A Bit of Vulnerability – Pt. II

Click here to read Part I.

In Part I of this series of posts, I listed three areas of my life God needed to reconstruct:

1) My Superhero Complex (my ability to work hard, do things well, and usually succeed)

2) My “Understanding” of Myself (“I’ve been through counseling, I’ve totally got a grip on this!”)

3) My Solitude Complex (I’ll ask my friends, they’ll know what to do…)

We covered “The Superhero Complex” and now, we’ll move on to number two, “My ‘Understanding’ of Myself.”

A Bit of Vulnerability… Pt. II

Your understanding of yourself, does not, in fact, begin with yourself…

I went through a few years of counseling in my early twenties. The fact that I can type “early twenties” like I’m a real adult or something, makes me feel very old. I digress.

I had an excellent counselor. He worked at my university, which offered free counseling for its students. Until they didn’t. So, we fast-forward a couple of years. I’m now a successful teacher with a full-time job. And I’m still just as screwed-up as I was in college. Once my screwed-upness reached a level I couldn’t cope with anymore, I did some digging and found out the counselor I had seen at my university now had a private practice. At an office building. Thirty seconds down the road from my house. Literally. I took that as a provision from the Lord, and made an appointment as soon as humanly possible.

While in counseling, a whole heap of things were brought to light about why I am the way I am and blah blah blah. I won’t bore you with the details. The main thing I came out of counseling with was a knowledge of my main weakness, how to recognize it, how to combat it, how it affects my relationship with others, and the Biblical principals that are in contrast to that weakness. Riveting, I know. And yes, don’t worry, I’m going to tell you what it is, chill out. The term psychologists use is “codependent.” All humans exhibit codependency to some small degree. Worried about what they think of your shoes or the way you raise your kids? Congrats, you just exhibited a bit of codependency. In my case, it was much, much, much more severe and debilitating to my everyday life. My actions, thoughts, and way of life completely revolved around pleasing one person and keeping them happy. Like a drug addict looking for their next fix, I was a people addict looking for my daily wave of validation. Were they happy? If yes, I won that day. If not, I’d better work twice as hard tomorrow to ensure their happiness, and by extension, my happiness, was achieved.

Talking about it now makes me sick. It was the unhealthiest I had ever been. It put the other person in a position they were not meant to fill. Blech. Not how God intended our relationships with one another to be.

So, I processed and worked my way through all of that mess, applied to become a missionary, and here I am now in Papua New Guinea. (For those of you wondering, yes. I got clearance from my counselor before I came here. #healthy)

Well, Leah, it sounds like you worked through your issues, so what did God need to break in you?

I’m glad you asked.

They say that when you enter the mission field, any issues you have will be amplified a hundred times. Or ten. I can’t remember the number they made up to get their point across. The point is, things you deal with in your home country are going to rear their ugly heads and grow into giants that will be much more difficult to deal with. You’re going to have to develop some new coping mechanisms and be ready to press into the Lord more than ever about these issues because they are going to mutate into something bigger.

So, I prepared.

I resolved that my life would NOT revolve around a particular person. That’s not why I was here. I’m here to teach. I’m here to minister to teens. And so I did. I threw myself into youth ministry and teaching. And it was awesome. My first two-year term in PNG was brilliant. I knew how to not be codependent!

But I had not yet learned what my salvation meant for my life now. I had no clue. I knew a behavior I shouldn’t exhibit… but I never sought the Lord about what to do instead. Or about how He filled that piece of me. Or about how even though I wasn’t “being codependent on anyone,” I still have what my friend and I have deemed, “codependent brain.” And this brain affects my view of the Lord, my relationships with my friends and family, the way I interact with co-workers, the way I interact with Papua New Guineans… I could go on and on and on. And He wanted in to correct these views. So, to get in, He first had to strip me of any confidence I had in my knowledge of myself so He could replace it with a confidence in HIS view of me and the way HE works THROUGH my codependent brain, rather than me fumbling around trying to work IN SPITE OF my codependent brain. This paragraph’s word count has a very high percentage of the word “brain” in it. My apologies.

