Changed by the Word

Duncan Kasokason

About The Episode

On this episode, Rich and Emily bring you to Papua New Guinea to hear a first-hand account of the energy behind the Bible translation movement. Join us for an insightful conversation with Ministry Entrepreneur Duncan Kasokason.

Duncan is a Bible translation consultant through the Bible Translation Association of Papua New Guinea. Starting in 1986, Duncan started to translate the Bible into his own language with pen and paper. Throughout the years, he has helped many others become involved in Bible Translation ministry. His passion is for all to have God’s Word in their own language. Now he encourages others to get equipped to serve and experience the power of the Word through work in Bible translation.

Whether you are curious about the timeframe for Bible translation projects, or you want to learn more about how projects get started, Duncan provides invaluable knowledge gathered from many years of experience working with partners and equipping the next generation of Bible translators.

Duncan Kasokason: [00:00:00] In Bible translation organization, we want Papua New Guineans. To change lives by transitioning the Word of God. Because they are touching the word, and the Word is sharper than the devil and the sword. It can penetrate in their lives.

Rich: Welcome to the Essentially Translatable podcast brought to you by Lutheran Bible Translators. I’m Rich Rudowske.

Emily: And I’m Emily Wilson. And we would love for you to join us As a prayer partner, whether it is monthly or even weekly, you can subscribe to receive emails or have the Prayer calendar sent right to your door. So if you go to l b t dot org slash pray, you can fill out the form And become a prayer partner with Lutheran Bible translators and praying for missionaries, partners, and programs around the world.

Rich: Today, we got to talk with Duncan Kasokason, who is 1 of our ministry entrepreneurs in Papua, New Guinea, who has, uh, [00:01:00] just a great story of A lifetime involved in Bible translation work. He first began working in his own language. It was both an era and availability of Of things where he did everything writing by hand, which just is is mind boggling, but also just so, like, close to the action There, if you will. And now he’s expanded that vision to mentoring a lot of other folks that are involved in bible translation. He is a translation consultant, and his work has touched Many other languages in Papua New Guinea, and so just a a real great conversation with Duncan.

Emily: Alright. Today on Essentially Translatable, we have joining us, uh, from Papua New Guinea, Duncan Kasokassen, welcome to the podcast. Thank you. So this is a really different sort of setup we have going on here. I am in our Concordia offices.

Rich is up in, actually, Fort Wayne. And we have [00:02:00] Duncan. You’re joining us from Papua New Guinea. So This is an amazing sort of example of what the Lord is doing through technology, and just so thankful that you’re with us. So a little bit of our tendency or our procedure, if you will, for the Essentially Translatable podcast is to Make sure that our audiences, uh, are starting to understand who it is that we’re talking to.

What’s your background? So can you share a little bit about your background, Duncan? 

Duncan Kasokason: Yep. My background in Bible translation. I started Bible translation in 19 86.

It was when I was 30 years old. I attended SL television school for 3 year term, and I completed in 19 98. And then I knew the Lord. I had to just give my love to the Lord. And when I knew the Lord, I was so passionate and I was sound this little word.[00:03:00] 

And then I completed a new testament. And then my series in 19 96, the 10 years. In 19 97, the New Testament was dedicated. That’s amazing. For 3 months, they all finished.

And I have not revised it again, but people are still using, and they’re asking for more. Mhmm. I was 1 day for funding that we could repeat again. People need the New Testament. Although it’s already changed 7 years old.

Wow. And when my son is from that field, population association director asked if I could leave my home and come to the center of the the global television office, if I could become a global association coordinator. And now I’m called transition manager, and I’ve been working in 60 languages. But Some of the languages are inactive. So now about 35 is active language [00:04:00] that I coordinate.

And when they did check-in, I asked for consultants. And also, I’m also a television consultant as well. I became a consultant in 2002, And then I’ve been working as a consultant, but more more more time was spent as a principal. I’ve been working as a training principal in Israel and BDA for 8 years. So I spend more time if administering the the work, and then sometime later, I started looking break as a consultant.

And also, I’m looking at the moral barrier team. A different population. It’s where the Warrior Plus stays, and that’s where OPT is involved with. Mhmm. And I look I I take care of these labor programs.

And there are about 11 labor programs in the region. And I give advice, They do training. So I do all those things. 

