Christmas Time is here…

Picture time!!!

-Christmas candy/chips in the package from my mom
-Christmas with the Driggers is a wonderful time indeed! Their family has adopted me and I couldn’t be more thankful for them. Our Christmas day adventures include:
-opening the gifts the Driggers and some of my students got for me (milk, cookies, and a Christmas glass, a homemade heating pack, and sour skittles!)
-completing the 1000 piece puzzle we started 3 days earlier
-Coloring Tia’s white converse she got for Christmas
-and watching the new Spiderman movie

It was a fantastic day!!!! Merry Christmas!!!

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It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like…

Christmas…

Welp, Term 2 is coming to a close, which means Christmas break is upon us!! I am VERY excited/slightly disgruntled about break. There are many plans of jovial nature which will be taking place, but they will, sadly, not include some of my closet friends here in Ukarumpa. Two are going home to the States for the lamest reason I can think of: one is getting married and the other is attending the wedding J. The other will be making his way over to New Zealand for a vacation with his family. If my son moved to the Pacific, I’d take advantage of it too 🙂 .

But, fret not, many of my kids have accepted the burden of “Rigsby entertainment” over break and I have the feeling many movies will be watched.

As Christmas season approaches, wet season approaches. It has rained everyday this week. And by rain, I mean RAIN. Like, the kind of rain that would cause flash flooding in Houston and tornado watches in Dallas.

Here is a picture:

Anywho, being from Texas, the weather is not my defining quality for Christmas. When I was young, Christmas meant the end of basketball season (check!), then end of school (check!), and listening to Christmas music (check!), and preparing for a Christmas performance (check!). All of these requirements are currently taking place here in Ukarumpa, so my Christmas season is coming on nicely.

The real reason for this post is because I have been thinking lately about my roll here in Ukarumpa and how crazy awesome it is that Jesus has put me here. I am beginning to realize more and more that Jesus does indeed have reasons for the way He makes us. For example, those of you who know me well can concur that I have the “knows a little about a lot” syndrome. If I have seen it done, I want to learn how to do it or try to do it on my own. This quality comes in very handy on the mission field when some one needs a video edited, or an impromptu guitarist/drummer, or a sound tech, or a backstage crew member for a play, or a youth group leader, or a softball helper, or asst. baskeball coach, or… the list goes on J.

I also now see the way Jesus has been working in me over the past couple of years, sorting things out in my life and giving me a better understanding of Him and how I relate to Him and others. Because of this, I have had many conversations with my kids and have been able to speak into their lives while they deal with similar situations. I tell the students all of the time, “I’m here to serve you.” And that’s what God has brought me here to do. To serve Him by serving others and loving them the way He has loved. A parent who is a language consultant said at the youth service last week, “We worked on a translation for 13 years and once it was complete, we chose to move here so our boys could go to a good school.”

That is why I am here. To make a good community and school so language workers don’t have to worry about their children’s education and can focus on translation.  I am here so that parent’s know that while they are away in the village and their children have to stay in Ukarumpa, that there are adults who will speak into their children’s lives and ensure that they are loved and cared for while they are away.

The way I describe being here to my students is that, back the US, teaching and church and what I was doing there felt good. I was happy and content. But here. Here feels right. The puzzle piece is in place and the fit is perfect. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I LOVE HERE. And even more so, I am thankful that Jesus saw fit to make me for here and to bring me here.

Peace out, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving dessert!

(The lip of the can was upside down)

Rigsby

Carnival, Basketball, and Uncle Lida…

Uncle Lida…

Yes, it’s true. I have procured yet another Ukarumpan nickname: Uncle Lida

Here in Ukarumpa, the tiny children will call you Mr. or Ms. Frist Name, then when they get to know you and like you, you become Aunt or Uncle First name. My friend Kelly and her family (including a 4 yr old little boy) were on a walk the other day when I stepped outside to see them. Here is what transpired:

Me: “Hey, Will!
Kelly: “Will, say ‘Hi’ to Aunt Leah.
Will: “Hi Aunt Lida!”
Kelly: “No, Will, Aunt LE-AH”
Will: “Aunt Lida!!”
Kelly: “Will, no…”
Will: “… … … UNCLE Lida!”

