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:

FED EX

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.

$124.99

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:

PENNIES FOR NEW GUINEA

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!

TOK PISIN

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!

Fun Facts!

Alrighty folks. Welcome back! Or just welcome if you have not been here previously!
Let’s get right into it and pick up where we left off.

I now present for your viewing pleasure:

FIVE THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT PAPUA NEW GUINEA

1) It’s located on an island just north of Australia (G’Day mate!). The left side…I mean, west side, is Indonesia and the right side…I mean, east side, is Papua New Guinea. There’s a map to the left…I mean west …depending on where you’re sitting.

(Editors note: I totally had left/right, west/east confused until right before I posted this. I apologize for fitting the stereotype of a directionally challenged woman)

2) Population: 6.7 million (about 1 million more than the pop. of Houston including it’s urban areas)

3) Official languages: Tok Pisin (common language), Motu, and English

4) Total languages: 830+

5) I’m sorry…what was that in number 4?

Ok, so maybe you only got to learn four things (there will be more to come, trust me), but #4 was what made my mind go, “MMM…WHAT?!” when I first learned it. Now, some of you are probably thinking, “Yeah, but they’re tribal languages with just slight enough differences to be considered different language, so it’s not really that many different ones.” Oh contraire.  And I quote (I ain’t no plagerizer!) from  www.state.gov:

Spoken mainly on the island of New Guinea–composed of Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian province of West Papua–some 800 of these languages have been identified; of these, only 350-450 are related. The remainder seem to be totally unrelated either to each other or to the other major groupings.”

It goes on to say that most languages are only spoken by a few hundred to a few thousand people, the largest grouping being spoken by around 130,000 people (imagine the city of Waco, TX speaking their own language).

That’s intense. The number 830 is one of the reasons I am becoming so passionate about Bible translation. So keep that number in your head, we’ll return to it in a minute. I would now like to divert your attention to the next section entitled:

SO, WHY IS BIBLE TRANSLATION A BIG DEAL?

I answer this question with some questions of my own. Here are some things to ponder:

What if the Bible wasn’t written in English and you had to learn the original Hebrew and Greek?

  • How would that make you feel about God?
  • Do you think you would have a true understanding of the deep intent of the Scripture?
  • Would you be able to learn all you know now but in a different language?
  • Would God feel as personal to you?
  • How often would a spiritual truth get lost in translation?
  • Would the wonder, awe, and worship that is caused by reading what God has done become over shadowed by the effort of having to read in a language that is not your first?

Intriguing huh? I hadn’t ever thought about these things until I was accepted into the program and went through training where they challenged us with that question. Then it made me think of the history of Bible translation and how much it cost (William Tyndale was burned at the stake) for the Bible to be translated into English. Men gave their lives so that people could read the Bible in their own language without relying on the (often inaccurate and manipulated) interpretation provided for them. I feel that this opportunity should be had by anyone no matter what language they speak. Which now leads me back to the staggering number – 830.

Here are some statistics regarding the 830:
-current translations in progress: 170-185
-with translation needs: 250-300

That means about half of the 830 don’t have a bible in their language yet. That’s an intense number. Let’s expand our view to the whole world for a second:

Number of languages:
Spoken in the world today:  6,800
With a complete Bible: 457
With the New Testament: 1,211
With translations in progress (Wycliffe Bible Translators): 1,500
With no translation and none in progress: 2,200

Phew. That’s a lot of numbers to deal with. I’m a math teacher, so I understand that numbers affect me way more than the average, normal person, but…geez. These numbers are one of the driving forces behind why I want to go and serve in this specific of a capacity. That and I really like learning languages. And by languages, I mean Spanish. Well, I technically took a semester of Greek. I really enjoyed it, but I remember absolutely nothing. Sorry Dr. Marshall.

Anywho, speaking of numbers, I believe in the last post I also mentioned answering the question of “how can you afford to go?” (and by ‘believe I mentioned’ I mean I just pulled that post up to see what I said).  So here is the last section, lovingly entitled:

MONEY. AKA THE THING NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT BUT HAS TO.

Well. Here it is. My least favorite thing to talk about.

Money.

Ugh. It makes things so complicated. But alas, it is a necessary subject that must be breached. So here I go.

