Haruai | Papua New Guinea (2010)

It started with one teenager

Thanks to the work of LBT missionaries Rev. Dr. John and Maila Davies and others, the Haruai speaking people in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea can now read God’s Word in their own language.

The Davies, LBT associate missionaries, first met Lukson (then Ikip) as a teenager Dec. 25, 1986. He knocked on their door in Dusin, Papua New Guinea. “Excuse me,” he said. “I heard that you are translating the Bible for the Kobon people. Can you please help me to translate some verses of the Bible for my people?”

Lukson stayed in the Davies’ home for a week and left with about 10 key verses recorded on a cassette and a hand crank cassette player to play the verses in his village. At the time, there was not yet an alphabet for the Haruai language. Some months later, Lukson returned and reported that his people liked them very much and wanted more.

So began the task of working with Lukson to translate the New Testament into Haruai. It took 23 years from start to finish. The translation and typesetting finished in 2009. The New Testament was distributed to the Haruai people on April 18, 2010, during celebrations held in the village of Fankfank.

The Haruai people

The 2,000 speakers of the Haruai language live in the westernmost corner of Madang Province in Papua New Guinea. Haruai schools were organized there more than 10 years ago. Lukson serves as the superintendent of the Haruai Living Word School District. Hundreds of children have passed through the school system, learned to read and write their language, and have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Many school children were among the crowd of 1,200 who welcomed the Haruai New Testament into their hearts and lives. People from the Kobon, Minimib, Hagahai and other language areas also joined the celebration.

God’s Words in their words

Although Lukson has attended New Testament dedication ceremonies for other language groups, none held more meaning than seeing the Word of God come to his own people in their own language. “As the Haruai, Kobon, and Minimib school children and teachers carried the cartons of New Testaments into the celebration arena, Lukson was sobbing,” said Rev. Davies.

New Testaments were presented to each child who had graduated from Lukson’s school. They were presented also to Haruai teachers and representatives from various Haruai communities. The celebration also included games, contests, and Scripture reading.

Per Lukson’s request, the cover of the Haruai New Testament is green. “The Word of God is alive, so it should be green!”


LBT is seeking Lutherans to serve overseas through the ministry of Bible translation and Scripture Engagement. If you feel that God may be leading you towards missions, LBT may have a place for you.