The Tairuma people are found in the Gulf Province in the Southwest Papuan Region. There are 8000 in Kerema alone but many other Tairuma speakers are scattered all throughout Papua New Guinea. The Tairuma language cluster groups include Opao, Kaki Ae, Mei’I, and Uaripi consisting of eight clans namely: Suviavo, Uripi, Keiripi, Melaripi, Sefe, Mareavo, Luipi, and Meisaivo.
In 2004 a survey team from SIL PNG went to Kerema to conduct a language survey. Thinking that the team had come to translate the Bible the people asked them when they were going to start translating.
In 2003 since Badi Vila joined the PNG Bible Translation Association, the Lord has been prompting her heart to see her people have access the Word of God in their heart language. When she saw the New Testament dedicated in other language groups she envisioned her people’s joy, too, when the Bible is made available to them in Tairuma.
In February 2009 Badi asked for a four-month leave from her post in BTA in order to follow up on that request made many years ago. She went to Kerema and stayed there talking and listening to the people. With a team of young people she ventured on a Translation awareness trip to seven villages within the reach of Kerema District and township. The village people responded with strong desire to have the Bible translated into the Tairuma language.
Quickly the people formed a Kerema Translation working committee to prepare for a translation awareness workshop (TAW). Simon Savaiko, the BTA Programme Manager for the South-West Gulf Region, went to help Badi conduct the workshop. It was hosted in the Kerema Town United Church with more than 30 participants from ten language groups, and seven different denominations. All those who attended showed high motivation to start their own translation projects.
This year Badi Vila left her job in BTA as the Scripture Use Coordinator in order to concentrate on facilitating the Tairuma Translation Programme. She is building a translation house. A piece of land has been given for this purpose on a three-year lease. This will require them to look for a better and bigger location for a permanent base as they envision expanding the work to other languages in the Gulf Province. There are 22 language groups in the Gulf Province.
A working committee was formed in 2009 but the committee has not been working well together so at this stage the committee only exists in name but no visible action has been taken in carrying out their responsibilities.
The following workshops have been conducted in Kerema: An Alphabet Design Workshop (ADW) was conducted in 2004; a Translation Awareness Workshop in 2009, and an Adult Literacy Teacher Training Workshop in August this year.
They ask for prayer for the following:
· Pray for the Tairuma working committee to put aside their personal differences. They have actually requested Badi to re-elect new committee members. So pray that the Lord will graciously raise new committee members who have passion for the Tairuma Bible Translation work.
· Pray for the Tairuma people to see the value of this work and commit themselves to supporting the Translation project. Different expectations are surfacing while building the translation house – one is complaining that he is not being paid while others have offered their support to do manual work. They depend entirely on Badi to provide the finances to buy fuel and also to provide food to feed those who work. Right now the community support is only about 2%.
· Pray for Badi to be patient with the people and also to be wise in the way she deals deals with each individual person and circumstance. That she be wise in knowing how to make constructive decisions, with regards to issues concerning the work of Bible Translation.
· Pray for the LORD’s choice of people to be on the Tairuma Bible Translation Project as committee members. They will re-elect new committee members soon.
· Pray for the Translation House project that people will not give up but will be motivated and determined to complete the house.
· Pray for a good working relationship between Badi and the committee andwith this committee and the people.
· Pray for funds to support the Tairuma Project.