after landing there Nate Schrag brings Joey Tartaglia and Chris Walker on the fixed wing. We made arrangements with the guesthouse manager there, Jerry Bomi.
Teptep is located on the provincial line between Morobe and Madang. This being the case, Teptep is the home of two LLGs (Local Level Governments) They are as follows:
NaYoDo LLG in Saidor District in Madang: Nankina, Yopno (half) and
DomoYUS LLG In Kabum District in Morobe: Yopno (other half), Urua and Som
SIL had a translators in Yopno in the village of Keiweng for some 15 years. The people in Teptep find the Nankina language hard to learn. SIL also has beenin Urua and completed the NT. Teptep people find Urua and Som difficult to learn.
We based in TepTep at the guest house, and from there we flew out on Thursday afternoon around 13:00 in search of a Ma village. The first village we landed in was not actually Ma, but rather from the Ngaing language (ward 12, 13, and 14), in the village of Sabilonggi. Not being able to land in the village we landed outside in a kunai grass area. The villagers soon showed up and we were able to talk to Jeffrey Sulupa. They have had a school in the area for 12 years.
These people find the Ma language difficult they said.
From here we went to Kendang, in the Yongin hamlet area. Kendang is under Ward 14, Sibog village, in the Saidor District. The language spoken here was a dialect of Ma, called “Mana”.
All the men and women converse freely in the Ngaing language and some in the Ma language, Mebu (or Mipu) village.
The villages in this area are:
Langani or Langgani, Titirapok, a mixed Mana + Ngaing language, Tangomano or Tanggumano
According to the people here, the language changes a little bit from pure Ma. There was no school, no aid post, and no church building in this village. The names of the men that were present were Jeri Tanak, Markus Tanak, Emos Tanak, Marke Tanak, Jefri Tanak, and Maikel Tanak. The big man here is Wawo. Two other brothers were away, one in Madang and one in Lae. Approximate population: 20
Marke has been up to grade 8 over at Raicos High School, and is able to speak English, and read and write. The other guys also had been to school, but only as high as grade 4. Markus Tanak the first born, spoke to Sonni and made clear their wish to have someone like SIL come in. The reception was very warm, and they were interested in NTM working there (though this village is mixed language, so it would not be our choice.)
After Kendang we went to the village of Mebu. Mebu village is in Ward 42, Saidor District. Near to this village was an unfinished airstrip. It is unclear as to whether this airstrip, if completed, will be usable or not. In Mebu village, Ma is spoken, and they claimed that besides themselves, 2 other villages speak Ma. The kids in this village were speaking to each other in Tok Ples. And the adults as well, spoke to each other in Tok Ples. They told us that they have to go to Saidor or Gwarawon (a village in Nankina) for medical attention. When we first got there, almost all of the men were out harvesting Karoka. The people were friendly, and offered us oranges. After hearing Sonni’s presentation of why we are here, the people discussed it, and said that they needed to ask the authorities first. Some of the men eagerly invited us to come in. The population of Mebu is (approx) 118. The Ma and Nankina people refer to Mana as Mena.
Acting Counsel: Benny
Village Police: Toni
Bigmen: Meteliewe, older one and then Keteng, with whom we visited.
The next village we went to was Tariknan. This village speaks Ma. The people were very excited to see us, and were pouring food (oranges) into our arms as soon as we had cleared the helicopter. The name of the big men are Gero, Igelo and Numinepe. Total population: 60. There is no school in this village. They told us that just the day before we arrived they had set up the posts for the future aid post. From here it is a one day’s walk to Saidor. From Saidor they can take a ship to Madang. The younger ones in this village can read Pidgin, but no one can read Tok Ples. The people themselves emphasized how little has been done in this village. They responded very well to us, and told us that they wanted NTM to put missionaries in this village. In light of such a quick response from them, Sonni questioned them further, and asked if they needed to ask the authorities above them, like what happened in Mebu Village. The people responded, “We are the authorities. There is no other man that we need to ask.” We asked them if they can understand any of the following languages: Nahu, Ngaing, Nankina, Bulgebi, Gwahatike, Nokopo, Wandabong, Asat, Gab, Isan, and Domung. Of those, the only ones they said they can hear are Nankina and Bulgebi (with whom they intermarry). Nahu they said was hard, and Ngaing they said was hard. They also said that they can converse in Mena.
