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.
MID BLOG CONSIDERATION OF THE DAY
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