Wednesday, August 30, 2006

You Know You Are A Missionary Kid When....

My family and I really enjoyed this, so I thought I would post it. We found it to be very true.


You Know You're a Missionary Kid When...

(Originally compiled and published by Andrew and Deborah Kerr)

You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"

You speak two languages, but can't spell in either.

You flew before you could walk.

The U.S. is a foreign country.

You have a passport, but no driver's license.

You have a time zone map next to your telephone.

You would rather eat seaweed than cafeteria food.

Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times.

You watch nature documentaries, and you think about how good that would be if it were fried.

You think in grams, meters, and liters.

You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.

You go to the U.S., and get sick from a mosquito bite.

You send your family peanut butter and Kool-Aid for Christmas.

National Geographic makes you homesick.

You have strong opinions about how to cook bugs.

People simply don't understand.

You live at school, work in the tropics, and go home for vacation.

You don't know where home is.Strangers say they can remember you when you were "this tall."

You have friends from or in 29 different countries.

You do your devotions in another language.

You sort your friends by continent.You keep dreaming of a green Christmas.

You tell people where you're from, and their eyes get big.

"Where are you from?" has more than one reasonable answer.

The nationals say, "Oh, I knew an American once..." and then ask if you know him or her.

You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service.

You realize that furlough is not a vacation.

You've spoken in dozens of churches, but aren't a pastor.

Furlough means that you are stuffed every night... and have to eat it all to seem polite.

You realize that in Australia, the above statement would be very rude.

Your parents decline your cousin's offer to let them use his BMW, and stuff all six of you into an old VW Beetle instead.

You stockpile mangoes.

You know what REAL coffee tastes like.

The majority of your friends don't speak English as a first language.

Someone brings up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong.

You believe vehemently that football is played with a round, spotted ball.

You know there is no such thing as an international language.

You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism.

You tell Americans that democracy isn't the only viable form of government.

You realize what a small world it is, after all.

You never take anything for granted.

You know how to pack.

All preaching sounds better under a corrugated tin roof.

You know raw fish tastes better than cooked.

When guests come to your house and bring a fish as a gift.

Going to the post office is the highlight of your day.

When you sing songs to yourself in a language other than English.

When you mother gets excited over finding Doritos at 7-11.

When on deputation you have memorized Dad's messages.

When after the church service you look for a slide projector to put away.

When wearing shoes in the house sounds disgusting.

You get excited to find cokes are on sale for only 99 cents.

You carry Bibles in two languages to church.

You watch an English language video and read the foreign language subtitles.

When you dream in a foreign language.

On your 18th birthday you still don't have a driver's license.

You send out birthday invitations in a foreign language.

When you carry a dictionary everywhere you go.

When your five foot tall mother is taller than most of your church members.

Your Dad scolds you in a foreign language.

When you don't know how to count American money.

When you go on furlough your Mom buys everything in the store.

When adults want to pay you to teach them English.

When you can't find shoes to fit your feet in any of the shoe stores.

When you would rather sleep on the floor than on the bed.

When the family gathers around the computer to check the E-mail.

When you enjoy getting together with other MK's and talking about old news.

When all your clothes have been worn by someone else.

When at your yard sale the 80 year old man next door buys your mother's culottes.

When your friends know more English grammar than you do but can't understand English conversation.

When you find a seven year old picture of yourself on someone's refrigerator.

When you know how to send a fax using an international call back service.

When you have carried the same dollar bill in your wallet for four years.

When you write in your diary in a foreign language.

When driving on the right side of the road gives you the willies.

When the traffic light turns from red to blue.

When eating with chop sticks seems natural.

When eating spaghetti with chop sticks is easier than using a fork and spoon.

When you have explained the difference between "The cow is on the field" and "The cow is in the field."

When you take a shower before taking a bath.

When you call senior missionaries grandma and grandpa.

When the message on your answering machine is in two languages.

When you move into a new house you take a gift to all your neighbors.W

hen earthquakes seem normal.

When your Mom sends you out to sweep the street in front of your house.

When you pull into a gas stand and expect people to come running out screaming welcome!

You consider parasites, dysentery, or tropical diseases to be appropriate dinner conversation.

You tell people what certain gestures mean in different parts of the world.

You have stopped in the middle of an argument to find the translation of a word you just used.

You calculate exchange rates by the price of Coke.

You would rather have a Land Rover Defender than a Lexus.

You enjoy textual criticism of customs forms.

--Copied from different sources and edited

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Language: Uhhh? What did you say???????

We have been without phone for some time, so I have not been able to post. The phone came back up a few days ago, but only lasted about a day. It has just come back up today.

One of the most mentally challenging things for the missionary is learning a new language. (At least in my opinion.) Especially, if you have only have known one language your whole life. There is a joke I read while studying language: What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

Before coming here, I was one of those Americans who only knew one language. After all, in America, English is all you need. (Too be honest my English was pretty poor, as most of you can tell from reading my blog.) I have for the most part completed my language study for the Tok Pisin language. This language is a Melanesian pidgin. A pidgin is a language where there are less then 1 million people who speak it as a first language. Actually, the Tok Pisin should be reclassified. There are more than 1 million now who speak Tok Pisin as a first language. Over 5 million speak the language altogether, but not all of those speak it as a first language.

