Introduction / History
South of Kokopo, on the main road heading toward the airport, we take a right turn onto a very bumpy yet passable road. Through old plantations of coconut and cocoa trees, past a few houses and one sprawling ancient tree, we come suddenly upon a school and church. Not many houses are visible from the road, but it is apparent that there is a large population
hidden among the trees.
This is the area of the Minigir people of East New Britain (also known as Bilur), whose population is estimated to be a few thousand. They are a friendly and welcoming people who are interested in development. Rather than houses of bush materials like in much of PNG, many of the houses here are made of timber and metal. Water tanks and cement tell of a motivated people group, and we were told of their hopes to bring power into houses soon.
These forward thinking people expressed interest in language development and Bible translation as well. Currently, the people use the Bibles of two local trade languages, Tok Pisin and Kuanua, as well as the English Bible in church. SIL seeks to come alongside the Minigir community through a programme called the New Britain Initiative (NBI). If developed, this programme would focus on training Papua New Guineans in translation practices and then oversee teams of national translators as they work on the New Testament.
Because the Minigir area is so close to the SIL Kokopo centre, they would have a wonderful opportunity for training if the NBI comes to fruition. One Minigir man said of the Kuanua Bible, "It is not enough".
Scripture Prayers for the Bilur in Papua New Guinea.