We’re here, we’re doing ministry but, what does that look like?
When we first arrived, we were given some time to settle in as a family and adjust to all of the newness that we outlined in our last newsletter. Very quickly, we found that our schedules went from empty to full as opportunities to serve presented themselves.
We thought we’d take some time to share with you 10 different ways that we have been serving and/or plan to serve in the New Year to help give you an idea of what ministry looks like here in Papua New Guinea for our family.
TEACHING Jon has been busy teaching, both at the Secondary and Primary campuses. When we first arrived, the main need was for a PE teacher at the Primary Campus so Jon filled that role.
In mid October, one of the Science teachers at the Secondary Campus had to go home to the States suddenly as her father was very ill. Jon was able to step in and cover her classes for the past 5 weeks, with one more week to go before she returns. We are so glad that, in some small way, we could help make the journey home easier for our fellow colleague.
Her father passed away just upon her return and we are amazed at the way that God worked out the timing for us to be here, have the same teachable subjects as this colleague and be available to step in to this role (right down to fact that our two littlest transitioned easily to the daycare which enabled Jon to teach her courses while I was still involved in the Initial Skills course).
Please pray for our colleague as she returns back to Ukarumpa in early December and has to be away from the rest of her family while they continue to grieve. We know that, while it is wonderful to see God’s hand at work in the timing and the details, being far away from family and friends, especially when you lose a loved one is tremendously hard. Your prayers would be SO appreciated.
THE INITIAL SKILLS COURSE IS DONE! – This 6 week course is for National Translators and Literacy workers and it gave the 20+ participants a basic foundation in English grammar, critical thinking, pronunciation and computer skills. It was such a joy to be a part of this course as a teaching assistant and I find myself sad that the course is done! Please pray for the translators and the translation projects and language groups represented. Please pray for their needs (shown below). So many are in need of computers to make progress on their translation projects. If you have any connections at all, please prayerfully consider reaching out to me via email.
INITIAL SKILLS FOLLOW UP – Now that the Initial Skills course is done, SIL (the partner organisation we are seconded to from Wycliffe Canada) offers continued mentoring for some of the Translators. I have volunteered to help mentor two of the National Translators (pictured on either side of me in the photo above) and am excited to continue working with them over the course of the coming year.
They represent the Binumarien and Gwahatike language groups and, mentoring them will involve supporting them as they work through some correspondence materials and providing them with feedback and suggestions.
Please pray for motivation for these men as they continue to improve their English skills for the betterment of their larger language projects and Bible Translations.
MAMBU HAUS – Even though we’re far away from the downtown EastSide of Vancouver and can no longer hand out chilli on Saturdays as a family, we have been so blessed to find a way to serve as a family here in the Aiyura Valley of Papua New Guinea.
Mambu Haus is a building about 10 minutes away from the Ukarumpa centre and near the Aviation airstrip. This building is open on Saturday afternoons from 2-4pm for kids from the valley to come and do crafts, play with toys, play volleyball, work on puzzles, read, play music and have a snack.
We have visited and volunteered once with our kids and plan to return on Saturdays throughout the month going forward. We love that it is just a relaxed, simple way to serve as a family, show love to these kids and do so alongside our own children and the fact that it is on Saturdays – the same day that, three years ago, we decided to commit as a day of serving as a family, just feels like an added reminder from God that you can serve Him absolutely anywhere.
Soul Purpose & Community Groups – We LOVE youth. We are here to work with youth and we have been blessed – every since arriving – with a house that is located so close to the teen centre that I can actually here the worship practice for the weekly worship and bible study night for youth that takes place on Sundays.
Ever since that first Sunday here, I have attended Soul Purpose when possible and enjoyed getting to know the youth and how the youth ministry here at Ukarumpa works.
Beyond the weekly Sunday night meetings, the youth here also have Community Groups for each grade and gender that happen on a weekday evening. Each group has one or two adult sponsors and we are looking forward to getting involved more with Community Groups in the New Year – Jon working with the grade 10 boys and Anita being plugged in wherever there is a need.
We love the small group setting which will allow us to get to know youth better and which will ultimately provide opportunities for us to encourage the youth to grow in their faith while we continue to grow in ours. It’s impossible not to think of the youth back at home that we miss as we prepare to get involved in this way but we are so very grateful that there is always more room in our hearts to love new youth while still cultivating the relationships with our much loved youth at home.
A NEW SCHOOL TERM – in January, Jon will be teaching PE courses while I will be teaching Science 9. Please pray for us as we prepare materials, get familiar with curriculum and get to know our colleagues and students better. We are excited to delve further into the school culture here and we would welcome your prayers for all the youth at Ukarumpa and both the common and unique challenges they face as Missionary Kids.
UPCOMING VISIT TO NOB NOB – in December, we are travelling to Madang to have a rest and visit our Nob Nob wasfemili (guardian family). This is the family that initially taught us Papua New Guinean language and culture and who opened their home to us on many occasions.
We had a great time with them during our stay in Madang and we have enjoyed sending letters and exchanging texts while we have been here in Ukarumpa. Please pray for a blessed visit in December, for continued language learning and for the ability to show them God’s love through what we say and do.
