Thursday, April 3, 2014

This Ain't Yo' High School's Grammar


When you hear that word, you probably think back to high school and have one of two reactions. You are either like me, and you get excited. Or you're like Ben, and you cringe.
But your word picture is probably something like this:

In our Grammar class here at the MTC, though, we did not learn about comma splices and apostrophe use and correct spelling (we did learn a little about nouns, verbs, and prepositions though).

The purpose of this class was to help us learn how grammar works in other languages. Check out the sentences below.

-In trail I see a tiger big
-Hands smalls
-Pour your boy it into the pail yesterday for my horse
-Kill horse little dog big

No matter how much you dislike (or like) the type of Grammar you originally thought of when you read the word at the beginning of this post, you certainly know something is wrong when you read the four clauses above. 

So this is why we took this class. In other languages, the sentence structure is different from English, so learning another language will involve a lot more than just learning words. It will involve learning sentence structure and other complexities. While the sentences above seem silly and wrong to us, they are normal and correct in other languages. These were some of the actual sentences that we dissected from other languages while taking this class (of course, the words were not English- but I only included the English translation for the purpose of this post).

[One of our homework assignments]

Maybe this post will give you a little bit of insight into some of the complexities of learning a new language that we will deal with when we move overseas. This class confirmed- we will definitely need all of your prayers!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Missionary World Problems (Perspective)

There are times when becoming a missionary can seem like a daunting task. The deeper we get into classes, the more we are faced with the reality of what our future will look like, and while the modern missionary life is much more glamorous than what the early missionary life looked like, we also recognize that we are not signing up for a life of luxury. People have sympathized with us many times before about the things we will be giving up in order to move into a tribal location.

We are currently finishing up a class called Missionary Technology, and this class has given us a good overview of all of the things we need to think about in order to set up and live a life in the jungle. While some of the stuff excites us, there have also been moments of feeling overwhelmed at the task we are signing up for.

But I have realized many times in life that attitude is based on perspective. The most important perspective is an eternal one. To remember that all of this is worth it and possible because people will have the chance to hear the gospel for the first time ever!!

But another perspective to keep in mind is that of where my expectations and overwhelmed feelings come from. They come because I am used to living a life of luxury and ease and immediate gratification. But if I compare my life to that of the third world person, I remember that even though I am giving up, I still will have plenty.

So here are some things I have been thinking as I consider the “Missionary Life” in comparison with the “First World Life” (American) and the “Third World Life” (Papua New Guinea):

First World Problem: “My fridge is so full, I can’t find what I need out of it.”
Missionary World Problem: “My fridge is shaped like a freezer, so I can never find what I want out of it. And I have to be really careful not to leave the door open too long or I’ll waste a lot of our precious electricity! It doesn’t help that I have to order all the food I need for three months at one time because the plane probably won’t come back before then.”
Third World Problem: “It sure would be nice to have a fridge… and food.”

First World Problem: “I’m really thirsty, but getting a drink of water requires getting off the couch. And turning on the faucet. And I sure hope my ice maker is working correctly because I’m about ready to buy a new fridge.”
Missionary World Problem: “I’m really thirsty, but it’s such a pain to filter my water, and then I have to make sure I’m careful how often I turn on my water which means I usually have to think ahead to fill up all of the containers and buckets I will need for the day at one time.”
Third World Problem: “I wish I had clean water… or any water, for that matter.”

First World Problem: “Doing laundry is so time-consuming. I have to remember to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and then I have to fold all of the laundry and hang it! I need a maid!”
Missionary World Problem: “Doing laundry is so time-consuming. Because of the type of machine I can take (thankfully there is a machine option though), I can only do small loads, and then I have to rinse the soap out in a bucket on my own, and then I have to hang dry everything, and then the rain decides to come right when my clothes are almost completely dry. And of course, I still have to fold and hang everything.”
Third World Problem: “My shirt has holes all over it, and it’s the same one I wear everyday.”

