The Weatherheads – Pioneer Bible Translators

July 2018

We have tremendous news to share with you. Even as you read this update, a very special event is happening 16 time zones away over in Papua New Guinea. After working slowly on translation close to a decade, the Mum translation team has finally finished the Gospel of Matthew. It has been printed, and shipped, and cartons of their books of Matthew are now out in the village awaiting the dancing, singing and dedicating of this book which they will then begin distributing among the people for those who will buy this Gospel book

I had the privilege for parts of 4 years to sit with Paul, the primary national translator, and work with him and the team on getting Matthew ready for the final Consultant Check of the book. I won’t be at this Dedication of Matthew, but I am thrilled that it will be happening Wednesday morning (PNG time) after they waited so long for this to happen.

The second good news to share is that I am now exactly 4 weeks away from heading out for my next trip to PNG. I will be gone from Aug 20 – Oct 3 in PNG and the primary task I will be involved in will be the same as that which I did back in Feb/March. I will be working once again with the Akukem translation team as their Advisor to help them improve their rough draft of Luke. I will hope to work again with the Akukem in Feb/March next year as well. Our goal is to revise and clean up the text so that we might be positioned next year to have another consultant come in and do the Final Check on the book. Please pray with me that I will be ready to work with the team at the end of August and through September.
Another important piece of news is that in 4 weeks Jill will be riding once again (for the 5th year) in the Enbridge Ride-To-Conquer-Cancer. It will be a grueling yet rewarding weekend (Aug 18 & 19) as Jill and more than 1,500 other riders cycle over 200 Kms in the two days, and all for a good cause, raising money to help fund cancer research. Pray that Jill will get some good training rides in over the next few weeks, and that she would be ready for this marathon ride when it comes in August.
Praise God for all these good things that are happening, or will be soon happening. Praise that I am able to continue to go on these trips over to PNG to help do Bible translation and consultant work. Another praise is that I just finished the term paper of my 7th DMin course. I’m registered for my 8th and final course to occur in the second week of October. After that, I will have one year to complete my Major Project and also my DMin degree.

Pray to God. that the sun is shining brightly on Wednesday for the Mum to have an excellent Matthew Dedication. Pray for safe travels for the many people going out to and back from the village, and for those who will fly internationally to return to their homes. Pray for Jill as she is having a real difficult time with a tooth that is causing sinus infections and problems with her ears. Oral surgery is scheduled for August 21. And pray that the Akukem team will be ready and I will be ready for a productive session with them in a month from now

We are so grateful for your partnership with us in prayer,
Norm & Jill Weatherhead
Missionaries to Papua New Guinea

March 2018
These past 6 weeks have been intense, and we praise God that five chapters of the Gospel of Luke in the Akukem language have been completely Advisor checked. In Bible translation work, doing Advisor Checking is much more difficult than doing Consultant Checking, which is what Norm has been doing for many language groups over the years.

In Advisor Checking, the language consultant has to do the following things while checking their drafted translation of Scripture:

  • check that the meaning of the translation is accurate to the Greek New Testament
  • consider various words and terms to reflect the meaning in the local language
  • look at grammar, punctuation, quotation marks etc to make sure the text flows well
  • check all of this against the Back Translation (using the country’s trade language of Tok Pisin) that it is as close to identical in meaning, grammar, punctuation, etc.

A huge challenge we had in this checking session is that the Back Translation was notreflecting well the order, wording and flow of the Akukem text of Luke. So we spent a lot of time correcting the BT so that it matched the translation. In this process, Norm has taught the team a lot about how to do a good BT and has sent the team back to their villages with Luke 6 – 16 asking them to make correction to their BT. This will make the next checking session go much more smoothly and faster.

It’s been so good to have Jill here in PNG to help Norm during this checking session to take care of the home, do shopping and errands, and cook great meals. (Norm does okay for himself when he’s on his own, but his chicken ball salad rolls can’t compete with Jill’s gravy & potatoes, beef steak and hot vegetables.)  😀

Jill has also been helping to organize one of our language’s literacy files. Over the years, multiple files and folders of literacy storybooks (called shellbooks) have been put on to our Branch server. Jill is trying to sort out the files, collect them into one folder with proper sub-folders. Another person later will help to put these language storybooks into the computer program called Paratext which is the program we all use for Bible translation. Our goal is to bring literacy materials together with translation materials so they can share the same language dictionary and will provide better spelling consistency for our language groups.

Jill has also helped in other ways while here in Madang. In the office, she has done a few tasks for the Publications Department. She helped our Finance Office by transferring the “paid bills” files from 2017 into boxes for storage and creating folders for each account for 2018. Jill assisted one of the national translators by reviewing with him important facts regarding his malaria treatment. And she was able to do one of her annual tasks of reviewing with the national employees information about HIV/AIDS.


How can you pray:

  • Praise for completing the Advisor Check of Luke chs. 1-5.
  • Pray the Akukem translators will be able to make good corrections to the Back Translation of Luke chs. 6 – 16 back in their villages.
  • Pray for Norm, who is in Week 2 of an 8-week online DMin course, that he will be able to do well in the course and handle his language director work at the same time.
  • Pray that Maso, the primary national translator for the Ap Ma project, will be able to flown in from his village on April 4 to come work with Norm on the book of Luke before Norm leaves PNG two weeks later.
  • Praise that Jill could be with Norm and do all she did in this past month, and pray for her as she returns to Canada starting her trip back on March 26.

We are so grateful for all the prayers offered up on our behalf.

If you want to read more stories of what is happening over in PNG we encourage you to visit and follow our Norm & Jill Weatherhead in PNG” Facebook page.

And for anyone who can financially help to support this Bible translation ministry to Papua New Guinea, please click on the links below to find out how you can donate online and help support our ministry work or write back to this email to ask for addresses of where to send in donations.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and grant you His peace,

Norm & Jill Weatherhead
Missionaries to Papua New Guinea

Consider supporting this mission work to PNG through online giving:

  • For Canadian donations, click here. (Choose “International Resource Team – Weatherhead” in the drop down menu.)

*Funds will only be accepted for board approved programs and projects. Each contribution will be used as requested with the understanding that when the need for such a program or project has been met, or cannot be completed for any reason as determined by the board, the remaining designated contributions would be used where needed most.

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