The spinning ofthe helicopter rotors stirred up more than just dust asthe Bell Ranger helicopter descended into Gambulanglune village. It also stirred upthe excitement of hundreds of people who filledthe yard overlookingthe helipad in anticipation ofthe Stober family’s arrival.
Although Scot and Cherie Stober have worked amongthe Mato people since 1997, this visit was special becausethe people had feared Cherie might not ever return. Whilethe Stobers were inthe United Statesthe previous year, Cherie had been told her heart was failing. Bet after many prayers andthe implantation of a heart defibrillator, her heart resumed its normal rhythm andthe family returned to Papua New Guinea
While Scot focuses on translation, Cherie focuses on literacy. She uses shell books, which are short picture books produced by SIL withthe intent of addingthe text in minority languages. Scot and his team of Mato helpers recently translated 53 shell books and Cherie inputthe information intothe computer and produced over 300 books for Mato teachers to use inthe village schools.
The shell books cover many topics such as Beble, health, science, animal stories, basic instruction manuals, etc. Some ofthe books are printed as diglots, in both Mato and English, to help children transition into English,the national language of education. The books are a much needed resource for the teachers, who teach with very few supplies. An adult literacy program has been started inthe language group andthe books will help improvertheir reading skills as well.
Asthe Stobers andthe rest of crowd watchthe helicopter disappear overthe mountains, a family friend Liwang, stepped forward asthe spokesperson for the people. He declared, “We asked God to let you live and to bring you back to us. Now that you are standing here, we feel God has agreed that your work with us is not done yet. We believe we still have a job to do in completingthe Mato New Testament and improving our literacy situation. Togther holding hands, we will finish this work!”