Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Anti-Radiation Mysterious Mouse Evil Spirit Pad!

"This verse offers no problems for translators," my translation commentary program blithely remarked about Deuteronomy 1:14

Obviously they had never translated this verse with the we were now over 10 minutes into an animated discussion with no signs of ceasing (were the Israelites actually *answering* a question or were they merely *responding*?).

In translation, we work hard to make sure every sentence is clear (understandable), accurate (communicates all the meaning from the source), and natural (sounds like a native speaker). Some days, this process trips along merrily like a cheerful little brook, and other days it swirls and churns, catching on every snag, fallen tree branch, and sand bank that you can imagine.

But, for the translators who developed the promotional materials for my housemate's new mousepad (shipped from a neighboring Asian country), I think the water went off a cliff.

Introducing the High-level anti-radiation mysterious mouse evil spirit pad!

According to the manufacturers this mousepad:

The illustration was added afterwards...
  • Conforms to hte national environmental protection standard, the mysterious mouse pad also considering the human body engineering. which function May reduce wrist wearily,protect radiation and increase blood circulation with using it.
  • random curl with non-deformation.
  • the soft material has the strong adsorptive attraction to the table facet and not easy to move.
  • its using-life is very long and suitable for

Apparently Jessie is in the high-working pressure group!
In case you were wondering who could use this mousepad (like teenage mothers?), check out the list before...

The Mysterious Mouse pad is suitable group
  • the longtime uses the office computer
  • asian healthy condition, easy weariness
  • the long time computer players
  • high working pressure group
  • pregnant, underage group

Look at all the benefits of the mousepad!

Mysterious Mouse pad effect
  • alleviate teh ache, effective to prevent weary
  • muscle changes soft, relaxes the muscle-bound
  • blood flowing to be smooth and circulates
  • the anoin, titanium raw material may protect radiation
  • the anoin may purify the air, effectively to absorbs in teh waste gas in theair to make the operational site to become fresher

You know you want such a mouse pad for your computer!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Translating "kingdom"...with no king!

Miskum leading the discussion (photo courtesy of Jessie Wright)
 How do you translate “kingdom” when the language has no word for “king?”

Recently, the Tigak people of New Ireland Province discussed this very issue, along with several other key terms to be used in their translation. “Key terms” are words in the Bible that are especially important for understanding its message, such as grace, forgiveness, and salvation, and they are often difficult to translate.
This past May, my two housemates Jessie and Rebekah along with one other translation adviser, joined with Miskum, the primary Tigak translator, to hold a key terms awareness workshop in several Tigak villages to get the people discussing what words are most appropriate for translation, including kingdom.

(You may remember, I worked closely with Miskum and the Tigak language during a Sunday School workshop last year as well as a hymnbook revision a few years back.)

“What about galon?” Miskum suggested.

In traditional Tigak culture, the chief built a house inside a fenced area far away from the village. This fenced area, called the galon, was a secret, sacred place that no one from the outside was allowed to enter. Here, the chief's son would be born and raised, and would only leave the galon under secure circumstances, when it was certain no one could see him. Once he was old enough to marry and take leadership, the village would hold a big ceremony and feast to mark the occasion when he was finally allowed to leave the galon.

Discussing the possibilities! (photo courtesy of Jessie Wright)
After discussing galon, the community was led in a long discussion about the biblical meaning of “kingdom” in both the Old and New Testaments. Together, they considered whether this word was appropriate for the younger generation (as galon is no longer practiced in Tigak culture), whether its specific cultural meaning could be used metaphorically, and whether it could be brought back into usage with a slightly different, biblical meaning. They also pondered borrowing a word from a different language or using several other Tigak words, depending on the meaning of the text.

Although a final decision was not reached during the workshop, the community was energized to continue talking about translation, and how to best communicate key terms like kingdom in their culture and language. 

Thanks to Rebekah Drew for sharing this story with me.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Letters to a New Missionary: Not a Nun (singleness part 2)

“Wait, so you’re not married?”

I shook my head as the man, two seats over from me in Port Moresby international airport terminal, leaned forward incredulously. “So, does that mean you’re one of those....oh, you know...women who wear long black and white dresses and, you know, what’s the word...”


“Yeah! Yeah, that’s it. A nun! Are you a nun?”

I bit my lip, trying to choke back the laughter. “Uhh, no. Actually, I’m not a nun!”

Welcome to Part 2 of our discussion on singleness! Today we’ll look at a few tips from your fellow single workers on what helps those of us who are not married (nuns or otherwise...) thrive on the mission field.

Accept your status and the accompanying challenges. Singleness on the mission field is not like singleness in my home country; it impacts life much more significantly here on the field. Part of thriving means accepting that I live in a culture that has different rules and values (whether they are right or wrong) and learning how to operate with new parameters instead of clinging to my home country’s expectations.

Accept that you probably don’t fit cultural norms.  In Papua New Guinea, women are supposed to marry, have children, and work in the garden; many never go to school. For me, a single, childless, educated woman working in job alongside men...well, that’s not really normal, and I never will be.

Start with today. God has asked you to be a contented single right now—and you really have no clue what He’s going to ask you to do tomorrow.