GUESTS and Care Packages! – Two of the most exciting things we’ve experienced here have been the excitement of getting a ‘yellow card’ in our mailbox (this means that a care package awaits) and the email we received saying that Jon’s parents airplane tickets had been booked for December.
We have been so blessed by thoughtful gifts sent via mail from family and we are so excited to see Jon’s parents in person here in just a few short weeks.
Thank you to those who have also inquired about how to send a package to us. If you’d like to know more about how to send something or what in particular we can’t get here and might like to be sent, you can check out this google doc that has all the pertinent info!
And if anyone wants to come visit us while we are here and wants to know more about what that would entail or what they could do while they are here to serve, please email us!!!!
Our Wantoks – Wantoks is a term used here to mean ‘your people’ or those who are like you. For us, we have Canadian wantoks and then we also have our POC wantoks – all of the families and couples and singles that did POC (Pacific Orientation Course) with us in Madang.
Please pray for all of our Wantoks as they adjust to life here in Ukarumpa. Please pray for them as they fill many crucial roles and please pray for their families as they continue to transition.
There’s nothing we’d like more than having more wantoks here so, if you are ever curious to see what roles need to be filled here in Ukarumpa, just check out this FB page that is updated frequently. We need everything from doctors, nurses, physical therapists, teachers, electricians, carpenters, the list goes on. And, even if it’s not listed, we might need your skills. Wouldn’t that be amazing to work here together? Just a thought… 🙂
THE ULTIMATE: BIBLE TRANSLATION – SO, we are here to support Bible Translation and we have found it SO beneficial to get involved whenever possible with the many steps of Bible Translation here on centre so that we can be reminded of why we aren’t teaching in Canada right now and working with Canadian youth, when so many times, that feels like it would be easier.
We are here so that the linguists and National translators can get God’s word into a language that each people group can understand and then to follow that up with Scripture use training and discipleship so that people can experience the change in their lives that only God can bring.
Earlier this month, we had a special church service and, during that church service we witnessed a parade of the scriptures – a celebration of all the New Testaments, portions of scripture and audio bibles that have been completed in the past year.
Please pray for the translators here that are constantly working. Pray for them as they…..
1. spend time in villages (this often means time away their families or difficult times for their families)
2. run workshops in their villages host their language teams here in Ukarumpa while these men and women participate in courses that will help to further the important work of Bible Translation for their Tok Ples
3. painstakingly check passages of Scripture to ensure accuracy
4. eventually send the scriptures off to the printers and then, often a year later, finally get to attend a dedication for the Scriptures in the Tok Ples they have worked on for multiple decades.
(The photo above is of a recent meeting we had with a Papua New Guinean man, Toni. This man worked with Jon’s Aunty Joy on the Kanite New Testament translation from the time he was 13 years old. We sat and watched him browse through a book of photos and letters of Joy’s time here in Papua New Guinea and, it struck us, what a life long process Bible Translation truly is. I am so thankful for all of the Ex-pats and Papua New Guineans who are working together towards a common goal). ***to read more about our meeting with Toni, please visit our FB page.
A New Testament dedication is often the product of 20 plus years of sacrifice and service and that is no small thing. One of the translators here in Ukarumpa described Bible Translation as a marathon and she was absolutely right. As we are surrounded by men and women running the marathon of Bible Translation, we are here, on the sidelines and in the schools to help take care of and minister to their kids.
It is a privilege to be here and we are beyond grateful that you have supported us with your prayers and finances so that, together, we can be a part of this race that is of eternal importance. Thank you so much friends.
Ministry is important but, you might be wondering, HOW ARE WE DOING AS A FAMILY?
- So glad you asked 🙂
- Ben is excelling in school academics but continuing to struggle with behaviours. We would appreciate your prayers for wisdom as we prayerfully consider how best to support him.
- Elliott is LOVING preschool but still struggles with regular three year old challenging behaviours. Please pray that we would have patience and grace as we parent him and show him God’s love.
- Lucy is doing well, not walking more than a few steps on her own and currently healthy. Please pray that good health continues!
- Jacob is really enjoying school and our once shy 5 year old has made a number of wonderful friends but especially one next door. Please pray for him to make new friends who live close by to the new house in December.
- Praise God with us that we have a confirmed house to rent for December to June. Unless we were to buy a house here, we will be moving at least twice more during our time here. Please pray that we will be able to make any house here our home and that the kids will find new wonderful neighbours to play with in each place.
- Please pray for us to find consistent quiet times with God. We are not magically more diligent just because we are serving as missionaries. Would you pray that God would remind us to seek Him out in the quiet rather than getting lost in the noise of life.
- We are still looking for a few more partners to join with us financially as we are about $200/mo short of our monthly budget. We are trusting God to provide just as He has in every step of this process and every step of our lives.
Thank you for loving us enough to pray with us and for us. We would also love to hear your prayer requests. Please feel free to send them our way via email!
Jon and Anita McCarthy
Canadian Project #53895
International Project #270412