Sleeping Coconuts is the title of a new book by
missionary translators John and Bonnie Nystrom.
The pair had been working in Papua, New
Guinea, for the last 25 years doing Bible translation.
"In 1998, we'd been working in Arop village for about ten years,
when a tsunami came through and wiped out that village, killed a
third of the people who lived there," John Nystrom shares.
"When we heard about it the next day, we heard from a pilot who
had flown over the village and he said There's nothing left
there but sleeping coconuts -- and that was kind of a
hybrid English and Melanesian pigeon phrase that really meant
there's nothing there but coconuts lying flat on the ground."
Nystrom and his wife had been working on an Arop translation of
the Bible at that time when approached to translate two more
languages -- an offer they initially had to decline because of the
complexity of translating just one language. But after the tsunami,
the attitudes of everyone involved changed, and they worked
together to find a way to make it happen.
"Now, we're not just translating one language, but 11, and that
idea has spread to other parts of the country," the missionary
tells OneNewsNow. "In fact, in the future it's our primary strategy
for reaching the 300 languages in Papua, New Guinea, that have no
Scripture at all using cluster projects, where we have multiple
translators working in multiple translations all together as one
team working together."
It usually takes 15-20 years for one translation, but through
using the concept born after the tsunami, 11 languages will be
tackled all at the same time. That will be helpful in other areas
of the world, because about 2,000 languages spoken by about 350
million people have no Scripture in their own language.
Sleeping Coconuts tells the whole