So, in addition to stripping me of my self-proclaimed super hero status, He broke me of my grip on myself, by showing me I had no grip at all. He showed me that for every piece of me I have an understanding of, there were a hundred other pieces under the surface I have no clue about. Or even knew existed. It’s like memorizing a map. You can list every street name, intersection, and landmark. You put the page away, someone asks you for directions and you can tell them exactly where to go. Then another person approaches you and asks for directions to a place you’ve never heard of before. You confidently say the place doesn’t exist. At their insistence, you get out the page and condescendingly hand it to them. Then, to your utter horror, they begin unfolding the map. There’s more than one page. You’ve only memorized five blocks of a one hundred block city.

I may have understood an important piece of myself, but I did not understand every aspect, because I did not understand my relationship to my creator, because I do not understand my creator. My understanding of myself does not begin with myself. It begins with understanding Him and who He created us to be. This wall of mine was crumbling to the ground…

Click here for Part III…

A Bit of Vulnerability – Pt. I

Hey, everyone. These next set of posts are going to be very different from what I usually bring to the table. I began writing yesterday night and I kept going, and going, and going… until three hours later I finally reached a stopping point. The half-way point. But fret not, I am breaking up the stream of consciousness ramblings into bite size pieces, that will, hopefully, speak to you on some level. If not… at least it’s out of my head now. So, without further ado, I bring to the table…

A Bit of Vulnerability… Pt. I

The Lord has decided it’s time to wreck my view of Him. He is correcting lies I have believed about Him so He can get into the depths of my soul, a place I have knowingly and unknowingly denied Him access since I became a Christian at age thirteen.

First, He broke me. He put me in the position where He, and only He, could comfort and bring light into the dark places of my life. Second, He revealed the ‘why’ behind my ACCESS DENIED feelings toward Him. Third, the now, He is lovingly correcting me. Many times, God has ‘slapped me across the face.’ It’s a brief WAKE-UP moment, a jolt to the system.

This is not one of those times.

This is the careful molding of a potter. The steady hand of an artist applying intricate detail to their creation. This is the second half of a process He began in me long ago. The first half was to strengthen me. To get me ready to receive this correction, now, without completely breaking down. Let me explain…

I was the kid who would cry if my parents looked at me with disappointment or anger. When I was six, I told a lie to my mom. After a couple of hours, the guilt was CRUSHING me, so I went to her room and confessed, a puddle of tears. My mom comforted me, told me she loved me, and calmed me down. Then, she grounded me. Twice. Once, for what I originally did and, twice, for lying about it. In order to receive my punishment (to be corrected) and for it to have the desired effect that parents want it to have, I first had to be comforted, calmed, and assured (strengthened) that my mom loved me and that she was glad I came to her and confessed. If she had merely grounded me and sent me away, it would have crushed the core of me. I wouldn’t have learned to own up to my mistakes. I would have learned “don’t get caught, ‘cause getting caught is painful.”

So, for the past few years, I have been in the “strengthening” stage. He has been affirming the gifts He has given me, bringing to light new strengths, and growing my confidence in Him. He has brought me out of “the crush zone.” And now, it’s time to enter into the Refiner’s fire…

First, He broke me…

These past three months – October to December 2015 – to use an un-kosher missionary term, SUCKED. I would love to describe that word with other, stronger, language, but for the sake of the readership, I will refrain.

It was bad.

And not just in one area of my life or in one certain situation. It permeated my entire identity and world. While teaching in the states, I went through some rough times, but it never impacted my teaching. I never took my anger out on my kids. I never slacked off to the detriment of my classes. Now, five years later, this was not the case. If any students in my 8th Grade English class are reading this, I apologize. Y’all were the last class of the day and y’all got the worst of me.

So at this point, you’re probably asking, “What the heck happened?” And the answer is this:

God stripped bare the three areas of my life that were standing in the way of my relationship with Him:

1) My Superhero Complex (my ability to work hard, do things well, and usually succeed)

2) My “Understanding” of Myself (“I’ve been through counseling, I’ve totally got a grip on this!”)

