Meya Ivano - Tawala Language Programme Leader

I come from a family of nine: four brothers and five sisters. I am the seventh child born in our family. Both my parents have passed away.

 

I graduated from National high School in 1984 and was accepted to study chemical tech; at University of Technology 1985. Due to student unrest, I withdrew from studies after attending only one day of lectures and returned home to Alotau.

 

I taught for a while at a local Bible School then left to work with the United Church youth group and Sunday School. During 1997-2001, I worked as a Pastor with a local congregation. I was released from these pastoral duties to take up translation work in 2001.

 

My beloved wife Jayne and I have an only child, a beautiful girl, whom we named Hulele, a Tawala word which means rainbow in English. She is 13 years old and is in Grade 8.

 

I gave my life to the Lord in 1978 when I was 13 years old at a youth camp and praise the Lord, He saw to my growth over the years. Jayne made her commitment in 1985 while Hulele our daughter accepted Jesus as her Friend in 2000. Praise God we are a team whose imperfections are covered over with Christ’s perfection.

 

Bible translation began in 1974 by an SIL team. The New Testament was dedicated in 1985. Translation work on the Old Testament began straight after this but was unfortunately stopped until 2000.

 

The work is now slowly but surely gaining momentum. Currently there are seven translators, who are still undergoing training, leading the translation work. They are assisted by more than fifteen others who are taking on the job training. We have translated 13 books of the Old Testament so far. They are all in various stages of the translation process.

 

Since March 2008 the Tawala translation team has been using storytelling as one of their latest strategies. Being a cultural norm, storytelling has a great impact on people. My folks would rather hear a story than read a book. We hope to craft 40-50 Bible stories in Tawala over a three-year period.

 

To me, the Word of God, the Bible, is God’s love letter, sealed with His Blood. This revelation came to me when I received my first love letter at National High. I was a very strong Christian with a very strong devotional life when this happened. When I received this letter, every moment I could spare was given to poring over it. In fact, in a week, I would have read this letter more often than I read my Bible.

 

After a week, I was convicted this was not right, so I screwed up the letter and I threw it away but I learned a lasting lesson. One does not simply “love” love letters - to read them over and over again. No, the secret lies in one’s love for the writer. When one loves the writer, he would love the words in the love letter, so time and time again, when the frequency of my reading of the Word drops, I know definitely my intimacy with God needs rekindling.