What a surprise Hope Sharp got when her mystery translation co-worker stepped out of the van. She wanted to hug him but that would have been culturally inappropriate.
Hope knew that Peter was coming but she had no idea who would accompany him. She left that decision up to her other translation co-workers and the Iwam church leaders. Hope grinned, thanked God and shook Mark’s hand when he exited the van.
The Iwam man was about 12 years old when Hope moved into his Papua New Guinea village in 1980. Mark became a helpful young man -- taking out the missionaries’ trash, cleaning cobwebs from under the peak of the house and even washing dishes.
Mark became a man of many talents and many tasks. He became a language teacher, computer typist and an indispensable translation co-worker.
"Whatever was needed," Hope wrote, "Mark was the man for the job."
For many years Mark was a key man in the Iwam church, but in the late 1990s that changed. When Mark took a second wife it started a downward spiral that took him far from the Lord.
Today, the Iwam church leaders feel that he is honestly attempting to "walk respectfully with the Lord" and with their consent he was permitted to once again become a member of the translation team.
Mark and another Iwam man, Peter, have spent the past five weeks working with Hope on three main projects, including translating Pilgrim’s Progress.
As the team worked through Pilgrim’s Progress Mark identified with Christian as he went through the "slough of despond."
Please pray that Mark will continue to walk with the Lord and that the materials the team worked on will benefit other Iwams.