One of the phrases that I love in Tok Pisin is the way that they say ‘habit or regular occurrence.’ The word for habit in Tok Pisin is ‘pasin’ (pronounced ‘pass’ + ‘in’) and they might say ‘Pasin bilong PNG’ which means something that happens often in PNG.
One ‘pasin bilong Ukarumpa’ is our regular ‘Mornings in Prayer.’ Monthly, there is a Thursday morning where all departments except for Aviation and the School break from 8:30 – 10am and gather at our Meeting House, where we also attend church and community events. We meet, pray together and cover different aspects of the work that’s going on here in PNG in prayer.
This past month, the focus was on Ukarumpa International School and the morning even consisted of breaking up into pairs to go walk around either of the campuses and do a prayer walk. I LOVED looking around the secondary campus in the morning and seeing pairs of adults breaking from their work to pray over the school.
Normally I’m unable to go to the Morning in Prayer but this month our dear friend, Abby, who is the fourth grade teacher at UISPC, asked me to come to capture some photos of the fourth grade kids leading worship. Since the focus was on the schools today, the fourth grade class was participating by leading the community in some songs of worship – it was awesome.
Can I just tell you how thankful I am that we have teachers here who think it’s important, not just to teach our kids knowledge and information, but teachers who also model what it looks like to live a life of worship? Abby is one of those amazing teachers who we also get to call friend and, truly, an individual who feels more like family.
For all of the ways that this community can sometimes face challenges due to the numerous overlaps between work and personal life, this beautiful friendship we enjoy with Abby is one of the perks of living in a community full of people who we interact with on numerous levels. Abby teaches Jacob during the week as Ms.Armstrong and then comes to our house for Sunday night dinners as Ms.Abby and is just a dear friend.
So, back to the story – I sat there this morning, watching these 20+ fourth graders dance around, lift their hands and genuinely mean the words they were singing in worship to our God and creator and I was moved to tears. I watched Abby lead them in worship with joy and authenticity. I watched Tonita, another dear friend and helper in the fourth grade class, help with the actions with immense joy and I couldn’t help but be SO very moved by the beauty of their individual and combined worship.
These kids are going to grow up and move to the middle and high school and Jon and I will have the opportunity to teach many of them and it is invaluable that they are being poured into, mentored and discipled in these early years at the Primary Campus. We will have the privilege and honour of being handed that role when they move from 5th grade to 6th grade but I have no doubt that they will never forget a teacher like Abby Armstrong or that she will ever stop having an impact on their lives.
She is reminding daily them that they are loved. She is reminding them daily that they are God’s. She is reminding them daily that we live and exist to be in relationship with a loving, gracious and Holy Father who calls us His own. And she’s doing all of that, while still teaching them the book knowledge that is so very secondary to that Identity knowledge which will, Lord willing, permeate everything that they do.
She is giving them hope by pointing them to Jesus and that is what all of us, serving as educators at Ukarumpa International School, are here to do. It isn’t always easy. There is heaviness. There is spiritual attack and, no matter where your kids grow up, they are going to have to fight the lies they hear from the enemy – speaking through whatever circumstance that he can – that tell them they are unworthy, unlovable and unimportant. How precious it is to have people in our kids lives who are combatting those lies with truth. Abby is one of those people. We are trying to be some of those people. You could be one of those people – right where you are or here in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea.
Whether or not you ever set foot in this country know that your prayers for us and for the kids of Ukarumpa have not gone unnoticed and are crucial allies for us in the fight for these precious hearts and minds. May prayer for our kids and the young people in our lives become a ‘pasin’ for all of us – no matter where we are.
Thank you friends!