Excerpts from the Martins' Memos Special Edition - October, 2002

Martins' Memos Special Edition

Dallas, Texas


October 2002

Glimpses of the Lindrou New Testament dedication

This special edition of Martins’ Memos features several pages of photos documenting the dedication of the Lindrou New Testament.

A wonderful celebration, wholly planned and carried out by the Lindrou people

With much celebration and merriment, the Lindrou people “launched” God’s Word into their midst. “The Lindrou people planned the whole thing. We did not know what they were planning for that special day until it began to unfold before our eyes” says Bill. The Martins brought 35 friends and co-workers from Ukarumpa to share the occasion with about 1,000 Lindrou people who gathered in Lessau village for the occasion. Lenore adds, “The usual population of Lessau village is only about 200 people. Yet they are a very generous people. With the help of several other villages, they hosted all the visitors, provided them with delicious food, their best beds for sleeping, special gifts, and a spectacular program of dancing, singing and music. It was an experience none of us will ever forget.”

On Friday afternoon, each arriving boatload of people was welcomed in royal “Manus style” by being escorted from the beach into the village area by festive dancers in traditional dress and the team of Manus rhythmic garamut drummers. This was followed by a large feast late in the evening. On Saturday, the celebration proper began with the raising of the PNG and Manus flags and a moving tokples rendition of the PNG National Anthem sung by the community school children. Then three boat loads of dancers and garamut-drum players came toward the shore blowing the traditional triton shells that, together with the drums, announced the imminent arrival of an important “guest.” The “guest” in this case was a box of the New Testaments which was brought ashore on a decorated platform carried by some of the dancers and followed by the others, and also by the Martins, Kowaks and dignitaries taking part in the main ceremonies. The dancers and garamut drummers performed several times throughout the day, punctuated by eloquent speeches, choirs singing 4-part harmonies, a traditional duet/chant, and an eclectic song/dance routine with themes from all over PNG that included a good deal of comic relief. A box of New Testaments was symbolically passed from Bill to Charles, then from Charles to the local Translation Committee Chairman, who represented the Nyindrou people. Charles distributed gift copies to all the Church groups represented on Manus Island, to the members of the other translation programs in the Province, and then distributed copies to the approximately 50 people who had paid for their copies in advance. Certificates were given out to those who had worked on the translation team over the years. Appropriately, the benediction prayer was eloquently spoken by Samuel Bolaubeu (see next article below).

 “Without prayer this day would not have come about”

The Lindrou New Testament is the first New Testament completed by national translators in Manus Province, PNG.

“Without prayer this day would not have come about,” asserts Lenore. She adds, “The dedication day happened in large part due to the faithful prayers of a humble community school teacher named Samuel Bolaubeu. Samuel had prayed daily for 10 years before we came to Manus, that God would send someone to help them translate the Scriptures in their own language. And he continued praying for 22 more years until the New Testament was completed and dedicated.”

See the last two pages of this special report which accounts some of the ways that your prayers also made a difference!

Martins hit the books again

Bill and Lenore report that they have started their Fall classes at Mountain View College. This semester Lenore is taking general education courses toward her undergraduate degree. Later, she plans to focus on Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Bill is taking courses in software programming to help him gain the skills he needs to help develop the Adapt It computer program. “We have a different perspective as college students now than we had 35 years ago,” says Bill, “and most of the younger students seem to appreciate it.”

Photos from the Dedication

Visitors traveled on a number of small boats for the 3-4 hour trip from Lorengau town to Lessau Village where the dedication ceremonies took place.

One of the newer boats had engine trouble about 2 hours into the trip. Fortunately the boat that Joe Patrick was traveling in met the disabled boat while it was adrift at sea and Joe was able to get the engine running again.

The dancers brought a representative box of New Testaments ashore with all the fanfare normally accorded an honored guest.

The Lessau Community School sang a beautiful rendition of the PNG National Anthem which their leader had translated into the Nyindrou language.

God’s Word - the “honored guest” - is led into the village.

Bill passing a symbolic box of New Testaments off to Charles.

Samuel Bolaubeu proudly holding his New Testament - fruit of his 30 year prayer project!

Bill spoke in 3 languages exhorting the people to “read, obey and practice the things of God which He has written to us in this book.”

Translator Charles Kowak in traditional costume.

Bill & Lenore with their copy of the Nyindrou New Testament.

Dancing in traditional costumes is the Nyindrou custom for welcoming honored guests.

Ben LaBarbera, Willie Maizland and Jason Martin (foreground) dressed up in war-paint and danced with the other warriors.

The Martin and Kowak families: (L to R) Elaine, Rebecca, Jason, Charles, Joel, Bill, Rebecca and Lenore.

The SeaCoast Grace Church group with the Martin kids:
(L to R) Brian, Carl, Robin, Rachel, Willie, Rita, Danika, Ben, Jason, Rebecca, Mark and Joel.