When I first arrived, I thought, I could learn the Tok Pisin in about six months. I heard the stories of missionaries who did just that. (The Tok Pisin is not a difficult language to learn if one already knows English.) Well six months into my time here, I was far from fluent. As a matter of fact I was a horrible tok pisin speaker. I grew very frustrated. After the first year, I was still struggling with it, but it was improving. All together it took me a little over two years to become fluent in the language. I am able to think in the language without having to translate all the words in my head now. I can also understand/comprehend it well by someone who speaks it very fast. That took quite some time though. I fail to see how anyone, who previously only knew one language, could become fluent in six months. However, God gives each person different abilities, so for some perhaps it does not take as much work, or perhaps they just have better study habits than I.

I have now begun learning my third language, Patpatar. This is a village language, so it will be much more difficult to learn. However, already having learned another language, I know a lot of the do’s and don’ts of learning a language. (There are over 700 different languages here in PNG. On the little island where I live, there are over 20 different languages. This is not counting the different dialects of each language.) I have been pleased with the progress I am making already. I have only been studying it now for two weeks. The Lord is really helping with the pronunciation. They say things COMPLETELY different. My mouth and tongue have to learn a whole new way of talking. All the “r” sounds are rolled. It is not the “ur” sound that we make in English. I have never been able to roll my r’s, but the Lord is blessing and I am having success at it.

My lesson today was the phrase, “I want to preach the Word of God.” In Tok Pisin this would be, “ mi laik autim tok bilong God.” In Patpatar, “Iau warra tange ra nianga tane Kaloa.” (phonetically)

Please pray the Lord will enable me to learn the Patpatar language fluently and quickly. We have a furlough mid 2007, and I would like to be fairly fluent before then.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Preaching On The Mission Field

Preaching and teaching are key elements for the missionary. These are two primary methods the Lord uses for proclaiming His truth. The preaching and teaching lead to converts and enable believers to grow in the Lord.

Many groups use different methods of producing “converts.” Examples of other methods of producing converts would be using money, making promises, building schools, using different forms of entertainment. Of course these different methods are not simply found here in PNG, but are also in America and throughout the world. One reason why there are so many lost people in churches today is because of what was used for the “conversion”. If it was not the gospel being preached, along with the Holy Spirit working on the heart, there was no true conversion to the Lord.

One thing I have to guard against, on the field, is producing my “own” converts. I desire for people to convert to the Lord, or become born again by a spiritual birth worked by the Holy Spirit. However, being a white American in a third world country such as PNG presents some difficulties. For one, because of who I am, many look at me with a certain amount of admiration. As if I am better then they are because I am a white American. Of course this simply is not true. Yes, I come from a different culture altogether. My life in America was nothing like village life here in PNG. I had many more “luxuries” than what the villagers have here. I had a better education, and the opportunity to make a better living.

However, these things do not make one a better person. I am still a man just as the men are here. I have the same temptations (I Cor 10:13). I have the same sin nature (Romans 5:12). I have the same trials. People go to hell just as easily in America as they do from PNG. The greatest need they have here is not better schools, better health care facilities, better government, better homes, and more jobs. The greatest need here is the same greatest need found in America and the rest of the world. That need is Jesus Christ.

Now back to the point of this blog, preaching on the mission field. As I mentioned earlier, because of who I am there is a certain amount of admiration. It is easy to get people to follow me based on who I am. This is where the danger lies. I can get almost anyone to pray a prayer, simply because I, as the white American, asked him to bow his head and pray. Very few here would refuse to do what I asked them, because of the high regard they have for me.

If I wanted to walk into a village with 500, preach a message, tell them to bow their heads and “pray to receive Jesus” all would follow. I could then write back to my supporting churches of the hundreds saved in the meeting. However, the reason for them praying would not be the Holy Spirit, but me. I can not save them, and a vain prayer saves no one!

The solution to this problem is found in the humility of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was not looking for a name or converts to himself, but to the Lord. He pointed men to Jesus not himself. As he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The humble attitude along with the power of the Lord is the answer. However, if I began to be driven by ambition instead of the Lord, I would make a mess of things. I might have 300 on Sunday in each work instead of 60, but there would still only be 60 of the Lord’s converts present.

Oh, how we all need the wisdom and power of the Lord in our lives and service to Him!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Trials James 1:2-7

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."

Sunday, after I finished preaching, one of the members of the church came to me for council. He is in the midst of a trial in his life. He is having a land dispute. Land disputes here are very common and many times turn deadly for those involved. Part of my council was for him to go and read James chapter 1 several times, and then on Wednesday come back and tell me how it can help him through this. At that time we will discuss the chapter and how it applies to him.

The Bible instructs us to “count it all joy” when trials come into our lives. How is this possible? How can we have joy during the hard times? James 1 gives keys to answering this important question. I will discuss two things brought up in James one in helping us answer this question.