To serve in Papua New Guinea I need money. Duh. To live anywhere you need money. And because Wycliffe Bible Translators is a non-profit organization, I need to raise my own funds. To live there for a year, I have already saved about 30% of that need. So where does the rest come from? The wonderful generosity of others who have the financial means and a willing heart to help support missionaries. In my online training, a Scripture was brought to my attention:

1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

                        –Luke 8: 1 – 3 (emphasis added)

I think it is ballin’ (or ‘cool’ for those over the age of 30) that Joanna, the wife of Herod’s (the dude who killed John the Baptist) manager took the money that her husband gave her and then proceeded to give it to Jesus.  I find her to be rather slick and awesome.  Oh. Also, the fact that Jesus accepted financial support makes me feel a little less lame for also needing financial support. Just sayin’.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say about money. You see what I need, know about right now what I have and that’s pretty much all there is to know.  Woot.

(If you are interested in actual numbers, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll be glad to tell you, it just feels semi-inappropriate to post on a blog)

Welp, that brings us to the end of another informative, yet hopefully entertaining blog about my journey to Papua New Guinea. Please leave comments in the comment bar and help me with what I should talk about next or just general encouragements to let me know that I am liked by a small percentage of the population.

Until next time, peace out homie homes! – Leah

Links for information:
-prayer and financial gifts: http://www.wycliffe.org/Partnership.aspx?mid=7F7EFA
-my first newsletter: http://freepdfhosting.com/2c268faa8a.pdf

Links for fun-formation:
-Nikki/Leah Update Show (my roommate and I are ridiculous):  http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=520812186866
-Leah Rigsby is ridiculous on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/LeahRigsby?feature=guide

Links that Leah thinks should be enjoyed by the general public:

-http://www.theimpossiblequiz.net/

Here We Go…

Welp. Here we go. I have now joined the ranks of I’m-doing-something-with-my-life-so-now-it’s-time-to-blog-about-it bloggers. Truth be told, I always enjoyed reading my friend’s blogs, but never thought I would, myself, partake.

But here we are.

So the question of the hour is posed: “Why have you stared this blog, Leah?”

In a nut shell:
Wycliffe Bible Translators. Papua New Guinea. Ukarumpa International School.

In a very large explanatory nut shell:
I have joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and will be teaching at Ukarumpa International School in Papua New Guinea. I will be teaching math, probably 7th-12th grade (I REALLY need to brush up on my Calculus, I’m a bit frightened) and helping out with ESL (English as a Second Language) to missionary kids whose parents are a part of the Bible translation effort in Papua New Guinea. There are some local (New Guinean) kids who go to the school too, but it is mainly (80%) missionary kids (MKs). I am hoping to later become a translator myself, but for right now, we’ll just help with the translation needs behind the scenes as a teacher.

Overwhelmed? Me too. So let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start).

Why Missions?
I was called into missions when I was 16. A speaker came to my church for a missions conference and gave the alter call. The Holy Spirit was YELLING at me to go. And after a few minutes hesitation and the Holy Spirit giving me the sarcastic “Really?” (I like my Jesus sarcastic sometimes, it works with my demeanor), I went to the front and “answered” my call to missions. I don’t know if “answered” is the correct verb, but I definitely acknowledged that God wanted me to go. Where was the speaker from you ask? That leads us to the next question:

Wycliffe Bible Translators?
The missions speaker at my church was from Wycliffe Bible Translators, so they have always been present in the back of my mind, but not the first missions option I sought out. In the summer of 2011, I began looking up international missions schools at which to begin my missions journey. I knew God wanted me to teach and now it was time to add the “missions” part to the teaching. I found schools that my heart was drawn to in three countries – Albania, Russia, and Papua New Guinea. I began praying and researching each school via YouTube and their own school websites. Ukarumpa in Papua New Guinea eventually became my “favorite” because of its resemblance in size to the school I grew up going to and, more so, it’s association with Wycliffe Bible Translators.  The notion that the two things God placed in my heart – translation and teaching – could be found in one place sealed the deal and I began the application process.

Here’s a fancy graph about my call to missions and the cool things God did:

How does teaching help with translating the Bible?

  • If there aren’t teachers, then qualified people working in the field (translating the Bible into languages that don’t have one yet) are removed from the field to fill the teaching vacancy. (Not on my watch)
  • If there’s not a school, parents would be responsible for homeschooling their kids while also learning a language and then translating the Bible into that language. (I know that parents are awesome…but that’s just a ridiculous expectation)

So, armed with all of this new info, I think we will leave it at that for the first explanatory blog of explanations. You know where I’m going, why I’m going, and what I’ll be doing. We’ll get into the fine details next time. Like…where in the world is Papua New Guinea? What language do they speak there? Why is Bible translation a big deal? How can you afford to go?

So, until next time (i.e. next week) here are some links to keep you busy and entertained:

Peace out homie homes! – Leah