Cyclical grieving is normal. God intended for humans to marry (after all, He invented hormones...). Fellow workers of all ages agree—decades of unquestionably content celibacy is a myth.  So instead of judging yourself as pathetic, immature, a bad Christian, or desperately lacking in willpower if the thoughts of marriage or raising a family dare to cross your mind (or even if they don’t and you think they should!), allow yourself to be human and grieve the loss.

Strive for selflessness and self-care. We singles often seem to fall into one of two traps—either we become really selfish (since we aren’t forced into the self-sacrifice required by marriage or parenthood) or we completely reject self-care and burn out spectacularly. Avoid both.

Give others grace. Kind people with good intentions are going to say stupid things to you. You’ll be told that you “just need enough faith” (and a purity ring) to “marriage doesn’t guarantee happiness” or even that you’re “lucky” since singles can do so much more for the Lord (followed by marriage horror stories). You’ll be asked when you’re returning to your home country to find a spouse, and you’ll be told that you can’t understand love/holiness/God until you are married or have a child. You might even get a package filled with Crosswalk articles on singleness (followed by a note about missionary so-and-so who finally married in the nursing home). You’ll be lauded for your supernatural celibacy, and at the first sign of weakness, you’ll be bombarded with examples of awesome singles like Paul, Ruth, and (don’t forget) Jesus!

Remember, though their words may slice deep, and you might feel like forging that ridiculous purity ring into the One Ring of Power, it’s not really about them and their misplaced guidance. You’re in a battle, my friend, and this may just be the latest attack. Stand firm, for it has been already won!


“I’m not a nun,” I tried not to laugh.

The airport man leaned back and fiddled with his ticket. “Not a nun? Well then....uh, what are you?”

In many cultures around the world, unmarried is akin to worthless, and for the solo global worker, it is easy to be dragged down into those same lies. How do you thrive in such a world? The number one tip among all my friends is merely this: know without a doubt who you are—a precious child of God, the one for whom Christ died.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Letters to a New Missionary: Praying for Husbands Club (singleness part 1)

Alone...but never alone!

My housemate sat on our porch with some of our Papua New Guinean friends as they expressed their concerns. “We’re worried about you girls,” they shared. “Since wives have to listen to their husbands, when you get married, your husband might tell you that you can’t be friends with us. We’re going to pray that your husband will be friends with us too.” They nodded vigorously....and so became the latest members of what we jokingly refer to as the “praying for husbands club” that seems to take a special interest in our household. ;)

Recently, I was asked to share about what it’s like to be a single woman working cross-culturally. Each gal’s experiences (and each field) is different, but here are some things I’ve learned from friends and personal experience over the last four years in Papua New Guinea (PNG). (I’ve broken the discussion into two posts, so stay tuned!)

Note: My discussion is from the perspective of a single woman, and thus, it’s aimed at single women. This in no way is to belittle the challenges faced by single men on the field!

Point 1: Being single on the field is harder than being married.
  • The life of a missionary is one of continuous change and transition (I moved 24+ times in my first two years). As a single, although I have friends everywhere, apart from Jesus, there is no one who has shared even half my experiences on the field. 
  • Singles get to balance two full time jobs—daily life (which just takes longer on the field) plus their normal “work” or “ministry.”
  • The hundreds of major decisions that come with crossing the planet are made solo. 
  • Some jobs (like translation) require a close co-worker. Marriage provides one; singles search one out (some call it “marriage without benefits”). 
  • When a culture says that a woman’s value comes from bearing children and her protection comes from a husband, single women can face lies of worthlessness as well as can be a target for harassment (not to mention marriage proposals and green card seekers!). 
  • In a culture like PNG, single women often need to ask for help from our married male friends in everything from travelling to negotiations in conflict. Not only does this make us feel guilty (pulling him away from his family when he’s got enough to do at home), but there’s the pressure not to put extra stress on marriages (always trying to be culturally appropriate for our host culture, missionary culture, and home culture)!

Point 2: Being single on the field is easier than being married.
  • Because singles have more freedom with time, energy, and resources, they can more easily engage in direct ministry, organizational leadership, language learning, time spent building relationships, hobbies, and even living in rough or remote situations than a parent might feel with young children at home.
  • Some young mothers report that they struggle with feeling a lack of purpose and value that they didn’t when they were single and able to be more directly involved in “ministry.” 
  • Singles can often be completely flexible and spontaneous without having to work around a family’s schedule (e.g. travelling companion for a medivac or a last-minute kitchen manager for a workshop).
  • Life in general is a lot less expensive (less support to raise!)! 
  • Singles pull much less baggage through the airport... :)
  • Singles can develop both greater independence and a wider skill set than they might otherwise not have attempted.

Conclusion: It’s not really harder or easier to be a single on the field. It just is.
But being able to make a cheesecake (like my
aweseome housemate) doesn't hurt!
The only way to thrive on the field, whether you are married or single or red-haired or can bake a cheesecake or can walk across coals barefoot, is to have full confidence that you are exactly where God has called you to be. After all, we know that if He calls us somewhere, He will enable us to be there—and that includes our marital status. The choice before us really is not whether to go to the field single or married, but whether we are trusting and obeying exactly what we are supposed to do in this moment. And then the next.