Story By Apenisa Lewatoro, BSSP Translation Officer, Port Vila, Vanuatu (4/8/15).

After our first day of checking the North Pentecost’s Hano New Testament project yesterday afternoon at the Bible Society office here in Port Vila, the translator Collinette Siba (nee Gaviga) shared her traumatic experience of Cyclone Pam (in March 2015) without hiding her emotions.

“We lost everything during the cyclone. Both our home and guest house were destroyed as we took refuge in the church. It was really a scary experience! After cyclone Pam left, we discovered there was nothing left. Our property had all gone. There was no water as our water tank pipe was broken. It was a very sorry sight! But my husband Robin just thought of the translation books and Bible and attempted to recover them. He had put all the books and Bible inside a plastic container and placed the container under a small table inside the house. Amazingly, the container and its content were all safe, not even wet. That’s why I’m able to bring them to Port Vila with me this week for the translation checking.”
Collinette has worked tirelessly on the translation of God’s Word into her native Hano language for the last 19 years. Her dad, Anglican priest Fr Mark Gaviga, was part of the review team that had worked on the Four Gospels and later translated Paul’s epistles and other NT books. Her younger sister, Annie, now works as a Translation Clerk at the Bible Society in Port Vila. The Hano New Testament project has struggled to reach the finish line since it started in 1979 (Four Gospels launched in 1988) and has been revived lately with the goal to complete the project by 2016. Contributing to the delay in progress was the lack of supporting funds and its history of the translation books gone missing or severely damaged by past cyclones. This often resulted in Collinette being tasked to re-translate whatever is in the missing manuscripts. Now there are only a few missing chapters and verses that she needs to translate again and the financial support from the United Bible Societies amongst other donors is greatly acknowledged. However, there still exists a real need to practically help Collinette and her family in restoring their lives after all that has been lost.
Apart from the importance of receiving project funds to propel the translation work forward, the life of a translator such as Collinette is also very critical in order to achieve the translation goals. As for Collinette, she’s still living with her husband Robin and their four children under a tent in their North Pentecost village. Drinking water is strictly rationed and all washings are done at sea (about 45 mins walk). They’ve only received food rations twice from the government so far. A friend from abroad has helped bought six roofing iron sheets for their new home. But unfortunately it’s not enough to rebuild their livelihood and get their house back. Please pray for Collinette and other people here in Vanuatu who still goes through deep suffering and pain after Cyclone Pam. And do let the Bible Society near you know if you’d love to give a financial donation specifically for Collinette’s family. This will in turn help speed up the Hano New Testament project, too.

Trauma Healing

And whilst in Port Vila since last Monday, my work plan had changed after listening to some translators’ personal stories about their encounter with Cyclone Pam. This was prior to Collinette’s arrival. My set goals for the two weeks in Vanuatu were primarily to check the scripture comic translations in four languages and work on the Hano NT project. However, after my exposure to the deep hurts and suffering faced, I am currently facilitating an impromptu Trauma Healing seminar for all the translators each morning for two hours before the translation checking. This has helped Collinette and the other
translators to share their experiences in our healing group and find comfort in God though our prayers. The team is also prepared to translate into Bislama (common language of Vanuatu) the Trauma Healing book titled, “Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help” (by Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill, Richard Bagge, & Pat Miersma). I trust and pray that this scripture booklet, once translated, will be a great tool for the Church to use in the near future in terms of ministering to the many lives that are still deeply traumatized.

Read more

Trauma Healing

The Bible Society of the South Pacific is privileged to play a pivotal role this year in the establishment and continued development of the Trauma Healing ministry in Fiji and other Pacific countries. This has been made possible through the encouragement of the General Secretary, Mr Solomone Duru, who saw the need for this ministry in the Pacific and particularly the translation of its material into the core languages in Fiji. The three Trauma Healing training workshops that were achieved so far within a span of six weeks (9th July to 13th August) is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and provision. The partnerships with the American Bible Society’s Trauma Healing Institute, the Seed Company, other donors, and those who helped facilitate the seminars are greatly acknowledged as well.

