That is “Good Afternoon” in Pidgin, the national trade language of Papua New Guinea. As I am writing this, it is 3 p.m. on Wednesday, nearly 14 hours different from back home in Indiana. Though the two days I spent on an airplane were long and tiring, it was well worth it. I actually did not have any trouble adjusting to the time difference, being that I did not go to bed the night before I left home, I was alseep on my first flight before we took off, and woke up only when landing, and then slept most of the other three flights. That in and of itself was a huge blessing from God!
The Interface campus is located in the highlands region of the country, and is approximately 5,000 feet in elevation. Between that and the 80-90 degree temperatures, I am sweating a lot when playing Ultimate Frisbee. At this point in the program, we have only been to the local Bena village once, for observation purposes. I am excited to return and begin language acquisition. Already a few phrases are becoming second nature. Nem belong me Abigail. Lookim me behin. In other words, my name is Abigail and I’m leaving now, or good bye. That’s about it other than a few words here and there. There are 14 students in our group – most of us being from the U.S., but one guy from the UK, and three from Germany. My roomates are the only two other single girls in the program, Jillian and Hannah, and we have become great friends already.
God has been teaching me so much even now…challenging my preexisting beliefs and thought patterns. My prayer for my time here is that I will be open and ready for everything that God is trying to teach me. While I have been here, I have been studying, in addition to my regular Bible reading, the book of 1 Peter. Wow! The more I read over the book, the more God opens my eyes to.
1 Peter 1:6-9
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little, if necessary, you have been grived by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him, and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
To think, 40,000 Bena people and only two missionaries working in translation. The need is so great. But what can I do? Lead me, Father. May my life be wholly spent in Your service, for the sake of he Gospel, for Your truth. (1 Peter 1:12)
For those of you who are wondering, yes, I am wearing a skirt. Not only a skirt, but a loose-fitting skirt, and huge, loose-fitting shirts. 1 Peter 3:3-4 is a great encouragement. It is such a blessing to me that I really do not mind wearing the “frumpy” clothing because there is something much greater at stake – the testimony of Christ to the people here. Several years ago, it would have been torture for me, but even playing Ultimate Frisbee in a skirt is worthwhile for Christ now….what a testimony to His work in my life! (Actually, we can wear shorts now for sports – it was only the first few days that I played in skirts).
The staff here at ITF are incredible. In many ways, it reminds me of the C.A.M.P. program, in that the staff are here for the students, and are all completely sold out for the Lord and the ministry here.
Classes thus far have been very good as well. I think my favorite is Phonetics. I find it absolutely fascinating to look at our own (silly) English and write it out or catagorize it phonetically as a missionary first coming into a language group would begin to phonetically write out that language. Very interesting.
This is long already…God bless, and thanks for your prayers!