God speaks your language

God speaks your language

On 21 February, the United Nations marks International Mother Language Day to recognise the importance language plays in education, development and social integration.

With the ever-increasing impacts of globalisation, languages are increasingly under threat.

In fact, every two weeks an indigenous language disappears, taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.

In Wanakipa, a bush village deep in the mountains of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Harriette Knigge is asked for Tok Pisin Bibles as soon as she steps off an MAF plane. She sets up a stall in the shade and is immediately surrounded by people. Every Bible is sold within minutes.

It is so important to hear and read the Bible in the language of your heart.

Harriette says, ‘We ask for 10 kina, about 2.50 euros per Bible — equivalent to half a day’s pay — if you have work.'

Papua New Guinean man reads his Bible

'Most people in the bush live from their garden, there is no money here. But it’s not the money people are willing to give that touches me,’ Harriette continues. ‘It is more the overwhelming desire to read God’s Word. Missionaries give their lifetime to translate the Bible into the local language.’

One woman told her, ‘It is so important to hear and read the Bible in the language of your heart. Because then it is not about the God of English or the God of Dutch, it is about the God of your own life, the God who speaks your language.’

Plane landing and awaiting crowd

Pause for prayer

Every MAF flight in PNG includes a box of Bibles in Tok Pisin — the country’s national language. But there are more than 800 local dialects still to receive a dedicated translation. Pray for interpreters to read and write the Word of God in many more mother languages in PNG and throughout the world.