Coincidence? I think not…at least not in Biblical Hebrew…

Aaaannnnd We’re Back!! (Two points to you if you can name where the quote is from) Googlers, as always, head to the left and please consider reading the rest of this.

Alright kids, let’s continue where we left off…. TOK PISIN!

As previously mentioned, Tok Pisin is the common language used in New Guinea. I will be taking classes to learn it later when I arrive in New Guniea, but I’m an overachiever so… Google is a wonderful tool J. Another wonderful tool is being at the HBU (Houston Baptist University, my alma mater) library, googling Tok Pisin, finding an article only available on ERIC (a scholarly journal), which is only accessible if you pay for it which…bum bum bah! HBU does. Boom. I am now the proud owner of “Work book of Conversational Tok Pisin for the Peace Corp.” Circa…1991 or so. Not really sure. Any who. Let’s move on to the language rating:

Best part of Tok Pisin: There are only two prepositions. (i.e. there are only two words to represent the word like – above, about, beyond, under, until, through, in, etc…).

Worst part of Tok Pisin: There are only two prepositions. This makes for a lot of guess work… (is it in the tree, on the tree, behind the tree…guess I’ll have to go look.)

Onward to language number two…


In stark contrast to Tok Pisin, Hebrew has 857 prepositions. Yes, I’m exaggerating. But there’s a lot. I’ve come into contact with about 20 or so. And I’m just in the “basics” book.

“Wait, wait, wait, I thought is was New Guinea….what’s the deal with Hebrew?”

I’m glad you asked.

As previously mentioned in the “Fingerprints, Frustration, and Phonetics” post, my ultimate goal is to be involved in translating the Bible into a language that doesn’t have it yet. To do that…you need Hebrew and Greek. This is going to get a little crazy.   🙂

So now I’m in the process of learning Hebrew. Alphabet? Check. Vowel markers? Check. Pronunciation? Check. Memorizing jillions of nouns? Check. Verb conjugations? … uh oh.

So, I’ll keep you posted on any breaking Hebrew news but as for now… I’m just memorizing.


My FedEx package arrived in PNG (Papua New Guinea…I’m tired of typing out the whole thing… lazy American…) it is now awaiting international screening before it can be delivered to where it needs to be. Yay. In other PNG news, I am in need of sponsors/donors/whatever word makes sense to you to insert here. I have received some amazing one time donations, but am still in a large need for monthly ones. For ways to give, click on the Wycliffe logo on the left side of the page. Woot!

And now for the personal, in depth, part of the blog…

To anyone who has been called by God to do anything, we reach a point where doubt creeps up and you’re like, “What am I doing? Did I really get called to this?” This has pretty much been at the back of my mind ever since I applied to Wycliffe and, while I would love to report some huge big revelation that magically made the doubt go away, that hasn’t happened…yet. I’m still praying for that one. But even in the midst of doubt, God sends His comfort in various ways, we jut have to be ready to see them and recognize them as such when they happen. These are the things people like to write of as “coincidences.” Now, I’m not saying every coincidence is a work of God or that every work of God is a coincidence, but if it caused you to glorify God in some way or led to something being aligned that you’ve been praying for, or is something that can’t be explained…why would we want to limit God’s involvement, writing it off as a coincidence? No. If God is powerful enough to work in the big ways, then He is powerful enough to work in the little ways and we should be able to ascribe honor where it is due rather than just thinking it was chance. That’s just silly. What is causing me to say all of this?

My iPod.

Yesterday evening, I was driving to KFC thinking about life and everything that’s going on, pretty discouraged about almost all aspects of everything. I put in my iPod, which was on shuffle, and a song came on. I wasn’t really paying attention until the chorus played

“Give me an answer
Give me the way out
Give me the faith
To believe in these hard times…”

Well played, Jesus, well played.

As I was driving, I just began smiling and thought, “Message received Lord, message received.” Now, before criticisms begin to flow, do I think Jesus magically floated into my iPod to make sure that song came on at that exact moment in time? I don’t know. Probably not. Did that song come on and the Holy Spirit speak to me through the lyrics? Yes. Yes He did. He could have done so through a number of songs (probably not my Spice Girls CD… I digress), but that’s the one that came on. Did the song possess some magical Jesus power that made me magically undiscouraged and super peppy about life? Also, no. I’m still kind of discouraged, but I’ve been reminded of a lot of things through that song playing:

–       God knows what I feel like
–       He wants me to be aware that He knows
–       He wants me to cry out to Him
–       He is there to listen, comfort, counsel, and provide
–       I need to repent because I haven’t been calling out to Him, but relying on myself.

So, now it’s up to me to swallow my pride and cling to Him. Easier said than done. But that’s where we are.

Or, I could have written it off as a coincidence.

Peace out homie, homes! – Leah

If you or your church would like to take part in the “Pennies for New Guinea” fundraiser, send me an e-mail, facebook me, carrier pidgeon, whatevs.

Prayer and financial gifts:

Ridiculous videos of ridiculousness:

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:


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

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:


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:


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


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:
-my first newsletter:

Links for fun-formation:
-Nikki/Leah Update Show (my roommate and I are ridiculous):
-Leah Rigsby is ridiculous on YouTube:

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