Sweat and Tears

After months and months, our washing machine is again working!!  I’m sure I’m not the only woman who has cried over an appliance, but now it’s finally time for celebration!!  (At least, after I get all the blankets and sheets and bath rugs and shower curtain and all our gray crispy socks washed!)

Our other partners, Geoff and Shannon Husa, are here in Mibu with us for a few weeks.  We have been having a great time re-acquainting them with Mibu.  Shannon remembers SO MANY names from their 6 week trip here two summers ago!  Geoff is checking out all our leftover building and plumbing and wiring parts to see what he doesn’t have to buy for their house building.  They still have about two months of orientation and Pidgin learning to finish in Madang before they move out here permanently.

We’ve been meeting with some of the Mibu leaders about literacy.  We are still working on getting their alphabet settled.  There are all sorts of decisions about things most of us never think about, like, should the “ng” sound like at the end of the English word “thing” be spelled with one phonetic letter, or two, since it is really one sound?  And since the Mibu language has more than five vowel sounds, how should we write the other ones?    Take the vowel sound “uh”, as in “nut”.  In English, we write it with a “u”.  However, we also spell the vowel sound “yu”, as in “cute” with a u.  It’s best to have one sound per letter, as any phonetician will tell you.  So, confused yet?  🙂  Me too!  Now throw into the puzzle that the alphabet has to look good to the Mibu people.  They have enough exposure to the Pidgin alphabet (and some to PNG’s national language of English) that unusual or made up symbols may look so silly to them that they would not readily accept their new orthography (alphabet).  It’s a big job, but such an important step in helping Mibu to be a literate society, and able to read the Bible that we will be working so hard to translate for them.

We appreciate your prayers!  Sometimes sanity seems a continent or two away, but with God, all things are possible!

Much love,
J&B (&sms)