Hello friends! We trust God is proving Himself faithful to equip you to fulfill His purpose for your lives. We’ve now completed four weeks of our 9-week Pacific Orientation Course. We’re learning about Papua New Guinean culture as well as the main trade language, Tok Pisin. This is the language of wider communication throughout a large portion of PNG, and it’s one of the best tools we have for understanding and building relationships with Papua New Guineans. Later, when we get to our village assignment(s), Tok Pisin will serve as a bridge for learning the local vernacular language(s).
One of the things we love about the culture here is the centrality of relationships, which take precedence over time and tasks. It’s more important that everyone be present and ready than that we start on time. We typically have 4 classes a day, covering topics from Tok Pisin grammar to conflict management to open-fire cooking to traditional animism to pot washing. Every Saturday we have a community hike, and the last two Sundays we’ve visited different nearby village churches. The church last weekend prepared lunch for us by cooking vegetables in pit ovens in the ground, a traditional method known as mumu.
One of our biggest blessings has been spending time with our wasfamili (watch/foster family). This is a Papua New Guinean family who lives here in Ukarumpa. Wasmama (foster mother) and Waspapa (foster father) both work for our organization, and they have a son a little older than Evie and a daughter Zeke’s age. This week we had dinner at their house and stayed the night on their living room floor. We had a great time storying with Waspapa into the night, improving our relationships and our Tok Pisin at the same time! Waspapa‘s heart language is one among hundreds here that has no Scripture at all, and was very open about the heartbreak he feels over his people and their situation.
We’ll be continuing our classes here at the Training Centre for two more weeks, then we’ll spend three weeks in an actual village where we’ll be immersed in the language and culture. Team Wade has been assigned to a village called Zumanggurun, in the Adzera language area of the Markham River valley.
Our main prayer concern right now regards the health of our family. We’ve been told by a doctor here that our persistent digestive issues are most likely due to a sensitivity to at least one thing in our new diet. Please pray that we’d effectively navigate decisions and conclusions regarding our diet, and that the Lord would continue to supply our needs as we lean on Him. We’d also appreciate prayers for our language learning, overall stamina, and focus. The living quarters for our whole orientation class (14 adults and 19 children) are very close, so please pray an extra measure of grace and patience for all of us. And finally, continue to pray that God would send more workers here so that the number of language groups and people without Scripture will be reduced to zero. Not only translators, but literacy workers, school teachers, technical specialists, pilots, and so many others are needed to rise up to meet this work.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14