A New Merit Badge and The Percentage Point

What up ladies and gentledudes.

I know I’m a little late on story of the week. You can handle it. I believe in you. As always, before the story, I want to point you toward a super awesome video of amazingness my peoples back in PNG made. It shows the culmination of years and years of work leading to a Bible Dedication in Long Island (PNG…not NYC). The dedication took place a month and a half ago on June 8 and… it’s amazing. You should watch it. Right now. Do it. I’ll wait for you.

The Word Has Come to Long Island – PNG Experience Video

Alright, now that you’re all teary and contemplating the wonderfulness of our Lord, we’re gonna talk about something that’s really important. Today’s STORY OF THE WEEK topic is…

Driving.

That’s right. I said it. So, some back story. I started driving when I was 18. Yep. 18. High school senior. I was terrified to learn and my parents eventually forced it on me since, you know, I was gonna go to college and stuff. I’ve gotten all the driving merit badges – First Wreck (I rear ended someone in traffic going like 3mph. Tragic.), Speeding Ticket, Rolling Stop Warning, etc… I even have some of the more coveted badges like Driving a Stick Shift and Driving on the Left (both provided by moving to PNG, of course). And now, I get an even rarer badge. I get the:

HOLY CRAP WHY IS EVERYONE DRIVING SO FAST WHERE DO I GO WHAT’S MY EXIT WHY I AM I LISTENING TO THE SPANISH RADIO STATION badge, aka the “Furloughing Missionary Driver” badge.

It’s true. Driving on the Dallas highway after being gone for two years has caused an infinite increase in the “driving is serious business” and “be ready to take evasive action” portions of my brain (titles courtesy of my dad who taught me how to drive). So here’s my summary of driving in the states:

You people are nuts.

I saw a guy swerve across two lanes of traffic to make an exit and I shouted (in my head) “It is raining, sir!” He didn’t care. Like Demi Lovato. I’ve honked – HONKED – at texters swerving into my lane (I glared as they passed me but they didn’t see…cause they were texting). And then I realize…

I used to be one of you.

Lord, forgive of my many driving sins. I now realize what I was doing.

So, the next time you speed up, ride someone’s bumper, then pass them at 100mph… take pity. They could be a missionary and you just made them pee their pants. Chill out.

Alright, ranting aside, I will now bring you a new portion of the blog I like to call “The Percentage Point” *cue dance party theme music*  … … …

Percentage Point Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 9.40.45 PM

I know right. I made it in power point and then took a screen shot. Cause I’m classy.

This is the portion of the blog where I update you on how close I am to returning to PNG in January. See those boxes? Each one is a percent. We need to fill those in. Once the entire PNG flag is visible, I get to go back to PNG. Boom!

But Leah, how do I get one of those boxes filled? I’m glad you asked! I’m in need of partners who will give monthly to my ministry. To do this, you simply go to this website  www.wycliffe.org/partner/leah-rigsby , type in an amount, click “GIVE”, and then check the box to make it a recurring donation. Done!

But Leah, I can only give a small amount. Will that even make a difference? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no amount that is “too small” or “insignificant.” You and other partners are working together to make this happen and the impact it has in my life, in Ukarumpa, and in Bible translation is priceless. Like Master Card.

I understand that this is a major commitment so if you have any questions about becoming a partner in my ministry, email me at leah_rigsby@sil.org

Alright y’all, peace out, and drive calmly –

Leah

It’s the little things…

What’s up, world? It’s time for Story of the Week! But first, I just wrote a little blurb that has nothing to do with anything. I’ll call it… I’ve got nothing. The creative flow isn’t with me this afternoon. Whatever, I’m gonna write some stuff and it’s gonna be great. Maybe. We’ll see… 

First, the blurb:

Engaging in conversation is hard. I’m not good at it. I have to try really hard to not look stupid. And that was before I went to Papua New Guinea. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but still. Ugh. So now we compound the fact that I’ve been out of the country for two years and we are left with this crushing fact: None of my stories are going to relate to you. They’re just not. They take place on a tropical island. In the South Pacific. On a mountain. 

Now, if something is relatable, I have to explain locational and cultural factors that effect the hilarity/relevance of the story and will most likely kill the mood/flow of conversation while I try to explain what a year round school calendar means, where Goroka is and how hard it is to get there, what a yard meri is… See? You’re confused. You have no idea what I’m referencing. And I just wanted to tell a story about the joys of being able to eat Chinese food. 

And now… STORY OF THE WEEK:

Jesus is amazing. Every so often (read: hour) I get a little freaked out by the amount of monies I need to get back to PNG by January. It’s…well… it’s daunting. But, every time I get worried, Jesus flexes His, “What’s up? I’m the Lord” muscles and reminds me of who He is and where He wants me.

