Saturday, December 31, 2016

Not Plan B

image from freeimages.com
A cheery voice erupted from the TV above me, startling me out of that glassy-eyed daze that descends after sitting in one too many medical waiting rooms. “I decided that if I was going to die,” the doctor’s recorded voice proclaimed, “It was going to be on my terms. I’d die with good health, not from bad. The power of positive thinking enables my body to be healthy and whole—and if you choose, you can too!”

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Not Weak Enough

James, an excellent carpenter and translator (photo by Amy Evers)
“Sister, the roof on the translation office is leaking.”

I looked across the table at James, one of the Kamano-Kafe translators, and bit my lip in frustration. What was I supposed to do about this? 

He waited patiently as I grappled for an answer. “Umm, okay…yes. How bad is it?” Maybe it was just a small leak.

“It’s pooling on the floor. We need to fix it immediately.

Of course.
Such is life in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) rainy season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Tin Man, a Potato, and Hope

This is me today! Pinterest has some of the most 
hilariously funny chronic illness memes!
Now this is ironic…

The fork slips out of my hand again onto the counter. I will my stiff fingers to move, to somehow pick it back up again and then shuffle back to my desk carrying my lunch with unbending knees and elbows. Chronic Lyme disease as well as the side-affects from its treatment causes joints to ache and stiffen painfully, and today the flare-up is worse than it has ever been before.

Of course, on the day when I get to eat a potato… Today is my 12-hour window to try the food after 9 weeks of deprivation to see how my body reacts, and I can’t stop giggling hysterically as I can’t seem to even hold the knife to cut off a glorious tasty piece. Finally, I just stab the whole thing and gnaw off a bite.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Autumn Cathedral

I wrote the following blog post back in early October, when I was still processing through what it might mean to remain in the US to deal with my health issues. Unfortunately, I was too sick at the time I wrote it to actually post it on here. So here it is now :)
--------------------

 
“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
     but the word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25


Image courtesy of Wetcanvas
The sun dips lower until the oak and maple trunks spiderweb like lead came across a forest of stained glass. I sit beneath this everlasting cathedral, until my hands and face are covered in golds, oranges, greens, reds, and I try to hold the moment, like a piece of chocolate on my tongue.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Battle of 5 Armies (or more...)


"How Your Body Works" by Usborne
When I was a kid, we had this biology book produced by Usborne, all about the circulation system. White blood cells were dressed as valiant knights, ferociously defending the townspeople (red blood cells) from the attacking villains (bacteria and viruses and parasites…. which always looked rather like pirates).

Well, if you’ve been following any of my health journey, you know that this past summer, as I’ve been travelling around the Midwest and sharing with churches, groups, and individuals, I’ve been undergoing a battery of tests with multiple doctors to see what is going on and how to best treat it (including my chronic Lyme disease).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August Newsletter

It's a beautiful Minnesota summer, and I'm enjoying spending time with family and sharing with many churches and groups the work God is doing in Bible translation in Papua New Guinea. Check out my latest newsletter for an update on the health situation and my plans for the rest of this home assignment!

You can read the newsletter here or go straight to my newsletter page.

I look forward to getting back to blogging soon as my speaking schedule slows down! But, I have a few more opportunities to share, so keep checking back on my speaking schedule page in order to figure out which one works for your schedule.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Speaking Schedule in the US!

I haven't been able to write much on here because, instead, I've been seeing many of you in person! Right now, I'm in the middle of the craziness of travels and speaking for home assignment, and thus for a person with limited spoons like me ("spoon theory" is a lovely explanation of how life works when you have a chronic illness), certain things have to get dropped off...and right now, blogging has been taking a back seat.

I know I don't look sick (makeup, hair products, and decent clothes are miracle workers!), but in fact, right now my life is rather carefully sculpted between speaking engagements and doctor appointments to ensure survival. Hopefully when things slow down, then I can get back to writing more for all of you!


This calendar is also saved as a link on the left side bar, so you can always access it with updated information! If you need directions, more information, or you can't make one of these but still want to get together, send me an email!


