Remember the old “story problems” from eons ago math class? “Farmer Jones raised a cow and 2 goats. How many eggs did his chickens lay?” Okay, maybe the calculations weren’t really that preposterously confusing but sometimes it felt that baffling. At least to me. I get the same feeling now in the Finance Office …. But on a more positive note – and certainly in answer to your prayers! — CSR, ATF, WCM, AP and other such devious designations are actually beginning to MEAN something to my befuddled brain! AND, better yet, no common core math is involved! God will certainly be in for a busy year keeping things going efficiently in the finance department while I’m filling in, but I’m confident He won’t assign a task without also giving the ability to DO IT !!!! I can rest absolutely confident of His faithfulness and wholly dependent on Him, come what may! And yes, I can even be quite content with my mathematically challenged frailty because 2 Cor. 12:10 remains so true! When I am most weak — that is when His strength most clearly shines through!

 Projects continue in the Tribal Resource Center. A major endeavor involving reconstruction of the Siawi literacy program is underway – often at a snail’s pace. A 10-minute project can take 2 hours to do. Literally. I’ve been blaming our poor internet connection for the TRC computer’s incredibly sooooo v-e-r-y s—l—o—w response to commands. Now I learn I’ve been falsely accusing the big “I.” Other issues have been diagnosed and the computer is now out for hopeful repair.

Work also plods on compiling easy to comprehend Bible story books to be used at the local school during our Tuesday & Thursday English reading times. The tower of Babel was really fun to compose and seemed to hold the children’s interest far more than other Bible Stories have! I’m up to Abraham now, so – do I include Lot? Sodom & Gomorrah? Much depends on how many more reading sessions we’ll have before school closes in December for the term and the kids are promoted. Not more than 12 weeks – but likely a lot less! All too often we arrive to find “no school today.” Also to be considered in compiling these booklets — how much is a 3rd grader really ready to handle in a language they are only just learning???? Wish I could remember when I first heard some of these Bible stories WITH their personal applications! How much did I as a 9 year old really understand about God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac????? And how does one explain it to kids with little to no fundamental Bible knowledge???? Oh, to remember being a 3rd grader…

If I could only find it! My memory that is…. I’ve known for a decade or more now that I have “senile dyslexia” where numbers are concerned. Of late, the problem has seeped over into my spelling too – though it’s not so obvious as this computer era we’re blessed to live in comes with it’s wonderfully efficient spell check! (Assuming of course, that I remember to use it!!!!) A few weeks ago though I found myself in yet another pickle. I ran into a lady at market who obviously knew me – but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who she is. This, alas, is NOT unusual. I think the term of popular politically correct usage is “face blind.” That’s another malady I’ve known for many years that I have! The lady I bumped into in town …. well, here’s how that market scenario played out: Mrs. N: “Hello, Hope.” Me: “Oh, hello! ….. “Um — I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name.” Mrs. N: “I’m Mrs. Niago.” Me: blank look – speechless. Do I know her from church? Or the hospital? Or school ???? Mrs. N: “From the school.” Me: Okay, I now know who she is and I want to ask her if she’s the teacher of the Tuesday class where I read or the Thursday class. But, oh woe! I can’t find the words for the days of the week …. . Mrs. N: “The Peter Torot school.” Me: still groping to find the words …. but Tuesday and Thursday don’t come to mind. Mrs. N: “The school in Kreer Heights.” Me: off in la-la land looking for the elusive Tuesday and Thursday … Mrs. N: “You read to my class.” Me: Nope, no Tuesday / Thursday surfacing in my vocabulary….. There’s another prolonged moment of VERY awkward silence as Mrs. N looks at me like I’m loony. Finally – snap! – the words Tuesday & Thursday pop into my thinking, loosening my tongue and I can finally reply: – “Oh yes, are you the teacher of the Tuesday class or the Thursday class?”
From there on the conversation went well …. I think … as far as I remember anyway …..

I shared this incident with another lapun (elderly person) and he laughed. “Yes,” he informed me, “nouns do have a way of going astray, playing hide and seek with us as we age.” He said it very tactfully, leaving me with the happy impression I’ll soon forget so much that I won’t even realize I’ve forgotten anything! Maybe you can add this need to your prayers on my behalf!

Life hasn’t been all work and no play. September marks the annual festivities for celebration of PNG Independence. I missed getting to attend anything last year and this time looked equally as bleak for finding a ride. God totally worked out the details though and I have way too-many-to-count photos to prove I was there! What can I say but “Thank you, Lord!” for the moments of leisure He allows!

Also in the fun and frivolity category – starting a month in advance Ella Jo (Stuart) reminded us daily that her 8th birthday was approaching! She chose an ocean theme – first fun in the sun at the beach, with cake and a small party to follow. Though her Mama Toni couldn’t leave heaven to come, many of Toni’s Filipino friends showed up to help celebrate – bringing a Princess cake and a feast of other Filipino flavored foods! Good thing too, as our “fish cake” creation wouldn’t have been nearly enough for the whole crowd! If Ella Jo’s mama was looking down from heaven she would have seen one happily contented little gal, demonstrating to all that God is totally sufficient even for the unfathomable needs of a child losing her mother while still so young. That is certainly evidence of God at work in answer to your prayers for the Stuart family! They head off soon for Jason to do translation checking in another part of the country, then will make a quick trip to Australia as he renews his visa to help toward his getting more permanent Oz paperwork in progress. They’ll be back in time for Christmas though, with the kids’ REAL grandmother Elsie arriving right after their return.  Yep! Living this far from the nearest Wal-Mart, it really is already time to be thinking ahead toward Christmas!
So much for September. Hopefully you can glean some prayer requests from the rambling blather above. And now, lest another “senior moment” led me to forget to say “Thank you” — please be assured that your part in all God is doing here is GREATLY appreciated. You will meet people in heaven one day and know you have had a part in their knowing and growing in their love for our precious Savior!

Co-laboring together with you for the King!

Hope Sharp