Papua New Guinea: Bible translator works during drought with little food, walks a mile to find water


By Mark Ellis –

Cyndi Guvama (photo: Stephanie Ernandes)

Cyndi Guvama began working on a Korafe Bible translation when she finished school, following the lead of her older brother, who is deaf. Her brother worked for 43 years assisting the team translating the New Testament.

The Guvamas have six children and both Cyndi and her husband teach at a Christian school in an isolated area, according to a report by Stephanie Ernandes on the PNG Experience blog.

“It’s a remote area; you have to get on a dingy or a canoe to get to where I live,” Cyndi notes on the blog.

In 2006, Cyndi’s older brother started working on the Old Testament translation. “My brother continued work all by himself. The other translators left. He wanted to translate the Old Testament and later asked me if I could come back again to work with him. I felt I needed to come alongside him in the work.”

“Sometimes it is very hard with the house work and all the kids. My firstborn is married. I have 3 grandchildren from her. The second boy is married and I have one grandchild from him. My third, fourth, fifth and sixth children are still in school. I need to give time to find money to pay for school fees, clothes for them, and school uniforms.”

In the area where they live, they often face a dry season from June through August. “We face a very big drought. Sometimes we run out of food and water. During this time, we need to walk a mile’s distance to go and find water. That slows down the translation work.”

“Sometimes we work without food, but when I make small gardens God always provides for us. I always tell the children that no matter how little we have, we have faith that we will still live.

“While working with the translation team I see that God helps a lot. Though we don’t have money, I tell the kids to have faith that God will always help us. I pray and ask God to help me to continue even when there are not enough materials to do the translation work. Then I continue to work at it with what I have.”

Cyndi recently received a laptop computer and a software program called Paratext that will save time in their work.

“I pray in my heart that God will help me to attend the Paratext Course at the training center. I need your prayers. Please also pray that God will provide the resources we need, like power – solar power to charge the laptops. Sometimes we must borrow a car battery from our friends to charge the computers.

“I know and hope that God will continue to provide for us to complete the Korafe Old Testament.”