by Nevin Nitschke

Meeting Hanna Schulz is to meet an intelligent, passionate and articulate woman with degrees in linguistics, anthropology and theology. The other thing you quickly sense is her love for Jesus and the trust she places in their relationship.

Hanna has served in Bible translation work in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for 10 years. Based at the Wycliffe translation community of Ukarumpa in the highlands, she makes regular trips by boat to the delta area of the Gulf Province. She says there is ‘huge need’ for linguists, translators and disciple-makers to come alongside PNG Christians. PNG has about 200 languages in which Bible translation is yet to start.

‘When I moved to PNG 10 years ago, I was expecting to come for a lifetime of service, and this is still my strong sense’, she says. ‘Recently, as I travelled the rivers to my village, Ubuo, I had a real sense of peace about where I was going and what I was doing.

‘While my job description is Bible translation, my biggest goal is disciples. Even more than that, the goal is disciples who make disciples. To see people living a love-filled, joy-filled, hope-filled life in God, and staying close to God through the hard times while encouraging others to do the same, is my greatest joy.’

In her first three years in PNG, Hanna describes her contribution as being ‘a generally helpful linguist’. In 2015, she began work with the Kope people.

‘I work with a team of Kope translators, SIL (formerly Summer Institute of Linguistics) colleagues, and colleagues from other missions but, most importantly, God is always with me’, she says. ‘At all times, the one who knows me best and loves me the most, is with me in whatever is going on.

‘The big development in my role is in the amount that I am now reaching out to neighbouring languages, and in the amount of workshop-based training we are providing. A multi-language project is starting this year, using Oral Bible Storying (OBS) – a translation approach that focuses on telling Bible stories in local languages in an engaging way.’

What are the greatest challenges of her service? ‘People and relationships – such as being seen as an endless source of cargo or cash and saying goodbye to people I have loved working alongside in PNG’, she says.

‘This year held the biggest challenge I have faced in life, as my sister Clare died of cancer. She was one of the most important people in my life.’

Despite these and other challenges, Hanna says, ‘God keeps things going’.

‘I am glad that, when I started, I did not know all the challenges I was going to face, as I probably would have run away’, she says. ‘Growing and learning in stages … this is how God looks after us and draws us into his work at a pace we can bear.

Thank you, Hanna, for 10 years of Bible translation work and for constantly pointing us to Jesus!

Nevin Nitschke is an LCA International Mission program officer. You can donate to support Hanna’s work at

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