The past couple of days I have been able to meet up with friends in Houston and you guys are SO FREAKING ENCOURAGING – “What can I do?” “I’ll talk to my pastor.” “I’ll talk to some of my friends.” “Can you come live with us?” That last one was my four-year-old buddy, Jacob. You guys are patient while I try to answer your questions. You’re interested in what I do, the culture of PNG, what life is like over there… *deep sigh of gratification* it’s refreshing and a constant reminder that I am not in this alone. “I’m” not the one at work in PNG. We all are. It is a collective effort of a team of people and I just happen to be the one “on the ground.”

I was trying to think of an analogy (you should ask my 8th grade girls about the “Salvation Taco”) and it’s like a musical production. You have the main character doing their thing, but the musical would be terrible without everyone else on stage singing and dancing, the lights, the sound people, and on and on and on. The frontman gets the attention, but would have nothing if it was just him on a stage. That would be lame. Unless it’s a comedian. Anyway, I think you know where I am going with this (I’ll spare you the one body, many parts over-spiritualization). I also had another analogy with NASCAR, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions with that one. 

So, from my best friend who has housed me and bought me all kinds of amazing food, to the girl who recognized me at Bible study and offered support, to the anonymous donor who gave me a gift. You are all helping Bible translation in PNG. And it’s pretty freakin’ baller. 

Peace out! – Leah

Want to get involved? click here

Links for your enjoyment!

1. Me speaking Tok Pisin and laughing nervously in the village: Jan 2013 – Village Video

2. Lighting the oven in my first house in PNG (I’m now in house #4): Aug 2012 – Light the Oven

 

 

 

 

 

Three-and-a-half weeks…

Well everyone, it’s been three and a half weeks since my return to America. I have been living in Dallas with my grandmother, but I am now in Houston for the next couple of weeks visiting my best friend and trying to get in touch with some churches while I’m here.

Before I launch into my, what I hope will be a new series I call, “Story of the Week,” I want to share a link with you guys:

Stories from PNG: <– Click it!

This is a set of 5 stories featuring Papua New Guinean translators who work on a translation project with my friends, the Woods, and the parents of one of my students. It gives a GREAT look at how translation projects work and the effect they have on the people involved. These people are the reason I’m in PNG, so you should totally take a look.

And now I present: THE STORY OF THE WEEK

I had my first “oh geez, I will not cry right now” moments and I survived. I’ve talked a bit about things being weird – the sky is so far away (Ukarumpa is about a mile up on a mountain, so the clouds are closer), driving on the right-hand side, paved roads, etc… But, there are other things that sneak up on you, hence my “there’s no crying in baseball” moment I had yesterday.

My best friend is in an opera (she’s musically legit, y’all) and they were doing a preview (a “sing through” if you will) at a pub/restaurant/live music…establishment…thing. Whatever. We got there and it was packed. Uber-packed. Ukarumpa family, it was more packed than Kainantu on fortnight. America family, it was more packed than walking to your locker in high school. There were no tables available, so once the cast went on stage, I waited in this lounge area thing where they had left all their stuff. So, as I waited for another of our friends to arrive, I’m just chilling, when suddenly…EMOTIONS. No. No, no, no. Lord, I will not cry here. So through much psychological weight lifting/prayer negotiations, I was able to “suck it up,” as my dad was fond of saying when we were little. But the question still remained… Why? Why here? Why now?

Looking at it 20 hours later, I think – just like the sky is different and driving is different – people are different. Outside my best friend and one of her friends also in the opera, I knew NO ONE. In Ukarumpa, you know everyone. And if you don’t, it means they just arrived and you should introduce yourself. Here, you’re never going to know everyone. There will be times when you don’t know ANYONE. And it’s ok. As we say on the field, “It’s not weird, it’s just different.” And different is deal-with-able. I’ve got my Jesus. I bought a Bible a few days ago (mine’s in Uka). I’m ready to deal.

So, what does this have to do with anything? Nothing. I just wanted to tell you guys the story of how I got my “missionary-culture-shock-but-didn’t-cry-in-public” merit badge. It’s in between my “didn’t-get-car-sick-driving-through-the-bush” badge and my “understood-an-Aussie-saying” badge. I’ll have enough for a jacket soon.

Picture time! I got to hang out with friends from Ukarumpa in Dallas! We were astounded by candy.

IMG_1633

Stay tuned for next week’s story! If you ever want to say “hey” or ask any questions, you are ALWAYS welcome to e-mail me: leah_rigsby@sil.org

Thanks everyone!