People are so lovable. Tobias heads up the school at Yokea 1 and he invited us into his home for the night. Years ago he got some training as a teacher, and is now employed by the government to teach in Yokea 1. He has secured funds for classrooms, generators, and chainsaws – all things that benefit the community. He even gave Matt his shoes, as by this time one of Matt’s shoes was falling apart so badly that the sole needed to be tied to the shoe. I love this guy!
Zach worked hard in talking with the leaders about the questions we had. He also took a sampling of the language. He did all this while Matt and I caught up on some sleep! The next day we addressed the community, presenting an overview of what we do. Praise God for the openness of the people.
The next day we hiked to Maweroro. Of all the villages we visited in nDo, this one was my favorite. Like most villages in the Finisterre Mountains, it sits on a ridge. This ridge is banana shaped – the ends are high, with a low middle. They have piped water into the center of the village. There are about 500 people in this community.
We made our presentation just as it was turning dark, and had an enthusiastic reception from the people. I got a chance to sit down with the leaders that evening. Matt and Zach met with them the next morning, and for the first time I began to feel like some of the questions I have had about nDo are beginning to be answered. The biggest question in my mind has been “Why do the nDo people keep asking for missionaries when someone already translated the Bible into a very similar dialect?” They have told me that the languages were too different for them to really understand it well. However, as we looked at the data, we saw a high degree of overlap between the two dialects. Is this Bible usable? Probably, with some revision. Is this Bible being used? No, not at all. Very few of the people even had copies of it. In fact, I never saw an entire New Testament. We just saw a few copies of the book of Mark. So, while we need to dig deeper to determine exactly how understandable this translation is for them, one thing is for sure – they need the Gospel.