Date and Time Host Location
Sunday, June 12, 9 am Nordland Lutheran Church  Paynesville, MN
Sunday, June 26, 9/10:30 am Oakwood Community Church Waconia, MN
Sunday, July 10, 8 am/9:20 am Berean Baptist Church Glencoe, MN
Sunday evening, July 17, 6:30-8 pm Centennial Evangelical Free Church Forest Lake, MN
Sunday, July 24, 9 am Word of Life Lutheran Church Le Sueur, MN
Wednesday eve (dessert night), Aug 3, 6-8 pm home Cologne, MN
Friday evening, Aug 5, 8:00 pm (7:30 meal) New Salem Church Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, Aug 7, 10:30 am New Salem Church Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, Aug 15, 9 am
Glory of Christ Fellowship (followed by a picnic)
Elk River, MN (at the high school: 900 School St NW, Elk River, MN 55330)
Wednesday eve, Aug 17, 6:30 pm South Suburban Evangelical Free Church youth group
Moeller Park, Apple Valley, MN
Sunday, Sept 18 Bethany Lutheran Church West Union, IA
Sunday, Sept 25 South Suburban Evangelical Free Church Apple Valley, MN
Sep-Oct (TBD) University of Northwestern-St. Paul Arden Hills, MN
Sep-Oct (TBD) Crown College St. Bonifacius, MN
October (TBD) Living Rock Church Norwood-Young America, MN
 November (TBD) Rosehill Alliance Church Roseville, MN

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Holidaying with Hobbits

What happens when three friends from Papua New Guinea actually manage to align their schedules so that when one person is flying back from the US and the other two are flying to the US and Canada, they cross paths?

Why, they stop in New Zealand for 10 days together, of course!

You may remember discussion about the challenges of going on holidays in Papua New Guinea back in 2015 (Choose Your Own Adventure Part 1 and Part 2). So when Jessica, Rebekah and I realized we could actually have a real holiday together, we jumped at the chance!

It was an amazing 10 days--it felt like my first true holiday in years, and I was blessed that not only did my energy hold up better than I anticipated, but that I could share life with two such amazing friends. (And I got to see penguins...life is always better when you get to see penguins!)

Enjoy some photos of the adventures we shared during our whirlwind visit to this gorgeous country.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

20 MORE Super Cool and Odd Things about Life in the First World

Last week I shared 20 things that have stood out to me as I’ve been transitioning back to life in the US for my home assignment after living in Papua New Guinea the last couple of years. But, when I got going, I found I couldn’t stop at 20! So here’s another 20 awesome and bizarre things I’ve noticed about life in the US.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

20 Super Cool and Odd Things about Life in the First World

Like the frog that doesn’t notice he’s boiling in slowly heated water, it’s easy to become immune to the amazing or strange things that surround us all the time. Lucky for me, whenever I swap from one world to another, I get to enjoy observing those little forgotten things over and over again (the rather less enjoyable side is called [reverse] culture stress but I’ll write more about another day.) Now that I’ve been in the US for two weeks (I'm starting my home assignment, after a couple of years in Papua New Guinea), here are a few of the things that have stuck out to me.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Beans for Bible Translation!

I am a tea drinker, not a coffee drinker. While I can manage to choke down a cup of java to be social (an important skill for both living in a Papua New Guinean village and for sitting down with American church missions committees), not even spending my college years rooming with a passionate barista convinced my tastebuds to crave this bean-water.

But in mountains of the Papua New Guinea (PNG), coffee growing and production is a vital part of industry, and for the Kamano-Kafe translation team, it’s a critical pillar of support for Bible translation!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Day at the Table--Part 2

There is no such thing as a normal day of translation! But, here’s an example (including all real events), of what a day might look like! Don’t forget to read Part 1, posted last week!
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Phrase by phrase (photo by Amy Evers)
The morning tea break flies by, and now it’s back to work! We plow through a few more verses in Deuteronomy; these are harder—dealing with topics of lending and interest and material items that aren’t present in Kamano-Kafe culture. My back has a crick in it, and I start getting distracted as the team chatters on and on in a language where I only catch a few words, often with loud yelling and waving hands. But I catch just enough—“Actually, he’s talking to all of Israel here,” I cut into the conversation, “so we need to make everything plural.”

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Day at the Table--Part 1

There is no such thing as a normal day of translation! But, here’s an example (including all real events), of what a day might look like! Check back for Part 2 next week!
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Franky settles into his "office" (photo by Amy Evers)
Nanterane! Good morning! It’s 8:30 am, and I step into the canteen, a little brown building that triples as trade store, coffee roaster, and translation office. James and Tuas, two of my Kamano-Kafe colleagues are already there, but I hear “Heeeey, we come!” and the rest of the team, Nathan, Kosseck, Korry and Franky spill in after me, everyone shaking hands and slapping backs.  Pastors, elders, fathers, youth leaders—they represent five different denominations coming together.  James begins hooking up computers, and Tuas distributes Bibles. Franky, a mother-tongue consultant, settles into the side room to work on adding his comments to an already team-checked translation.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Adventures Await!

