GapFill.org Blog

Get to Know GapFill.org and its Missionaries


Leave a comment

Meet the Webers: Missionaries to the Bimin People in Papua New Guinea

Note from GapFill.org’s Founder:  I first heard about the Webers from my good friend Kathy Vanaria.  Years ago Kathy emailed me from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and asked my husband and I if we would help a fellow translator get a computer.  He wanted to order a computer online and have it shipped to our home.  It was impossible then and still is now to a certain extent to order something online, have it shipped to Papua New Guinea, and have it arrive safely!  My husband and I had been shipping items to the Vanarias for years and knew the best way to get items safely delivered so of course we agreed.  Once the computer arrived, I loaded all the software ordered and verified that everything was working correctly before sending it off to PNG.  For those who have set up computers before, you know that it first asks for a name that you would like to call the computer.  When I asked the translator what name he would like to call it he said, “Well, I think you should call it Christiane after my wife, since she is the one who will be using it the most”.  You see, we were sending the computer to the Webers for the translation of the Bimin New Testament.  Only God could orchestrate my husband and I having a part in the Bimin New Testament long before GapFill was even a thought.  Don’t you just love when Jesus reveals how He has been involved with something in your life before you even knew it existed?  What a strategic planner He is!     

Christiane and Thomas Weber

Christiane and Thomas Weber

Meet Christiane and Thomas Weber

Thomas and I were missionaries in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for 20 years working with the Bimin people of Sandaun Province. We finished the Bimin New Testament and sections of some Old Testament in 2008 and stayed on 2 more years to do Scripture use and start the Bimin on more Old Testament translations.  We were also able to do audio-recordings of all the New Testament books in the Bimin language.  We had a house fire at the very end of our stay in PNG in which Thomas was burned badly and had to be medivaced to Australia. It is a miracle that he healed so well from approximately 40% burns on his body.

We would like to make a visit to PNG in June 2013, for about 4 weeks, to go and see the Bimin people, encourage them, see how they are doing and getting on.  Communication is very difficult, there is no cell phone reception in this very remote place in the bush.  We would like to hopefully bring them the polished and finished (I am still editing the audio recordings, it is very tedious and slow work…) audio recordings of  their New Testament and make sure the technical set-up we left with the Bimin translators is working.  Our last communication with them in the Spring noted that they were having issues with the audio set-up.  They have 2 netbook type computers with power coming from 12 V batteries charged by solar panels.

We are currently serving in Switzerland, but we lack the funds to make such a trip. We would like to take our youngest son David with us as he was the one Thomas tried to rescue out of the burning house. David made it out and, through a miracle, only had a bad burn under his foot and it healed very fast. Taking him with us and having him see the place again will give him and us some closure.  We were able to go back to PNG for just 3 weeks before leaving to return to Switzerland in June 2010.  Therefore, we are turning to the donors of GapFill for help with the expenses to get back to the Bimin people. We plan to take a video camera along to record what we find when we go to see the Bimin people and reunite with them. It will help our four children and former supporters see how the story continues and encourage this wonderful people group who my family and I shared our lives with.

Thomas and Christiane now reside in Switzerland where Thomas pastors a small Assembly of God church.  Visit the “Items Needed” tab on the GapFill.org website to see how you can help the Webers return to the Bimin people with audio recordings in hand.  To receive GapFill.org’s blog posts automatically via email, enter your email address in the “FOLLOW GAPFILL VIA EMAIL” box on the right-hand side of the blog and click “Follow”.

Advertisements


3 Comments

Meet Grace Fabian: Missionary to the Nabak People in Papua New Guinea

Note from GapFill.org’s Founder: I first heard about Grace Fabian from my good friend Kathy Vanaria.  She told me of this amazing woman who had lost her husband while translating the New Testament into a Pacific island language.  Grace tells her incredible  story in a book, Outrageous Grace.  After reading this book, I felt as if I knew Grace personally, even though I have never met her.  Her story is real, personal, and encouraging to all of us as we try and see God’s big picture in the events of our lives.  She could easily be excused if she were to carry to her grave the conviction that her loss was meaningless.  I was inspired to hear how our Almighty God brings life out of death in her life. 

Grace’s Story

“Couldn’t I also in a gesture of adoration and faith, offer my husband’s blood as a precious ointment to my Savior?” I asked after reading in God’s word about a woman who, in an act of worship, poured out expensive perfume over Jesus’ head.

Nabak Dedication

Nabak Dedication

I am originally from a farming community in upstate New York, the daughter of a pastor. I served first in Mexico and then thirty-five years in the island nation of Papua New Guinea. Along with my husband, Edmund, I lived in an isolated Nabak-speaking village in Papua New Guinea, learned the language, devised an alphabet, produced literacy materials and translated the Scripture for the 25,000 people speaking this language. All four of our children were born in that country.

On April 29, 1993, Edmund was murdered while sitting at his desk translating the love chapter, I Corinthians 13, into the Nabak language. I, his wife, was the first witness on the scene. I soon learned that the murderer was a Nabak man, one of the members of the tribe we had grown to love, and for whom we endeavored to translate the scriptures.

My four children and I wrestled with grief and disorientation. We struggled while we sought spiritual answers, and tried to mesh two different worlds—the culture of the Nabak-speaking people in the island nation of Papua New Guinea, and of my Christian heritage from the United States. We faced the challenge of forgiving the murderer, rocks thrown onto our roof and through the windows, eviction notices, and twenty months later a court case in this foreign country. Despite this, God’s kindness was poured out on our family, and I, along with committed Nabak men and women completed the translation.

In 1998, the Nabak New Testament was dedicated to the glory of God. I would like to return to the Nabak people in Papua New Guniea to see not only how they are doing in the Lord with the translated scriptures, but also to bring newly printed Nabak hymn books to them for His praise and worship. GapFill is helping me raise the funds to revisit and encourage this wonderful people group who my family and I shared our lives with.

Grace Fabian now resides in Pennsylvania where she speaks, teaches and writes, hoping that others will be inspired to join in the work of reaching Biblesless people groups around the world.  

Visit the “Items Needed” tab on the GapFill.org website to see how you can help Grace return to the Nabak people with hymn books in hand.  To receive GapFill.org’s blog posts automatically via email, enter your email address in the “FOLLOW GAPFILL VIA EMAIL” box on the right-hand side of the blog and click “Follow”.