An Urgent Prayer Request From PNG

Osa

Please pray for Osa, the wife of one of our Onobasulu translators.  She was bitten by a death adder and thanks to a number of extraordinary circumstances (praise God!) is at a hospital that has anti-venom and is being treated.  It’s surprisingly hard to find a hospital with the right stuff and death adder bites are deadly and need to be treated as soon as possible.  These snakes are not erroneously named.  Please pray that the venom doesn’t enter her torso and that no lasting damage will be done.

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Please also pray for the Onobasulu Bible translation.  Many unfortunate circumstances are slowing down the translation progress.  Osa being bit by a snake, another literacy co-worker in the hospital with chronic headaches (possibly the result of a serious fall last year) and the American translator getting sick enough that she couldn’t fly back to PNG as planned, are just some examples of the series of events that leave us feeling spiritually attacked and oppressed.  Even though I am in the US, my heart breaks for the Onobasulu, especially for the main workers and their families who seem to bear the brunt of these attacks.  Even Osa is not just a translator’s wife but also someone who has helped us record scripture (it’s not a given that Onobasulu women can read and even if they can read, many women aren’t fluent enough to record scripture).  She supports the translation work in so many ways.

The translators have recently finished working on Thessalonians.  And 2 Thessalonians 2 is very clear about some of the lies and ways Satan will seek to thwart God’s work.  Please pray for the Onobasulu.  Pray that the translation work would move forward and God’s word would have a powerful impact on the community.  Please pray for Osa, that she would heal fully and praise God for all the extraordinary events that allowed her to get to the hospital as quickly as she did.  Thank you for participating in caring for the Onobasulu through your prayers!

Headache Update

I’ve had a lot of people concerned about my head.  Thank you to everyone who gave me advice and encouragement after reading my previous post: Please Pray: Headaches are no fun.  I really do appreciate the concern and am happy to report that the headaches have stopped almost completely.  I’m so thankful that it wasn’t anything more serious.  After this experience, I also know better how to pray for my family and friends who experience severe headaches and migraines.

Between sleeping changes, neck massages from Ryan and the wonderful stretching relief of a rice filled sock, my head is doing much better.  I also have a heating pad that gets thrown in the microwave and relaxes my neck muscles.  Relief is very sweet.  There is still some chiropractic work in my future and I’m being careful not to sleep with my neck in an aggravating position.  But overall I get the most improved award.

Please keep praying.  Pray that the headaches won’t return and that I learn how to manage the occasional headache well.  My head thanks you for all your love and concern.

 

P.S. While typing this post autocorrect kept trying to turn headache into heartache.  Maybe it’s my fault for missing a letter or two but still a thought provoking substitution.  If you substitute heart for head and only read the first and third paragraph, this post takes on a whole new meaning.  Both headaches as well as heartaches are no fun.

Please Pray: Headaches are no fun

For the past month or so I’ve been getting headaches.  At first they were painful (as headaches usually are) but nothing a little water, stretching/massage and better posture didn’t fix.  Recently they’ve been getting worse and this weekend they’ve become quite terrible.  I am typing this with a cool cloth on my head, in a dark room and in a position that isn’t aggravating my neck.

IMG_0451Here is my current relief package minus my husband’s amazing hands.  He’s been generously giving me neck massages before bed in order to increase my chances of waking up headache free.  The dōTERRA Deep Blue Rub is quite amazing.  It helps relax my muscles along with soothing essential oils.  (Thanks Elizabeth for the recommendation!)  The sock is filled with rice which gets heated up in the microwave and becomes a nice tension relieving neck pillow.  And since i’ve been having some migraine-like symptoms the cool wet cloth provides relief as well as light blocking shade for my eyes while the Ginger-ale soothes my queasy stomach.  All this along with sleeping on my back instead of my side has been helping but I might need to call in reinforcements if I don’t get some major relief soon.

Please pray first of all for relief.  I feel quite incapacitated and useless.  And please also pray for wisdom with how to proceed with finding a solution.  Is this a job for the chiropractor, doctor, masseuse, someone else or a combination thereof?  I’d love to be back to sleeping and functioning normally again soon!

 

A Little of This and a Little of That

I’m back in Santa Barbara once again and definitely enjoying the good weather.  On the way down I took a little detour and visited with some friends who were in my class during my year abroad in Germany.  It was fun to catch up and answer the question: “So what have you done in the last 10 years?” over lunch on the Santa Cruz pier.  We enjoyed the sunshine and made the most of the time we had together.  1234438_10153245797725004_1981003871_n

Now that I am back and settled in a bit, I am gearing up for a few intense support raising weekends as well as reconnecting with people down in southern California.  Although it hasn’t been that long between visits, it has been awhile since I was down here and healthy.  It makes a huge difference to be able to stand up, move around and fill my days without worrying about getting over exhausted.  The mono is gone!

While my computer is out of commission I do have enough other work to keep me occupied.  Thankfully I have access to another computer that I can use until mine is back and happy again.  Still no full diagnosis but I am making the best of the situation.  Keep praying for a good and comprehensive solution.

