Sunday, July 13, was a day of celebration for people of the Tigak language group in Papua New Guinea. The festivities, which included song, dance and good food, were a celebration of the distribution of new Bibles containing a complete translation of the New Testament in the Tigak people’s heart language
The work of translating the New Testament began in 1999 and was completed in March 2019, but due to COVID-related issues and typesetting and printing delays, the new Bibles were not distributed until the day of the celebration.
Summer Zimmer, a WCC Missions Partner and Ethnos360 Communications Manager in Papua New Guinea, participated in the celebration.
“The people of the Tigak language group live on and around the northern end of New Ireland island,” said Summer. “But there are as many as 20,000 Tigak people living in 27 villages on 12 islands. Our hope now, thanks to the distribution of the Bibles, is that members of the existing Tigak Church will grow and mature in their faith through the reading of God’s Word and will become equipped to share the Gospel in the surrounding villages.”
The Tigak church invited church leaders from neighboring people groups to the celebration, along with Tigak people from surrounding villages who had not yet heard God’s Word taught in the Tigak language. The day started with a celebration service, and church and New Tribes Missions leaders and Tigak missionaries shared about the importance of studying God’s Word. Several Tigak believers shared their testimonies, and the Tigak church sang and worshiped together. The service ended with distribution of the Bibles and a shared traditional mumu made of pork, sweet potatoes and tapiok. The Tigak people then celebrated with singing and dancing.
In the days following the celebration, 15 people of all ages professed their faith and were baptized. On the Sunday after the dedication, several Tigak believers stood with their new Bibles and shared their favorite verses with the congregation.
“Praise the Lord that the Tigak people now have the New Testament to read and study for themselves,” said Summer. “Please pray for their continued growth as they pursue what He has to teach them through His Word.”