Now, when I see their family, I am greeted by Will and his five year old sister with shouts of “Uncle Lida!”

Precious moments are always around the corner here in PNG.

*          *          *

Well folks, it’s been a while since I last updated so here is what has transpired:

BASKETBALL

I. LOVE. MY. GIRLS. And I love them more when they pass the ball. They know this because I yelled this at them yesterday during our game 🙂

Here in international rules land, basketball can be quite confusing when coming from America.  And by quite confusing I mean that really the only difference is that when shooting free throws you play on the RELEASE of the ball rather than when the ball hits the rim. Quite exciting. Also, depending on where you are you may play 10 minute halves…or 20 minutes halves… or 5 minutes halves, depending on the mood of the tournament coordinators 🙂 I love it!!!

  

TRICK OR TREAT

Halloween came and went here in PNG. Here are some of my favorite moments:

Tuesday, 30 Oct – During class

Student: “Hey, isn’t Halloween supposed to be sometime?”
Me: “It’s tomorrow.”
Student: “I KNEW there was something about October 31st, but I couldn’t figure it out!”

Wednesday, 31 October, 12:30pm
11th Grader: “RIGSBY! Hey, you should come trick or treating with us tonight!”
Me: “Uhh…OK, but only if we go to houses where we won’t offend people.”
Other student: “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We have to go to the boys Bible study though. I told my boyfriend we were going trick or treating so he’s going to bring candy for us.”
Me: …
11th Grader: “Yay! This is going to be great! I’ve never been trick or treating before!”

Wednesday, 31 October, 8:30pm
*knock knock knock* “Trick or treat!!!”
Mom: “Yay! Oh quick get the little ones so they can see the costumes!!!! I was hoping some people would come tonight! Here have some cookies! *little kids come out* Look at their costumes guys! Yay!!”

Wednesday, 31 October, 10:00pm
*we finish and walk to the house of a girl in our group so her mom can drive us home*
*as we approach her house*…
Girl: “Oh guys! Trick or treat me!!” *runs into house and waits for us to knock*

Here is our little group of 11th and 12th graders and me:

We have 3 “Goth” people, a nerd, and I was a “gangster” i.e. I didn’t go home between school and trick or treating so one of the girls gave me a huge sweater and a hat 🙂

And last but not least…

CARNIVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carnival is a yearly event in Ukraumpa organized by the SRC (think, Student Council) and all of the secondary campus students. It is their main service project to the community to provide a full day of fun for the elementary students as well as nationals who come from around the area to attend as well.  The proceeds of the event are donated to a charity in PNG as chosen by the students. Each grade level is responsible for two booths. These booths include, but are not limited to:

-Mini Golf
-Cotton Candy
-Maze
-Kid’s Corner
-Pizza
-BBQ
-Burrito
-Coffee Café
-Face Painting
-Man Powered Ferris Wheel

I’m sorry… did you say man powered Ferris Wheel?

Yes, yes I did.

Pictures speak louder than words so, here we go:

That’s all for now… Peace out!

Leah Rigsby

Birthday Tape, Birthday Cakes, Birthday Hat, Birthday ‘Merica…

It’s my party and I’ll… do a whole bunch of crazy stuff…

It’s official! No matter what time zone you’re in, I am 26 years old. That’s right, twenty–six October 13ths ago, I was forcibly taken from my mother’s womb after she waited in the hospital for a week as her blood pressure rose and rose and rose… but I digress.

One of my friends asked me what my birthday would normally consist of in the States. Well…

–       waking up to some door décor

–       a candy/iTunes/movie package from my parents

–       a “surprise” party on the actual October 13th

–       a “real” party/dinner (Mexican!) that weekend

–       various other activities including but not limited to movies, shopping, Galveston, etc…

–       and this past year, my mom and grandmother came down to Houston from Dallas to celebrate!

(full coverage of last years extravaganza can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AlNbtCqp5I )

So, what’s a birthday like in a town with no malls, no restaurants, and no movies theaters

SUPER FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!

