Short and Sweet

So….writing a weekly blog-update is difficult…especially when you don’t have anything to update on. Oh, sorry Googlers. As always, check the map to the left.

(if your wondering why I always reference “Googlers” it’s because most of my  ‘how people clicked on your blog’ statistics are from people Google-ing “where is Papua New Guinea.” I’m happy to help out.)

In New Guinean news, really all this week was about Hebrew and Tok Pisin. The Hebrew is getting progressively more difficult because there are thousands of ways to conjugate a verb. Well….there’s over twenty. In Tok Pisin… 3. I feel that if I were transplanted into Papua New Guinea right now, I could communicate while sounding like a 5 year old. If I were transplanted into Israel…. I could say… “I appointed (completed action in the past) the king.” Thus getting me committed into a hospital once the plane touched down in Tel Aviv. Or, I could look at random items and point out what they are. (Head! Fire! Life! Good Morning! Brother! Ancestor!… I’ve been memorizing vocab 🙂 Luckily for me, I have already been to Israel and finding someone who speaks English is not at all complicated…It just makes you feel like an American jerk 🙂 Anyways…

Tok Pisin has been really fun and is made WAY easy by having to compare it to the daunting task that is Hebrew, so I will continue working my way through the 1991 Peace Corp Tok Pisin Workbook and hopefully have some more to say about that soon!

In other news…. I saw Cinderella at the Houston Ballet today!!! It was super awesome. I LOVED it. I went for one of my best friend’s birthday and it was freaking good. She was slightly disappointed because Cinderella was a brunette with a pixie cut, but I am way more artistically forgiving than she is so…I wasn’t as distracted as she was. 🙂


My favorite choreography (that is not grammatically correct, but I didn’t want to say my favorite ‘move’) was this part where the ghost of Cinderella’s mother was lifted into the air by cemetery ghosts and passed back wards while the ghosts kept reforming the line and passing her back. Yeah…this was not your typical version of the Cinderella story… the ghosts basically took the place of the singing mice in the Disney version.I just tried to find a picture of the lift I just described… but I couldn’t 😦 Imagine a ballerina in a mosh pit. That is all.

Well, that’s it for this week, other than watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes (yes!) and Super 8 (double yes!!), things have been pretty much uneventful. If you have any questions or comments about Wycliffe or my journey in missions, let me know, I am happy to share.

Until next time,

Peace out homie, homes – Leah


If you or your church would like to take part in the “Pennies for New Guinea” fundraiser, send me an e-mail, facebook me, carrier pidgeon, whatevs.

Prayer and financial gifts:

Ridiculous videos of ridiculousness:

Coincidence? I think not…at least not in Biblical Hebrew…

Aaaannnnd We’re Back!! (Two points to you if you can name where the quote is from) Googlers, as always, head to the left and please consider reading the rest of this.

Alright kids, let’s continue where we left off…. TOK PISIN!

As previously mentioned, Tok Pisin is the common language used in New Guinea. I will be taking classes to learn it later when I arrive in New Guniea, but I’m an overachiever so… Google is a wonderful tool J. Another wonderful tool is being at the HBU (Houston Baptist University, my alma mater) library, googling Tok Pisin, finding an article only available on ERIC (a scholarly journal), which is only accessible if you pay for it which…bum bum bah! HBU does. Boom. I am now the proud owner of “Work book of Conversational Tok Pisin for the Peace Corp.” Circa…1991 or so. Not really sure. Any who. Let’s move on to the language rating:

Best part of Tok Pisin: There are only two prepositions. (i.e. there are only two words to represent the word like – above, about, beyond, under, until, through, in, etc…).

Worst part of Tok Pisin: There are only two prepositions. This makes for a lot of guess work… (is it in the tree, on the tree, behind the tree…guess I’ll have to go look.)

Onward to language number two…


In stark contrast to Tok Pisin, Hebrew has 857 prepositions. Yes, I’m exaggerating. But there’s a lot. I’ve come into contact with about 20 or so. And I’m just in the “basics” book.

“Wait, wait, wait, I thought is was New Guinea….what’s the deal with Hebrew?”

I’m glad you asked.

