SIL Pacific

Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association Welcomes New Leader

Our partner organization, Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association has welcomed their new Director, Tony Kotauga. This story is taken from the July issue of the PNG BTA publication, In Our Words.

The PNG Bible Translation Association (BTA) welcomed its third appointed Director, Mr Tony Kotauga, during its 35th Anniversary on 4 July 2015 at the SIL Centre in Ukarumpa, Eastern Highlands Province. 

Reverend Jacob Harry anointed Tony Kotauga with oil, then founding Director, David Gela, prayed for him. Following the prayer of blessing and dedication David Gela along with his wife Sineina knelt down and washed the feet of their successors, signifying servant leadership. As a symbol of stepping into his new role, Tony and his family walked across the stage to be embraced by the Board of BTA. Then together with David and Sineina they walked to the opposite side of the stage to be welcomed by Wycliffe Global Alliance CEO Kirk Franklin indicating David’s initiation into his new role as Pacific Islands Affairs Director. In turn, Tony prayed for David.

Photo: SIL Executive Director, Freddy Boswell with newly appointed PNG BTA Director, Tony Kotauga

Members of the Cassowary Road United Church in Lae who released Tony in March 2014 ushered him into his leader-ship role with special music, dances and a prayer by Dr John Beaso. Likewise, the Gela family and village Church from Rikau, West New Britain led by David’s cousin, David Ura, stood with their missionary to celebrate his long service with BTA and encourage him as he stepped into his new role in the wider Wycliffe Global Alliance. Freddy Boswell, SIL Executive Director, gave a speech in Solomon Islands Pijin and Kirk Franklin (who grew up in PNG), gave advise to Tony in Tok Pisin. 

Leaders of partner organizations in the Bible translation ministry came to witness this milestone in BTA history. From overseas were Kirk Franklin (Wycliffe Global Alliance CEO) and his wife Christine, Mark Taber (SIL Pacific Area Director), Barry Borneman (Wycliffe Australia Director) and his wife Marg, Freddy Boswell (SIL Exectuve Director), and David Nicholls (SIL Pacific Area Training Coordinator and Organisational Development Consultant). Leaders based in PNG were SIL PNG Director David Tute, and Wycliffe Associates PNG Program Managers, James and Denese Forkkio.

After the worshipful ceremony the celebration continued with a mumu (food cooked underground with heated stones). The community meal was contributed by the valley churches and prepared especially by the Obura people. SIL friends also brought food to share. About five hundred people gathered that day and there was plenty of food left. Speeches, dances, songs and giving of presents continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening. 

The day was set aside for celebration, remembering all God has done in and through BTA over the past 35 years and rejoicing in anticipation of all he will continue to do under the godly leadership of BTA’s new director Tony Kotauga.

Read more about the appointment on the SIL website here: Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association appoints new Executive Director