Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Purposeful Existence

“Nonu Godinu sinana me ibene ibene ibeibisu, Godinu bukaroma eno wasu, i sinana Godinu kotofu sina.” ~1 Peter 1:25a, Yareba language of Papua New Guinea

“…but the Word of the Lord stands forever.” ~1 Peter 1:25a, English, NIV


Since arriving in Ukarumpa, many people have asked me what I’m “doing.”  By this they generally mean something along the lines of,

“We really need a warm body to fill such-and-such position(s) in our department, and you seem to be qualified!”

Whether or not I am warm may be debatable.  But if you know me, you know that I am not one to sit around very long.  I am trying very hard, though, to take the advice I received months ago: take it easy at first, make sure everyone is happy and settled, and then find a ministry you want to be committed to. 

The general consensus is that this should go on for three to six months, so, I’m “not doing anything” … yet.

But, I have been taking on small, temporary jobs to fill the time between hanging the laundry out to dry, rolling tortillas, and marinating the crocodile.

Before we arrived, I had not heard about the Bible Translation Association (BTA) of Papua New Guinea.  However, the more I learn about it, and the more people I meet who are involved in it, the more excited I am that Papua New Guinea nationals are being called to the task of Bible translation!  According to the BTA website, “The PNG Bible Translation Association (BTA) is a national organization in Papua New Guinea committed to translating the Bible into the languages of the country. It is also involved in literacy -- teaching people to read and write in their own languages.” 

One of the tasks I have agreed to do is to edit for publication the bios of about twenty BTA administrators and translators.  I am having a great time, for it is truly fascinating to read these people’s stories!

Last week, I worked with a team doing a final edit on the brand new Malei New Testament which, until we redlined several dozen pages, was camera-ready.  They plan to publish and dedicate the text in 2010.

Because editing in a foreign language wasn’t challenging enough, I also volunteered to type 1 Peter.  Apparently, older texts such as the Yareba New Testament (published in 1973) are being typed up by volunteers so they can be published online.  I don’t know this language at all, of course, so the way I figure it, between spell -check underlining every word and my mad typing skills, these five chapters will only take what … a year or so?

I consider it an honor and a blessing that I can be involved in these small ways, considering the fact that the reason we are here is to support the cause of Bible Translation in Papua New Guinea.  However, in addition to these logical tasks, I have also agreed to a few things that, at least at first, don’t seem to be quite as pertinent.

I shipped my sewing machine, so in addition to working on a few things of our own (including taking in my only pair of jeans to try and make up for the thirty pounds I seem to have misplaced at POC), I have taken on a few sewing jobs for other people.  Not that big a deal, I know, but it helps those people, right?

And two weeks ago, a plea went out for someone to organize appointments and an “office” location for a visiting veterinarian.  Since all I was doing was sitting around watching soap operas and eating bonbons, I figured I could manage that.  In twenty-four hours, I had two solid days of appointments scheduled.  After going to the clinic to purchase some syringes, I took the doctor to the “exam room” which had been set up in an office behind someone’s house.  I had been told we would just need a table, a good light, and a roof overhead, so an enclosed room – sterile or not – was actually a step up.

We had several appointments that were innocent enough – immunizations, canine manicures, equine oral hygiene … that sort of thing.  But, we also had several spays and neuters scheduled.  The doctor used quite a bit of his sedative on a dog that needed to be put to sleep, so he ended up cancelling all of the spays until he could come back another time (probably January, he says) with an adequate supply.  But, the surgical procedures for the poor little boy doggies would go on.   

And with the words, “Here – hold this,” I would become the surgical nurse.


Anyway, all this to say, I am trying to find my place in this here world.  I know God has me here for a reason, and I am certain that in time He will make it clear to me what He wants me to do here.  Long term, anyway.

In the meantime, let’s just say, I never expected to be able to add to my resume, “pulling dog testicles tight while a vet ties off the blood vessels.”


Did I mention he’s coming back in January? 

I may try to find a job after all.  :)



  1. You didn't mention your hair cutting appointments! :-) I knew you would have many, many opportunities to contribute to the work, but even I didn't imagine the extent to which your resume would be broadened! May God Bless you in each and every ministry endeavor.

  2. That is hilarious! I would have loved to have seen your face as you assisted the vet! Maybe i need to visit you and bring my sewing machine??? What a crazy idea but a fun adventure! Well done, good and faithful servant! Merry Christmas!


We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

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