Decades ago Dave and Alice Parrish and their daughters established their home among the Mbore people in order to translate God’s Word for them. The people’s hope that they would one day have Scripture in their own language began to be realized.

In the ensuing years the Parrishes established deep relationships among the Mbore, and Dave and a team of Mbore men began their translation work. Then through a series of circumstances, God redirected the Parrish family’s ministry focus. They left their home among the Mbore, leaving behind only short portions of completed Scripture. As the translation work ground to a halt, hope turned into disappointment.

The Mbore waited and prayed. God answered by sending Dave Robinson. Dave was a Biblical scholar, not a Bible translator. But he had expertise that could enable the Mbore team to resume their translation work. Their hope was revived. 

The books of Luke, Acts, and Galatians were translated and published, and several other books were in various stages of being translated and checked. Then Dave and his wife Chris returned to the U.S. Once again, the Mbore people’s hope was disappointed.

They continued to pray. But this time the Mbore people decided they wouldn’t wait. They realized that completing their New Testament wasn’t Pioneer Bible Translators’ job. It was theirs. One Mbore man in particular, Steven Piki, had gained a great deal of skill and experience from working alongside the two Daves. He was willing to do whatever it took so that he and his team could complete this translation, but he knew they could not do it alone. He asked if Pioneer Bible Translators would commit the people and resources needed to come alongside them. Our missionary team in Papua New Guinea was already stretched thin. Making this commitment seemed way beyond what we could do. And so we answered, “We don’t know how, and we don’t know who. But we will help you do what it takes to finish this translation.” Once again, hope was restored.

The Mbore people held fast to the hope of God’s Word in their own language. Their persistence was rewarded.

Over the next seven years, as we, the Mbore, and countless believers around the globe prayed, God honored the faith it took to commit to finishing this New Testament. He protected the team, and He provided the trainers, advisors, consultants, and others needed to come alongside the Mbore. And He sustained everyone’s hope in the midst of endless challenges. Finally the entire New Testament was translated and the work of creating an audio recording began. 

The recording process inevitably turns up places where the text needs further scrutiny. The Mbore translation was no exception. The process of correcting, then reviewing changes took a discouragingly long time. But at long last the audio recording and corrections were completed, and the process of typesetting and printing the Mbore New Testament could begin. Hope was about to be fulfilled.

July 26, 2017, was one of the most significant days ever for the Mbore people. They joyously gathered to celebrate receiving the New Testament in their own language and to dedicate it for God’s purposes in their midst. The hope of decades was realized. 

Yet printed Bibles are not the final goal. Our vision is to see lives transformed as the Holy Spirit works through the Word to teach, encourage, correct, and equip. Satan tried many times to derail this translation. He failed. He is now working to keep that vision of transformed lives from becoming reality. We hope and pray for a time when every Mbore person will live in a community where actions and decisions are guided by the Word of God rather than human inclination, where long-held beliefs and customs are scrutinized through the lens of Jesus’ teachings, where people are empowered and emboldened to live in ways that exemplify the fruits of the Spirit’s presence. 

This is what we hope and pray … and not just for the Mbore. Lord, may Your Kingdom come and Your will be done throughout the entire world You have created!

Eunice Herchenroeder
Eunice served in Papua New Guinea as wife, mom, missionary care facilitator, and in many other roles. She now leads a team of writers and editors at Pioneer Bible Translators’ International Service Center in Texas. She and her husband Mike have three adult children.
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