As previously mentioned in the “Fingerprints, Frustration, and Phonetics” post, my ultimate goal is to be involved in translating the Bible into a language that doesn’t have it yet. To do that…you need Hebrew and Greek. This is going to get a little crazy.   🙂

So now I’m in the process of learning Hebrew. Alphabet? Check. Vowel markers? Check. Pronunciation? Check. Memorizing jillions of nouns? Check. Verb conjugations? … uh oh.

So, I’ll keep you posted on any breaking Hebrew news but as for now… I’m just memorizing.


My FedEx package arrived in PNG (Papua New Guinea…I’m tired of typing out the whole thing… lazy American…) it is now awaiting international screening before it can be delivered to where it needs to be. Yay. In other PNG news, I am in need of sponsors/donors/whatever word makes sense to you to insert here. I have received some amazing one time donations, but am still in a large need for monthly ones. For ways to give, click on the Wycliffe logo on the left side of the page. Woot!

And now for the personal, in depth, part of the blog…

To anyone who has been called by God to do anything, we reach a point where doubt creeps up and you’re like, “What am I doing? Did I really get called to this?” This has pretty much been at the back of my mind ever since I applied to Wycliffe and, while I would love to report some huge big revelation that magically made the doubt go away, that hasn’t happened…yet. I’m still praying for that one. But even in the midst of doubt, God sends His comfort in various ways, we jut have to be ready to see them and recognize them as such when they happen. These are the things people like to write of as “coincidences.” Now, I’m not saying every coincidence is a work of God or that every work of God is a coincidence, but if it caused you to glorify God in some way or led to something being aligned that you’ve been praying for, or is something that can’t be explained…why would we want to limit God’s involvement, writing it off as a coincidence? No. If God is powerful enough to work in the big ways, then He is powerful enough to work in the little ways and we should be able to ascribe honor where it is due rather than just thinking it was chance. That’s just silly. What is causing me to say all of this?

My iPod.

Yesterday evening, I was driving to KFC thinking about life and everything that’s going on, pretty discouraged about almost all aspects of everything. I put in my iPod, which was on shuffle, and a song came on. I wasn’t really paying attention until the chorus played

“Give me an answer
Give me the way out
Give me the faith
To believe in these hard times…”

Well played, Jesus, well played.

As I was driving, I just began smiling and thought, “Message received Lord, message received.” Now, before criticisms begin to flow, do I think Jesus magically floated into my iPod to make sure that song came on at that exact moment in time? I don’t know. Probably not. Did that song come on and the Holy Spirit speak to me through the lyrics? Yes. Yes He did. He could have done so through a number of songs (probably not my Spice Girls CD… I digress), but that’s the one that came on. Did the song possess some magical Jesus power that made me magically undiscouraged and super peppy about life? Also, no. I’m still kind of discouraged, but I’ve been reminded of a lot of things through that song playing:

–       God knows what I feel like
–       He wants me to be aware that He knows
–       He wants me to cry out to Him
–       He is there to listen, comfort, counsel, and provide
–       I need to repent because I haven’t been calling out to Him, but relying on myself.

So, now it’s up to me to swallow my pride and cling to Him. Easier said than done. But that’s where we are.

Or, I could have written it off as a coincidence.

Peace out homie, homes! – Leah

If you or your church would like to take part in the “Pennies for New Guinea” fundraiser, send me an e-mail, facebook me, carrier pidgeon, whatevs.

Prayer and financial gifts:

Ridiculous videos of ridiculousness:

I’m not even mad…I’m impressed…

Welcome back to the blogolisious blog of New Guinea-ness! Again, to the Googlers, see the map to the left and then proceed to read this delightful post even though that’s not what you came here to do.

Here are some updates on the New Guinea front-

I had the opportunity to speak at a youth group this Wednesday and it was great! If you read the
‘Check,check…one, two, one, two’ post, it was for the same church I helped lead worship at. Anywho, the kids were great and very receptive to what I had to say. They took up an offering which was really cool because these are jr. and high school kids and they gave what they could and it made an impact. So right now, with about 6 months till I leave, I am about 15% of the way there. Woot.

Which now brings us to the section of the blog which is going to make my post title make complete sense:


Ok, remember how I had to take off work to get my fingerprints? Well, that didn’t happen. I planned on it happening, but we just started a new chapter (I teach 9th grade Algebra I, for those just joining this delightful blogging endeavor) and I couldn’t afford to miss a day of instruction to my kids  – I know, I’m the best teacher ever. Not really (yes, really). So, instead I was able to find  a “mobile fingerprinting company” and get my fingerprints taken. Wa hoo!

