Archive for December, 2010

Karuka

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas to you all! I’m writing this on Thursday but probably won’t be able to send it for several days, so you may not get it until Christmas or after. Our next few days will be full– tomorrow is a church members’ Christmas party at the Smiths’ which will probably be an all-day affair because they’re killing their big pig and we’re having a mumu; Friday we missionaries will be getting together in the evening at the Smiths’ to sing Christmas carols around the piano, then all coming here to the hausmeri (lit. “house woman”– i.e. Karen’s and my house) for Christmas dinner on Saturday. Next week the Sunday School kids’ Christmas party is on Tuesday (I’m helping with games, which should be most fun); Tuesday evening fellowship and Wednesday afternoon prayer meeting like usual; then on Friday a big Christmas mumu at church.

I’ve had a hard time lately thinking of interesting things to tell you about, mainly because I’ve been doing a lot of pretty mundane things like entering grades and cleaning and doing laundry and yard work. However, last night I did have a first that may interest you. I’ve told you about our evangelistic fellowships in a different hauslain every Tuesday night. Yesterday was KVK. (I don’t know what that stands for and I’m not sure anyone does… it’s just the name of the group of houses near our church building.) The fellowship was held in a new house, and there were lots of people there– a real blessing because lots of the fellowships recently have only had 2-3 non-church folks. Please pray that the unsaved folks who attended will remember what they heard (about why we should rejoice/celebrate at Christmas) and that they will come to Christ. After the singing and preaching was over, Pol (the song leader) said for everybody to stay because our hosts had prepared food for us. One of the guys from church, Aira, went outside and came back with a bunch of leaves to use for plates. Then out came some big pots with kaukau (kind of like sweet potatoes– I think it’s really good!) and kumu (greens) and karuka, which was the main item of interest because I’d never had it but everybody here just loves it, and it’s evidently just now coming into season. Karen and I have been discussing the best way to describe it, and today at lunch over our leftover homemade pizza and breadsticks we decided that it looks like Marinara sauce (the stuff you dip breadsticks in), only brighter red (according to Karen; last night I couldn’t see it too well because it was dark) and chock-full of seeds that look like small almond slivers. The main difference, however, is that it doesn’t taste at all like Marinara sauce or anything else I’ve ever tasted, except maybe Paloni in Zambia, which is another story in itself… I won’t share what Karen said it tastes like :-)… it’s a strong, bitter/sour/acidy taste. I’m convinced that the folks here like it kind of like some people like coffee… they have some at first for reasons other than what it tastes like and then eventually grow to like it, even though it’s awful! To eat Karuka you put a bunch in your mouth… sorry, no silverware– you probably don’t want to use that fork stuck in the pitpit wall anyway!… suck out the juice and spit out the seeds. I have to admit that I felt like a little kid, because though I did eat at least half of my portion I spread the rest out on the leaf so it looked like I was done! I felt like I had it all over my face, and when I asked Mrs. Smith (who was sitting next to me and by some unknown-to-me art gracefully ate hers without getting a bit on hands or face!) she said it just looked like I had overdone it on the lipstick. Great– just what I was going for! (NOT!) I guess that’s one good reason to be glad it was dark! 🙂

Maybe I’ll add to this if I get a chance before sending it off… Hope you have a great day!

(Saturday) Merriest Christmas greetings to you all! It’s Christmas morning and I’m about to send this off. I don’t have time to write about all the above-mentioned events of the last few days in detail, but they all went well. We’re looking forward to a good team Christmas dinner today. Just got out of Saturday morning prayer meeting at church. Hope you have a blessed Christmas day!