We shall begin at the beginning … the evening of 12 October… (sorry ‘Mericans, that’s how dates are done here)

-We watched Hook! You know, 1991, Robin Williams as Peter Pan, Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell? One of my all time favorite movies. After which…

-I came home to find myself TAPED! Here in Ukarumpa, toilet paper is way too expensive (and messy) to use to “TP” someone’s house. Instead, old, scratched, moldy, video tape is used. I was very happy.

Footage can be seen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJwbvyWJhh4

And here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e02rJ7_Bfl8

Which leads to the morning of my actual birthday, 13 October, PNG Time…

-Breakfast with Mandy!! Who needs Starbucks when people run a coffee shop out of their house every weekend?

-Then I had worship band practice with the high school kids I mentor. They are so GOOD! They tried to sing me happy birthday, but I didn’t let them because we were running out of time and still had songs to go over.

(Some time during these events, two of my 7th grade students dropped of a cake at my house)

-Immediately following that rehearsal I had… another rehearsal! This one was for the Sunday morning service being led by the 12th Graders, in which I got to play drums. It was a good time.

-After a musically filled afternoon what could be better than… Youth Group with the 7th and 8th Graders!! We had a swell time playing a game of 3-way tug-of-war and then just chilling in the Teen Center.

– Following this, I was invited to a grand birthday dinner by friend Donna and her roommate Jessica.

I then had to leave early to go to…

– 9th and 10th Grade Youth Group!! Two of my kids surprised me with ANOTHER cake… but no knives or forks. So… I had to cut the cake with one of the candles.

We then played a rousing game of “German” Uno after I taught them the crazy rules.

Additional footage can be seen here: http://youtu.be/aXh09JcgrNA

-Then I went home and went to bed.

Which leads to… my birthday US Central Standard Time!! 14 October, PNG time…

-Played the drums at church. Woo!!

– Birthday lunch with the crew! – Mandy, Amanda, Donna, Alan, (all of the Lae Trip) and my roommate Laura.

– Rehearsal again with the band I mentor, then the youth service they were playing for that night.

-At the end of the youth service, I was lovingly told by one of my Senior girls to “GO HOME! You have to be home in thirty minutes!!” So, I was graciously escorted home and an hour later this happened:

I’m told the cow’s name is “Cowsby” and the reason I was given clothes is because we were talking earlier that day about how I came to PNG with only one suitcase and I don’t have enough variety of clothing.

And last, but certainly not least, my birthday was celebrated by friends in Texas! They went out for Mexican food in my honor and had, yet another, cake.

So, you can be the judge of the amazingness of missionary birthdays, but I ask you… when was the last time you got four cakes for…well…anything?

Peace out!

Rigsby (as I am lovingly known by my kids)

ENCOUNTER!

Hello all! It has been quite a while since the last update. Once I tell you of all the amazing things that have happened, you will understand why and be forgiving, I am sure.

But, first things first:

I love my kids.

I use the word “my” in the broadest since of the term since I only officially teach about 30 of them. But between impromptu coaching, worship leading mentoring, youth group officiating, and a little adventure called Encounter… I officially dub all of the students my kids.

They are fantastic people and have made this little adventure of mine gloriously amazing.

Moving on from sentimentality… WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON IN PNG?!

Well, let me give you the bulleted version:

–       a couple of more earthquakes (I still just freeze and look around. I haven’t quite graduated to getting under furniture yet)

–       The end of Term 1 (a.k.a 1st Nine Weeks)

–       a trip to Lae! – here’s some video:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_-SfqPe1Dw

–       Teacher Professional Development weekend… we played four square 🙂

–       Encounter: To be spoken of at length later

–       The start of Term 2 (a.k.a 2nd Nine Weeks)

–       Coaching Basketball… tryouts ended today and the other coaches and I will be selecting teams tomorrow.

 

So, as you can see, it was not my fault for the lack of updating, but the fullness if my calendar. But enough excuses, let’s move on to the task at hand… ENCOUNTER!