“But Leah,” you may be asking me, “what does this have to do with Fed Ex?” Well…

The fingerprints and other important notarized documents are now on their way to Papua New Guinea in a Fed Ex truck/plane/boat as we speak. Mailing international things is quite funny because we have addresses that have three lines(name, road, city-state-zip)…international mail has, like, right (name, road, lot section, po box, road, province, state, city, country). Needless to say, there was too much information I had to write down and not enough lines on the Fed Ex shipping paper, and when I asked if this was a problem, I was met with the response, “It’s fine. As long as it’s legible they’ll figure it out.” To which I nervously laughed and said, “Ok.” I tend to not question authority. We’ll see if this works out for me.

After this, I, of course, had to pay. When the lady rang me up she said. “One twenty four ninety nine.” Which in my head translated to $1.24. (Apparently, the ninety nine part got left off like how when we get gas we think it’s $3.39, but it’s really $3.39 and 9/10, so basically $3.40. But I digress.)  So I pulled out my debit card, paid, and that was that. Then I got into my car and looked at the receipt.


I gasped. Then began to laugh. So. So. Hard. I laughed so hard that I wanted to share the hilarity with someone, but my friends didn’t pick up, so I called my mom. She didn’t think it was as funny as I did. She was more on the “Leah, you totally got ripped off” end of the hilarity spectrum, which when I think about, there isn’t a “getting ripped off” end of the hilarity spectrum, but if there were, that’s were she would be. Anyways. Once I convinced her I didn’t get ripped off and that $124.99 was a perfectly logical price for mail, everything was good and it took me about 0.02 seconds for me to realize that I was completely ridiculous for thinking $1.24 was going to mail something that far. I also realized how lucky I was that that mistake didn’t cause me to over draft. Usually for anything that much, I use my credit card. But,  thanks to the taxation of the American government, my refund check was in so using my debit card wasn’t a big deal. Hence…

I laughed. I laughed at my ridiculousness that could have been very bad, but wasn’t. Score for Jesus. Blessed are the ridiculous for they shall make mistakes for which only God can receive credit for fixing (No…that’s not a real beatitude).

On to the next section:


Basically, this is a fundraiser that  involves a sign that says “Pennies for New Guinea” and a large receptacle into which people can put their spare change. Bam. (I get poetry points for my assonance – penny/new guinea, boom!)
To the last section!


This is the national/common language of Papua New Guinea. I will be taught the language when I get there, but, ever the overachiever, I have started studying some now. Because Tok Pisin derives itself from English, some of the grammar sounds similar but also very wrong to our English ears…

Alas. I’ve just realized the blog’s reaching maximum density, so we will the Tok Pisin for next week’s edition!

Until next time…

Peace out homie homes!- Leah

See below for links and contact info!

Fingerprints, Frustration, and Phonetics

Hello world! To those who did a Google search of “where is New Guinea” please look at the map to the left and then continue to peruse this blog at your leisure.

Today’s topics are clearly listed in the title, so let’s not waste anymore time and get right to it!


I have to get fingerprinted to submit my work visa to the New Guinean government. Apparently, the closest police station to my house is not actually for the city I live in. So they kindly pointed me to police station in my own district that I can get fingerprinted at. (I ended  a sentence with a preposition. Take that grammar police!) Great. Thanks. Oh wait. They only do fingerprints Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the hours of 9-11. This means I have to take off work to get my fingerprints done or pay $35 for a company to do it. Guess who’s getting a half day off of work next week?

(BTW, that was also the ‘FRUSTRATION’ portion)

So, my FedEx of paperwork to New Guinea is delayed another few days. Other than that, the New Guinean journey of amazingness is continuing. This weekend I have been contacting churches and friends for speaking opportunities and have a few that are already panning out. This is only by the grace of God working through friends because it involves a couple of things that I am not good at:

1) Talking to people I don’t know.
2) Asking for help.

The former is being taken care of by awesome friends introducing/connecting me with pastors and churches. While the latter….well….is being taken care of by God kicking me square in the face. Of course, via sarcasm.

