(September 2018) Saturday 8 September, David Paukie (60), chief of Fead Island (= Nukeria atoll) and one of the main translators of the Nukeria NT, passed away in the Buka Hospital. David had been diagnosed with TB some time earlier. In April this year, he and his wife Angelyn almost drowned as their canoe capsized on their way home (read the story here). This brought them back to Buka, where they had to stay due to lack of transport.
While they were in Buka, the Four Gospels in the Nukeria language were published. So David and Angelyn were able to see the result of their work, and rejoiced in seeing the translation work producing fruit.
Some time after their boat accident, David felt ill and was referred to the hospital and was diagnosed with TB. His condition did not improve during his hospital stay, and he finally passed away on Saturday afternoon the 8th. Because of David’s position as a highly respected chief, his body was taken home to Fead Islands with the assistance of the government, accompanied by his widow Angelyn.
Tom Puaria wrote: “David joined the Nukuria Translation Team in the mid ’80s; however, the program was soon discontinued due to lack of commitment by other members of the team as well as lack of consulting expertise. When Isles of the Sea offered to help out, David was selected by the churches to lead a new batch of four translators to translate their Bible. Since then, David was actively involved with the translation.
Before David passed away, these were his last words to me in our conversation that day:
“Tambu (in-law), when Takuu & Nukumanu dedicated their completed NTs, I was so jealous and ashamed of the fact that since we all started together, we Nukerians, were not able to have our own Bible. Since then I have been praying that God will remember us and get translation going again. Where did Nico come from? Coincidence?
When news about this translation program [=Isles of the Sea] reached our shores, the name Nico was ‘manna’ from heaven to us…. Tambu, I am not feeling well, but content and satisfied…”
Tom continues: “David then laid hands on me and Sharon and prayed for us, how emotional. His powerful prayer still echo in my ears. A great man of God.
The passing of Chief Paukie created a very strong bond of unity among the Fead Community here in Buka.
I delivered a short message before the body left for Fead Islands on Tuesday morning. We all read together from the Nukeria version of John 12:24.
I thank God for the manifestation of his divine plan through the passing of this great man. The overwhelming support given by the Community here toward the translation program was evident of His presence. We have planned for a meeting on Saturday to talk about the Nukeria Translation.
Please remember Angelyn, David’s wife in your prayers.”