Archive for June, 2011

June 30, 2011

Things MKs like: the school musical…

by mendibpng

This past year, our son Josiah participated in a number of fun things in his last year in Elementary/Primary School…one of the highlights this year was the school play he was in.

Before we went to the village, Josiah was “Noah” in the school musical.

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June 28, 2011

Confessions of a missionary wife in the village….the BEST of times….

by mendibpng

I’ve been asking myself, “what made it the best of times?” In a place where I felt adversity on all sides, I found a vast supply of things to be thankful for. I still struggled with self pity and frustration at times. In the worst of times, that is when God poured out his grace on me.

My Weakness
God’s strength always becomes apparent when I am weak. I would love to run my home efficiently and never see my children suffer or fight with each other. Oh and let’s just add ‘obey me every time’ to that list. A few weeks into the village stay I stopped working long enough to hear God impress on my heart that I was relying on myself. I was going to get it all done. I had been here before, and I could use my strategies and trick myself into not being overwhelmed or depressed. Nope. God was singing over me (Zephaniah 3:17) and waiting for me to let Hm rescue me. It was finally at this point that I could see the good things in the midst of the hard ones.

Very Little Culture Stress
Not only did we have few confrontations (ie no extortion attempts or threats as we had in the past) with our village neighbors, but both Ben and I had opportunities for personal ministry apart from our translation project. The mother whom  I mentioned in my last post was still estranged from her son when I left, but when she came to see me before I left, I asked her if I could pray with her. I stumbled through my limited Tok Pisin and asked God to soften her son’s heart and help him control his anger outbursts. She broke in and prayed as well, and we both asked that God would help her forgive him for hurting her.

Parenting Jewels

My (older) kids HAD to learn how to get along with each other, living in a small space and rarely having breaks from each other. They eventually played soccer outside or climbed trees with their neighbors.  They spent HOURS upon hours reading since they didn’t have movies or other gaming options (I teased them that they were ‘detoxing’ from wii, computer games and movies!)  I relished the moments when I saw Noah reading out loud to Ellie, or Joe helping her with a math problem.  They gladly helped me with taking the little ones on walks or washing dishes. I frequently heard them calling, “mom, look what Jacob/Jenny Beth is doing now…isn’t it cute?”

All three of my older kids decided to help me with the printing and stapling of the Luke primer. Not only this but they each wanted to take a sample of what our team produced to their classes at school last week.

Because of Ben
If my husband came home to a stressful situation, he readily stepped in to talk to a child who needed some extra direction. He did what he could to help with household tasks, especially doing laundry in the twin tub washer which sometimes makes me crazy. He also made me laugh. But the best thing he did for me was to pour out grace, knowing that I faced probably the hardest village stay so far. I never felt criticized or judged by what I couldn’t accomplish in a day.

Our new teammate Jessie quickly became a member of our family.

Good friends
My teammates Beth and Jessie also provided some ‘sanity relief,’ They would come by for a cup of coffee or invite me to come over and watch a show or a movie at the end of the day. When our radio e-mail worked, our friends from Ukarumpa and back home sent encouraging e-mails, standing with us in prayer.

Co-Laborers
The translators willingly translated the questions and directions needed for the primers I constructed. Beth helped me find amazing pictures to use. Beth, Jessie and Ben all helped me with editing, formatting, printing and stapling my primers. I couldn’t have pulled this off on my own.

Excellent results
Another ‘Best of Times’ aspect is how people enthusiastically received the literacy primers. When I first began planning these books three years ago, I had no idea how they would go over. I wanted to make something that would help people read the newly translated scriptures. If it was possible, I wanted to reach both fluent and beginning readers. We just learned that they sold out in Malol,  Sissano and Goiniri Onnele so far! This tells me that there is a huge felt need for Literacy. Please pray with me for God to send a literacy person to come and help me with this work!

Last reflection…

In the beginning of this post, I mentioned how God impressed on me that I couldn’t do everything on my own. I still had my ‘meltdowns’ at various times, BUT my hope stayed intact and made it possible for me to get through each day with a better attitude.

