Along the southern edge of Papua New Guinea’s Torricelli Mountains, the 12 language groups of the Sepik Nuku Cluster live off the land. Predominantly an oral culture, the Sepik people often practice traditional beliefs of sorcery and animism that have been passed down through generations. Churches in the region are poorly attended, and none of the cluster languages has a piece of translated Scripture yet.
Now, a team of story crafters from all 12 language groups has begun a series of oral storytelling workshops. Oral Bible stories will provide a point of connection for the Sepik culture. As one project supervisor said, “This project is bringing the ultimate resources — God’s Word in the heart language and in oral story form that’s perfect for these oral cultures.” Four translators from each language are working to translate 20 stories for their communities, and the stories will be made available to each Sepik group through digital recordings and trained storytellers.
The team is hopeful that the Bible stories will be told at all kinds of community gatherings and will address ways that traditional beliefs may not align with Scripture. The project adviser added, “This is a good team and a good project. It represents what could be the set of Sepik languages with the best potential for further work!”