Why?

-Elna-

In three short days, we plan to move to Mawerero. It is quiet, my family are all still asleep. I sat down with my Bible this morning, resolved to make sure that my heart and mind is still focussed on my Saviour. Because in the excitement and craziness of moving, it would be easy to forget why we are moving. Why would we uproot our family, come to the other side of the planet, and move to a remote village? Why go live there? Why put ourselves and our friends and family through this trial of being apart? Why would we take the time, and do the hard work of learning the local language and culture? Why translate Scripture? Why pick the ‘hard way’? Why not just come for a little while, use a translator, and add another story to their story-telling culture? 

I started jotting down some notes, and I am more convinced than ever that we need to keep moving forward…

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One month of village life

-Elna-

We’ve been living in Mawerero for a month. During the first two weeks, we focussed on getting our home ready for ‘normal’ life here – building new stairs, building desks, organising things inside the house… The plan was to start language learning (completing our Tok Pisin learning) after that.

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Know Things, New Things

culture shock

 – noun

the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.


We were warned that we’d experience some degree of culture shock during our first weeks here in PNG. Thankfully, God blessed us with wonderful team mates who have made the transition so much easier! They often explain ‘little things’ that are helpful to know – like ‘a carton of eggs’ is a box with 9 dozen eggs, not one dozen! We often think of how much harder it must have been when the three families from GBC arrived…

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Learning Tok Pisin

“And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech”… Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth…” Genesis 11:6-9


After a few weeks of language learning, I still need to admit ‘Mi no save gut Tok Pisin’ (I do not know Tok Pisin well). But we are learning! God has blessed us with the most patient lady as language helper – Maria repeats herself multiple times, and answers the same questions repeatedly without so much as a sigh! So we are pressing ahead.

We are now at a point where we are trying not to speak English at all anymore with Maria or other nationals. But that means double checking a lot that we’ve been understood correctly (with any important conversations we check in English). And a simple question like ‘What is the word for rich?’ becomes ‘What is the name that you give a man or woman who has a lot of money?’. Add to that a lot of pauses while we search for the right word or phrase, and conversations take a bit longer than usual.

Why this emphasis on learning Tok Pisin and then nDo?

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One year

Elna

Our original plan was to arrive in PNG on 24 September 2017. It is now one year later.

We could speculate about all the reasons God had for not allowing us to be there yet. And I do often make a list in my mind of all the many blessings that have come from spending this year in South Africa instead. But in the end, it comes down to this…

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Seven!

Elna

Our baby is officially seven. Crazy. He responded to a writing prompt just before his birthday: “If I was a punctuation mark, I would be… an exclamation mark! I would be loud! I would be tall! And be strong! And rule them all!”

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Double digits

Children are a blessing, a reward! We’ve been parents for 10 years now. Crazy. Our girl is sweet, silly and yet seriously thoughtful. We love that she can make up the strangest songs and stories, and also ask very deep theological questions.

Happy tenth birthday, Calista! May you continue to grow in your understanding of, and love for the Word of God. May Lord Jesus capture your heart, so that you will become a young lady after his own heart.

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