Group Discussion and reflection

1) Trauma Healing Workshop with Rev Wesley Neal (9/7/15 – 13/8/15)

Reverend Wesley Neal, a Lecturer at the Davuilevu Theological College in Nausori facilitated the first Trauma Healing seminar for the Bible Society Staff. The invitation was extended to other Church leaders and/or counsellors who met every Thursdays between 2-4pm at Yarawa Wesley Church for six consecutive weeks. Assisting Rev Wesley during the first 3 weeks was Rev Saiasi Kawa whose also from the Davuilevu Theological College. The seminar was successfully completed on Thursday 13th August and the challenge given to every participant to conduct a small healing group in their church or community in the near future.


  1. Ledua Turaganivalu Bible Society of the South Pacific
  2. Mere Katonivere BSSP
  3. Vilomena Dautei BSSP
  4. Viniana Koroi BSSP
  5. Marika Waqanivalu BSSP
  6. Apenisa Lewatoro BSSP
  7. Tevita Lala Raiwaqa Methodist Church
  8. 8. Jone Cama Nasinu Wesley Church
  9. Iva Teilai Nadera Methodist
  10. Josese Laliqavoka Raiwaqa Methodist
  11. Tara Qicatabua Yarawa Wesley
  12. Lydia Veikauyaki Pacific Harbour Wesley Church
  13. Kesaia Vilsoni NasinuWesley
  14. Taniela Qeleni Pacific Students for Christ
  15. Ruth Newton Yarawa Wesley
  16. Ross RoundsYWCA
  17. Kinisimere Waqa YWCA
  18. Deaconess Litiana Dau Deaconess Training Centre
  19. Titilia Tonawai Samabula
  20. Fr. Mataiasi Cokanasiga Anglican Church
  21. Litia Nainoka Methodist
  22. Ps. Aporosa Rageci Baptist Church/ Horeb Fellowship
  23. Ps. Sisa Tikoimakogai Baptist Church – Kinoya
  24. Avisake Tukana Yarawa Wesley Church
  25. Rev. Maraia Ryland Nasenaivalu MCF Hospital (CWM) Chaplain
  26. Varea Rika Salvation Army
  27. Thais Bott Salvation Army
  28. Asela Naisara Catholic Mission
  29. Ana Latu Dickson PTC
  30. Sister Doreen Aiwaia PTC
  31. Deaconess Lesila Raitiqa Dudley Methodist Church
  32. Joseva Seru Faith Christian Fellowship
  33. Kitione Sikivou Mt. Carmel International
  34. Siteri Tagivetaua Raiwaqa Methodist Church
  35. Jone Kataiwai Wesley City Mission (Butt Street, Suva)

Trauma Healing 4Web

2) Trauma Healing Translation Workshop

Front (Left-Right): Sapeta (Rotuman), Urmila Prasad (Fiji Hindi), Pam Daams (facilitator), Irene Narayan (Fiji Hindi); Susie Aropio (Rotuman) Back (Left-Right): Meli Bavata(Koronubu-Ba), Tuma (Fijian itaukei), Neco Daams (co-facilitator), Tevita Lala (Fijian itaukei), Apenisa (coordinator)

A weeklong of Trauma Healing workshop was facilitated by Pam Daams (and husband Neco Daams) on 20-24 July, 2015. At the end of the healing group sessions each morning, what followed was the translation of the booklet, “Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How can the Church Help” into the three major languages spoken in Fiji (Fiji-Hindi, Rotuman, Fijian itaukei) and a western Fiji dialect (Koronubu – Ba). We thank the Seedfor helping sponsor this event and also taking care of the facilitators travel and accommodation costs.
At the end of the workshop, the translation teams were given two weeks to complete their first draft. To date, we have the Fiji saral Hindi draft translation of the Trauma Healing core studies (5 Lessons) and the itaukei draft with a lesson yet to be completed. The Rotuman translators have asked for extension and will submit their translation draft by next week.

Read more