The other night, I dreamed that I was on an airplane over the Pacific and I couldn't figure out what time it was in my destination time zone. Horror of horrors—I couldn’t figure out how to properly adjust my sleep cycle!

I leave Papua New Guinea (PNG) for my home assignment in the US in just a few short days. The departure seems both surreal (can I REALLY trust that there are doctors and ambulances and 24-hour pharmacies available, and I don’t have to bring all my medicines?) and amazingly concrete (all the boxes and bags scattered around my room might have something to do with that.)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

5 Stages of Home(less) Assignment

Deb Berruti, a global worker in Niger writes about the 5 Stages of Home(less) Assignment, an entertaining look at what it's like to return to our home countries and the emotions that follow us. She suggests we start with denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pausing in Grey

image from http://www.androidcentral.com/raindrops-glass
I hear the rain first. The curtain falls over the mountain, a distant roar, and our German Shepherd clatters underneath the house in panic. I have seconds to slam the window louvers shut before the wave reaches shore, crashing over the house, surf pounding on the metal roof until I can’t see the trees in the yard or hear my own voice.

And suddenly, I’m underwater, deaf and blind, my house an island, just me and my dog, castaways.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Gospel According to Leviticus

Some days I like to imagine, what if the books of the Bible got together for a good old fashioned barbecue? Acts would be running around, fetching all the firewood (or is charcoal better? Judges wants to consider all the options) while Romans is shouting directions that only 1 and 2 Timothy are actually paying attention to. Joshua and Mark have got 3-foot flames coming out the grill, while Ezekiel and Ruth are finishing up preparing the barley salad and other sides. Manic-depressive Psalms can’t decide if he wants a hot dog or a burger, while Ezra makes sure Corinthians are staying on track with the drinks.

photo credit: http://erikvanslyke.com/2011/05/17/read-the-instructions/
But Leviticus? Well, I’ve always imagined him over there, still reading the instructions on how to properly use the hamburger flipper while everyone else is happily chowing down.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Tale of Hockey, Piranhas, and Bacon

Sometimes, I forget what to communicate (always distressing for a person whose livelihood revolves around enabling communication). I forget that what is normal for me might not even cross your mind... (and there's no reason it should, unless I tell you!). So, I’m going to try to paint a picture of what it’s like to go on home assignment (and why I might find it tricky at times to explain it all!)

It all starts when a Girl (that’s me) leaves Warm-Earth Land and somehow traverses across a great and terrible crevasse to arrive in Ice Land.

Ice Land (image public domain)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

You're pregnant!

The little old woman stared at the white man in shock. He must be a ghost, come back from the grave--after all, he just gave her a prophesy!! She was going to become pregnant!

The white man visiting the remote village for the first time was confused at the great uproar. Hadn't he just said nanterane or hello? Alas, he actually said ne antegahane which essentially means, you're pregnant! Despite the spelling differences, the two words sound very similar when they're said quickly...he just accented the wrong syllable!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig (an FAQ)

As the nursery rhyme says, soon it's time for me to jiggity-jig on homeward! As I hop around the globe, I know it can be confusing to keep track of where I'm going and what I'm doing next--and now it's time for "home assignment!" Here are a few common questions that have recently come up—please feel free to ask more in the comment section.

Ukarumpa (my PNG home), looking down from a mountain (photo by Carl Campbell)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

There's an App for that?

Cell phone towers are springing up all around PNG!
photo by Rebekah Drew

“Here, give me the phone. I know what to do!”

My housemate Jessie reached across the table for my ringing mobile phone (or just mobail as we say here). She clicked it on and grinned at me, “Hello, you have reached Goroka Rubbish Removal. For a pick-up of your rubbish, please press 1. For an analysis of rubbish, please press 2, for...” She looked at me. “They hung up!”

We doubled over, laughing until we were crying. And then the phone rang again. Time to try again! “Welcome to the PNG Tax Service. To be audited, please press 1...”

