We Graduated!!!

This blog is almost two months late, but our elation is just as present. On 20th November, 2009 both of us were awarded a Graduate Diploma in Language Description and Development. Hooray!
We foolishly forgot to take photos of ourselves with our diplomas, but here’s a shot of all the cool people we shared the year with. (minus a few who are going to ‘west asia’ and so can’t be in photographs)
Can you spot us?

I was asked to give a speech on graduation day… and it goes along way to explain where we are up to on our journey. Have a little read if you have time.


So, what did I learn this year?

I learnt that the weather in Melbourne really is awful.  seriously, i feel like i’m living on a rock on the edge of the world, battered by the elements. (everybody cried out with indignation, in spite of the fact that we lost power in the conference room a few minutes earlier thanks to a vicious storm).

but sure, in the classroom – i found my new best friend the voiceless velar fricative phone – [x] (make a sound like an angry cat hissing)

I learnt that according to Sapir & Whorf it is highly possible that linguistic factors alone affect the way people view the world.

I learnt that people are born with the ability to understand grammar – thank God for that

I learnt that – at the end of the day orthography development has very little to do with phonology and everything to do with politics.

and, something that will stay with me for my whole life – in the words of my husband “i’ll never look at some letters the same way again”. k, x, j, c, – i don’t know who you are anymore.

I learnt what ethnography is, that pidgin is a real language and I learnt what I already suspected – that translating the bible is the most beautiful, complex, difficult, enlightening, challenging, privelidged task that anyone could hope to participate in.
BUT the biggest thing i’ve learnt this year is that – God did not make me to be a linguist (shock horror)

And I praise God that many of you in this room – were made for that.. (a bunch of nerds)

My apologies and gratitude go out to my teachers who put their blood, sweat and tears into preparing me for the field this year – you did a great job. I’m so prepared, i know that its not for me, even before i get there! you’ve honestly done me a great service.
what I’ve learnt is that God is not a task-orientated manager. He didn’t make me to fulfil a task – and when i can no longer fulfil that task, push me out in the cold and find someone else to do it.
he made me for love, he made me for relationship
The other day – I was hanging my washing on the line, and Brad and Amber’s youngest daughter Piper was watching and saying – “ME HELP”, “ME DO IT” – so, i would show her how the peg works, lift her up high to the line, hold the shirt in place, help her push the peg on – (in such a way, that she felt like she was doing it…) lower her back down, congratulate her on a job well done, tell her that she was an ‘excellent help’ and then we’d do it all over again.

But i didn’t really need her ‘help’ –  it actually took me MUCH longer to do that with her ‘help’ – but I like her, and I wanted to include her, i wanted to build a relationship with her – so let her help me
In my humble moments – brief though they are – I have to believe that is just what it is like when God includes us in His work of building his kingdom. He doesn’t NEED us, but he does WANT us.
I refer you to Jesus’ words to Peter. I changed the words a bit, but I took a class on ‘translation’ so – hey….

Matt 16:18-19
And I also say to you that you are a small stone, and on THiS foundational rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

Lets bask in that for a moment, Jesus is building his church, and nothing, not even the gates of hell will stop it.
Does that take the pressure off a bit?
We’ve had a bit of a change of direction throughout this year, and the driving force behind that is a strong, unmistakable voice in our hearts saying –

I don’t care what you DO
I just care about who you ARE,
I care about YOU

and I made you with skills, you came pre-loaded with many skills
– use those. enjoy those.

I know now more than ever –
God made me,
God made all of us,
to know him
to enjoy the life he has given us,
and to strive to ‘help’ HIM with the lifelong task of our redemption and restoration to his side, and all we can do, is be obedient.