Super Mario Jesus

What up, ladies and gentledudes. The time has come for Story of the Week!! But first, I present to you:

Crazy Realization of My Life

As most of you know, I’m a teacher. And that involves going to school (unless you’re homeschooled…which I wasn’t). And I just had a realization. This is quite possibly… nay!… this IS the first August EVER in the history of my life (well, since I was four) that I have not been in school. DUH WAAAA?!?!?!?!  Let’s share a moment of reflection together.

Ever since that first day of Pre-school, I, Leah Rigsby, have been in a school building as a student or teacher for my whole life:

Age 4 – Age 18 Metropolitan Christian School, Dallas, TX

Age 18 – Age 22 Houston Baptist University, Houston, TX

Age 22 – 25 Hastings Ninth Grade Center, Houston, TX

Age 25 – 27 Ukarumpa International School, Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

And now, alas, for these next five months, I will not be in the environment I have come to know and love. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the break, it’s just…WEIRD. Instead of waking up every week day, going to school, and getting my math on, I get to take part in a myriad of activities for my self-betterment:

– reading books on how to teach good (it’s a joke…chill out grammar po-po) to keep up with my teaching certification

– make videos and PPT presentations about my time in PNG

– give presentations about my time in PNG

– see friends and family I haven’t seen for two years

– look at my old lesson plans on my computer and figure out how to make them more interesting… WITH OUT having the text book to reference… cause it’s in PNG… with all my teaching folders…

– clean out closets at my grandmother’s and parent’s houses and decide what is necessary to keep, bring to PNG, or toss

– travel to far away places like North Carolina and Florida to see friends

– peruse the Internet and watch all the Netflix to my hearts desire BECAUSE I CAN. And it won’t cost $200. (Not an exaggeration. I went a little crazy one school break in PNG and my internet useage was not frugal)

What this realization has just made me realize:

As I am sitting here typing all this up on my mom’s computer while my parents are in the other room watching a weird movie about Tom Hiddleston as a vampire (I lasted about 10 minutes into it), I had a realization about my realization. Realization-ception, if you will. Here it is:

I have a bunch of stuff to do. A bunch of important stuff. Minus the Netflix. And even though it’s not structured like teaching, it still serves a purpose.

It’s weird having a six month gap to prepare for class, but hey, that gives me space to think and plan rather than going day to day while school is in session.

It’s super flipping awesome that I get to tell people about PNG, show pictures, and videos about how God moves there and my part He has me playing.

Seeing friends and family is usually something we take for granted or think of as a “break,” but those relationships are important and I have to do as much as I can in these five months, because I won’t be able to for the next three years. Yeah, all of this is weird and more disjointed than a “regular job,” but they all need to get done. Woah. I AM being productive!

Guys, I think my story before the story of the week just became the actual story of the week. So in case you just scroll down for Story of the Week, lemme help you:

Story of the Week

See above section titled “Crazy Realization of my Life”

Onward we move to the:


Photo on 2014-08-24 at 12.48

Percent Aug 24

Ladies and gentledudes, we’re at 38%!!! This means that people have partnered with my ministry and 38% of my monthly budget needed to return to PNG in January is covered! WOOOO!! This is great news because when I returned to the U.S. I was rocking a meager 19%. We’ve officially doubled!!! YAY MATH!!!!

If you’d like to become a monthly partner with my ministry you can click here:

This Blog Title…

Now, many of you have probably been distracted by my blog title. “When will it be referenced?” “What does it mean?” “Is she being irreverent?”

Remember when I mentioned that one of my activities was cleaning out closets? Guys, you’re gonna love this. I found an old elementary school journal, a “thankful book,” and an old worksheet from church. Let’s start there.

This golden gem is from 1991. I was four-and-a-half years old. It was mother’s day, and the church made a hand out for the moms from the kids. The prompt was “Pleasant Grove kids love their moms because…” My response:

She lives with me

“Because she lives with me.” I have no words. I was four. That drawing I did was very creepy, too. There are many things that could have happened here. The best I can come up with is that I heard “Why do you live (with) your mommy?” Instead of “love.” And me, being my sassy self, responded, because she lives with me. Duh. Next question. 

Golden gem #2 comes from my elementary school journal. I’m guessing I was 6 or 7 years old. There were many, many entries to choose from, but this one takes the cake:

 Jesus is picking up trash 001

“What would Jesus do? Jesus is picking up trash at school.” Cause when you’re six, the most servant-hearted thing you can do is pick up trash. That star wars looking thing in the background is actually the playground.

 Ok guys, are you ready for the final picture of amazingness? Let me set the scene. This comes from a little construction paper book titled “My Thankful Book.” Inside all of the pages are drawings of things I am thankful for. Some examples – my cousins, mom, dad, a ruler, the Bible, a TV (both on the same page), etc… And on the very last page, I am thankful for:


Super Mario Jesus.

Let’s do a little analysis, shall we? A dive into little Leah’s psyche if you will.

