Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crushed Rose, Sunset, and Warm Honey…?

Just a few lipsticks to choose from!
“Tip your chin to the sky.” I studied the young man seated before me. “Okay, that looks even. Close your eyes and don’t breathe.” I swiped the large black brush against my wrist, and then with a quick flick, dusted a fine white finishing powder over his face. “Now, for the final touches…” I turned toward the haphazard collection of brushes, palettes, pencils, and lipsticks. “Your lip color is crushed rose, right?”

His eyebrows furrowed at me in confusion, but I just kept talking to myself. “This part is kind of like paint-by-number…I just need to fill in the lines… There you are, all done.” He pulled off the protective sheet and glanced in the mirror.

“Wow!” he looked at me in astonishment, and I grinned. It’s amazing what a little makeup (including a liberal application of Sunset bronzer) can do to assist the transformation of a teenager into a 40-year old early 1900s newspaper editor!

Our Town production--courtesy of Amy Evers
But Catherine, you ask, I thought you were a Bible translator?

Yes, I am. And part of my job the other week included applying theatre makeup to high schoolers preparing for the end-of-term performances of Thornton Wilder’s classic production Our Town. The Ukarumpa International School (UIS) serves over 250 students from preschool to grade 12, and is critical to the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea!

UIS students helping out with a Holiday Bible School
Because our school provides high quality education that is equal to (or exceeds!) schools in our home countries and allows our students to enter universities all over the world, they make it possible for families to more easily come and serve in Bible translation—and it’s not just limited to support families living on centre! Language teams are able to take advantage of prepared village programs, homeschooling assistance, and even weekly radio skeds with the Ukarumpa teachers, allowing the kids to keep up with their studies while their parents translate the Scriptures. Many teams would have to leave if it wasn’t for the presence of the school (and I’m grateful since many of my closest friends are teachers!).

The teachers are dedicated to providing outstanding multicultural education that goes far beyond the classroom, pouring into the kids emotional and spiritual lives outside of academia. Many of the Papua New Guinean students have gone on to be leaders and educators in the country. In fact, the entire Ukarumpa calendar revolves around the school, and it is the main hub of our social activities—band and choir concerts, musicals and plays, art shows, talent nights, sports tournaments, the book festival, Carnival, Banquet, spiritual retreats, youth group activities, and many themed dinner fundraisers that act as our restaurant experience :)

The last cast member's makeup for the day!
And, due to my modest experience of community theatre makeup, I’ve been recruited on the occasion for the play’s makeup crew. For five nights the other week, I donned my apron, armed myself with brushes, discussed the use of Warm Honey (it’s a foundation) and pondered how to keep one of the boys from looking like a vampire from Twilight (our original makeup caused him to look extremely pale…). As I chatted with the cast (and realized that I know many of their parents from various committees or conferences), I found myself enjoying interacting with the “non-language” side of Ukarumpa and visit with the various other recruited adults who come from realms that I don’t often frequent  (not being a parent of high schoolers myself, you see…). It was a welcome interlude sandwiched between literacy drawings and translation project meetings, giving me a glimpse into a world that is just as integral in reaching Papua New Guineas with the Scriptures as my own.

Sometimes it just takes a bit of eyeshadow to see it :)

If you’re interested in learning more about the schools in Ukarumpa and how you can be involved, check out this blog post by my friend Wendy! You can also visit the Ukarumpa International School’s Facebook page and read some great stories about teaching MKs!