The many languages of Kalimantan
Last Autumn, MAF Kalimantan’s team based in Tarakan, an island city in northern Kalimantan, found out about five language projects that had begun in their area.
‘I knew that the Indonesian language is often people’s second language here,’ says MAF missionary Lindsay Bilimek. ‘Indonesian people mainly speak their whenever possible. The Indonesian Bible is not understood by many of the population.
‘In many villages, the only time the Indonesian language is spoken is when the church sermon is given. Everything else is given in their tribal tongue. The MAF team learned that five groups of Indonesians are each tackling the tribal languages of Agabag, Bulusu, Kenyah, Lundayeh and Punan.
‘An organisation called Kartidaya is overseeing the translations, with the first project aiming to translate the book of Luke from the Bible, along with the Jesus film.
‘In November 2019, a group of the translators came through Tarakan and invited us to join them for workshops to help the translators learn English. I may not be able to do much ministry in Indonesian, but I can speak English!
‘In February, 2 other MAF ladies and I took a 30-minute MAF flight to Malinau, where the language translators were meeting. We spent three days with them, getting to know them and their stories.
‘It was great to see their passion for their people to be able to read the in their heart language. We learned through reading, songs, games, chatting during meals and together.
‘We are so excited that doors have opened for us to be involved in this project, and that these people can be encouraged; knowing that people around the world are praying for them as they translate!’