An informative workshop for Sunday school teachers was conducted by Mrs. Iva Teilai on 15 January at Naila village. The workshop was for Sunday school teachers that were going to use the Magimagi project Sunday School materials. A total of 8 participants were present at the workshop.
The second Sunday school workshop was held a week later on the 22nd of January. The workshop was facilitated by Iva Telai, Urmila Prasad and Susana Aropio.
The participants said that they have never been to a Sunday School Workshop and that they have learnt a lot even though they have been Sunday School Teachers for a long time. They were also surprised to learn that the Spiritual, the normal life in the village and the financial being of a person are all tied together to bring prosperity.
An equipping session to train new facilitators for the Bible Society Trauma Healing program was conducted at the St Christopher’s Home in Nakasi (Fiji) on 9-13 January, 2017. Participants at the training included trainees from Davuilevu Theological College, Operation Foundation, Pacific Students for Christ, and the Bible Society South Pacific. Everyone were certified as ‘Apprentice Facilitators’ including the Bible Society Finance Administrator, Mr Isikeli Sila, saying, “The workshop was indeed an eye-opener for me in that I can see now the importance of healing people of their hurts and past trauma otherwise their hurts can impinge their behaviour negatively.” The Fijian iTaukei translated Trauma Healing booklet is almost ready for use and the Society aims to run some workshops in three areas affected by Cyclone Winston namely, Dawasamu, Ovalau and Savusavu. The translation of the Trauma Healing book into the other languages of the Pacific is still in progress. The Society will be glad to work with interested churches and people who wish to know more about this Trauma healing program should you make contact.
Partnership between the Society and FCBH (Faith Comes By Hearing) has continued to grow over the years. An early visit to the Bible House this year by FCBH International Language Recording Coordinator, Erik Stapleton, has helped both parties to plan together and engage in specific mission programs. The last recording done so far in the Pacific was the Kiribati Contemporary NT in last September. Just recently, Erik is planning to ship 138 mid-sized Proclaimers and 12 larger units to Kiribati in March. Talks are continuing on the recording of the New Testament in other Pacific Island languages. The FCBH proclaimers by and large play a key role in proclaiming the Good News to a larger group of people when connected to a PA system or even the radio station. The latest product in the market to date is the newly built mid-sized Proclaimer that can proclaim the Good News in more than one language. The Society is therefore grateful for the provision of such important mission tools by FCBH through Erik, with the Fiji based proclaimers having the options of playing it either in English, Fiji-Hindi, or in the Fijian iTaukei language.
Since the launch of the Bible Society’s holistic approach to community development under the MagiMagi project in January 2015, the start of this year saw the extending of the project into a nearby community, Naila village.
A total of 150 bibles and other scripture materials were distributed at the official launching of the program in Naila on Sunday 8 January,
2017. Now, the number of communities has risen to four within the Bau district of the Tailevu province in Fiji.
The spiritual capital of this project has been focusing steadily on developing the children’s Sunday School curriculum and its application for the last two years. Discipleship programs has been also woven into this project and a special cell group manual recently published.
With the ongoing support of the Bible Society of New Zealand, the economic capital and cultural capital are the other two key areas of focus in the program. The program is earmarked to be trialed out in a community in Vanuatu this year, which is part of the wider goal to bring this innovating program into the Pacific. This is in line with the vision of the Bible Society: “The Pacific to be Communities of the Word.”
New achievements continue to be realized on the Tongan Contemporary Old Testament (TCOT) project. The prospect of this ongoing work to be a success story in being the first Old Testament project in the South Pacific to be completed in the shortest time possible is quickly becoming a reality. Since the start of the project in Nukua’lofa after the first workshop in October 2015, there are only four Old Testament books left for drafting. This is a show of true dedication and commitment since this group of translators converge at the Tokaikolo Catholic Centre in Nukua’lofa for bible translation work every morning until lunch time on every Mondays to Wednesdays. The review process is bound to start in March after the planned review workshop on 13-17 March, 2017. This project is boosted further by the recent appointment of a key translator, the Rev. Dr. Ma’afu Palu, who is now a member of the Global Translation Advisor for the Asia Pacific under the United Bible Societies. In effect, he, as a Tongan native, now becomes the new Translation consultant of the project. The Society congratulates Rev Ma’afu for this great news and for being a first for BSSP.