Elizabeth

“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal

To check email in Kiari, I carry my computer about a mile down the mountain to church and stand holding it on the edge of a windy overlook where a fitful cell phone signal connects me to the outside world. ☺ Due to this limited connection (literally watching emails come in a kilobyte at a time!), I have to limit the file size of incoming messages. Plain text—even a long letter—will come through just fine, but pictures or attachments really up the message size and generally won’t make it through the filter unless I’ve specifically asked for them. So, in other words, leave off all the “extras”—but do still write! ☺

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School Christmas party

18 December 2010

I forgot to write this earlier, but my email went quick today so I thought I’d sit down and dash off a quick post to tell you about our school Christmas party yesterday. It was HILARIOUS– I hope the students had as much fun as their teacher did! We had Bible and a History test in the morning, but after that was our party. We played Cat in the Hat and then had a white elephant gift exchange. Guess what the first– and funniest by far– present was? A chicken!!! Not a toy chicken or even a dead chicken to eat, but a real live Henny Penny! After that we played Stick-the-star-on-the-Christmas-tree and then the kids went outside and played Capture the Flag while I popped popcorn and got the drinks and cookies ready. At the very end I gave them each a little goodie bag, and one student gave me a PNG necklace and bracelet. That was sweet.

In the afternoon I had my first Christmas break treat– rounding with Karen to one of the further hauslains, Kensa. We tried a shortcut I’ve been dying to do since I heard of it– going over the mountain behind our house instead of going around on the road. That was fun– it was a little slick because of all the rain lately and definitely steep but I still liked it. 🙂 The view from Kensa is amazing– I had never realized that right below the church (where I’m standing right now to do email) is just cliffs. Wow. The other day I dropped my bilum and it got caught on a bush not too far down, but if it had gone too much further there would have been no return! We chatted for just a little bit with some Kensa folks and then headed home. I’m really looking forward to more of the same now that I don’t have school and I do have a buddy (Karen) to round with!

Please continue to pray for us. Especially during the Christmas season, as it is in the States, we have lots of outreaches planned. Pray that folks would not only come (lots usually do) but would really be open to the Word and receive it.

Have a great week!

Elizabeth

“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal

To check email in Kiari, I carry my computer about a mile down the mountain to church and stand holding it on the edge of a windy overlook where a fitful cell phone signal connects me to the outside world. ☺ Due to this limited connection (literally watching emails come in a kilobyte at a time!), I have to limit the file size of incoming messages. Plain text—even a long letter—will come through just fine, but pictures or attachments really up the message size and generally won’t make it through the filter unless I’ve specifically asked for them. So, in other words, leave off all the “extras”—but do still write! ☺

Long overdue post

8 December 2010

I keep either putting off or forgetting to write my blog… many apologies. I’ll try to catch you up on all the news. 🙂

Thanksgiving was wonderful. It was my first away from my family—even in college I always managed to get home—but that thought actually didn’t even cross my mind until the morning of, and even though I was thinking of them all day and missing them, it wasn’t too bad. My housemate Karen and I cooked all morning—she made stuffing (all the way from the beginning—she even had to make her own bread!) and green bean casserole, and I made another kind of bread and a mock apple pie from a green bumpy vegetable called Sako (my first time to try that, which was not very smart since it was for a team dinner… and unfortunately everyone had to help me discover that a Sako pie doesn’t just need an extra half hour in the oven—2-3 extra hours is probably more like it—crunch, crunch!) Anyway, all of us missionaries got together at the Smiths’ for dinner at 1:00, and for those of you who are wondering it was a pretty traditional meal: besides what I already mentioned, we had chicken (no turkeys in PNG that I know of!), mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (actually it was squash, but you’d never know). We stayed until 8:30 sitting around and talking, working puzzles, playing Dutch Blitz and other games, singing around the piano, and eating leftovers for supper. It was a great day. 🙂

My own Thanksgiving stretched out just a little more, because the next morning Karen and I got up at 5:30 and hiked up Mount Wama (just behind our house—a 20-30 min. hike at a somewhat leisurely pace) to call our families. On the way we watched the sun rise over the mountains—beautiful!!! The timing was perfect, because 6 am here was 3 pm Thanksgiving afternoon in Virginia, and all of my aunts and uncles and cousins (and even the first fiancé!) were gathered at my grandparents’ home and I got to talk to them all. Probably the most special part was that when I called Daddy was playing his guitar and singing “Wayfaring Stranger” like he does every Thanksgiving, and Mama put the phone where I could hear him. Yup, I cried. 🙂 But it was a good kind of crying, and though I do miss my daddy and all of my family and friends at home, I am most happy and content here in Kiari—yes, really thrilled at the privilege to be here and miss my family a little for the sake of the gospel.

