(The picture above is of women teaching me how to cut grass in PNG…with a machete.)
Okay, so it has been 6 months since I posted a blog in this series, but here goes anyway!
This is the fourth post in a series of “what are you even going to DO in Papua New Guinea!?”
Today I am writing about the step after we move into the tribe and build a house. What do we do first? How do we understand anything and how do we make steps toward understanding everything? We have a plan!
Our main goal is to understand the tribe’s worldview. What do they believe and what do they value? What do they think is true and what do they think is real?
If we were to do this in America, it would take some time. Think about moving to a small town – let’s say Yuma – and seeking to understand just the culture of the people there. You might befriend a couple of people and spend more time with them in particular, but even then, it will take quite awhile for your friendship to grow to where they will actually tell you what is on their heart.
Now imagine that the cultural divide between you and these friends is 100 times greater. And you are trying to do it all in a language that you have never heard before. We want to truly love and know these people, and it takes time.
We will divide our language and culture learning into 4 segments, maybe about 6 months each. As we learn more and more of the language, we will seek to understand more and more intimate details of the culture. We can start with basic words of physical things, while learning basic cultural things like foods they eat and how they make that food. Eventually we will learn words for concepts and feelings and beliefs and the cultural areas of economics, social order, and worldview.
2 years is the plan for this stage. And the time is worth it. Our goal is to share the gospel with the tribe in a way they will understand and in a way that they will see to be different from their current beliefs and worldview.
This stage in the mission is going to require full days and full weeks and full months of time with the people, time with a language helper, time reviewing, etc. We want to work hard. And we want to work as fast and excellently as we can so we can get to the good news about Jesus in their language!
A couple more photos. Here is one of Brooke greeting people in the village and one of me with some pigs.
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