On 21st September, the Simbari people group celebrated the arrival of God’s Word in their own language…
In the months leading up to the Bible dedication the Simbari church had sent letters of invitation to ten different villages. David and Shari Ogg arrived in the village a week and a half before the dedication, to help with the preparations and to make sure their house was cleaned up and ready for some guests from the USA. The day they arrived was the first sunny morning in a while and some Simbari’s dressed up in traditional decorations to celebrate the arrival of the boxes of Bibles on the mission plane. They danced around the plane while others sang worship songs as the boxes of Bibles were unloaded.
God held back the clouds and rain just long enough for the planes to arrive and for the Bible Dedication ceremony. Two planes brought guests in for the celebration; one with friends representing the PNG field missionary support team and the other with representatives of David and Shari’s home support team including their son Simon, former missionaries with the Simbari and two home church representatives.
All the visitors were welcomed with singing and dancing and escorted to a grassy area where a grandstand had been erected for the occasion. The crowd included believers from the Wantakia, Aziana, and Wuzarambia people groups who hiked over the mountains for this special occasion. Some had arrived a few days early so they could help the Simbari church prepare to host and feed all the guests. Also in the crowd were Simbari believers from different villages as well as many others from the local community.
God’s power was evident in every aspect of the Bible dedication ceremony and it was so encouraging to hear the crowds’ audible responses and applauding as they heard God’s Word being read from their new Bible. There were four main speakers for the event and also four church members who read Scripture portions. The name of Jesus was lifted up and many in the crowd heard the Gospel for the first time clearly proclaimed by the speakers and by the Scripture portions that were read in the Simbaris’ own heart language.
The whole day was marked by worship, joy and peace. Even when all the mumu feasts were being prepared later in the day there was no arguing or complaining by anyone and there was plenty of food to go around. David and Shari were so encouraged by the Christ-like example of the Simbari church as they fed the crowds first, not taking time to feed themselves until everyone else was fed. It was also touching to see how some of the families from the church gave up their comfortable homes for the visitors and slept in temporary shelters.
Pray for all those who attended and heard the Gospel, many for the first time. There were also invitations to teach more literacy classes so more people would be able to read the Bible. As the Simbari church has enjoyed reading their Bibles in the weeks following the Bible dedication they were meeting to plan how they would handle the teaching requests coming in, strategising while at the same time looking to God for wisdom and strength in taking God’s Word to other villages. Pray that more and more Simbari people would desire to have and to read God’s Word in their own language.
The Simbari Bible dedication exceeded David and Shari’s expectations. Salvation through Christ was clearly proclaimed, the Word of God was exalted, and the love and power of God was on display to all. Give thanks to God for the work He is doing amongst the Simbari people group.
Thank you for your faithful prayer and support.