Our Ministry

HomeOur MinistryKel's TalesPhoto GalleryAbout Us

We live in Papua, Indonesia, formerly known as Irian Jaya. Our family serves a tribe called the Yetfa, who are 96 miles deep in the heart of the world's second largest rainforest. Our primary ministry is Bible translation, but there are many facets to that. Yetfa ma (the language) is a purely oral language--it has never been written down or depicted by symbols or pictures. History, folklore, even the gospel message is passed in speech alone. Only a small handful can read the national language Indonesian, so the Lord led us to start with translating oral Bible stories--perfect for a pre-literate people.
Our first task was to learn and analyze the language. Using only the training we received, we began to listen and parse each sound we heard. Lots of pointing and asking "What is this/that?" and then writing out those sounds phonetically. After building a vocabulary word list, we began to ask for whole sentences and short stories, so we could analyze sentence structure and how to build a thought in Yetfa. While language learning continues and will continue for a long time, the Lord has given us the keys to this language and the analysis is almost complete. Because it has never been written, Yetfa ma has no alphabet or writing system. We are currently testing an alphabet to see how it is accepted among those who can already read. After more testing and any changes, we will make it the official alphabet for Yetfa ma and the written translation process can begin!

Presenting the first 17 stories to a village-wide meeting
We have just completed phase 1 of translation: 50 oral Bible stories. Each story is carefully crafted checking each word and phrase for precise meaning and understanding. After testing with native speakers and 2 or 3 consultant checks, the story is approved, recorded and distributed. It's quite the process, but the outcome is life-changing! Yetfa people throughout the region can hear and grasp God's word in the language they understand.
Very soon, the team will begin a written translation. We plan to complete most of the New Testament and portions of the Old Testament.
This process is not a quick one. It takes years. The use of computers has greatly accelerated the process, but it's still a long while. Translating God's word is not something that can be rushed. Every word and phrase must be checked for accuracy, precision, and naturalness. It's a serious process, and we beg for your prayers. We do not take it lightly and rely on God to reveal correct word usage and flow and guide us and the translation team as we go. He longs for people to know Him in their heart language, and He goes before us in everything.
As the translation is in process, we will be teaching literacy so the Yetfa people can be ready to receive the written word. Less than 1% now reads the national language. We hope to greatly increase that! That alone is a HUGE task.
Within the Bible translation process, a number of other things happen as well:
a local church becomes Bible-based and strengthened
spiritual leaders are trained and equipped to lead
relationships with Yetfa people are formed and deepened
God's salvation message in Yetfa ma is spread from village to village
we ALL grow closer to our Creator, Savior, and Redeemer
Bible translation is our main job here, but caring for the Yetfa people's physical and spiritual needs has become our passion as well. There is no medical care available in the Yetfa area. Three times a year, a government health team hikes from village to village and provides a one-day clinic, but there is no health care the other 362 days of the year. While we are in the village, we provide basic medical care. We are NOT medical staff, but we can help with first aid and wound care, basic medications and common infections. There is missionary medical staff on call in town, and we can call or email them using our satellite terminal should we need advice or emergency help.
This is quite the calling and adventure, and we LOVE it. We often realize again how amazing the Lord is in allowing us to do this. And we cannot do this alone. He uses you and countless others around the world to pray and give so this ministry is possible. Thank you for checking us out, reading our updates, and supporting this ministry with your prayers and gifts. We appreciate you so much--more than we can ever express.

We have an incredible sending church! If you are ever in the Arlington, Texas
area on a weekend or Wednesday night, stop by and worship with them. They are a great group of people who love the Lord and serve Him faithfully. To learn more about this ministry and others of the church, contact them at
Sublett Road Baptist Church
4211 Sublett Rd
Arlington, TX 76017

If you are interested in financially supporting the ministry to the Yetfa people, gifts can be sent to
Sublett Road Baptist Church
Reynolds Mission Fund
P.O. Box 172076
Arlington, TX  76003

Thank you for partnering with us to bring God's word to the Yetfa people!