He is clearly wearing a robe.  We all know robes to be Jesus’ clothing of choice, especially in Sunday school. However, in a clear shout out to Mario’s influential style, the robe is red. There are, however, no overalls. I was like, seven. I definitely knew how do draw pants as evidenced in other pictures in the “Thankful Book.” I clearly knew what I was doing and made strategic choices in my depiction of Jesus’ attire.

Now the hair. I don’t know if you can see it, but I gave Super Mario Jesus some long hair, but then erased it. I was obviously conflicted between church pictures of Jesus and my desire for him to look like an Italian plumber. Clearly we see what thinking prevailed. I can also see that I definitely gave him a side part on the right there. Ah, my youthful attention to detail.

And lastly, mustache. Because my Jesus keeps it classy.

Guys, I cannot tell you how hard I laughed at all of these things from my youth. They are AMAZING! The one thing I love, though, is my childlike view of Jesus, that He would pick up trash… cause He would!!

Have a great weekend y’all!






The wheels on the bus…

Hey, hey ladies and gentledudes! I’ve got a BUNCH of pictures and nuggets of gold to talk to you about…so here we go!

State Side Happenings

If you saw my rantings on Facebook, then you know that I took a 24 hour bus ride back and forth to North Carolina with a pit stop in East Texas to see some of my Ukarumpa family!!! It was AMAZING to see these people on this side of the world. Let me introduce my fellow workers to you!

Mandy: We taught together at UIS from 2012-2013. I got to see her baby boy for the first time!! We had an epic drumming session.

  • Mandy and I in a skit at a youth retreat in PNG


  • Meeting baby Ethan in the US!!!!


The Driggers: The Driggers served as hostel parents and would feed me on Tuesday nights in exchange for homework help for the kids! They were there for me for my first intercontinental Christmas and adopted me into their family as an older sister to their kids. It was so exciting to get to visit them and I can’t wait till they return to PNG next summer!

  • Taylor, me, Mary, and Sara Driggers – I got off the bus and we all matched. So we documented it. Mary is Papua New Guinean and attending college in the U.S. She will be going to the same college as Taylor, so she has been adopted into the Driggers clan, too!
  • I coached the girls in softball, basketball and volleyball, taught them Pre-Calculus, and was Mary’s worship band mentor. It was AWESOME to get to see them and send them off to college!

black and red

The Reffeys: I hadn’t seen this family in a whole YEAR! They returned to the U.S. in 2013 to send Laura to college after serving in PNG for 20 years in the Scripture in Use department and as a pilot. They were another family that welcomed me into their home in PNG and made my first year there AWESOME! This week was filled with laughter. Much, much, laughter. Also singing.


Even though the bus trip was INSANELY long, it was worth every minute to get to see my friends from across the world!


This one comes from the 24 hour bus ride! I think I was in Alabama at the time of the picture taking…maybe…

Photo on 2014-08-17 at 20.06 #2  Screen shot 2014-08-17 at 8.05.26 PM

We’re getting there everyone! My last percentage point was 19% and now, we’re almost to the 1/4 mark! Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement. My need to return in January is heavy and it is exciting to see God at work and everyone partnering together to make it happen.

Happenings in Ukarumpa

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in Ukarumpa. First, the bridge that connects us (and the rest of our valley) to the nearest city and highlands highway, well…it fell. And it fell hard. bridge6 bridge5


Walking bridges were built….



The ruins were removed…



and new construction began!

bridge2 bridge1

The bridge had been in “disrepair” (read: inevitably going to fall down) for many, many years and last week it bit the dust. It is amazing how quickly the new bridge is being assembled. Things in PNG tend to move VERY slowly, but things are getting done and it is a blessing not only for Ukarumpa, but all of the other villages and people in our valley. Please pray the the construction continues to be done quickly, safely, and correctly.

Second, the Ukarumpa volunteer firefighters got to flex their muscles when dormitories at the Aiyura National High School caught fire on Monday.

Here is a statement from Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea – Facebook Page

“On Monday, 18 August 2014, there was a fire at Aiyura National High School, a PNG government school near the Ukarumpa centre where many Bible translators and support staff live and work. (The fire did not affect the Ukarumpa International School.) It destroyed a dormitory where forty-five 11th and 12th grade girls lived with their prefects (resident assistants). The girls who lived in the dorm lost nearly all of their personal belongings in the fire. Thankfully no lives were lost and the Ukarumpa volunteer fire team was able to keep the fire from spreading to other buildings on the high school campus.”


Please pray for the girls who lost their possessions and the financial strain it will be on them and the school as they begin to rebuild. Donations are being accepted for the PNG General Disaster Relief Fund, which will be used to help those affected by the fire. If you wish to donate to this fund, please give through your local Wycliffe organization via with the details “PNG disaster relief 838452”

Thank you all so much for your prayers and interest in my ministry in Papua New Guinea! Y’all are great!!    -Leah

  • Click here to visit the “Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea” facebook page for more stories and happenings at my home in PNG.
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