Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Of Glue Sticks, Carbohydrates and Some String

Snip. Snip. My scissors rattled the cardstock, slicing through the green like the newly chopped furrows in the garden next to our house. Now spread the glue….center it 4 cm from the left… I hummed as I worked. Now to add the yellow mulis (citrus fruit).  I began scattering the yellow blobs on the leafy-green background, and the poster with the cardstock tree began to come to life.

I looked at my handiwork and couldn’t help but grinning. I have a very odd job. I thought. I can never anticipate what will happen next!

As a linguist and Bible translator, ultimately I will be working with a language group long-term to do Bible translation. However, the process of finding that language group and another partner to work with can take a long time; right now, I’m waiting on the Lord to provide both those needs. So, in the mean time, I serve in many other roles critical to Bible translation, which also broadens my skill base and thus is better preparing me for when I do finally settle in a long-term project. In May, that meant helping out in the linguistics office, archiving resource articles for translators. For the month of June, that meant a quick change of plans such that after my holiday in Cairns, Australia, I flew directly to Kokopo, East New Britain to be the kitchen manager at a Church Engagement Training Course.

And now, for the past month of July, that has meant working in the literacy office, which has included more than a little cutting, gluing, and coloring. In August, I will be helping staff a literacy workshop held in Madang area, so right now, much of my job has been putting together posters and other teaching aids, from principles of literacy to creating balanced diets. I even built a portable hand-washing tap out of string and a vinegar bottle!

Hehehe—who wouldn’t think playing with primary colors and glue sticks is fun?

I leave on 26 July and will be gone five weeks through the month of August, living in the village of Saidor, Madang. I, along with eight other expat and national staff, will be running a literacy workshop that teaches national teachers how to prepare effective reading and writing materials for their community. This is applied practically to their lives through topics such as basic health and nutrition practices, leadership training, Bible study skills, traditional storytelling, etc.

Communication via internet and email will be very limited during that time, so I written some blog posts (such as about my adventures in Kokopo) and scheduled them to post throughout the next month for your reading pleasure. I appreciate your prayers as we serve the communities on the Rai Coast and worship the Lord through literacy work—after all, without literacy instruction, no one can read a translated Bible!

And now, I better remember to go pack rest of the markers…