On Oct 11th, a week on Tuesday, we will start one of Papua New Guinea’s first ever Scripture use surveys. In that three week trip we aim to 1) find out how much the Bible is being used, and 2) assuming a low usage, to investigate why. I’ve never done a survey like this before.
When I was training for this job in the UK at the end of 2006, I was told there was a need for these types of surveys here but that because no-one knew how to do them nothing much was being done about it. Since then, I and others here have been gradually working up to this point. And finally, it seems to be coming together.
We’ve got permission from the directors to give it a go, we’ve planned this pilot survey, designed the questionnaires, interviewed people from the area and got some very basic maps in order to plan the route. We’ve chosen to go to some remote villages, some less remote, some border villages and some in the centre of the language area. And, God’s provided a very enthusiastic friend and guide who can stay with us for the first 4 days to introduce us to the people he knows in the area.
We’re going to the Benabena language, near a town called Goroka. They’ve had a New Testament in their language for about 30 years but we suspect it’s not being used very much. That could be for the same reason that not many people read the Bible in England. However, especially with a relatively newly translated Bible, there could be other issues. I’ll mention what those are, and why I’m so excited for this survey in my next post. Don’t go away – it’s gonna be a good one :-)
Here are two of my favourite photos, taken on the first survey I went on, to the Sos Kundi language group in East Sepik Province.