 

Ah, Encounter. “Encounter” is the title given to the high school (9th – 12th) Spiritual Retreat. Take a good ol’ fashioned summer youth camp, compact it into 4 days and place it during a school break, and you have the very essence of Encounter.

IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Getting there was a challenge as you can see…

 

In short, we drove to a bridge, unloaded everything, walked it across the bridge, and reloaded other vehicles on the other side.

Piece of cake.

The week… well four days… went by in a blur of worship sessions, games, discussion groups, excellent food, a talent night, and (semi) restful nights.

(Talent show link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB5mCq3cDQE)

Talent Show – “The Boy Band”                                              Games – “Kajabe Can Can”

The speaker came from Australia and the worship band consisted of upperclassmen members of the two worship teams that lead the youth on Sunday nights. I have heard my fair share of teen worship bands… and these guys were AMAZING. I wish I had had a group like them to play with in high school. They rocked!

Welp, that’s about all for now. I apologize for the choppiness of this post… it’s time for bed 🙂

Peace out!

Rigsby

Translation and Tournaments

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things: of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax, of cabbages, and updates from Papua New Guinea.”

Yeah. I adapted the quote a tad bit.

Hello everyone! I apologize for the delay but there have been MANY, MANY happenings here in PNG since my last update. Such as:

-organizing over 20 high school students to shoot different parts of a rules video

-Tok Pisin lessons

Image

 

 

 (my lap during the Tok Pisin worship service: dictionary, journal, English Bible, Tok Pisin Bible)

 

 

-many softball practices and a softball tournament in Goroka (I actually left Ukarumpa!)

– high school worship band mentoring

-7th and 8th grade youth activities helping

-Women’s Retreat djembe playing

-Church service drum playing

oh yeah, and teaching children…you know, the job I came here to do 🙂

All of these things have been fantastic, but I would like to focus on a church service that happened a few weeks ago. The service was centered around all of the new Bible translations completed in PNG in the past year. The count? 33!!! Translations include New Testaments, Old Testaments, Revisions, Audio Bibles, Jesus Videos, individual books of the Bible, and publications of translations on the web. The service included a procession of individuals holding copies of their translations as they walked down the middle aisle of the church one by one. When his language group was called, one man proceeded down the aisle cheering in celebration of his language group’s translation. I sat behind the drums and cried like a baby.

Image

The service happened about 5 weeks after I have been here and it was like Jesus was slapping me in the face with “THIS IS WHY YOU ARE HERE!” It is SO easy to get caught up in teaching, or band mentoring, or whatever job you have to forget that we are doing these things for God’s Kingdom. I am teaching so that these kids parents can work on these very translations, or pilot planes to fly the cargo to these villages, or work at the print shop here to print children’s Bible stories while the “big” translation is waiting to be finished. This is our goal. That God’s word would be present in every language group on earth. There are so many different things that need to be done. I am here to teach so that parents aren’t forced to deal with the decision of “do I pause my translation work so my child can get a good education?” 

I love it when Jesus forces me out of my corner to see His big picture.

Another “Jesus moment” happened while driving back from the softball tournament in Goroka. Goroka is about 60 miles away, but it takes 2 hours to get there leaving plenty of time for contemplation of the Lord and His creation.

(* the girls won ALL of their softball games and I am in the process of making a video for them which I will then post for you so can see how proud I am of all my children)

So, driving back through the Papua New Guinean countryside, here is a glimpse of what I saw:

 Image    Image

 Image   Image

How could I look at this and not be wrecked by God’s creative awesomeness? I was in a van filled with high schoolers, so I maintained my composure so as to not succumb them to seeing a teacher cry, but I assure you, had I been by myself, there would have been much music blaring and singing done in the car.

It was great.

Welp, those are the main events that have happened over the past few weeks. Here are some events to come:

-sponsor the all school (7th-12th) lock in. (Gross. I hate lock-ins. But I love the children, so it’s whatever.)

-road trip to Lae!! Four other friends and I are taking a trip during school break(a four hour drive…I think…)

-Encounter!!! (High school spiritual retreat. I get to be a discussion leader. Boom.)

Thanks everyone!!

Peace out,

Leah