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Summer 2018

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Celebrating in the Middle of Nowhere

  • July 4, 2018
Mato group in traditional dress

The 1,250 Mato are a forgotten people group, situated on the border of two provinces in the middle of nowhere in Papua New Guinea. There is no way they can afford the full cost of typesetting and printing a New Testament in their language. But the Mato Christians are rich in the Spirit and very much appreciate all that Wycliffe and SIL have done for them over the years, not only in translation but also in supporting their schools with teacher training and materials.

When presented with a sample copy of the New Testament used for testing and formatting and pictures, the people organized a celebration. Even people from neighboring languages came to rejoice with them.

The pastor held up a sample copy and compared his feelings to Simeon when he held the Christ child, saying he almost thought he’d never see the day when God’s Word would be available to him in his own language. He told everyone how much he and the Mato people appreciated all the funds and hard work that people around the world had given to bring them to this moment.

Mato church service

Today the Mato people are excited in their worship, which is done mostly in the vernacular language; many have an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, and they even have a healing ministry. The church has grown, and people meet in their hamlets several nights a week for Bible studies and worship services.

Finally the New Testament in book form will be in their hands. The dedication is planned for August 14, 2019, commemorating the 24-year anniversary of their request for a Bible translation in their language.