Stretching times

Life in the bush is both constantly full of new challenges while being the same old grind. Steve and Gerdine Stanley with Oscar feel tired and run down. They are simultaneously excited about their progress and indifferent to it! They alternate between dreading having to put in another day of language study and looking back satisfied at having put extra hours in. It is a life of contrasts!

The main pressure right now is how to respond to medical cases presented to them. The team has a strategy for it – but every single case tests, stretches and challenges that strategy so there are never easy answers. A young baby had a swelling on his face, another had possible meningitis, an older man has intense, chronic stomach pain and five people asked for help with sores, stomach pain, and hip pain. These are just some of the agonising decisions that have left them feeling pressured this month!

As Steve and Gerdine’s language learning progresses, they have reached the stage where they are starting to build their own clauses. Having made a chunk of progress understanding how verbs go together in the Kovol language they are able to “cut the sweet potato”, “put the sweet potato in the pot” with the correct endings to mark tense and actor. Big steps forward!

The team started selling bars of soap as a community project in response to the coronavirus crisis. The second batch of soap for the community is due in at the end of this month. The team have had multiple, repeated requests for more soap. Please pray that they the team would have wisdom in ordering, transporting and distributing this soap as the potential for hurt feelings if people miss out on “their” soap is very real.

A break is booked for the end of July when as a family they will go to Goroka, taking two weeks off and one week as a chance to get some work done without needing to be sociable.

With three months of language learning under their belts, Steve and Gerdine are due their first language check-up. A pair of consultants will be spending two days with them next week to test them in order to discover their current language level. They are not expecting to be too far down the road on this first check, but it gives consultants an opportunity to steer their language learning. It is hoped that this will stop them wasting time, ‘spinning their wheels’ and make their learning as effective as possible.