First World Problem: “Choosing lights for my house is so difficult. I have 8 billion different types of lights to choose from before someone with skill and experience can install them in my house.”
Missionary World Problem: “Choosing lights for my house is so difficult. I have 13 different types of lights to choose from before I, a person with no skill or experience, have to figure out how to install them in my house.”
Third World Problem: “During the day I have the sun. At night I have fire and the moon. What are these 13 choices you talk about?”

(Picture taken by classmate Curt Sharp)

First World Problem: “I can never keep my AC just right. I’m always either too hot or too cold.”
Missionary World Problem: “I don’t have the option of AC. I only have an option of fans. And it’s 110 degrees outside with humidity.”
Third World Problem: “Sometimes a friend will sit by me and wave a paper fan. It feels great.”

First World Problem: “I hate when my electricity goes out and it takes a whole day for someone to come fix it.”
Missionary World Problem: “I hate when my electricity goes out and I have to go to the electrical boxes and figure out what the heck is going on with all of the batteries and wires and switches and buttons. And if I can’t figure it out, then I have to spend hundreds of dollars to fly someone in to do it for me. Which might take days. And then there’s always the problem of the sun not shining for a few days which means my solar panels aren’t charging which means I don’t get electricity that I need.”
Third World Problem: “When my fire goes out, which gives light and cooks my food, I have to go find the tinder, kindling, logs, and ignition to get the fire going again.”

Thank you, Jesus, that though we will be choosing to live with less that we can still know we have plenty!

(Programming the electrical box)

(Setting up the charge controller box)

(Emily and I are excited we helped to create light!)

(Sophie modeling the "First World Problems" face)

And if you’ve never seen this “First World Problems” youtube video, you should watch it: 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back In the Swing of Things [MTC]

We had a good and busy Christmas break that included several unexpected happenings (threatened miscarriage, being snowed in, sicknesses). It was nice to have a break, but we are always thankful to get back to a routine and back to missionary training! One step close to heading to PNG...

Our classes this semester are sporadic and we have a lot of short, quick classes. We also are getting into more practical classes.

So far, here are the classes we have taken:
- Romans (completed)
- Missionary Technology (in process)
- Families in Ministry (in process)
- Biblical Parenting (completed)
- Student Teaching (in process)

Romans: We discussed Romans 5-8. Rather than being a deep study of the book of Romans, this was more of a class of practical application. Most of us have already taken a class on Romans, so this class focused on applying the truths in Romans. Later this semester we will study Romans 12-14.

Missionary Technology: In this class, we are learning all of the ins and outs of technology in a tribe. This includes things such as: batteries, soldering (we are soldering in the pictures below), solar panels, AC and DC, the watts each appliance takes, and more. We have textbook reading for the class every night. Some of it is good and helpful and some is over my head (some of it is even too much for Ben, so that should say something, since this class is much more his niche). Then we have lecture-style classes and labs.

Families in Ministry: In this class, we discuss different aspects of what it means to work together as a family in a ministry... particularly tribal missions as that's what we are all here for. We have to make a mission statement as a family, we'll talk about our philosophies of what it looks like to work as a family in a tribe, and we'll talk about homeschooling in this class.

Biblical Parenting: Just as the title suggests, we learned about parenting from a biblical perspective. We read Shepherding a Child's Heart, read a few articles, and spent class time looking into what relationships and responsibility looks like in parenting.

Student Teaching: We have this class every Monday this semester. We have to do different presentations in front of our class. Our first speech is on our testimony. Ben did his this past monday, and I will do mine next monday. Our next speech is a devotional, and the final speech is a sermon (only Ben has to do this one).

Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support as we do this training!

And just for funsies, here is a picture of Ben and I with our classmate Nathan. We all sat next to each other wearing a similar color blue, so we had to get a picture :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Highlights: 2013 in Review

* Transitions for Sophie: Moved her from a crib to a twin-size bed and took away her paci
* Spoke with churches and individuals about our incredible trip to Papua New Guinea
* Ben started working again at a construction company he had previously worked at
* I babysat
* Our Life Group threw me a beautiful baby shower
* We added sweet baby Brielle to our family on January 25

* We adjusted to being a family of 4 while Sophie adjusted to being a big sister
* We were so, so blessed by friends and family who brought us many meals
* Sophie enjoyed the snow
* Sophie potty trained!