Rich: [00:05:00] So, uh, translation consulting in multiple languages for, you know, 20 years plus your own translation time. I was just gonna ask, what story when you get to translation consultant checking, what What story in the Bible is do you really enjoy checking with the teams?

Duncan Kasokason: The the way of God is is all as soon as I want. You know? But Yeah. When when I a story that affects the lives of the translators. Uh-huh.

And start to feel emotional. And I want to see the way the body is speaking to their lives. That’s where I love it, and I want to see the change happens straight with us first before it affects everything. I’m not answering your question, but I’m saying I love all the stories, though. But the only thing that I want to see It’s the language that speaks to them Yes.

That is it’s still their life when they trust it with them. That’s what I mean. My point is this. I want to see that the Word of God, they’re translating, but reset their lives. Yes.

I [00:06:00] love that. Yeah. The word, and They put it away, and then then don’t obey the word. And I make sure that they must obey. They must know what they are doing.

And from there, the preservation will take place in the community. That’s what I’m concerned about. 

Emily: So, Duncan, I’m just amazed by, uh, a lifetime of serving in Bible translation ministry. So you entered into this journey in when you turned 30. How was it before then?

So you didn’t have the New Testament in your language. Is that right? 

Duncan Kasokason: In those days, yes. We do not have the New Testament in my in my language. So 1 of the machinery from Australia came to work in our place.

I came from the Anglican church background. Okay. And she she came as a medical work worker. And once she [00:07:00] retired, she wanted to start a transition. So in during those days, I was a young man, and I love the music.

I love music. Then it happened that I was translating from English My language, so to sing the language, to introduce the language, rather than they’re using English. That has no idea, but I started doing that. So this way started people saying, when would we get Duncan To go to Karimba, to train as a translator, and then talk it away because she’s already started doing And I do not know what the Lord was doing in my life, but I was I started doing it. And that’s where I started.

And then it happened within 10 years. With no computer. I was just writing from telling paper, and then at the end, I would do the memo typewriter, and then cut the stencils. And they’re like, see screen light. Try to paste it on and do that [00:08:00] and bring the papers out, and then we do that.

So all of 10 years, I’ve been doing that with that computer. Like a long way to get the discipline done. 

Emily: But that hunger to be able to have God’s word available and accessible, and that it was something to be shared. I I love that you were able to to be singing Scripture because then it’s for everyone. It’s not just for for you.

I’ve I’ve heard a number of people, uh, in ministry That they’ll get a choir behind them, um, and all singing together so that it amplifies out, and then people can start asking questions. That’s wonderful. 

Rich: Um, you were mentioning, Duncan, in, um, your introduction that I I didn’t quite catch it, but at some 

Duncan Kasokason: Thank you. That’s a good question. When I came [00:09:00] in, when I was asked to become to train with a translator, I was not born again.

In fact, I was in many countries, we are protest when we were infants. But I didn’t really confess just such as, Lord, when I grew up. When I came to this, I realized that people were confessing that They confessed their sins to become Christians. And I thought I would do that because I wasn’t, you know But I was really hungry for the Word. And then, yeah, and then the Lord just touched my life, and I gave my life to the Lord in 19 89, after 3 years.

It took me a while. But when I came to know the vote and when I gave my life, I was so passionate, I was so hungry, and I have not spend much time because every day and night, it becomes like my passion is to sit down in public, pen and paper. And I wanted the Word of God to be written. So that took me to translate in 10 

Emily: years. [00:10:00] Uh-huh.

And I love too that you were mentioning that you want people to obey the word And to be transformed by it. And so I’m I’m curious as you have seen many language communities and partnering alongside them, What has it that you’ve seen people doing after reading the word? What changes have you seen in communities? 

Duncan Kasokason: Well, why we want in Babu tradition, we want. Change life by transitioning the Word of God.

And, therefore, we do not want to see translators coming and translating the word, and then they are not changed because they are touching the word, and the word You sharper than the double edge, so it can penetrate in their bodies. And that also helps them to know the Lord, and they know what they’re doing. So we want to see that happen because we do not want the New Testament, the 12 faith, would be on the shelf People [00:11:00] won’t read it, won’t buy. And when I this is my experience. And when I saw people bought it within 3 months and they finished, And it it everybody was just singing and dancing.

And it’s Anglican Church is sort of a very quiet church, But it became noisy in the church because the New Testament is translated. And I saw that. And I must have also changed myself. And then we can just people thought that I am coming to dream another church because I I do a lot of things that I wanna praise about. And then because That happens.