3) My Solitude Complex (I’ll ask my friends, they’ll know what to do…)


You are not a superhero, nor were you created to be…

The beginning of the school term started with a meeting between the vice-principal, my department head, and myself. At the end of the meeting, they had removed one of the five classes I was teaching and I agreed to NOT coach a girl’s basketball team.

I walked to my friend’s house and cried.

I’m supposed to be able to do everything. I’m supposed to be serving in every capacity I can. I’m here to serve the Lord, right? I have these capabilities. I should be doing any and everything in my repertoire to serve this community. Right? Because if I do enough, I can pay God back. I can make it worth His while to have saved me…

The truth is, they were right. I was going to crash and burn if I continued with the workload I had, to the point where I may not have been able to return to PNG after my next scheduled furlough. And I hated that they could see that. I hated that no matter how hard I tried, I was incapable of doing it all. I hated my inability, my ineptitude. God had begun felling my wall of grandeur…


Click here for Part II…





A Track Analogy… Metaphor… Thing.

I Love Technology… and so do Papua New Guineans!

Hey everyone, here is an awesome story that looks at the way technology (Audio Bibles AND a Smart Phone App) is being used in Papua New Guinea to further the Bible Translation effort! Click the picture of the Audio Bible below to read about the Enga language group and how this new Smart Phone technology (being launched next week!) will allow people to hear God’s Word in their language for the first time!

(Click the picture to read!)

audi bible

Some Thoughts…

Welp. It’s October. I’ve been in America for three-and-a-half months. I’m pretty much exactly (this is a scientific term) half-way through my time here and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about getting back to PNG in January.

The longer I’m away from Ukarumpa, the stronger my desire is to return. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my friends and family. I got teary-eyed the other day when my mom and Grandmother mentioned Christmas ’cause I realized I’d be here for it. I’ve stayed with my best friend in Houston twice. So much laughter and adventures were had. Sadly, there are no pictures because we were too busy having fun to document ourselves having fun.

I also received one of the best comment EVER after sharing about translation work in PNG and my role there as a teacher. And I quote:

“Hey, thanks for sharing with us. I had no idea ANY of that was going on in the world.”

BOOM. Goal. Achieved.

So, my time here in America has been/will continue to be a good thing. Family. Friends. Sharing about God’s work. It’s a beautiful thing.


I’m ready to get back to my kids. My community. Serving God over there in the way He’s called me and gifted me to do. If I can be a teacher for a minute…

It’s kind of like before a race at a track meet (sorry my non-athletic friends, just go with me). The runners get in their lanes and stretch, psych themselves up, get their blocks set, take a couple of practice starts, do other runnery things (I was only in track because they made us do it in the off-season…I digress…) But eventually, you take your mark, get set, BOOM! Right now, I’m stretching and doing the runnery things. It’s good. It’s important to do those things. They make you run better. They get you ready. But… I want to run. I want the BOOM.

sports day
(Boys 110m hurdles from our all school track 
meet held each year at UIS)

The Percentage Point!

Photo on 2014-10-06 at 12.48 #2 Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 12.46.18 PM

Ladies and gentledudes, we are approaching the ever elusive half-way mark!

But Leah, what does 47% even mean? I’m glad you asked. It means that 47% of my MONTHLY budget has been covered due to the amazingness of partners joining in my ministry financially by giving monthly financial gifts. In order to return to PNG in January, I need to be 100% funded by December 7, also known as:

Dec 7

December 7 is a month before I need to be back in PNG. I need to be 100% funded by this date so that official paper work can be completed and that cannot be started until the 100% mark is reached.

Ways you can help:

  • Pray – for partners to join me in my ministry financially
  • Advocate – share what God is doing in PNG through my ministry there. Send them the link to this blog, and the link to my video summarizing what I do: http://youtu.be/JLIb_Q7auUs
  • Give – join with my ministry by becoming a monthly financial partner. You can follow the steps to give online at https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/leah-rigsby

In other news, I’m old…

I turn 28 next week. This is problematic because I still look like I’m sixteen. Evidence:

Leah 16 (2)Leah 27

The only differences are – glasses, tan, and confidence (i.e. the bigness of my smile). Side note – My 16th birthday must have been on Homecoming, hence the school spirit temporary tattoos (I played the snare drum at our football games). Side side note – apparently, the bigger my smile, the tinier my eyes are.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement! You guys are great!