The Tonga Contemporary Old Testament project is progressing steadily since it started in October, 2015. It all began with a weeklong translation workshop conducted at the Toutaimana Catholic Centre in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. This project is quite unique in the sense that each workshop participant from various Christian Churches had to work with a computer as modern technology is now adopted to speed up the translation work. It is a moving away from the old practice of writing translation drafts on separate books to doing translation on the computer right away. At the end of the workshop, all the participants were encouraged to start translating a book from the Old Testament. This was led by the former Bible Society Tonga Branch Chairman, the Reverend Lopeti Taufa, and the newly elect chairman, Lord Afu’alo Matoto. A follow up workshop on Paratext (computer software used) carried out in April 2016 at the same venue was very useful to the Tongan project team. An exciting development this year is the recruitment of a key translator and Theological College lecturer, Rev. Dr. Ma’afu Palu, to serve as the Project Translation Advisor in 2017 whilst undergoing training in this field under the Bible Society’s Translation Officer training program at the same time. The LORD is to be praised for the work progress so far which also reflects the great input and commitment from the project coordinator, Bill Falekaono. In addition, big Bill had also displayed his big heart by purchasing two laptop computers recently in October, which are now used by two potential translators/reviewers on the project. On the completion of this project, it will be joined to the already published Tongan Contemporary New Testament (commonly known as the ‘Taulua’) to become the Tongan Contemporary Bible. Almost 65% of the Old Testament books have been drafted so far.
More than 300 people converged at the Nailaga Methodist Church on Sunday 4th December 2016 to witness the launching of the “Tuxutuxu Vina sa Vola xo Marixa – ena Tata vaxa-Ba” (Gospel according to Mark in the Koronubu-Ba language). Receiving the first scripture booklet in the Western-Fiji itaukei language at this historical occasion was the prominent chief of the province, the Gone Marama na Tui Ba, Adi Senimili Cagilaba. She thanked the Bible Society and everyone who worked tirelessly on this special project. It is the first of its kind and more books of the New Testament will be translated and published in the coming years. The support from the ‘vanua’ and the Churches in Nailaga Ba was tremendous. Many people showed a lot of excitement about this project especially when the gospel is written in the new writing system of the Fijian
itaukei language; for example, the adoption of ‘x’ instead of ‘k’ to specifically sound out the guttural ‘kh’ (or ‘chet’ in Hebrew). God’s Word in the Koronubu language is indeed a timely Christmas gift for the Ba community in this advent season.
A meeting with the Church leaders of Niue (EKN) about an agreed way forward for the development of Niue scriptures was carried out in Niue during the visit of the Bible Society General Secretary, Mr Solomone Duru on 9-13 August, 2016. The meeting was held at the EKN Headquarters in Alofi, the capital of Niue. The meeting discussed various concerns on the Niue Bible including the copyright, printing, e-copies, piracy, and version to be put online. The forum also discussed the way forward for the Niue Hymn book. The key church leaders present were the EKN President, the Reverend Vili Viviani and the General Secretary, the Reverend Nukanuka. The women members of the meeting had a strong voice too which was helpful. The make-up of the meeting comprised of Church executives, pastors and government officials. At the end, a positive outcome was the keenness of the church to revive the Bible Society Committee again which has not been functioning for about 20 years. The Bible Society now looks forward to working together with the Niue Church in the future by making God’s Word available in other agreed formats for the Niue community.
The Society’s Annual Donors’ Dinner was held at the Holiday Inn in Suva on the 28th of November. A little more than 100 people attended the fundraising event which was a success. The Every Home for Christ Ministry Regional Director, Pastor Manasa Kolivuso, was the Guest speaker for the evening and spoke on the theme for the evening, “God’s Word – Living Hope for All”. As a Bible Society donor himself, he challenged everyone at the Fundraiser to
support the Bible work in Fiji and the Pacific. Ongoing Bible-a-month donors were acknowledged and the invitation extended to potential donors present that evening as the Society continues to seek new donors who are willing to commit themselves to praying and giving towards the ministry. Also acknowledged were a number of long time faithful supporters of the Bible Society work who have passed on to be with the Lord.