Kenny Aiprum's Story: Nobody Else Would Do It | Wycliffe Bible Translators

Kenny Aiprum's Story: Nobody Else Would Do It

  • June 9, 2014
  • By: Matt Petersen
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Kenny Aiprum has been a Christian for a number of years, and he can’t wait for the day when he has the Bible in his own Sissano language. That goal is at least a few years away still, but Kenny’s working hard to make it happen as soon as possible.

The Sissano Bible translation is part of a larger translation cluster in northwest Papua New Guinea called the Aitape West Translation Team. By working together as a group, the translators who already have several years of experience doing translation in their own languages are helping other language groups get their translations started much sooner than if each language group had to wait to start separate Bible translation projects.”

The first two men to begin work on the Sissano translation were Brian and Matthew. Brian is Kenny’s cousin, so when Brian and Matthew brought the book of Jonah back to the village for other people to help them check it for accuracy, Kenny was excited to help out.

After a while, Brian had to leave the translation team to take care of other work responsibilities, so he asked Kenny to take his place on the team. Kenny was thrilled to accept, and he’s been working on the project for twelve years.

Kenny’s learned a lot in those twelve years, and studying the Bible so intensely during the translation process has helped him grow closer to God. It’s also given him a chance to develop his skills as a worship leader. A few years ago he learned to play the guitar, and when he joined the translation team he quickly took on the responsibility of leading worship times — something that’s been a real joy for him.

For some reason, Kenny gets sick often — likely due to complications from the many times he’s contracted malaria over the years — and this makes it difficult to keep up with the translation work. Plus, he has one of the longest and most challenging commutes of all of the translators on the Aitape West project. Walking on the beach sand is especially tiring, but Kenny keeps reminding himself, “If I stop, really who would translate God’s Word in my language?” That thought always keeps him going.

One time Kenny had to wade across a very large lagoon between his village and the translation center, and another time he almost dropped his translation notes into a canal he was crossing. Because Papua New Guinea is located in the tropics, sometimes torrential rain comes through as Kenny is trudging through the bush. When it does, he has to hurry and find a way to protect his notes. It’s absolutely critical that he keep them safe or he’ll lose all of the work he’s done in the village between workshops.

No matter what challenges come his way, Kenny is determined to keep doing the translation. And it’s not just the Sissano people that need God’s Word. Recently he told the rest of the team, “My faith is growing stronger as I see all the things God is doing among us. No way am I ever going to stop doing this work, no matter what problems come. Because everything will eventually pass away, but God’s Word will last forever.”

Editor’s note: Kenny’s story is the third in a five-part series focusing on national colleagues working on the Aitape West Translation Project in Papua New Guinea. Click here to learn more. Read the first story here.

Next: Clement's Story