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lessons in Terror from a Housedog

Nothing epitomizes fear quite like Buddy in the middle of a rainstorm.

The other day, we had another one of our monster rainstorms—the kind that come every afternoon (and morning...and night...recently we’ve had record rains) and remind me yes, you do live on a tropical island and where suddenly, it seems quite plausible that the entire earth could be flooded by 40 days of rain, and in fact, we really ought to be buying stock in our local ark-building business.

You know, this could be us... (image from https://coffeehouseapologetics.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/was-noahs-flood-global-or-local/)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why translate the Old Testament anyway?

Recently, I’ve been asked about the relative importance of translating the Old Testament for languages here in Papua New Guinea (PNG)...much less the importance of translating the ugly stepchild book of Leviticus. Shouldn’t you just focus on translating the parts about Jesus? The modern church doesn’t really need all that stuff anymore.

hard at work on Leviticus!
For the last nine months, I’ve had the privilege of working through Leviticus (and now into the middle of Deuteronomy) verse by verse, phrase by phrase with the Kamano-Kafe translation team (who had finished their New Testament translation and dedicated it Christmas of 2014). And, just like 2 Timothy 3:16-17 proclaims, the Old Testament (and even the Law) is just as crucial for the development of a healthy Christian life as the New Testament (and in some cases, like here in PNG, the Old Testament can be even more valuable than you might imagine!)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Walking A Bush Road

Bush roads in Papua New Guinea!
“As Christians, we walk a narrow road—like a bush path. You climb up and down mountains, you cross lots of ditches, and it’s hard work. But, on the other side...there is blessing.”

When Sakias joined the Agarabi translation team in 2003, he found this road was rather rocky and soon was ready to abandon translation to find a better job. “I was just an [unpaid] volunteer, and I had to support a wife and three young children,” he explained. “But, my wife [Ampiya] encouraged me to stay with it. And so I did, and we dedicated the Agarabi New Testament in 2011.”

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Moving Past Survival!

Buddy, our dog and mascot, of course made an appearance!
Creating art has been a part of my life ever since I could wrap a fist around a crayon (my sister loves reminiscing about it here). In many ways, it's a life-giving endeavor; I can tune out the world and pour myself out onto paper (I even have a website dedicated to my art: www.catherinerivard.com).

But, in order to be able to allow myself to do that, I have to have an excess of energy that isn't already earmarked for survival activities...like eating and walking and talking to people.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

From Camels to Qumran!

A great adventure! Fantastic! Amazing! Interesting!

These words and more were used by ten Papua New Guinean men and women involved in Bible translation to describe their recent two-week trip to Israel. As they journeyed around the country, visiting places like Jerusalem, Bethesda, Gethsemane, Bethlehem, and Masada, they saw the Bible come to life. Suddenly climate, distances, locations and events in history were tangible and understandable, and many words that they have to translate (like cistern) finally made sense.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mastering the Mango

Although many foods don't grow well in the drought, the mango trees have been prolific! So, today, I'm going to divulge the secrets of Mango Chopping!

Mangoes are tricky fruits--the giant pits, the slippery flesh, and the juice that gets everywhere! The skin tastes terrible, but it's also wretched to remove. Never fear! I will reveal all to you now!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Newer and Tuffa'!

How do you store your drinking water?

Our old metal water tank was starting to have all kinds of tiny holes and cracks, and it was really a matter of time before we'd have a major problem on our hands. So, we decided it was time to replace our water tank!

First, we needed to empty the tank...


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Letters to a New Missionary: What We Wish We Had Known

Develop a good prayer team. Take time for closure. Bring lots of photos.

There’s lots of great tips out there for first-time global workers....but what about all those things that you don’t know to ask? Recently, I polled my friends working all over the world and found their top 17 things they wish they would have known before they landed on the field.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sunglasses on Mars

Huge sheets were put up to watch the Jisas Film
I had always been a bit proud of my ability. When other people were popping Dramamine and ginger and staring out the window with that horrified look of please, when will it be over, I could read a book. Big planes, little planes, ships, dinghies, roller coasters, spinning rides at the county fair, stick-shift on mountain roads...and so far everything that Papua New Guinea could throw at me in the last four and a half years was not a problem. It was like a badge of my super-woman-toughness.

Motion sickness? Puh-leese. Although I might be riddled with strange health problems and fatigue, at least I don’t get motion sick.

You know where this is going.
Lots of people attended each class