Hi All! Before we begin this post, I just wanted to say how sorry I am that this post has been so long in coming. I have been hearing from Deborah and getting pictures, but just haven’t sat down to write anything… I am sure what follows will more than make up for it though–Deborah has sent me a blog post written by her for this week! 🙂 The following is her post, including an invitation to hear her read a poem she wrote about PNG at Collin College (via Skype) and many pictures following at the end of her update. Thank-you all for supporting and uplifting Deborah in your prayers!
I came back in the kitchen where Aunt Sylvia was cooking diner. “I’m glad I’m not in America,” I looked down and chuckled at my attire, “I’m wearing flowers and plaid!” Oh sure, people care about how they dress here, but protocol is more laid back. For instance, wearing both a skirt and tennis shoes makes half a common outfit for going out and about.
God is providing many ways for my health to be elevated. Besides Aunt Sylvia’s amazing cooking and superpower in smoothie-making, one thing I do is a daily workout called Max T3, where I exercise twenty seconds as hardcore as I can then rest twenty seconds. Max T3 is a rotation of twenty seconds on twenty seconds off for about twelve minutes. I haven’t been sick in over a month now! Do please pray that my lips would heal properly. Ever since I got dehydrated on the plane back from Wewak the sides of my lips keep tearing.
God is also providing a number of mini jobs and observations.
- In mid-January, I was one of the recreation leaders and drama participants for Holiday Bible School. One of the games we played involved passing potatoes, bananas, and sock balls. In my enthusiasm, I encouraged the kids to quickly “Pasim! Pasim!” which I thought meant “to pass” in Tok Pisin, Papua New Guinea’s national trade language. Turns out, however, I was telling them to fasten the potatoes! The kids who knew English might have understood what I was trying to say. Haha. Acting is an art I’ve always enjoyed, so I was pleased to be on the drama team as well as a game leader. In one skit I was sheep, in another skit I was a temptationer, and in a third skit I had a spoken line in Tok Pisin. The kiddos at Holiday Bible School loved when I went up and “BAA”ed at them; they found me humorous. #selfamusementwithanaudience
- A couple months ago, I got to fly to Wewak, PNG for a three-week Oral Bible Storytelling course. Half the sixty participants were barefooted pastors. There’s no way you can tell me that isn’t the coolest pastors’ conference you’ve ever heard of! Aye, John Carl? My favorite part of being in Wewak was cooking meals with Joann and Agnes. Joann and Agnes helped me with my Tok Pisin. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions to them concerning structure and word differences. They were happy to explain and repeat sentences in Tok Pisin when I didn’t understand what was being said or asked. Sometimes when we were done cooking, we’d sit and sing hymns. Joann and Agnes always made me feel welcome in the kitchen.
- I enjoyed washing mugs, serving coffee, attending workshops, and hearing Bible stories told in Tok ples (the villagers’ first language. Eleven language groups were represented). It was encouraging to see the course participants’ sincerity when they sang, prayed, learned Bible stories, recited Bible stories, and acted out Bible stories through drama. One thing I’ll miss when I’m back in America is praise songs sung in Tok Pisin.
- I have a birthday tradition of shooting bows and arrows, so while I was in Wewak I made my own bow and arrow out of sticks and long pieces of grass and decorated the ends with flowers. It worked, too! Abigail, an eleven year old missionary kid (who a couple days later arranged a surprise birthday party for me! So sweet! African themed meal on the floor), shot arrows with me.
- When I came back from Wewak I was asked to be an English tutor for a 6th grade Korean girl. I was hesitant to accept the position at first because of my lack of explaining things well, but after praying I felt like it was something God wanted me to do and I wanted to give it a try. Jenny and I hit it off well. Jenny is a great student. My role is to make up extra reading and writing assignments to do with her. I like to present the assignments as games; work is lighter when you’re having fun.
- I was also asked to be the piano accompanist for the children’s choir, but after practicing the pieces I found I’m not at an accompanist level yet. I would’ve enjoyed being the accompanist had my current skill level been higher. The pieces chosen were fun to play!
- I’ve finished keyboarding the Kaluli handwritten book of Mathew into the computer and am now back translating the book of John! That means I’m now keyboarding the handwritten literal English version of what the Kaluli scripture means and looking at context to make notes when things are missing, added, and need to be checked.
