In November of 2020 the Service and Witness Committee (SaWC) of Highland Community Church was in conversation with Kristy Wedel of Wycliffe Canada. As a result of those conversations the SaWC has committed to help support Kristy during her upcoming 3-year term in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Kristy has recently received her work permit for PNG, which is an answer to prayer and will make getting a visa much easier. Once she has her full support in place and travel is allowed she will be on her way to PNG. Below, in her own words, is information about Kristy and what she is and will be up to.
-- Jennifer Rempel
was born and raised in Abbotsford, B.C. Immediately after high school I had the opportunity to serve with Mennonite Central Committee in Paraguay and then Guatemala for a time. I gained a global perspective and a heart for missions that has never left me. A few years later I found my love for linguistics and earned a degree in linguistics at University of Victoria. I then worked for many years with adults with developmental disabilities.
More recently I felt God calling me to a new role and so I became a member of Wycliffe Canada in March 2019. I have finished the language survey training at Canada Institute of Linguistics (CanIL) and am now getting ready to move to Papua New Guinea.
What is the plan?
I have accepted a position PNG to work as a language surveyor with Wycliffe Bible Translators. "What is a language surveyor?" you may ask. I will be working with a team of locals and other expats to research the current language situations of different people groups in PNG and assess their needs for Bible translation and related work such as literacy training.
Our team will often be the first people from our organization to visit a village. It will be an honour to be part of the first step to bringing the Word of God to people who have never heard his message of love in the language of their heart.
I will be living at the SIL centre in Ukarumpa in the highlands of PNG (SIL is the partner organization of Wycliffe). I plan to leave for PNG in 2021 when my partnership team is complete and the travel restrictions are lifted.
It's about partnership.
Partnership is fundamental to the mindset of Wycliffe. In the Pacific region, which includes PNG, Wycliffe is one of seven Bible translation organizations that work in partnership. Each organization brings its particular strengths and experiences. The organizations are focused in different geographic areas and this enables them to bring a cohesive perspective on languages and cultures throughout the region. Planning and working together minimizes duplication of effort. Through partnership, progress is being made to end Bible poverty in the Pacific region.
Partnership is also essential to the work with the people in PNG. I have just finished taking an online training course with the survey team in PNG called "The Participatory Approach: Discussions on Engaging Communities." This training looks at strategies to engage in development with communities rather than for. When we work with communities they can determine the priorities and have real ownership of whatever projects go forward. Doing development work this way is often messier and more complex at first but, when done right, it leaves the community empowered to continue the work on their own rather than reinforcing the idea that they need help from the outside. I’m glad the survey team is pursuing this approach.
Partnership is essential as well, in order for me to join the survey work in PNG. I am grateful for those already on my team encouraging me with prayer and financial support. I continue trusting the Lord for his provision in his timing.
-- Kristy Wedel