2008 is Year of the Bible

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Jan 222008

This story was in the Solomon Star Newspaper last Saturday:

PRIME Minister Dr Derek Sikua has endorsed 2008 as the Year of the Bible.

This was after he met with a delegation from Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA) and Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association (SIFGA), Wednesday this week.

The church groups met the prime minister at his request.

The endorsement of 2008 as the Year of the Bible coincides with the planned launch of the Solomon Islands pijin bible this year.

Martha Matzke of Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group (SITAG) said the launch of the pijin bible is an important achievement for the country.

“The pijin bible will give many Solomon Islanders access to God’s word in a language that is easy for them to understand,†Mrs Matzke said.

“In addition, New Testaments will also be launched in the Natqgu language of Santa Cruz and Wala language spoken on Malaita,†she said.

Mrs Matzke said SICA and SIFGA have been planning for the year of the Bible and are outlining activities that will celebrate the arrival of the pijin bible.

They were also encouraging bible study and raise the awareness of the importance of God’s word.

“A working group has been formed to carry out the plans,†she said.

She added that Prime Minister Sikua was very supportive of the Government declaring 2008 The Year of the Bible.

Dr Sikua had given his Minister of Home Affairs, James Tora, the task of drawing up a cabinet paper for presentation.

The document is expected to be completed by next week when it will go to cabinet for final approval.

The document, to be approved as The Year of the Bible, is a part of the stated government policy.

The Solomon Islands Philatelic bureau has chosen to honour The Year of the Bible with a stamp commemorating 30 Years of Bible translation in this country.

The stamp will be issued on Independence Day.

Mrs Matzke said during the church groups audience with Dr Sikua, they prayed for him and presented him with the plan for the Year of the Bible.

This is the first time for The Year of the Bible to be declared in Solomon Islands.

A new project

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Nov 012007

With the impending launch of the Pijin Bible next July, we are looking for ways to promote the Pijin Bible. We have an exciting new project that is about to start. An organization called Faith Comes by Hearing (www.faithcomesbyhearing.org) will be making a dramatized recording of the entire Pijin New Testament.

The New Testament will be available in cd’s as well as the mp3 format. Faith Comes by Hearing has developed special mp3 players called “Proclaimers” which feature a solar panel for charging. The Proclaimer can be played for 15 hours on one charge and up to 300 people can listen at one time! Individual mp3 players with the New Testament will also be available.

In the next week we are expecting a woman from Papua New Guinea and another from India to come help with the recording of this project. We appreciate prayers for this important project which will make the audio Pijin New Testament available to Solomon Islanders.

The blessing of encouragement

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Oct 312007

This morning I went to a factory where coconut soap products are made. A factory employee walked into the office where I was buying the soap and I realized I knew him from somewhere. I told him I remembered his face, but couldn’t remember where I knew him from. I was a little embarrassed when he said I knew him from the national prison. Sure enough, he was in the first literacy class that I helped start at the prison. (He is the man in the red shirt in this photo taken several years ago.)

I asked him if he was continuing with his reading and he said he was. He asked about the Pijin Bible and I was able to tell him that the it would be available in July of 2008. I told him he should start saving his money now so he would be able to buy the Bible.

The woman selling me the soap jumped in at that point and said she was really looking forward to the Bible coming out and wanted to buy one. Then she looked at me and said in an excited voice, “You aren’t the ones that are producing that Bible program on the radio, are you???” After further questioning, I realized that the Christian radio station must be reading on the air, the Pijin newspaper page that I have been producing each week!

When I got home I called the station manager and sure enough she and the other announcers are reading the Bible page on the radio. The manager is encouraging the announcers to practice reading the Pijin so they can read it well and to read the Scripture reading and other items on the page on their shift on the radio. The manager was encouraged to hear that people are enjoying hearing the Bible page read. Yesterday I was blessed to hear that one of the national radio announcers is currently seeking funding for a radio spot designated to the reading the Pijin Bible page on
that station.

Today my heart is full of joy and gratitude. It’s so satisfying to know that the Bible page is going into the hands of thousands of people each Tuesday, but to know that even more people are hearing it read is just a thrill. It’s all extra ‘fruit’ that I never even anticipated. It was a real blessing to have that word of encouragement today!I trust that you are encouraged by it too.

Oct 082007

I have been having tons of fun using my creative juices to find ways to promote the Pijin Bible that will be launched here next July on the 30th anniversary of Solomon Islands Independence.

