By Richard Gretsky
Badi Vila is one of the Bible translators for the Tairuma people. Recently, in her home area of Kerema, Papua New Guinea, land has become a hot commodity. Companies from all over the world have been coming into the country to buy up and lease parcels of it, from individuals and from the government.
One day Badi’s landlord forced her off her property, claiming she owed more money than she would be able to come up with. Then he made Badi return and tear down her house so that he could sell the land.
Later that year, the same thing happened to the local translation headquarters. And its loss was a major blow to Bible translation in the area.
Yet, despite the setback, Badi Vila and her translation team pressed on, and the benefits of their dedication to the work began to outweigh the losses they’d seen.
On one occasion, Badi Vila and her translation helper, Gabriel, traveled to the town of Ukarumpa to attend a translation training course. While there, they told about their recent trip to Badi’s home church, where they had read portions of the Scripture (Genesis 22:1–19) they had translated into Tairuma.
After the service, a church elder stood to great them. He then began explaining why an elderly man who he’d been sitting next to had been crying. This elderly man had been so touched when he heard the Bible read in Tairuma that he was at a loss for words. Only tears would do.
As Badi Vila recalled the event, she said, “for so long, we the Tairuma people have been using the Taoripi and the Orokolo Bibles and hymnbooks in church. So for us to finally read something in Tairuma was a great breakthrough…[that elderly man] was rejoicing with us.” She later gave a copy to her mother—who started crying as well.
Although, the translation team has had to deal with losing their building and numerous other trials, seeing people who’ve been greatly affected by God’s Word makes everything they’ve had to face worth it. Now, Badi Vila and her team will not stop until they’ve translated all the Bible into Tairuma—for they know the value of having Scripture in one’s own language is not something that can be bought or sold, or even torn down. Only built up.