News in July 2020

It Takes a Team - Over in Papua New Guinea

None of us are self-sufficient and God did not create us to be. He created us to be in community and to live together as a body with many talents and roles that all work together for His purposes. All of us are needed. Some have larger roles at a given time. Some have roles that are more public, some have roles that are more behind the scenes, some have roles that are less pleasant. BUT they are ALL important.

These past few months, I (Helen) have seen a lot of team work at it’s best, as well as some failures, and it has been a good reminder of how the Body of Christ can and should function.

My mother turned 90 in early February. My sister Dot arranged a full but beautiful weekend. She clearly did the greatest part of the work as well as being the most public figure (after Mom, of course), but there were many hands who had a role, including Mary Dawn who drove her mother, May, my mom’s closest  childhood friend, to the celebration. Thanks to a great team,we were able to honor my mother. She was both surprised and blessed by all 3 of her children, 6 of her 7 grandchildren, their significant others,
cousins and friends.

After feasting and partying I headed to Papua New Guinea. My primary purposes in PNG were: To provide some short relief for the Bunnows, a husband and wife team who had been the only doctors in Ukarumpa for 4-5 months; to teach PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support); to consult on any special paediatric patients; and to teach on 'Resilience' for the clinic staff. I was also able to help the branch begin to  formulate their plans to dealing with the coming COVID storm and continued to keep up with the growing literature on COVID (for my US role). It wasa very full time.


The highlight of my time is always teaching PALS skills. I had a number of new students as well as several who needed their 2yr re-certification. The PALS that I teach in Papua New Guinea is a bit longer than the usual US courses and includes many simulations based on patients similar to what we may and do encounter in a normal clinic year. We make the simulations as realistic as possible and use clinic equipment. Drugs are mixed and pushed through 3-way stopcocks, appropriate cardio-version and defibrillation doses are dialed into our monitor/defibrillator, and team members are all assigned roles. By the end of the week I began to see the group working well as a team as their skills and confidence grew.


Teamwork is critical. Children’s lives literally hang in the balance. If the group does not work well as a team then the outcome of emergency care will be compromised. AND everyone has an important role. The person who records what happens is as important as the person who leads the team, who is just as important as the person who makes sure that bystanders do not get in the way. So it is with the body of Christ. One member cannot say to another “I don’t need you.” cf. I Cor 12:12-27

Helen teaches PALS to expatriate and national coworkers alike, at the
Ukarumpa SIL clinic.

What Ever Happened to Arop-Lokep?

Celebration of the first missionaries and their arrival to the Arop-Lokep people on Long Island, near Madang. (2014)

You might recall back in the year 2014, how I (Brian) traveled to witness the New Testament dedication to Long Island and the people of Arop-Lokep. That was quite an experience, including a hike into the volcano-crater lake "Wisdom" at the center of the island. So what has happened since then?

Somewhere around 2018, the former facilitator/ translators, Jeff and Sissie D'Jernes were approached by the people in nearby Tolokiwa Island. They were asking them to assist in adapting the original Arop language NT into their nearby Lokep dialect. After four years with the Arop version the
church began to see translation problems in the text.

The Lokep church would assign the personnel needed to complete the adaptation, conduct village testing, produce audio recordings and provide local oversight for the project throughout its duration. The long-term translation co-worker, Peter, from Long Island was already on board with the project as he was the one first approached by the church leaders from Tolokiwa Island.

So a three-year plan was developed that would take them from the launch through typesetting. Jeff would make short trips to PNG to work with the Lokep team, develop Peter’s capacity to serve as the team leader on the ground, and then work remotely with Peter through satellite-enabled exchange of Paratext data. (Paratext is a leading software program, used in Bible Translation on a computer). Most of this work can now be done
remotely via satellite up-link or by mobile-based email services.

Now a little over one year into the project, they have gone through the entire NT 3 times and have basically completed the adaptation, tested it and had a translation consultant check a representative sample. Only a few lexical items await the translation committee’s final decision on which variant to accept into their NT. To date they have made 25,711 adjustments to create the adapted Lokep NT.

They hope to continue to resolve the remaining dialect issues by email and through the exchange of Paratext data.  Audio recording is on hold until COVID travel restrictions have been lifted and it is safe for the team to gather in a studio. And they plan to typeset sometime next year.


We rejoice that despite COVID, in a remote part of the world, technology helps to keep the work going forward. Brian is part of the International team that keeps the technology working.

Amazing Short Videos:

All this footage was recorded on site, at the time of the dedication.