(March 2017) In February, the Isles of the Sea team gathered in Kangaroo Ground, Australia, for a conference – the first one since 2011. People came from a variety of countries:
- from Australia: Nico and Pam Daams (translation consulting, trauma healing)
- from Papua New Guinea: Tom and Sharon Puaria with their daughter Pam (translation in Takuu and Nukeria); Edmond and Evelyn Teppuri (translation in Nukumanu and Lord Howe)
- from the Solomon Islands: Ribeka Tago (translation in Rennell)
- from Tonga: Steven and Nancy Tu’ilautala (translation in Niuafo’ou)
- from Guam: Betty Amon (translation in Nukuoro); Peter and Robin Knapp (translation in Mokilese; teaching at PIU) with their sons Joshua and Joel
- from the Philippines: Jason and Karen Griffiths (Pacific Area director)
- from the Netherlands: Paulus and Antje Kieviet (translation consulting)
Some team members do translation work in their own language; others work as advisers or consultants in neighboring or foreign languages. Some (such as the PNG teams) work in isolated locations, where contacts with the outside world are scarce. Contacts between the team members are often limited to e-mail, telephone calls, and – if the internet connection allows it – Skype. It was good to meet again and to share our stories. With gratitude we concluded that translation work is making good progress in many languages, and that there are only a few languages in the Isles area where translation work has not started. We also shared about our challenges: isolation; sometimes lack of local support; technical difficulties.
We talked about what it means to be part of the Isles of the Sea team: what binds us together and how can we strengthen each other? We strongly felt that Isles is a real team, despite the distance and isolation. A common vision for Bible translation in even the smallest languages of Micronesia and Polynesia binds us together; regular prayer letters make sure that we keep informed about each other and can pray for each other.
Other topics discussed included financial matters, the future of Isles, training options and personal growth, and Scripture use initiatives.
We were encouraged by a visit from Philip Freier, Anglican archbishop of Melbourne, who is very committed to the cause of Bible translation. Rev. Dave Fuller led us through the story of Joseph, showing the theme of hardship and suffering from various perspectives.
The second week was mostly devoted to training. All team members use the translation software Paratext; we went through some of the more advanced functions. Other software includes WeSay (making dictionaries), HearThis (making audio recordings of the Bible), LibreOffice (creating newsletters) and Bloom (creating booklets). Some of the team attended a series of sessions in Trauma Healing.
We were all very grateful for this opportunity to strengthen each other, renew our vision and reinforce our skills.