They prepared “acres of food” for the occasion.
Here you can see some of the bowls of rice and sago.

The Nyindrou village of Kalei brought special food treats for the visitors.

Rebecca Kowak with Lenore and Rebecca’s granddaughter enjoying the ceremony from the Martin’s village house porch.

Jason also joined in with the garamut-drum players.

SeaCoast Grace Church donated audio-visual equipment for viewing the Luke-Jesus film.

The Lord provided beautiful weather and calm seas.

Photo Credits: Page 2 upper left & Page 6 middle right by Jerry & Susan Pfaff; Page 2 middle left by Carle & Victoria Gustavison; Page 6 middle left & lower right by Michael Duncalfe; Page 5 lower by Carl & Robin LaBarbera; All other photos by Alan & Loverna Hood

Dear Prayer Partners,

Lenore and I want to thank everyone for their prayers for the Nyindrou dedication. The Lord answered abundantly and in every way!

Here are a few of the answers keyed to the requests we sent out to many of you by email just before the dedication:

you prayed for good weather and calm seas.

god answered: The weather was great and the seas were calm - perfect for the air and sea travel to/from the village. As I sat on the platform during the ceremonies, I saw at least three rain shower cells approach the village. The approaching rain was intense enough and close enough that I could hear it pounding on the jungle foliage as it approached. However, two of the cells skirted the village around to the north and continued on their way out to sea. The other cell skirted around to the south and dissipated, with only a slight refreshing mist falling over Lessau.

you prayed for good health for all of us throughout this period.

god answered: I am not aware of any illness on the part of any during their stay in the village. Even though there had been more rain than usual the preceding week, the mosquitoes were at an unusually low level for this time of year. But the extra rain meant ample supplies of fresh water for drinking and cooking during the occasion. Sunday afternoon while on our return flight to Aiyura, one of the Discovery students experienced an allergic reaction to some sort of bite or sting she had experienced on the way to the airport. She was taken to the Ukarumpa clinic where she was treated and is recovering well. We were thankful that it did not occur at some other part of the weekend, or on the long boat rides when she would have been unable to get to medical help so quickly.

you prayed for good flying weather so that all planes can take off on time in the early morning of July 26th.

god answered: After weeks of very marginal morning weather and departure delays at Aiyura, the weather was great for our departure Friday morning. The visibility was the best I have ever seen it on approach to the Momote airport on the east end of Manus Island. In fact, it was the first time in 22 years I have been able to see Bipi Island located out to the west, more than 150km from our flight path!

you prayed for a good dedication ceremony on Saturday, July 27th.

god answered: The celebration and ceremonies were wonderful! The entire event was planned wholly by the local people without our input at all. Lenore and I didn't know in advance what they were planning, nor did we even see a program plan until the day of the actual celebration. We are so proud of them for putting together such a meaningful and festive celebration!

you prayed for safety for all those traveling on the seas.

god answered: In addition to giving calm seas, He providentially put the right people in the right boats. When the fastest boat (a new inboard diesel-powered jet boat), suddenly quit running and was "dead in the water" the calm winds and seas meant it did not drift out of the pathway of the following boats which came along 1-2 hours later. The first following boat was able to take the women and children on to the village, and the second boat had Joe Patrick on board, who (with experience in diesel mechanics accompanied by prayer) was able to get the boat running again to complete the trip. We all had a sense of the Lord's protection and covering on the trip.

you prayed that the video equipment (for showing the Nyindrou Luke video) continues to work well.

god is answering: The video equipment has been a real blessing and should give many years of good service. Joel & Rebecca and Jason along with the SeaCoast Grace Church team was able to show the Luke video in 8 locations. Continue to pray that Charles will be able to organize an inter-church group to oversee the future scheduling and use of the equipment.

you prayed for the Nyindrou people that many will come into a new relationship with Christ through the events of the next week.

god is answering: Many Nyindrou people have been deeply touched by the Luke video and other events surrounding the dedication. We were not able to get a count on the number of New Testaments that were sold before we left Lessau Sunday morning. Continue to pray that many more copies of the Nyindrou New Testament will be sold and that God's Word will effect a transformation in many Nyindrou lives in the weeks and months to come.

An additional answer to prayer:

One issue that we knew would come up relates to the disposition of our village house now that the dedication is history. The house has sat on disputed land for the past 21 years. We were prepared to dismantle the house, especially if it looked like it would become a source of discord in the community. However, the evening after the dedication, clan leaders from the three disputing clans gathered together in our house to discuss the issue. It was remarkable how God gave them a spirit of unity and agreement. Even though we had not suggested it as a possibility, they unanimously asked us to leave the house there as a center to be used in translating the Old Testament! Praise the Lord!

We thank the Lord for all your prayers and for standing with us!
In his care,

Bill and Lenore Martin
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