It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like…


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)


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:


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!!!



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 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
-Kid’s Corner
-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