Yob village downhill from them is a mixed Ma+Dyerong (Nankina)
Curtis told us that from Tariknan to Saidor with internal chopper load would be around 6 minutes to 10 minutes with a normal external load.
Our survey was concluded at around 3 in the afternoon when the clouds became too thick for us to navigate. We went back to TepTep, and stayed the night in the guest house there. The next morning (Friday) we left, and surveyed two villages in the Nankina Language.
We tried to land in one village that did not have an airstrip, but we could not because there was no area big enough or flat enough to land in. We ended up touching down at the 2 airstrips in Nankina (Bambu and Nankina).
The name of the village where the Bambu airstrip is is Yobango. It is also called Yipbo. The actual village of Bambu is down the mountain a little bit. The MAF agent in Yobango is Tune Dineyu. The Council in Yobango is Fosing Gale. The people of Yobango gave us an invitation to come work with them. They were very generous, giving us plenty of food, including oranges, onions, and cabbage.
We landed in another airstrip called Nankina. The name of the village is Gwarawon. In this village the people seemed excited to see us, but were hesitant to give us an invitation. They felt it better to wait awhile, and then get back to us later.
There are 16 TPPS (Tok Ples Primary Schools) in the area, but no TPPS in this village. Tok Kote from Finchaven was the school language and some of the older men speak that. Gwarawon has 1-6 grade school since 1980, confirmed by the headmaster himself talking to us. An aid post is also in the village and both aid post and school are government run.
Committee: Katu and At, who lives in Gingeme.
Counsel: Saimon Apei
Villages in the Nankina language group are:
Bambu, being the biggest and central as far as tribal government, Gwarawon is second, Gopbaion, Sewan, Eiengowa, Iowangoa, Bambu airstrip, Taip, Meeweng
Our Decision to Pursue Mibu
After getting home and discussing the different villages, it is the feeling of our team (Walker’s and Tartaglia’s) that we do a follow up survey into the villages in the Ma language group. There is still one pure Ma village that we have not visited. Also, it would be good to follow up in the village that gave us a strong invitation. If we are to allocate into one of the Ma villages, it would be done with the mind that NTM would NOT have to have a presence in Nankina, as that would be an outreach of the future Ma believers (Lord willing). Therefore, our efforts will now be concentrated on following up the Ma language group with a visit where we spend another day with them just trying to clarify what we are about and find out what they are expecting, and determine a place to live.
Follow up Survey
February 25th -26th, 2002.
We returned to Mibu and Tariknan to see what the leaders were thinking in regards to us possibly allocating there. The Mibu leaders told us,“You can build anywhere you want, in either village, it’s up to you!”. We ultimately decided on Mibu Village because of the greater population, and the strong invitation that they had continually given us.
April 24 - Tartaglias move into Mibu village
March - 25% fluency in the Mibu language
July - A group from the Ndo language came to Mibu Village requesting missionaries (read more...)
Summer - Office constructed in Mibu (read more...)
Money was raised from Bethany (now called “Sun Valley“) Community Church’s Christmas Eve offering. Covered the entire cost of all materials, and leftover money to help fly a team over to help build it. This was called the “Language Learning Center”. 3 separate offices, and a workroom. Has an attached guest room for visitors.
October - 50% fluency in the Mibu language
March 10 - 75% fluency in the Mibu language!
April - Began working on the alphabet for the Mibu language
May 28 - Ndo people wrote a letter saying "You haven’t sent us a missionary yet, so we are still waiting..." (read more...)
April - Talks with NTM leadership began about the need to start another organization that will focus on bringing the Gospel to the rest of the languages in the Finisterre Mountains
December - Finisterre Vision incorporates
March - Tartaglias resign from New Tribes Mission and continue an itinerant ministry with the Mibu and Mina people, with a view to reach the remaining unreached peoples in the Finisterre Mountains. (read more...)