“Oh, really? You’re going to do this all by yourself? Huh. I was quite unaware of this ‘do it yourself’ attitude I programmed into my people….oh wait. I didn’t. You were meant to need help. To rely on others. You’re not the hero. I am. My Son is. So let’s lay down the pride and admit you can’t do everything…There you go. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Or something to that effect.

So yes, this is something I have been confronted with and I knew would be a problem when this whole process started. The 17 hour flight time (yes, I Googled that just now) ? No problem. Moving away from family and friends? Sad, yes, but still, no problem. Entering a new culture? No biggie. Learning a new language? Yes, please! Ask for help? Umm….can we skip that part? Thanks.

God has been wrestling with me on that front for a while and I was fighting back for a time…but I think He’s got me beat now. Darn you sanctification. Why does growing in faith have to be so difficult? But I digress.


At this juncture in the blog, I would like to take a moment to extend an invitation to you, yes you, to consider your place in missions. With the technological boom we now have the privilege of living in, the word “missionary” can mean many different things than it did even 30 years ago. Missionary can now mean – teacher, pilot, engineer, artist, tech specialist, architect, …. don’t believe me? Check out this video:

See? Whatever your talent there is a place for it on the mission field. Bet you never thought about it that way? So take a couple of seconds…oooh…a minute even! and consider it.

Anyways. On to the last section!


(WARNING – This gets very intensely descriptive of word sounds. Also, it may get a little confusing if you have no knowledge of Spanish. Deal with it. 🙂  )

This last section has nothing to do with New Guinea, but I’m going to try to circumnavigate the situation and bring it back to have somewhat of a correlation to it. (If you can find the math word in that sentence, you get extra cool points!)

Today is Saturday. Most Saturday’s at 2:30pm find me at a little church in Stafford for an English class. Each Saturday quickly becomes a hodgepodge of learning both English (for the Spanish speakers) and Spanish (for the English speakers). It works out pretty well. I love the small, intimate atmosphere and the fact that there is no one present who is fluent in both languages. Between me (the English speaker with the most Spanish knowledge) and Rogelio (the Spanish speaker with the most English knowledge) we are able to share stories and joke around with each other with a very small amount of translating. Today, the teacher of the class, Lauren, was teaching the names of family members (mom, dad, husband, wife, son, daughter) by having everyone draw a picture of their family and labeling the people in your family in English. Here’s where the “phonetics” come to play.

Learning a new language is hard enough. What makes it even more difficult is learning the new sounds that go with an alphabet you already know. (For example the English word “sun” would be read by a Spanish speaking person phonetically as “soon.” Same letters. Different sounds. Oh snap.) To make matters worse, if you can’t hear and mimic the sound it becomes very hard to describe how to make at sound. The biggest culprit is the English sound “th.” There is no Spanish equivalent to that sound. (Unless you count the “lisp type accent” people from Spain have, which people from Mexico don’t have…anyways…)  So, think about it? How do you tell a person to how to make the “th” sound? Yeah. That’s what we did today. Successfully. It was a great moment. The connection between hearing, reading, speaking, and sound recognition was awesome. And I loved it. I loved the detail of having to describe something we take for granted like a sound. It was pretty cool.

This led to the request of how to say the letters of the alphabet. Because, oh yeah, that’s different too.

English version: A, B, C, D, E…   (ae, bee, see, dee, ee…)

Spanish version: A, B, C, CH, D, E…  (ah, beh, seh, che, day, eh…)  That’s right CH is a “letter” in the Spanish alphabet. Boom.

So, it took about 5-7 minutes but the letters got written. Here are the letter combinations for the Spanish phonetics, to make the English sounds – A (ei)    B (bi)     C (si)      D (di)      E (i).

Confused yet? Don’t worry. Here’s what’s most important. I  LOVED IT.  I loved the dissection of the languages for something so simple as saying the letters of the alphabet. So much so, that God pressed on me (here’s where the circumnavigation comes into play) that this is why I should get into Bible translation and linguistics. Creating a written  language for and only oral one would be AWESOME. Then translating the Bible into the newly formed written language? EVEN MORE AWESOME!! So I guess in the end, this had everything to do with New Guinea. Two points to Jesus.

So there you have it. I apologize for the linguistic detail of the last section….but it was awesome and I wanted to share it with you 🙂

So, until next week, I bid you adieu (yep, I totally had to spell check, red squiggle that).

Peace out homie homes! – Leah