- Last month I joined a Bible study called “Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer. The study is based on Ephesians 6:10-19 and each week adds on a new piece of spiritual armor. Priscilla Shirer, the author, emphasizes to craft personalized prayer strategies for victory, and in addition we pray with a group member after group discussion of the Bible study each week. It’s cool to see God answer specific prayer. One of the weeks we watched War Room, a movie Priscilla Shirer stars in! I moved to Papua New Guinea just before War Room hit theaters; needless to say, I was excited to see it and recommend the movie.
- I also joined the Easter choir. I don’t have much of a range, but I do enjoy singing, especially to praise God. Good thing altos don’t hop all around town (musically. We don’t move much). Bonus tidbit for your reading pleasure: I like to feel the vibration of voices on sheet music. Additionally, when I was in the adult choir at my home church in Garland, TX, a cellist came one day and I couldn’t hear the cellist over the mixture of voices (even though our choir isn’t that big), but I could feel the pitches the cello made by the vibrations beneath my feet.
- Starting March 22nd, on Ethan’s 20th birthday, two Kaluli men will come to Ukarumpa and work with us for one month. I’m excited to meet them! I’m hoping I’ll get to visit the Kaluli village in Mount Bosavi eventually. It’s probable that we may go sometime in June. I was invited to visit a couple villages while I was in Wewak. Incredible. One of the villages greeted us with a personalized four-part harmony song and showered us with flower petals as we sat in the sand under palm trees (no worries, Ethan; the coconuts were already gathered from these trees), right off the coast line while dogs and chickens ran free… not necessarily running together. It rained during most of our time at this village, and the palm leaves kept us dry until the mist became a storm, at which point we moved to a roofed area. Have you ever seen drops on sand? It’s neat. In mid-day before leaving, they shared several kinds of fruit with us—watermelon, papaya, cantaloupe, banana, pineapple, sugarcane, kulau.
- I’m excited to announce… *drumroll.* (No, Faith, there aren’t any potential boys lined up ;P ) You’re invited to attend the 30th Anniversary of the poetry reading for the Forces 2016 Literary Journal! I would love for you to come! Since I have a poem published in this year’s Forces Literary Journal, I’ve been offered to make a special appearance via Skype to read my poem titled “Tropical Raindrops.” A Skype test was held a couple days ago to see if the connection would work properly and the test went better than I could’ve imagined! The quality was crystal clear on my end and it sounded like the video and audio was good Stateside too, good enough to proceed with me being a reader for the event anyhow!
- Forces 2016 Poetry Reading
- Free and open to the public
- Wednesday, March 23rd 2:30pm to 4:00pm (I’m scheduled to read around 2:45pm)
- Collin College, Conference Center Section D2, 800 E. Spring Creek Parkway Plano, Texas 75074
- In my free time, I experiment with acrylic paint the Groshes surprised me with for Christmas (so glad I brought paint brushes from home!), play squabble (a twist based off of scrabble) with Aunt Sylvia, create music with the Grosh’s keyboard (also a surprise, I didn’t know they had a keyboard until after arriving), sit on the couch while Uncle Andy tinkers (Uncle Andy is good at fixing things), Skype text with family :-D, SLEEP, and visit with people at the Elim Haus (a library + coffee shop + lounge). Evening events occur just about every week. High school theatrical play, band concerts, choir concerts, teens vs. men basketball, burger night, Crowd (singles group) game nights, formal dinners, speaker from overseas with a seminar on TCKs (Third Country Kids), evening worship, the list goes on. With all that happens in the community, it’s easy to constantly meet new people and make new friends.
I LOVE poking my head in different places and seeing what I’m good at and how the Lord can use me. I definitely haven’t been twiddling my thumbs in Papua New Guinea! I’m thankful I can be a help here and it’s thanks to your support and God’s grace.
Please ask the Lord to sustain my energy, to give me wisdom when working on back translation, and for a joyful heart in moments of home sickness. I got dreadfully homesick in Wewak, even though my time there was amazing. Coming back home to extended family was healthy for me, and I know I’ll see my immediate family again soon. Before leaving the States I imagined this year would go by quickly and I was right; it’s already been four months!
Thank you, prayer warriors!!! And thank you, Anna, for keeping my blog updated! I don’t know how you do it!
This is a verse I memorized while I was sick earlier in the year. The verse is on a banner made from bark and hangs on one of the Grosh’s walls.
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” – Isaiah 58:11
Here are some pictures from the Holiday Bible School Deborah described helping with above. Roughly 450 kids came each day.
These are pictures from Deborah’s time in Wewak.