Now that Corinne and I have worked in the Hamtai tribe off and on for 50 years, our main task is to revise the Hamtai New Testament. Our field leadership advised us that it was time for us to withdraw and locate outside of the tribe so that the Hamtai church would lean less upon us and upon our vehicle. That would also enable us to concentrate on the translation project. They approved our request to rent one of our mission guest house flats in the coastal town of Lae, now called Lae City. So we moved to Lae when we returned from home assignment in 2004.
Malcolm Uyaivato and his wife Meriai also moved to Lae in order to continue helping us with the translation. They are living in a fairly nice house 4 miles out of town, which was built by the Hamtai church for their church workers. They commute from there by PMV (Public Motor Vehicle) buses. In addition to working on the revision of the Hamtai New Testament, Malcolm is also translating some Old Testament portions. He and I are also working on more Bible study lesson books. He is learning to use the computer and has been able to apply what he has learned to the present task. We have other people come down from the villages occasionally to help us check portions we have revised, to make sure they are clear. One man’s enthusiasm for the work encourages us when he is able to join us here in Lae. His name is Esek Deniso.
Corinne does some exegesis and most of the typing in of corrections. She does whatever she can to keep me free for the translation work, like all of our financial records and most of the correspondence. She is teaching Meriai to type as well so that she can help Malcolm in future translation.
In September, 2008, we returned from a medical furlough. (Tom had a cataract surgery followed by an arthroscopic knee surgery.) We returned just in time to meet with translation consultants, Jim Tanner (our NTM Highlands chairman), and a group of Hamtai nationals to discuss a new plan and procedure to speed up the translation revision project. Jim had attended a conference in Hamtai and along with Malcolm challenged the Hamtai church to realize that the revision project was their project and they should support it, Some church leaders came as well as nine men who were keen to help with the translation revision checking. The consultants encouraged them to form a team of two groups of four men to go over a portion. Each group would write their suggested changes. Then the two groups would meet together and share their thoughts. Then the team would present their suggested changes to Tom. He would type their changes into the document that he and Malcolm had edited for them to work from. Then Tom and Malcolm would consider their suggestions, and accept those they approved. Then the groups would hear the next portion read and repeat what they heard, testing their comprehension of the portion submitted to them. Then they would repeat the above procedure. They practiced that while meeting there with the consultants.
Jim explained to them that this would not be a paid job. Hopefully the churches would help them with their expenses. The plan was for them to come to Lae for a month and to cover approximately 1000 verses. One person would write comprehension questions for the group to take back to their villages to use to question various ones to see if the meaning of their translation was clear and to bring back what they found out. The month they were home doing the comprehension testing, Tom and Malcolm would edit the next portion and prepare a clean copy to present to the team when they returned for the next month of work.
One man’s wife was sick a lot so we encouraged him to stay and help her. We really did not need 9 men. So sometimes eight men come, but at times one or two others do not come for various reasons. Six is a good number, three in each group. Esek helped check many of the portions so was not in either of the two groups but would write the comprehension questions.
The men wanted to start from the beginning and progress straight through the New Testament books. So they’ve completed the four gospels, Acts and the book of Romans. When they return in January 2010 they will be doing 1 and 2 Corinthians and Galatians. Also Ephesians if they have time. With this plan we hope to complete the revision in mid 2010. Then there will be other work, preparing back to English translations for the translation consultants and other checks.