He changed the minds of the people to understand that knowing the Lord is not about the the denomination. It’s about how you worship Jesus. So those things have brought the perspective of the mind’s change through Bible tradition. 

Rich: When you’re working with the team that’s translating and they’re struggling to get the message, what are some of the ways as a consultant and a mentor that you You help them with that or with some of the examples [00:12:00] of how you’ve helped teams, you know, work through and really understand the message of that they’re translating. Okay.

Duncan Kasokason: Depression are rich. In Baha’i Transitional Association, we have a national organization. And many languages in topology. They do not have the advices like SAO do. Mhmm.

They don’t have the advices, But they are passionate about having the Word of God in the language. So when becoming a consultant as a happening in it as a national person. When I sit down with them, we talk first before 1 to help them understand before we start checking. What I do, how will I do, what I’m gonna ask, what questions I’m gonna ask. I’m telling them that I’m not trying to understand to know that you know Bible.

I’m not I’m not doing that. I’m not trying to see that your language that brings meaning or the Word of God brings [00:13:00] meaning to your language. That’s what I want to know. Tell me what I’m asking for. So and then when we continue, And I see some definitions of the word for accurate.

We we use here. Accuracy, naturalness and clarity, we do that. And then when I see that transmission is not accurate, I tell them that this is what it says. The source text is what was taken last year, but the translation is this, but the meaning has changed a bit because we have taken the other meaning that it’s not supposed to be there. So I try to help them to adjust it again and bring them to the point that this is the world of God.

And also, I just don’t be a consultant and nobody, but I do as an adviser, mentoring, because they don’t have the advisers where I have to be patient enough to help them. And I said, dream wire masking, and let’s gain the will of God that he changed so that they understand as well, and they understand to do that. So it [00:14:00] takes a lot of time. A world to understand, then it takes time and it a lot of patience. But his point is that the Word of God must be checked, accurate, claret pain, and mutualist in their own language that they speak.

They listen. It will affect their lives. I went how to 1 of the problems in Papua New Guinea. I was helping them in consultant checking. Mhmm.

But a team will not really understand you, and even they, um, misunderstood some of the context, not the contextual issues. So I tried to help them, and I questioned them just to understand where they do understand. But it went on, so the next step I did was to act upon the word, to get up and act. For example, Genesis chapter 18, when King Richard’s came, where was Abraham? [00:15:00] And where was Abraham when he saw fiery stuff and he ran out?

He bowed down, or he knelt down and bowed down, and he questioned and asked them that they could stay so that they could wash their feet and have something to eat before they pass on because they came to the place. So that area when we were talking, they were saying different things. And, like, location of Abraham, they said they was in Mamre. And I said, where was in peace at Mamre? But But where was Abraham when this came?

So that meant also I had to act upon to become like there was Abraham, and I would do all these things then, to bring them understanding. So sometimes when you make a script, to give them an idea of. And then they understand, oh, now we understand. So it’s a lot of things you have to do. Yeah.

In a way you can help 

Emily: them. So I I really appreciate the the three-dimensional [00:16:00] nature of, your mentorship that it’s not just words, but also really digging in. How is it that people are going to be able to to learn and to grow and the fruit of the spirit being evident and that it’s patience. Being able to work in Bible translation. It’s not just about having God’s word published.

It’s about God’s word being in people’s hands and in their hearts And lives being transformed. So you have worked alongside a lot of languages, but From what I understand, you are planning on after your retirement to go back and continue working on the old testament in your village. Is that right? Correct. But retirement is not anytime soon.

It’s Being able to walk alongside and to to mentor. So what does that look like for you on the everyday of mentoring [00:17:00] New consultants, new advisers, what kinds of practical skills are you helping them, uh, walk through? 

Duncan Kasokason: First of idol used to give them the Word of God. He poured in the electronic consultants and to love the Lord. It’s not just academic.

If they want to eat, if they go to the academy and they they don’t know they don’t know the word, They don’t allow a lot, and we are not helping them to grow balanced spiritual life and then physical life as well. So what we do, we train them. But I’m not really good to teach. I love the show, but we have SL experts around here in the country. And so we PTA, NSL, we are sister organizations, and we organizations, so we ask if they could help Papuanigians to train them.