Now we’re starting to think about Christmas. PJ and Joanna Smith even decorated our house for us last Saturday. I have to admit, though, that at present I’m thinking of it from the perspective of “only 8 more school days until Christmas break!” Reminds me of college days… though many things about Christmas this year will be very different from any I’ve had before. I sent off my Christmas package to my family at the end of October, and though I’ve had short-sleeve Christmases before in Virginia, this will be my first to be surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and probably have fresh vegetables from our garden as part of our Christmas dinner!

I’m trying to think if there’s anything else I should tell you about. I guess one thing is that we can all thank the Lord for sending a nurse to Kiari again! I’ve been personally grateful several times when something almost happened that could have been really bad and would have been even worse with no medical people here– such as slipping going over a fence on the way down Wama the day after Thanksgiving and landing hard on a fencepost… you see, most fenceposts here are sharpened to a point and definitely capable of impaling someone, but thankfully I landed on a blunt one! Then last week we both noticed that my stomach was growling all the time, and she says I have a classic case of amoeba. I’m quite sure that if she wasn’t here to tell me so I would never have been able to diagnose myself… I probably would have just thought I was hungry! Anyway, she got me all fixed up with the right medicine and hopefully by the end of this week they’ll be all gone. 🙂 Many, many others are thankful with me for “nursemeri Karen” who puts us all back together again. At present she’s just doing clinic a couple of days a week to cover until Catherine comes back, because her primary work is learning Siar, which is the tok ples (village language) of Kiari. I don’t know of any foreigner who has ever learned it completely, though some missionaries have learned a few words here and there. It isn’t written, and so she gets to figure it out from the beginning! I’m sure she’d appreciate your prayers.

And that would be yet another thing to tell you about and ask you to pray for… I’ve switched from Pidgin to Siar in my own weekly language lessons. I’m by no means completely fluent in Pidgin but I get along fine and think that most of my improvement now will come from living here and listening and talking. Karen spends all day every day (aside from clinic mornings) working on Siar, so she’s obviously miles ahead of me already, but I’ve learned basic greetings and started on a few conversation sentences. I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out the grammar and patterns and am most thankful for my linguistics classes at BJU. However, it is a rather daunting task especially considering how little time I have to devote to it– yet I feel like I just HAVE to learn it, because I’m convinced I’ll never really get to know Kiarians until I can speak the language that they use when they’re really talking with each other. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to sit around with them and not be able to understand what they’re laughing and talking about, or even one single detail from the story someone is telling that everyone is enjoying so immensely. So please pray for the Lord’s enabling as I embark on this venture. 🙂

Well, this has become quite an epistle so I’ll break off now. I’ve said barely anything about school, but it’s been going well and teacher and students are learning a lot. Please do continue to pray for the salvation of Dave and Samuel (two 2nd-grade boys) and for wisdom for teaching and other school decisions. Pray also for the Lord’s working at Kiari Baptist Church– we’ve seen many fall away or become disinterested in following hard after the Lord, and just last Sunday one of the Kiarian church leaders, Pol, preached an excellent message on “no ken slip”– “you can’t sleep!” This has been my prayer for a while and I’m really praying that this message will have a lasting impact on everyone who heard it– me included!

Thanks so much for your prayers– without them I don’t even want to imagine where I’d be. Hope you have a great rest of the week!

Elizabeth

“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal