Language Learning

The past 5 weeks we have been learning the trade language of Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin. Most people who live here speak Tok Pisin as well as their own local tribes language. We want to be able to do our jobs well and we want to make deep lasting friendships with the locals, so it is important to us to know the language well. Below is a chart of how our organization measures language learning.

The BLACK line is our goal. To do our jobs well, we need to be at at the capable low level of language proficiency. So, before Brad goes to the hanger and before I start at the clinic we must be at capable low. The WHITE line is where we are right now!

We would love to get higher than this so that relationships can grow deeper with locals and we can have deeper conversations. But, when we get to this level we will switch from full time language learning to full time ministry!

Learning another language has been fun and humbling. We have a lot of vocabulary, but we don’t know how to use it well. We sound like toddlers trying out sentences. You know when a child tells you something and you think you know what they mean, so you start to give them what they want only to find out they wanted something totally different. Well, now we are that toddler. We tell stories or ask questions only to find out that the listener thinks we are talking about something different. Most of our issues right now are with the way we arrange our sentence. We put the subject in the wrong spot or forget a preposition. It sounds something like “I want go there” instead of “I would like to go over there.”

We are working with locals most of the time. But, that has slowed down due to COVID. PNG looks much like the US did last year. Things have slowed down, isolation is ongoing, and we are hoping to see cases decrease soon. Please pray that COVID numbers would go down so that we can go out and talk with locals more to learn language and build friendships. Right now we are listening to recordings of locals telling stories and practicing our vocabulary.

Our kids are on Spring Break right now! The past couple of weeks we have gone on hikes, played games, and watched movies! We are potty training Evelyn and it is going well! (Well, as well as it can go!) Henry and Brad love playing risk together! Annabelle and I have been playing a game called Silver and Gold and we made donuts!

There are some photos from the past several weeks at the bottom!

Here are prayer requests from our family and field:

  • We would learn language quickly despite the social distancing and slow pace of life that comes with COVID
  • Coworkers and churches in the tribe would be healthy
  • Wisdom with raising our children in a foreign land
  • Praise: We are at Basic High/Progressing Low in language!
  • Praise: Our good friends from training are here and more are coming soon! Pray for them to have smooth travels! It is still very hard to travel internationally due to COVID.
  • Praise: We are starting friendships with the locals that we pray will be deep and long lasting!