So, yeah, we do that. So sometimes we delegate the work that others who comfortable with doing all this, they [00:18:00] can help bubble conditioners, Papua New Guinean, to become consultants. So what is what we do? So training is lots of me training, but I do sort of arrange people that they can take it on and help. So we work together like this. 

Rich: What are some of the ways that you’ve seen the church or local communities just take Leadership and ownership of Bible translation, even if everybody’s not there and trained yet. Like, what’s some of the examples that you’ve seen 

Duncan Kasokason: of that? Good question. At this stage, we are reaching out to the churches, and we have still 1 church. The United States is also taking ownership.

But it’s it’s taking a while to understand all this. Also maybe 1 day we may still lose weight in doing it. But there’s not many churches, but People are taking ownership by supporting the words, um, doing that, doing fundraising and supporting the transition work, but not as church. So, well, now we are talking about how the church can take ownership. [00:19:00] And then they can have their own people to be appointed and to see the quality of the people that can be trained.

But, yeah, I mean, pastors, they they train as a servant. Yes. Good. But they also have to learn about the bulk of commission work so that they are balanced in a way they are doing. If it’s only 17, then it they could come their perspective, but they will not understand more about the world condition.

How can they become consultants in the future Mhmm. Then they had no idea what what condition. So those are the things we are still working on to see that they also be trained to become translators, and they will come to training traditional training courses. So they would understand, and they would understand how the collision works. And when they do check, they can identify the problems.

They identify the keywords. They identify the context of issues. A lot more. To become a traditional [00:20:00] consultant, there’s a lot of issues that you can find. Yeah.

Uh, in 2018, still into Bogo, a person whom I trained And he’s now a champion to say he’s he’s a he’s a good person because I trained him. Yeah. So he will always try to tell me. He sometimes call me papa because, uh, I’m older than him, and even I train him. And he feels that a yangda, so he called me papa.

Mhmm. He’s an older respect. So 1 of us, he told he asked me if I could go out there to, uh, when they cluster. Because they started doing it, so I asked me to go and train them. So when I when I go out when I went when when we went together, I went ahead and did a training, and Steven was backing me up.

And we talked more about ownership, But they [00:21:00] already started taking ownership. Mhmm. Talk to them, but they’re thinking that they should do church to Take it take home a simple Zaka Circuit is the 1 that they they started doing it. So we have to come alongside and help them and train them and give them some ideas But the Bible tell us in words. And we are willing to come alongside and help them, but they take ownership and they do themselves so that they understand, And they they will choose their own people, young people, so that they know who they are, and they can say, these are young people that they need to strange.

So we can do that, help them. But we can come alongside giving them technical support. Talk about I mean, we I taught them about ownership of You know, you can do fundraising. Mhmm. You can have your own people and see that the church manage it, and churchable.

To have the desk, television desk in your in your in part of your ministry, then people there to [00:22:00] take care of the tradition and then wake us apart level with SILBT, LBT. So they’re looking forward for it. 

Emily: 1 of the things that I heard you saying is that being a champion for the Bible translation movement In Papua New Guinea. And that it’s about walking alongside and coming alongside different language Communities and encouraging them and looking at what resources do they have, and how is it that the Lord is calling them to use those resources For his ministry so that his word can go forth. 1 of the things that we are trying to do within Lutheran Bible translators is Build up our advocacy program.

The idea that I can only be in 1 space at 1 time, Uh, sharing about the work of Bible translation. But if I am able to encourage others to be a voice for Bible translation [00:23:00] In their communities, in their homes, that the word will go out, and more people will be joining in prayer. More People will be telling about this important work. So what kinds of words of encouragement would you have for someone Who’s thinking, maybe I could use my voice for Bible translation. Maybe I can be an advocate for Bible translation.

Do you have any words of encouragement for them? 

Duncan Kasokason: Yes. However, whatever you do, whether you support the work or whether what do you do with it? As long as you are doing it, you are part of it, And you are getting the work of Babu Toldersen. We try to encourage them, You are part and parcel of this community.

Part and parcel of this community. Because Babu Toldersen it’s not about 1 person. The Bible tells us, and it’s about everybody working in different areas to make it works. Can you tell us 

Rich: what brings you the most joy in your work? 

Duncan Kasokason: Rich, thank you for that question.

[00:24:00] First thing, I love the Lord. And my life also, when I need the Lord, when I’m getting, I may hate you. I am passionate in worshiping the Lord. And when this Bible tradition is a consultant and all this, and I love Bible tradition in my life. And I leave, and I will leave until the Lord take me home.

