To Those “Holding the Rope”

Ryan and I spoke again tonight and we found ourselves in a room filled with many people who have been “holding the rope” for me for many years.  And now they’re holding the rope for us.  We look forward to continued relationships with many people who are on the other end, holding us up as we move towards Australia.  Thank you to everyone who is in this category!  We appreciate you.IMG_20160406_194323What do I mean by holding the rope?  Read the account below about William Carey, a missionary to India in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

After hearing an account of the spiritual needs of India, the secretary of the meeting remarked: “There is a gold mine in India, but it seems almost as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?” “I will venture to go down,” said William Carey, “but remember that you must hold the ropes.”

Cleaning Out My Notebook


A little pad of paper in my purse.  It’s not very big, doesn’t seem very important but it comes in very handy.  I was ripping out old pages today and found quite a few memory gems.  It seems this book has done some traveling.  Here are some of the places it has been.

Walagu Village:  I used it to write down some songs in church one day.  “Helefealu eweda…”  And a final to-do list which included fluency recording and other things that didn’t end up happening.

California:  Lots of shopping lists and most of them include butter.  And a recipe for spiced wine.  Yum.

South Asia and Europe:  A couple of addresses and directions.  Even a money list that includes rupees and Euros.

Port Moresby:  A phone number for the driver if he didn’t show up to get me from the airport.

Cairns:  Email and phone number for the family I stayed with.

Ukarumpa:  Notes about language and literacy presentations.

Papua New Guinea:  I’m not sure where I wrote this but I have notes for how to repair a lawn mower.  All the checks that I should do, etc.  I’m still no lawn mower expert but these easy tips sure helped in the village.

Texas:  Directions and an address to a house in Longview where we stayed the night after an unfortunate encounter with “driftwood”.

And the notes that I find most interesting is a list of options that I made before I left PNG.  Notice that on this day, I was actually considering Perth.  I had forgotten about this but evidently God did not.

Options: 1. CanIL, 2. Perth, 3. Bible School, 4. South Asia, 5. somewhere else, 6. SIL, 7. MTW, 8. Literacy

No More Fat Ankles

So guess what’s my favorite souvenir?

Yes, that’s right.  Medical Compression Stockings.  After a few days in South Asia, although the swelling had gone down tremendously, I still had puffy feet.  So I was determined to find a solution because a whole month of fat ankles wasn’t super appealing to me.  Leave it to South Asia to have a medical supply store just down the road.  I walked in, we measured my legs, determined I was a medium, I paid for them and that was it.  I figured that even if they kept the swelling down some then it was worth it.  The first test was about 5 hours into the flight, I had been sleeping and I got up to walk around and my feet still fit in my shoes!  And at the end of my flight everything was still pretty normal.  They may not be the most fashionable thing but I will take flesh colored stockings over swollen ankles any day.

Look at that!  I am safe and sound in Germany and you can still see my ankle shape even after 2 plane rides.  Don’t worry, I had my long jeans on so you couldn’t really even tell that I was wearing them.  At 27 I don’t quite want to rock the geriatric chic look yet.  But I will happily admit that these are definitely my new favorite travel accessory.

Inside and Outside

It’s been quite an adventure here in South Asia.  I’ve seen many parts of the city and yesterday I hopped on the back of  bullet motorcycle and road about an hour out of the city to see a more rural area.  It’s very interesting to see how the travel experience is changed simply by the mode of transportation.  I’m happy we chose the motorcycle ride because it allowed me to take in more of my surroundings as we zipped down the highway.  I wish I could have had a camera attached to my helmet (which by the way brought many stares because I was the ONLY passenger wearing a helmet in the entire city).  Here are some picture highlights from inside and outside of the city.

Hindi and Other Languages in South Asia

Languages in South Asia are a whole new experience for me.  Just the way language is dealt with in a public sphere with 22 official languages really stretches my language assumptions.  Hindi and English are more widespread but each state has their own official language as well.  Most students learn Hindi in school but then some states like Tamil Nadu refuse to teach it.  And even though Kannada is the official language of Karnataka, the majority of people still speak other languages and don’t necessarily speak Kannada.  So if you see the people speaking to each other, although most of them are multilingual, it is not always obvious what language they will choose.

I think another language hurdle for me is the writing system.  If I am familiar with a writing system, then I can look at the language and sometimes use clues to figure out what is written or even dissect the various language parts.  But here I have no framework for written language.  Street signs means nothing to me.  Packaged food labels are also a mystery.  And just like in English where there are different letter shapes for cursive and printing, languages in South Asia also shape their letters differently when being hand written, types, fancy or more plain.  It all makes sense but it’s a lot to think about.

Language is a wonderful, crazy thing and I have a great respect for multilingual nations.

The Auto Rickshaw

The auto rickshaw is an amazing way to get around the city.  At first they all look the same but then you notice that most of them have been personalized.  This can be a very minor change like something hanging from the mirrors, religious iconography, painting on the inside of the roof, fur, sparkly tinsel or other hanging decoration to a more elaborate adaptation like our auto last night that had full on neon blue lighting and a mini neon chandelier.  You never know what kind of bling you’ll step into.

It is nice that autos generally have working meters so although price is almost always negotiated there is a base to start.  The price goes up based on the color of your skin, the weather, the time of day, the area of town and other factors as well.  This is especially evident in the evening, in pouring rain trying to get an auto all the way across the city.  But the soaking rain doesn’t really leave you much leveraging space so sometimes you just take what you can get.  You would imagine that South Asia would have roads designed to accommodate a sudden rain deluge but instead the roads turn into rivers.  And when you are driving through an area where the water is so high it is lapping over the sidewalk, the extra 100rupees may still seem extravagant but totally worth it.

Sunday morning is not the easiest time to catch an auto rickshaw.  And once again it is generally more challenging to find an auto that is willing to drive a further distance.  So this morning it took awhile but we, three adults and two children, were finally piled into the back of an auto.  The driver was young and we noticed a nice large speaker in the back behind us.  A few minutes later the hiphop turned on and there we were zipping through traffic in style, one child asleep and oblivious to the pounding music, the other bobbing his head to the beat.   A little while later and the music turned Bollywood style and we had our own movie soundtrack.  Somehow the city just looks different from the back of an auto rickshaw.

Welcome to South Asia.

It’s a good start when this is your welcome.  A beautiful flower and matching orange earplugs.  I am getting use to having my senses assaulted again.  From the sounds of traffic, honking horns, people interacting, discussing, talking and heavy rain on the streets.  To the oversweet smells of the fruit market, garbage piles, fresh rain and car exhaust.  Feeling the humid stickiness, dust, a cool breeze while riding in an auto rickshaw and the unfamiliar unevenness of the sidewalks.  The taste of sweet mango lassi, dahl and an american cinnamon roll.  And the sights that confuse and delight, the cows walking through the road, the sheer numbers of people everywhere, men washing windows held up only by ropes and a friend, piles of fruits and vegetables, the colorful temples, children playing and laughing.  It’s a wonderful, interesting, strange and beautiful world that we live in.