First, we need to consider the benefits of our trials. A Navy seal candidate goes through grueling training prior to becoming a Navy seal. He must endure incredible pain and hardship. I have heard only about 30% of all candidates actually finish the training and become Navy seals. Why does the Navy put them through such hardship during their training? Because they know what they will have to face in the future. They know the battles and the enemy that they will face. They know this training helps prepare them to be successful in their missions.

One reason the Lord allows trials in our life is to prepare us for our mission; serving and loving Him! James 1:3-4 tells us how trials build patience, which in turn helps us to become perfect in our faith. We come to a high level of maturity in our faith. We come to closeness to God. A place where God is enough! We are complete in Him. We are wanting nothing. How many of us desire to draw that close to God? The road to this level is paved with trials. Trials are the tool the Lord uses to mold us and shape us.

When trials come, remember they are a tool of the Lord used to draw us closer to Him! This is another reason why our trials are “more precious than gold.”

Secondly, we need to consider the help God has provided for our trials. There is a saying, “Trials will either make you better or make you bitter.” When trials do come, it is important how you handle them. The devil knows God uses trials to help us, so he does all he can to prevent that. He does all he can to try and discourage us. He wants you to become bitter, not better as a result of the trial. In verses five-seven, we have a key to allowing the trials to draw us closer to God. Allowing them to make us better not bitter.

One thing we truly need during times of trials is wisdom. Wisdom which comes from God. When the man came to me on Sunday he needed wisdom. When we have wisdom to handle our trials, we will also have peace in the midst of our trials. One thing I have said, and have heard over and over when trials arise is, “What am I going to do now?”, or “How can I make it through this?” The answer to those questions lies in the wisdom of God.

Notice how easy God makes it for us to obtain wisdom. We simply ask him for wisdom. That’s right! Prayer! Oh, how we need wisdom every day in our life!

We ask God for wisdom in faith. Trusting in God. Knowing God has the answer to our burdens and trials. The disciples were on a ship one day with the Lord, and a violent storm came up. Jesus was asleep. The disciples began to panic. They awoke Jesus in a state of fear, not faith. They did not even ask him to calm the storm, they simply stated, “Master we perish.” Jesus then calmed the seas and asked the disciples where their faith was. Many times we are like the disciples; we panic, not realizing the Lord is in control. There is nothing in your life that is out of His control. Come to him in faith and ask for wisdom. He knows exactly what needs to be done to help you with your trials.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Youth Rally/Truck/Levi and the Lizard

I was gone for a few days to preach a youth rally at a high school in Kavieng. I preached for two nights at the school, and then Sunday at a village Baptist church outside of Kavieng. Missionary Terry Thrun organized the youth rally and the church where I preached was started by him.

The youth rally went good. There were a large number of teenagers present. Three youths made professions of faith, two boys and a girl. On Saturday morning Bro Thrun and I preached at the market with our youth groups. Here in PNG people will stop and listen when you do open air preaching. There were probably 50 to 100 people gathered around to listen. Afterwards, we went to the only prison on the island and preached. There was somewhere around 75 prisoners who came for the preaching, two of whom also made professions of faith.

The day before I left for the youth rally, I had some parts for my truck flown in. One of the parts was for the master clutch cylinder, and the other was a needle bearing for the front axle/wheel. The mechanic put the parts on and I then took him back to the village. I also picked up some of the youth for the next days trip to Kavieng. After I finished, my truck started giving me problems again. The clutch fluid started leaking like crazy. I had some spare fluid with me. (I have learned to keep a good number of things in my truck to be prepared for a breakdown.) I put the fluid in, but it would only last for a few minutes. My truck ran out again, but this time I made to the mechanics house. I made it right to the front of his house!!! I could have easily broke down anywhere on the road, leaving me to walk for a long distance, but the Lord blessed again! The mechanic was able to fix the problem in about one hour.

Another truck story

A few days prior to this, I was driving back home from church, and a bolt to my torsion bar snapped. I thought a tire exploded! The left front side of the truck just dropped. The tire was rubbing on the body of the truck. I was not far from the mechanics house and I was able to inch my way to his house. He jacked my truck up and took a block of wood and placed it somewhere in the front end and then lowered my truck back. This enabled me to drive my truck back home. He told me not to drive the truck again once I was home. Obviously, this too could have caused me to have to cancel the youth rally. The next day the mechanic borrowed a bike and rode for two to three hours to a broken down truck. This truck is similar to mine. He then removed the bolt from that truck and rode back to his house. The next day he came to Namatanai and repaired my torsion bar. (The mechanic’s name is Able. He is a good Christian man who loves the Lord. He is a member of the Baptist church in Sohun.)

Funny Story,

The other day my family and I were sitting in the house. My 10 month old son Levi was sitting on the floor. Daniel looked down and noticed something sticking out of Levi’s mouth. I looked down and saw it was a tail from a lizard! Levi was just chewing away! Mariann quickly reached down and pulled, but she only retrieved the tail itself. Levi was still chewing. She then stuck her finger in his mouth and pulled out the body of the lizard. It was pretty chewed up, and Levi had already swallowed the head! Levi was fine just upset that he could not finish his snack. After all he caught it!