Zach Cann

Zach Cann

sent out by Grace Bible Church to plant churches among the Ndo people


Just over a year ago, our team was trying to decide where to allocate. The choice was between two language groups: Ndo and Yout. We wanted to go to both, but in the end we had to choose. We chose Ndo.

But what about Yout? We called them back in June 2015 to tell them we were not coming to work among them. But we said we’d be praying and hoping for more workers to come. We also mentioned that they could write a letter asking for missionaries to come. A similar letter of invitation (written back in 2004) helped us choose to work among the Ndo. The leaders of Yout said they would write a letter and bring it to us.

They kept their word.

With Kavun (left) and Damas.

On the last day of June 2016, two men from Yout hiked into our village with not one, but two letters in hand. The first letter was written by Jemos, a prominent Yout leader who helped Matt and me hike into Yout village during our survey work. The second was written by our good friend, Damas. During both our trips to Yout, we stayed with this young man. His letter is written in broken English, which he learned in order to become a school teacher among his people. Damas was one of them men who brought the letters to us in Mawerero. The cover photo is of Matt reading these letters with Damas and Kavun.

Jemos’ letter asking for someone to come learn their language and culture and to translate the Bible.

This is Damas’ letter, written in rough English. As you can see in this letter, my name here is Jack instead of Zach.

Eating some grilled chicken with our special guests and a few leaders from Mawerero.

We got two days to spend with Damas and Kavun. We ate a couple meals with them. They fed us so well when we stayed with them in Yout, so it was a joy to be able to return the favor. They shared both their letters with us and shared a myriad of greetings from some of the people we’ve come to know from their language group. But mostly, they asked when someone might come to share truth with them. Of course, we don’t know when another team will come. But we know One who does. And we know that He calls us to pray for more workers (Matthew 9:38). And we know that in the last day, there will be Yout believers before the throne worshiping the Lamb (Revelation 7:9).

Yout Statistics (based on our 2016 Survey)
: 250-300 speakers
Alternative Language Names: Yout, Yout Wam, Yaut
Villages: Yout and various hamlets heading down to the coast
Language Strength: 5-6a (vigorous) on the ethnologue scale. This means that even the children only speak Yout Wam and not the trade language. Yout is a stronger language than Ndo.
Nearby Work: There is a national team doing translation in the adjacent language of Gusan. These translators are a part of the Guahatike team, which is very solid. They will be a great resource for this location. There is an SIL work going on in Teptep, which is the nearest airstrip.
Location: Finisterre Mountains, Rai Coast District, on the border of the Morobe province.
Remoteness: By air, one must take a flight to Teptep and then a 15-20 minute helicopter flight to Yout village. By ground, one must take a dinghy for 6 hours from Madang to Malalamai. From there it is a 10-12 hour hike into the mountains. Yout sits at just over 3,500 feet above sea level. It has no road access, and the possibility of building an airstrip seemed unlikely.
Yout Phrase(s): Good afternoon – Printo mote

Saying goodbye to everyone in Yout back in 2015. Damas is the one in the grey shirt with the purple and yellow sleeves.

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