* My grandma came to visit from Vermont!
* I resumed babysitting
* We took a weekend trip to Jackson, MI to visit Bible school friends
* Jason and Laken made a last minute trip to visit us over Easter
* We spent Easter break in Gull Lake, MI with the Miller family and Jason and Laken
* Sophie had her first Easter egg hunt
* Ben and I celebrated our 25th birthdays and Sophie turned 2!
* Ben started working at the RV factory again

* We had Sophie's 2nd birthday party, Minnie Mouse style!
* Sophie puked for the first time on the way to her birthday party (should this be a highlight? haha)
* We celebrated my mom's birthday with the Walton family
* Enjoyed meeting weekly with Jessie to go through a book together
* We got our acceptance letter from New Tribe's MTC

* We celebrated my sister Nikki's pregnancy with a baby shower
* Aunt Nanna came to visit lots
* It finally started warming up, so the girls and I and the boy I babysat spent lots of time outside!
* I enjoyed learning how to use my camera by taking outside pictures
* I was sad to say good-bye to friends from the two Mom's groups I was in
* We went camping over Memorial Day weekend with the Walton family and friends from church

* I took a trip with my mom and the kiddos to the zoo
* We took a weekend trip to Columbus, OH so Ben could help my Uncle with work on his house
* We enjoyed fun summer things, like festivals and parades
* My best friend Abbey came to visit from California with her son, Wes!
* We did a fun pamper outing (nails, Granite City, and Debrands chocolate) with my Life Group ladies
* I got my wisdom teeth out

* Brielle turned 6 months
* We had Walton family pictures taken by Carrie Weaver Photography
* We celebrated July 4 by honoring Ben's grandpa who is a war veteran
* My sister had her baby boy, Blake, and I got to her with her while she did!
* We went to the Whitley County 4H fair
* We had a day at the pool at our annual Moser-Walton pool party
* We said good-bye (and see you soon!) to our beloved Life Group
* My friend Jessica from NTBI came to visit!
* We did LOTS of packing!!

* Spent a week with the Millers at Gull Lake Family Camp
* Moved to Roach, MO to begin our training at New Tribes Mission's MTC
* Enjoyed living by a lake (Sophie loves the water!)
* Started classes- SUCH good classes!
* Enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones
* Went camping with friends from school over Labor Day weekend

* We enjoyed several campfires with good friends
* We grilled out lots! And had lots of people over for dinner
* Sophie and Brielle went to childcare- Sophie loved it; Brielle endured it
* Celebrated my new friend Asmara's newest baby with a baby shower
* Enjoyed free food from our food pantry and made Brielle some baby food!

* We found out we were pregnant with BabyMill3!
* Dad and Mom Miller came to visit
* My mom and sisters came to visit
* For Halloween, the girls went Trick or Treating around campus
* We enjoyed starting to meet with two other couples for a Bible study each week

* I had fun at a Ladies Retreat with women from my school
* I helped with my good friend, Laken's baby shower
* I enjoyed meeting with friends on Tuesday afternoon for a fellowship group
* Ben did plumbing each week on a new building at our school (this is his campus job)
* We attended Kyle and Val's beautiful wedding
* We enjoyed Thanksgiving with our families in Indiana

* We got a dusting of snow and have a great hill outside our home
* We had lots of Christmas fun!
* I had a fun girls night out with my friends Rachel and Jill
* We said hard good-byes to friends we might never see again this side of heaven
* We were excited to meet baby Thatcher, Jason and Laken's son
* We enjoyed fun times with our e-linc (small group) at school
* We had good times with family in Indiana
* Christmas party with our Life Group in Indiana
* We celebrated Ben's sister Katie's pregnancy
* We had a scare with a threatened miscarriage but were so thankful to see a heartbeat