 

Functioning in Mono Aftermath

I think I could get use to napping during long drives.  Don’t worry, I wasn’t napping while driving.  I pulled over at a rest stop.  But during a 7 hour drive, I definitely needed the multiple breaks and a nap to keep me going.  In general I’m feeling much better.  I’m sleeping more normally, i’m not super fatigued after simple tasks and i’m eating again even if my appetite isn’t really back.  I really like food so it’s not such a hardship to force myself to eat at least something over the course of the day.

I’ve started taking walks again and I realized that I was feeling better when at the end of a good length hilly walk, instead of feeling wiped out with fatigue, I just felt out of shape.  I never would have thought that I would be so excited about being out of shape.  And now I get to figure out how to slowly get back into shape without pushing too hard and relapsing.

I am also going with minimal caffeine intake.  I thought a couple weeks ago that I was feeling a lot better but then I had a latte.  My poor heart didn’t know what was happening.  It was racing and very uncomfortable.  My heart eventually slowed back down to normal but I evidently didn’t drink enough water to counteract the dietetic properties and so I found myself dehydrated and just feeling crummy the following day.  I’m not going to give up coffee forever but I will definitely wait a little while longer before reintroducing it into my routine.

While I am not yet back to normal, I have a new normal and that’s good for me right now.  I can enjoy taking things at a little slower pace, take naps when I need them and hopefully as I begin to work out more I will start to feel hungry again.  And for now I will enjoy tea while looking forward to the day I can drink lattes again without hazard to my heart.

Mono and Milkshakes

The good news is a am feeling much better.  My sleep patterns are gradually becoming more normal, 8 or 9 hours a night instead of 12.  I’m eating more even if I still don’t feel like it.  Although my appetite isn’t back, I figure that eating more will also help give me energy.  My favorite mono meal has to be a milkshake.  It fills my stomach without making it too full and there is probably some nutritional value in it somewhere.  Calcium at the very least 🙂

Please continue to pray for my recovery.  I’m at the point where I am tired of just sitting on the couch but I definitely am still not healthy enough to resume all regular activities.  Thank you everyone who has blessed me with words of encouragement and extended me extra grace during this time.

My Work Lives On in PNG

One of my goals in PNG was to have everything I did be useful, not just for the Onobasulu but for other language groups as well.  I wanted people who came behind me not just say, that was a nice idea, but to be able to take what I did and use it as is or adapt it for their context.  Last month when I heard about the new PNG language policy one of my main frustrations was that I felt like this invalidated my curriculum work.  I put a lot of time and effort into making the materials great for the Onobasulu and for other language groups as well and I had hoped that the materials would continue to be used and not just pushed aside.  Fortunately, I have been encouraged since then, that they are not being tossed out simply because of the new policy.   A couple weeks ago, I received an email that said that Hauwo, my Onobasulu literacy co-worker, took some of the literacy materials and showed them to someone in the education office and they were impressed with them and wanted to get their hands on similar materials.  There is hope!

And in a recent Catherine Rivard blog post I can see that the literacy courses are still using the Health and Safety Game.  If you enjoyed learning about literacy in Papua New Guinea, Catherine writes in a fun and interesting way about her experiences.  She does a lot of work similar to what I was doing.  This recent post (shown below) talks about village health and includes a picture of my game being used!   This is why I took the time to have it in Tok Pisin and not just Onobasulu.  It’s usable for other language groups as well.  I am so excited that my work continues without me in PNG!   And thanks Catherine for being a part of that.

Smack That Fly!

The fly was larger than her hand, but it didn’t faze the nurse. She slapped the illustrated poster once more and then turned to her audience. “Flies carry disease, polluted water carries disease, and uncontained rubbish and faeces carry disease. This is why your children get diarrhoea.” She paused, looking hard at each of the students. “This is why your children die.”

Students played games to practice making health choices.

Last August, twenty national teachers from eight different languages were seated in the shade, listening intently to the health lecture and furiously scribbling notes. I, along with eight other expat and national staff were leading these teachers in an intense, month-long training to better equip rural teachers in using the local language in education, through topics like principles and practices of literacy, fluency, storywriting, book production, and curriculum and material creation as well as personal development, leadership, and finances. One of my many responsibilities included coordinating the health sessions, and today I had asked a local nurse to present on diarrhoea.

The students hard at work at translating the booklet!

And so, on that afternoon, the students were talking about the causes, prevention, and cure of diarrhoea, the number one killer of children in Papua New Guinea. Later, they clustered into groups as they pored over their notes and strained to translate into their own languages a story which could communicate this vital information to their communities. “Did we get all the meaning?” they asked each other. “Read it again!”

The next evening, as several of the women students gathered on the cool veranda, a young mother from a local hamlet approached them, clutching a crying infant to her chest. As they visited, the students realized that the baby was dehydrated and suffering from pekpek wara (diarrhoea). Without hesitation, the women flew into action, sending for me while advising the mother and offering rehydrating fruit according to their training. But when I arrived to see the infant contently sleeping against his mother, there was nothing I could do but smile. “You’ve done everything right,” I told them. “You now know how to protect your children!”