I was just going through some pictures on my computer and found this one of these Hewa Bibles. Technically, they are "Scripture Portions" because we are not finished with the translation project, but it's just easier for us both if I call them Bibles.
When new books of the Bible are translated we print new "Bibles." They are just what we have translated so far. This is of course kinda pricey, but it's what we are here for and what we raise support for (THANK YOU!!!). We don't just pass out Bibles, though, or they would become trash all over the village, used to start fires, or fights, or basically treated as they have no value. It has to cost the owner a little something in order for it to be taken care of and treasured, so we charge them a very small fee for a first time Bible purchase and if they hand in an "old" Bible, one that is not the most up to date version that we have printed they pay an even smaller cost.
So I have this box of "old" Bibles sitting in the loft in my house. My co-worker said he just burns the old Bibles, but I have yet to get do it for a number of reasons. The number one reason being my long term relationship with procrastination, but also because I just kinda like looking at them up there. I mean, look at those things. All torn up and faded and obviously used. Obviously carried through thick jungle trails, over logs and rivers and up mountainsides. Obviously read. It's a great reminder when my attitude is less than stellar after a long day (or week, or month) of dealing with whatever village shenanigans have popped up.
And then there's this picture...
That's a guy* reading his Bible in the deep dark hours of the jungle night with only a flashlight to read by. It amazes me to see people fall in love with the Word of God, and therefore go to great lengths to read it, however and whenever they can. At this point they only have about 50% of the New Testament and yet, many of them spend more time reading their Bibles than most people who have the whole of scripture...in many different translations...including myself. I am often challenged and encouraged by my Hewa brothers and sisters to spend more time in the word of God. After all, I have lights in my house!! I don't have to worry about arm fatigue from holding a flashlight up for hours!
Anyway, these pictures were just a good reminder before we head back (in about three weeks), and a great encouragement for the days when I wonder if we're really doing anything for the people over there.
Because I know that even though we'll eventually leave for good, and the building we've built will eventually rot into the ground, "The Word of God is living and active..." and will keep going as long there are people still willing to do anything to read it.
*This title is just joke. I'm sure there are people who read the Bible more than this guy. Although he actually does read it a lot.