the past year
Author: Emma Jones
Well, a lot has happened since my last post!
Last year we really grew into our community. We found good support systems and friendships and made even deeper connections at our church. We also got all settled into our house and got it decorated enough to truly feel like a home.
In 2020, Covid only changed things slightly for us. We both still went into work everyday and carried on our jobs as normal. We got to spend time with family and had two gorgeous sibling's weddings last year.
Brandon's spring semester at GCU was cut short in person, but he finished it online. He took two classes online over summer and then returned to school part time on campus and part time online for the fall semester. In December, Brandon graduated from GCU with his bachelor's in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Global Ministry, not to mention he did it Magna Cum Laude! (My degree is in Educational Studies)
It feels so good to be able to say that we both completed our bachelor's degrees. It's something we initially saw as a burden or a roadblock to our path to PNG, that God has shown us was the right thing to pursue.
In regards to training, we officially started training twice a week beginning in January. The first thing we are studying is Melanesian Pidgin/Tok Pisin. We are currently working our way to the first language check which deems you 25% fluent and takes roughly 80 hours of work to get there. As of today, we are about 25% of the way to the first check, so don't ask us to say anything beyond basic sentences! (Though we can tell you the story of the Three Little Pigs entirely in Pidgin)
Learning Pidgin has been both fun and confusing. It's a simple language, but learning any language takes lots of time and practice. We both still work full time, so we try our best to squeeze thirty minutes to an hour of training into our evenings after we get home from work and in between Bible studies and other commitments. It feels like homework and isn't always the most exciting thing, but seeing progress being made and knowing how valuable this knowledge is has been a reward in itself.
In what feels like the biggest news... we're having a baby!!!
Our ideal plan was always to try to have one baby before we go to PNG and after Brandon had graduated. And God has blessed us and heard our desire! I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and due in July with a baby BOY! It feels surreal and we are so excited for this new phase of our lives. God's design for life is so intricate and awe inspiring.
As we continue on this exciting journey, we ask for prayer regarding the health and safety of our baby boy, the progress of our training, and the process of beginning to fundraise and get church support.
what does training mean?
Author: Emma Carpenter
Brandon and I have been "training" since September of 2017. Usually, this process would be a few months/year of full-time studying, learning, and relationship building. However, since we are both still in school and will be for a while, our training looks a bit different than other PNG missionaries in the past.
Currently, we train with Finisterre Vision once every few weeks. During this time, we work to complete some of the courses that are on our list of what is required by Finisterre Vision. Right now we are working on some of the more general topic courses that cover things such as teaching and ministry as a whole. These classes will eventually become more focused and specific to PNG and the word there. We also have a large list of required reading that goes with the classes that we are trying to complete. We even have been reading a book together outside of any classes or requirements and we're finding that it's a great way to connect and grow together. Our goal is to continue reading together as often as we can.
At the beginning of December, our good friend, Amelia, left America to start her journey to Papua New Guinea! We had the opportunity to work with Amelia as she completed her training here in Arizona. She is 19 and is from South Africa and she became such a great companion over the past few months. It was so encouraging for Brandon and I to talk with someone as young as we are, with views and goals so similar. Amelia's spirit lights up any room and it's easy to see why God has called her to this line of ministry. She will be a great friend and asset for when we begin the process of leaving for ourselves. We're so grateful that Amelia has the opportunity to go to PNG so soon, but also realize that it is best for us to wait until we are ready too. God's planning and timing is always perfect.
I will continue to post updates of the training process and the material we learn as time goes on! Please feel free to follow the links below to learn more about both Finisterre Vision and Amelia!
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