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!
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”.