I know that we have asked you to pray for our friend Steven Pikus quite a few times since we have been here, but we thought that we might take this month to tell you a little more about him so that you can pray for him a little more personally.
We met Steven during our Pacific Orientation Course (POC) at the Training Center shortly after we arrived here in Ukarumpa (well over 2 years ago now—wow!). He was there as a student also, taking the Translators’ Training Course 1 (TTC1, which is the first of 4 TTC courses), which trains Papua New Guineans to learn how to translate the Bible into their own mother tongue. Of course, we didn’t meet in class though, because what God has equipped him to do is way over my head—our friendship started with a frisbee. Even though we challenged each other to stand as far apart as our arms could throw, God managed to bring us close.
We ran into Steven a couple times after POC which turned into one lunch, then another, then a standing Tuesday time of fellowship. At that time he had just started as a Bible translator for his tok ples (think talk place, or your local language. Literally, how they talk in a certain place), Gadsup. He was working only two days a week at the time as a Bible translator. This was partly because his village is more than a 2 hour walk from Ukarumpa (your math is right, that’s more than 4 hours round trip!), and partly because it’s volunteer work for him.
It was more than a year ago that Steven told me over our Tuesday lunch time that he was reading his Bible over the weekend and that God was telling him to step out in faith and give his Bible translation work everything. He had talked about it with his wife, Tina, and his parents (who would also help care for his garden, their sustenance); he was going from two days a week to five days a week! That’s more than 20 hours of walking every week to meet with three other Gadsup translators in a cubicle on our center and translate God’s Word so that his family, friends, and neighbors can know the Lord as he does. It was a burden and a calling that he could not deny.
All the walking amazes me, but Steven never mentions it. In fact, whenever I give him money and tell him to catch a PMV (Public Motor Vehicle, usually a big open bed truck from Steven’s village), I’m pretty sure that he walks anyway and saves the money for his family. That’s his bigger concern, trusting God to provide for his family while he’s doing translation work and not garden work. Even that burden though, he doesn’t bring to me, but I believe that he’s laid it wholly at the Lord’s feet.
Thanks to you all, we take Steven grocery shopping once or twice a month, or whenever we feel God tugging at as for some reason. Steven is always humbled and overly thankful to receive the blessing even after all the time that we have known him now. I just keep telling him that it’s not from us, but from the Lord and all the people that God has moved to keep us working here in Papua New Guinea.
So Steven made a comment to me this last week which is probably why I’m writing all of this to you now. He is currently in a five-week long Hebrew course at the Training Center. He studies non-stop during the week and lives at the Training Center, and then goes home to see his family over the weekend. We (yes, that includes you!) had sent some groceries home with him one Friday. The next time that I saw him, he didn’t just say “thanks for the food”; he said “Thanks so much, because of what you did I can be here fully and not worry about my family.” When Steven is at work, he can whole-heartedly give himself to translating Scripture and trust God with the rest. I wanted you all to hear that, because that is what God is doing through your prayers and support.
On that note, please be praying for Steven Pikus, his wife Tina, and their four kids, Ian, Victoria, Lovelynn, and Miracle. Pray for their health, safety, and provision. Pray for him, Pastor Kennet, and their other 2 Gadsup translators (and probably numerous others that they consult with for their work). A Gadsup New Testament was completed decades ago (to my knowledge) and they are currently working to translate the Old Testament. Pray for this Hebrew course that he is in now and that he would be able to learn and use all that he can from it. Pray for his safety as he travels every day for the glory of God and expansion of His kingdom.
And to quote a good friend, I have to also say for myself, “Thanks so much, because of what you [do] I can be here fully and not worry about my family.” Thanks for making a way for us to serve the people here in Papua New Guinea!
John, Kristi, Nori, Banner, and Millie