Student heads for PNG with Bible translation group

Faith, Normal

The National, Thursday July 19th, 2012

JESSICA Gettemy has never spent much time away from home and family.
That is about to change for the University of Georgia linguistics major as she embarks for a month-long trip to Papua New Guinea to work on translations of the Holy Bible.
Gettemy boards a flight in Atlanta bound for Dallas, Texas. She will spend a week there for orientation before hopping on another jet to a village called Lavege, in West New Britain, 10,000 miles away from her home.
Gettemy will be gone nearly a month, far longer than she has ever spent away from Athens and hometown Woodstock.
Once in the village, she will work with five other young women and three trip leaders from Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Founded in 1942, the organisation is dedicated to translating the Bible into every remaining language. They have got plenty of work in Papua New Guinea, where more than 850 languages are spoken.
“Workers with the group are translating the Bible into the Manseng language spoken by people in Lavege,” she said.
Gettemy will spend some time learning the rudiments of their language, and teaching them some English, and will take part in a community service project before spending a couple of days in Australia and returning home on Aug 10.
She will get to spend several days living with a family in the village, seeing and taking part in their everyday activities.
“That’s what I’m most excited about,” she said.
She does not really know what is in store.
“I’ve seen a few pictures. I have an idea what their huts look like,” said Gettemy, a UGA honours programme student.
 “A lot of people ask me: ‘Is this a mission trip?’
“It’s more likely to be a learning trip,” she said.
Even with all the unknowns, or maybe because of them, Gettemy said she was excited in general about the trip, which she said combined her two loves – her Christian faith and linguistics.
Gettemy, a junior, came to UGA with little idea of what she wanted to major in, but once she took her first college linguistics course, she knew.
She has been learning about missionary work, including a course she took this spring through St James United Methodist church.
She has not decided yet whether mission work might be in her future.
“But travel definitely will be,” she said.
“I want to go, and explore, and see, and meet people.”