We find ourselves immersed in language continuously, and have discovered that Summer School tends to get into your brain, changing your thinking on many issues.
But it’s not all serious…
It had been a rough day, and as I arrived at the party I was chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I furled my wieldy umbrella, then saw her, a descript individual, in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. (adapted from Jack Winter, The New Yorker, July 25, 1994)
Just one of the examples of how we all understand and follow language rules daily, yet the majority of us haven’t studied intently. Language is learned rather than studied.
For our Language Learning subject, we are experiencing a crash course in Indonesian (Jakarta) over fourteen one-hour sessions with a local native speaker. Pak Agus is a gracious Christian man, and very patient with us as we butcher his language repeatedly!
Our core language development will come later in PNG as we work, worship and relate to the community in the Tok Pisin language. The main point of our time in EQUIP is to develop skills which will prepare us to learn effectively – to reprogram our brains to become language learners.
As we study Language Awareness (grammar), we have worked through homework examples from Vietnamese, Bisa (Ghana), Arabic (Iraq), Farsi (Iran), Swahili (Kenya), Icelandic, and many others. (Don’t expect us to understand anything more complex than “The boy climbed a tree”). Each language has its own rules and distinctive style – it is no surprise that scripture is often ‘lost in translation’. Before Des Oatridge translated the gospel into Binumarian, he asked a village leader what he knew about the crucifixion.
‘Oh, when Jesus came to earth he handed out money, watches, clothing, cars, aircraft, knowledge – all the riches you white men have. Then the white men crucified him on a cross to prevent him giving the same things to the black man. White men don’t want black men to have these things.’
Hopefully, what we truly want to give to a needy world is that which they need most…. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)
. Pray that we may fully trust all things to our great God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”. (Ephesians 3:20) We still have a way to travel before we get to PNG.
. Give thanks for general safety during a period of high bushfire risk. We evacuated at one point, and the fire fighters (CFA) based their operations at the end of our street!
. Thank God for providing a wonderful church to attend – Reservoir Presbyterian. (Photo above)
. Pray for the students to be clear on God’s promises, as we confront many issues related to cultural exposure and other religious worldviews.