I must do Bible translator. And I will leave, and my children I am already talking to my children. Are you gonna throw my footsteps? And I enjoy working as a baba prophetic, uh, homosexual servants, helping them giving the Word of God. A slogan that Sarah has told me, Put God words in the hands of the people.

I love the slogan. And that’s what we do, and that’s what I wanna do. And while I’m still years to go, I will still reach out to the remote areas, to the remote areas where you cannot reach. We can reach there to do consultation work, share the [00:25:00] Word of God, have other people laugh about it, and we go to church together. And we’ll prompt them, knowing that the only way through is the Word of God in the language that speaks to the heart.

Emily: How is it that we can be praying for you, Duncan, and the work That’s happening in Papua New Guinea? Yeah, pray for 

Duncan Kasokason: me. Yes. Pray God will give me enough strength and more strength and give me wisdom and knowledge. And Sometimes we do the same things, but we wanna do some more.

And strategically, we’ll be thinking differently. How can we do something different to encourage, to embrace, and to bring attention to the young generation to follow and to come up to be traffickers in the future. Yes. I’m sorry. I mean, they had travel nearly every month to other provinces in Papua New Guinea to do consultation work.

So, for example, now I’m doing consulting consulting some workforce, the way I language [00:26:00] that on your cluster. And end of this month, I’ll be doing other conservation work again. And in February, I’ll be traveling to Southern Highlands. It’s it’s out way out to where close to Yaliboyis where Sarah and I was going there. And in the remote area, I’m gonna do consulting checking for the SLT.

So I travel a lot in those areas where I’ve never been to that area, but I go there because a short distance word because people translate the word, and I go there. So I pray that the Lord will keep me safe. The Lord will strengthen me. And I’ll keep on traveling as soon as people wants me to go there to help, and people want to receive the Word of God. 

Emily: We will definitely be praying for you for strength and wisdom and safety and root and All of your mentees over the years, that they will also be going forth in wisdom and strength.

And, uh, thank you so much for [00:27:00] joining us on the podcast. It’s been a pleasure to be able to ask about your your work and the ministry that is happening and how God’s word is being Made available to people so that they can have it in their hearts. 

Duncan Kasokason: Thank you, Kelly. Thank you, Rich. 

Rich: Yeah.

Thank you. Thanks for following the Lord’s leading and investing your life in the work of translation and in so many people, that is a great blessing. And I’m sure that, uh, you see many rewards of that in this life and even the greater reward someday when you see so many people, uh, before the throne of God with you. So thank you so much. I’ll agree.

Emily: First of all, it was just amazing that we were able to connect with Duncan Kaso Kacen and the team on the ground in Papua New Guinea. The idea of the technology and our time zones, we were able to make it work, but then also So just hearing from this man of faith [00:28:00] who had been transformed by God’s word, that it became more than just a task, But something that he’s taken to heart that his his whole life is surrounded by this idea of mentorship and encouraging others To be in the word, being transformed by the word and making it available to others. 

Rich: Yeah. So we give a special, uh, production Credit here also then to Sarah Essela and, uh, Paul Fedowitz for some technical support in the background there. Duncan is 1 of many ministry entrepreneurs that we’ve been privileged to be able to come alongside and work and and resource and equip Through the More Than Words campaign, the More Than Words campaign has been able to equip a number of ministry entrepreneurs and programs over the course of the last 5 years.

You can check out a great summary video of, uh, some of that work at l b t dot org slash gathering and scroll down For a video summary of the More Than [00:29:00] Words campaign. Thank you for listening to the Essentially Translatable podcast brought to you by Lutheran Bible Translators. You can find past episodes of the podcast at l b t dot org slash podcast or subscribe on Audible, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow Lutheran Bible Translators’ social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or go to l b t dot org to find out how you can get involved in the Bible translation movement And put God’s word in their hands. The Essentially Translatable podcast is edited and produced by Audrey Seider.

Our executive producer is Emily Wilson. Artwork designed by Sarah Rudowske. Music written and performed by Rob Veidt. I’m Rich Rudowske. So long for now.


  • Duncan Kasokason is a Bible translation consultant from Papua New Guinea
  • Starting at age 30, Duncan has been involved in Bible translation since 1986
  • Training others in Bible translation is important to Duncan, he anticipates the progress made by the next generation.

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