Vacation Bible School

Hello everyone!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of helping out with a Vacation Bible School held here in Ukarumpa, for the children of surrounding villages to come to and learn about the Armor of God! The VBS was done entirely in Tok Pisin, and I had a lot of fun using my new language skills to help with music, skits, and recreation.

*playing soccer with the 5th/6th grade girls


Below, is a summary of the five-days of fun, written by the coordinator of the VBS. Enjoy!

The program this year centered around the theme “Klos Pait bilong God” (Armour of God).   It was held Monday through Friday mornings at the Teen Centre, 7-11 January, 2013.   Children from all over the valley and as far as Onamuna Village came to Bible school this year.   The children were divided into four color teams, with 3 age groups within each team.   Banana bread and water were served immediately after each child received their tongue depressor, home-made name tag.  They played games outside until the doors opened.   They came into the Teen Centre in a very orderly way with their team – something to behold!  Each day, a child from the valley opened the assembly in prayer, followed by praise and theme-related songs broken up in the middle by a skit and puppet show, all led by Ukarumpa International School students and leaders.   The kids marched, hopped, clapped and cheered for Jesus.   The Bible lessons, which included a number of dramas performed by both SIL community members and valley Sunday school teachers, were focused on Bible stories which illustrated the intended use of the various pieces of the armour of God.   For example, Satan tempted Jesus, but Jesus used the truth to stand against the temptations!  King Josiah wielded the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and believed God, both receiving and walking in God’s righteousness.   Paul and Silas wore their Good News shoes in Philippi.  King Jehosaphat and the Army of Judah believed God for victory over their enemies and their Saviour won!   And the early church prayed fervently for Peter to be released from prison and God provided a miracle.   After the Bible lesson was finished, the children broke up into their small groups of 20 – 70 children and rotated through three activities of 25 minutes each.  The three activities were Bible verse memorization, outdoor games and application time.   By the end of the week, most of the children from every age group could quote a good portion of Ephesians 6:11-18 with hand motions included.   During the application time, they learned how to apply each of the pieces of armor with real life situations presented to them and drew on or colored a take-home paper which was designed to replicate the lessons learned so that families in the valley could participate in the teaching as well.   Outside, they enjoyed active games which reinforced the lessons being learned with some of the UIS students and high school teachers.  Yes, they got muddy due to the 10 inches of rain received during the week!  To close up the program each day, the children came back together for more rousing music, a drama and an invitation to receive Jesus as their Savior or to pray with a teacher about whatever was on their hearts.   By the end of the week, we had a record of 70 children / young teens that had asked Jesus to forgive them of their sins and had put their trust in Him.  That’s 70 budding soldiers in God’s army wearing the armour He provides.  God answered many prayers.


200 loaves of banana bread – enough for the average of 520 children who came each day, plus one loaf for each volunteer who came from the valley.   (Biggest day, Tuesday, with 575 children registered.)

600 donuts on Thursday

48 UIS students involved in some aspect of the program

3 helpful visiting volunteers, including the Clark grandparents and an MK from Okapa

24 teachers from the valley from 12 different churches

21 teachers from within the Ukarumpa community

20 other adults helping with logistics, photography, videography, puppet team and script recording, food serving, registration, leadership or material preparations.

That’s about 110 people involved, plus all of the BAKERS that provided all the switkai!

What now?  Decision and attendance records will be delivered to the churches in the valley so that children can be followed up with by the church leaders.   Sunday school and Sabbath school teachers who were involved plan to review the material in their Sunday and Sabbath schools.   In just 6 months time, we’ll start gearing up for next year’s VBS.   The dream is that 3-4 Bible schools will be held simultaneously in surrounding villages.   Please pray that dream into being.