Ok, let me explain that. I don’t love mice, especially when the little critters have invaded my house. Which is why we keep a trap in our “aresenal” of jungle living supplies for just such occasions. It’s been proven these home invaders have a hard time resisting a ripe banana as a midnight snack. So that’s how we lure them into our trap… And the great thing about this trapping system is that once the mice have been trapped, they make great gifts for sharing with the Nagi neighbors. So, mice are nice when you can give them away . Don’t worry, I do realize this is strictly a Nagi gift-giving norm.
Another rainy season is starting here in Nagi land. We average somewhere between 300-400 inches (approx 750 – 1,000 cm) of rain a year. A fact that brings with it lots of mud, mold and other crud. Like a grumpy attitude from me when rain cancels flights and causes me other inconveniences. However, the rain also makes for some great waterfalls in the area. It might take some slippin and slidin thru the mud to enjoy the view, but our wonderful waterfalls wouldn’t be so wonderful without those 300 something inches of rain each year!
I enjoy a fishing trip filled with the expectations that you might catch that really big fish. However, fishing here in the village there are no such dreams. Just a minnow or two if you are lucky. And it never takes me long to realize I’m not gonna be even that lucky! So yesterday, as I turned over yet another rock in a small puddle of water I was thinking, “This fishing is soooo not worth it!” But, then I reminded myself that I didn’t come fishing for fish anyhow. The one measly minnow I might manage to catch before the day is over is not WHAT I’m fishing for. I came fishing to stay connected with my Nagi friends. Fishing together is also another way to learn some things that can be used when teaching lessons or translating God’s Talk. So, if I remember that, fishing in Nagi land can still be worth it.
Speaking of “finished”…. Today the students finished another milestone. The end of Primer 1. Woohooo!!!! We celebrated their accomplishments thus far, like any good torturous teachers by testing their knowledge of all their Nagi syllables with a little Bingo Competition. I have to say, we were impressed at their skills. We might have to forget books from now on and just do games for school.
Working with my friends outside today when a frog leapt out and tried to hop merrily away. He didn’t stand a chance. The Nagi ladies gave chase, pounced and claimed their prize. No one in their right mind let’s a tasty meal get away. Here’s my friend who’ll be having frog on the menu tonight. Usually, frog hunting is a night-time activity the Nagi ladies like to do during the night by flashlight. However, today’s unlucky frog just became this lady’s dinner delight.
This little buddy lost the race against the bees the other day. Bees and stinging ants are the worst for surprise attacks when walking thru the jungle. I’ve learned that when the cry “Bees” is gets shouted to ask no questions, but simply take off running with the rest of them. And hope that I can outrun the bees….or at least my trail mates. Once we are out of harm’s way we compare battle wounds and re-tell the adventures of the race. The tripping, the falling, the yelling and more yelling. So, while the bee stings are no fun, it can turn a simple walk along a trail into quite an adventure
“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of The Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.” (2 Samuel 22:31 KJV) As for God…He is a SHIELD to them that trust in Him. Buckler was something worn on the arm as a shield I’ve learned. In jungle life, I’m often reminded of my dependence on the Lord. Even for simple things like those hikes that go up precarious paths or across wobbly, rotten logs. But it makes a difference knowing that with each step I take…His way is perfect, His Word is tried & true and He is my buckler! The Nagi don’t know yet know the LORD as their buckler. Their minds and steps are filled with many worries. Pray that we can continue doing the work here faithfully so that we can share these words and more that are written down in His Word with our Nagi friends.
One of my current projects has been to work on writing stories in the Nagi language so that as the Nagi are learning how to read their language they will have materials to read and practice. Checking these stories with language helpers I will get shut down for a hypothetical story that clashes with an obvious cultural norm. Here is an example from my conversation with my language helper: “No you can’t say. ‘He cried and then stopped.’ “Should it be, ‘He was crying.’? “No, it should be, ‘He left it off.’ He wouldn’t cry about that.” “This is just example. In this example, not real story I wrote I want to say “he cried”. “No that’s not possible. That’s not straight talk. Just say he got up and left.” Grrrrrrrrr! Just let me say “he cried” I want to insist. We often have different “methods to the madness” but I am learning to adapt to the method that the Nagi prefer. Stay away from the hypotheticals!!!! After all, if I am trying to be helpful by using a hypothetical which is not helping , then I’m not really being very helpful in the end.
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:2 I’m so thankful for the encouragement of a team! For great co-workers here in the village willing to work together with the same purpose! And the even broader circle of team-mates who share the our same prayers that we are praying for the Naki. It’s so neat when that email arrives and I hear that someone was praying RIGHT when in the middle of a tough time. Or that person who gives a gift to help meet a specific need. Or even someone’s joking around that brings a smile when feeling discouraged.
Yep, I’m very blessed! So a big THANK-YOU to my teammates!