One way to promote the Pijin Scriptures and the
launch of the Bible is through these posters:


cripture posters are not new

in the USA, but as far as I know, nothing like this has been done before in the Solomons.
Currently we are trying to get them sold around the country. I’m thankful for my digital SLR camera which allows me to take high quality photos that can be used for projects like these!

Important Workshop

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Apr 292007

A very important workshop is starting on Monday, 30 April 2007. Twelve national translators from around the country will be gathering to review the Pijin New Testament which was first published about 20 years ago.

The Pijin Old Testament is nearly complete and the entire Pijin Bible is to go to print later this year in time to be launched in July of 2008.

During the month of May, three public forums will be held here in the capital city to allow Solomon Islanders to express their opinions on the choice of some key Biblical terms used in the Pijin Bible, standardized spelling of certain words and any parts of the New Testament that might need editing.

This past week I have spent a lot of time trying to organize the venues for these meetings and then promoting the meetings so we get as many people as possible to come and participate. Yesterday my colleagues and I spent time taking flyers around town and asking people to come. One of my stops was the national radio station where I shared about the workshops with some of the news staff. Not only did they agree to put the workshop in the evening news, the reporter also interviewed me for the news and a special in depth news program!

Please pray for the Pijin team as they review the New Testament and make sure that the Pijin is clear and understandable as well as true to God’s Word.

Pray for the 3 public forums that will be held May 2nd, 8th and 15th. Pray that the meetings will be well attended and that they will be productive as well.

Youth Group

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Mar 242007

Emily was very happy to come back to the Solomons and get involved in the church youth group here. She is enjoying Bible studies every other Wednesday afternoon, Sunday School and gatherings on Friday nights.

This past Friday we hosted the youth group at our house for a games night. In typical Solomon Islands style, the shoes were left at the door. You can see here the most popular shoe style!

Most of the kids got to our house on the back of a flat bed truck driven by one of the youth group leaders. There were about 50-60 youth present and the evening started with a time of worship. Solomon Islanders love music and singing!

Tim shared a devotional and then we played some group games. It was a lot of fun to host the youth group and we hope we can do it again. We are thankful for our roomy living room we were able to add to the house a couple of years ago which makes entertaining so much easier.

Here a group of kids was thinking up a short skit they could present using all the props we gave them in the box. They came up with some very creative skits!

Making Connections – by Tim

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Mar 072007

One of the things I find most rewarding about my work here is the opportunities to connect people who have the ability or opportunity to contribute to a common goal. A couple of weeks ago, I was able to do just that.

Over the years, I have had considerable interaction with the Literacy Association of the Solomon Islands (LASI), an important partner in our literacy efforts. One name that stands out in LASI is Sister Eremina, a Catholic sister who has worked for many years teaching people in her home area of the Kwaio speaking part of the island of Malaita.

About a year ago, Julie, a young American woman, joined our SITAG team as a Bible translation advisor. She was assigned to help with the Kwaio translation project and has made incredible progress in the past year.

So when I saw Sister Eremina at a LASI workshop where I was doing some consulting, I decided that I had to help connect her with Julie. So Julie and I headed over to the workshop toward the end of a morning session and stayed for lunch. Julie and Sister Eremina had lunch together, talking in the Kwaio language the whole time.

What is really great is that the Gospel of Mark is almost ready for publication. So Sister Eremina can make use of it in her literacy classes. At the same time, Julie will get some input on the translation from people from the opposite side of the language area from where she lives. Julie’s translation work will provide Sister Eremina’s new readers with God’s Word on which to practice their reading skills, and Sister Eremina can be a valuable resource and advocate for the translation program.

I love making connections like this.

The Networking Begins

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Feb 012007

Some of you may remember our friend Margaret. She is one of the three Solomon Islanders who went to Papua New Guinea for training as literacy trainers. Currently Margaret is coordinating literacy projects in her home province for World Vision. Margaret is in town and today came up for a visit. Margaret was looking for some reading materials in several different languages and wanted to know if we could help her out. Tim will work to find materials for her project.

This afternoon while we were meeting with the Montgomerys, we received a phone call from a man who attended a literacy workshop Martha taught a few years ago for the Baelelea language. Frank said the churches in his area need help in setting up literacy classes for women and he told the women they needed to contact our group. We’ll see where that leads.

Frank also shared that there is a strong interest in literacy in the area and that many have asked for copies of the reading book we trained the teachers to use. It sounds like we need to consider a follow-up workshop in that area.