June 25, 2011

Confessions of a missionary wife…the worst of times

by mendibpng

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Charles Dickens in a Tale of Two Cities

For those of you new to this blog, we live in Papua New Guinea. We have just spent five weeks in the village. This was a momentous time in our project because Papua New Guinean translators from five of the language groups we work with took home copies of Luke and literacy primers. Our teammates Beth, Jessie and Ange completed a two week ‘walk about,’ hiking around to villages dedicating these books of Luke and encouraging church leaders and families to read God’s word in their langauge!

We travel from our training center in Ukarumpa to Arop, on the north coast near Aitape, several times a year.

This post is going to be about the hard things I encountered in the last five weeks; however, the next one will be about the ‘best of times’ aspect so I hope you will read both to get the balance.

 Reflections…

I knew this trip to the village would prove to be a personal challenge for me. I told a friend recently that this was by far the hardest time out in Arop that I’ve ever had.  I had three school aged kids to homeschool and two 20 month old toddlers to keep happy while also keeping everybody fed and clothed in the village.  I often felt that I barely made it to the end of each day. The pidgin phrase “mi no inap” (I’m not able/capable) kept coming to mind. I’ve been in the village since 2002. I pulled out every trick I knew to cope. Each day I fought weariness and frustration.

 Some challenges included:

-spending over an hour discussing why a certain child needed to write a WHOLE page of a journal entry three times a week while a baby was crying

-talking calmly with another who dissolved into tears when she found a math problem too hard

-keeping Jacob from severely injuring himself (aka The Climber and Jumper) or breaking something

-holding a clingy Jenny Beth who was sick with Malaria

-breaking up squabbles between big kids who had very little privacy or space from each other

-cooking (from scratch, no refrigeration) while the toddlers were hungry and fussy

-mopping the floor and doing the dishes only to realize they needed cleaning again

-nearly running out of food

-feeling torn between printing the literacy primers (especially when the printers didn’t seem to cooperate) and being home with my kids. Ben was in charge of the kids that last week but he was also trying to get our friend Joel’s translation up to speed since he had to leave (and come back) for a funeral. Both of us felt urgency to get the literacy/translation work done before we left.

Add these to the ‘normal’ things of village life and I was a pretty stressed out mama.  It was not uncommon for Ben to come home to a wife in tears.

I think the most distressing event of the village stay was when a church leader and trusted friend of our family beat and kicked his mother because she had asked for a grass knife from her grand-daughter in law. They yelled and shouted in plain view of our side windows, and I had to explain to my kids why our friend abused his mother. When she came for pain medicine and showed me her bruises, she tearfully and angrily told me how she would never forgive her son unless he made it right. I gave her pain medicine and prayed for another opportunity to talk to her.

This is just a little glimpse of what those five weeks were like. It wasn’t all difficult, so please feel free to come back tomorrow when I’ll post my ‘best of times’ view.

June 20, 2011

And the Word goes out….

by mendibpng

If you are on our e-mail update list, you will know that our team completed printing of the book of Luke in five languages. Our Papua New Guinean colleagues took 49 copies of Luke home, and our teammates Beth, Jessie and Ange visited these language groups in order to promote the use of these newly translated Scriptures. Each of these language groups also has a reading primer using scripture from the Christmas story, which people have enthusiastically bought as well.

Hopefully the following pictures will convey the excitement our team feels over this milestone.

Ben spent hours typesetting (formatting) the Lukes. Here he prints a proof copy for Malol translators Petrus and Phillip to check over before the final copy prints.

Printed Luke hot off the presses! The Onnele men assembled books by cutting the A4 pages, stapling the sides, covering them with the cover and taping the edges with cloth book tape.

Getting the word into villages often required hiking through swamps and travelling in dugout canoes. Our teammates Beth and Ange are pictured here. (Picture by Jessie).

Our friend Rosa looking at the literacy primer with a group of children. We heard that the primer has been selling out in many places. In Sissano, people ordered 400 more copies!

Beth ended her Scripture Use talk in all the language groups with asking local pastors to gather and pray over the book of Luke. They also prayed for the translators, who felt encouraged by the community support of their work!

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