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Author Archive for IsaacAugh

October 2018 Update

Dear friends and family!

 

I’ve made it safely back to the United States after about 21 months in Papua New Guinea. As I sat down to write this I couldn’t help but notice that my last update is from November of last year. Allow me to explain why. 1. My computer broke. 2. I stopped going to town as often which meant internet access for me was limited to only 6 hours or so every three months and I had other things to take care of with that time. 3. I started teaching full time which means I didn’t have, what I felt like, really exciting news to share or the time with which to share it.

Now that I’m back in the states I hope to start getting a lot more pictures up here but it may take a little time as I still have no computer.  The Guys

 

Thanks to everyone that supported me while I was living in the third world. Your donations helped me to get done more work there and the money I have left over will go into getting into school. Even more, thanks to those of you who prayed for me. There is power in prayer and I still need it as I make the massive transition from living in a village with a population of 600 to living in the insanity that is the US. And lastly, thanks to everyone that sent me notes, emails and text messages. It means a lot to know that I’m not entirely forgotten and that there are other christians standing behind the work God did (is doing) through me and OIPNG.

I’m back stateside but the mission isn’t over. I’m hoping to get into nursing school next semester to continue to hone myself into a more effective tool for glorifying God wherever he may send me. I don’t know where that’ll be in the future. But right now it’s right here and that means my big challenge at the moment is to continue to glorify God in these changed circumstances.Goodbye to ApMa

Humbly striving to serve,

Isaac

A Short Pondering on Feelings of Superiority

I have noticed a trait that is held in common by many people. I have even seen it in myself. Remembering that an unexamined life is not worth living, I began to exam the nature, roots and validity of this characteristic.

Allow me to express it plainly. We all seem to believe that our preferences about any given subject are somehow objectively superior to those of others. Those who have similar tastes to us we immediately take a liking to as though that in itself made them virtuous; those who prefer a slightly different flavor (or prefer custard, God forbid) we look down upon as though that makes them some inferior species of life. For example, I prefer eating off of glass or ceramic to plastic. So I immediately assume that this preference of mine reflects some deep nobility of my character that those who indiscriminately shovel food into their maws off of plastic dishes lack.

Why do we behave this way? Why do I behave this way? The only feasible answer I can give is that it actually reflects how very much our flesh is still very alive in us. The only reason I could think of for artificially inflating myself into a higher position than my neighbor was pride. Because there is no objective standard to judge country music superior to rap. Truly, there is no objective standard for judging some rap crap and some the apex of all music (for those of you who snobbishly dismiss all rap as crap, apply the argument to some other, less offensive genre of music). We might say that some forms of music display more talent in terms of difficulty to perform or accuracy of pitch or rhythm; we can even say that one is objectively more popular than another. Yet I fail to see how even that makes some songs or music objectively better than others. If you prefer those who sing off key or the incredibly simple melodies of, say, Bob Marley or Cat Stevens, does that make you slightly above the sentient level of a sea cucumber? Many of my favorite times of worship have been led by the tone deaf and participated in by the arrhythmic.

Which brings us back to the question, what is “better”? If I’m going to feel superior to the masses based off of the way I choose to interpret my senses I want to have a nice strong definition or rule to basement my judging off of. Interestingly enough, the bible doesn’t say anything about which genres of music are good and which are bad. It doesn’t rank tv shows or flavors of ice cream. Instead it leaves us with such vaguaries as calling creation and its Creator good.

Maybe there’s some other objective measure we can use. But try as I might to justify my innate superiority based off preference; I just can’t. There’s no yardstick to say that it’s better to paint my walls in earth-tones instead of hot pink polka dots. Which is a bummer because I’ve really built my manhood and self-esteem on the fact that I prefer soccer (football to most the world) to volleyball.

Which leads me into wondering if God really made everything good. Maybe where someone else sees beauty I could to. It’s just a thought, but sometimes I catch myself thinking that instead of discrediting someone else’s hobby as a waste of time we should try to see the beauty in it. I mean… the world’s all out there and stuff and God said that it was good. I’d rather be spending my time trying to participate in that goodness than arguing about how it’s actually ugly. I just don’t understand why so many people look at modern art (whatever that means) and dismiss it as being childish instead of seeing beauty in the art of children. The world can be a terribly ugly place. And a lot of times it gets me down. Which means that I’d rather spend my time trying to enjoy eating beetle grubs and admiring sunsets than courtiquing someone else’s enjoyment of brussel sprouts.

Let me pursue this thought just a slight bit further. Does this mean that we should then enjoy everything indiscriminately? Does this mean there is no good and bad? That all music, movies, entertainment is created equal?

I don’t know. But I have a theory. Whether it tastes good or bad, some food is wholesome and some is poison. I think in the same way some of the things we enjoy are edifying and some are (or at least can be) destructive. I’m not concerned with putting everything anybody enjoys into one of those two categories. I don’t know if some music is intrinsically evil. I’m reminded of Frank Zappa putting a facetious warning on one of his albums. Something along the lines of “Nothing said in this album will make you go to the big place of fire where the pointy horn guy lives.” In my estimation, he’s probably right.

The apostle Paul said it more along the lines of “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.” Judge (prudently) for yourself what things dominate you and what things are helpful. I know (that is to say I’m learning) what things cause me to stumble, and what things remind me of truths worth remembering. As an ascetic acolyte I won’t judge those who write off all entertainment as something that distracts them from God. But I will disagree with those who condemn it as inherently evil. I truly believe that God created music (just read the psalms), art, books and even movies as things that can bring glory to Him; the ultimate author of all that is good and beautiful.

As for me, even as I strive to remain pure, I want to share in that beauty with anyone who will invite me to.

 

Seaking temperance I sent the above post to my friend Lisa for her opinion. Below is her reply.

 

 

At the beginning you mentioned liking people with similar preferences, and later on touched on whether it is OK to prefer some beauty and tastes to others.  I’ve talked to Amie about some of these ideas, about how some of those deep sea fish are ugly, and I can’t imagine anyone finding them beautiful even though God made them and they must be good in some ferocious and bizarre way.  But I can understand people finding canyons and rock formations pleasing, even though they mostly just make me thirsty.  For some reason I like small rocks in museums and collections, but landscapes made of rock make me run the other way.  And I don’t denounce the rocks or the people who appreciate them.  I just “like” and spend more time with people who share my tastes, so that we can share enjoyment of things.  Obviously I have friends whose taste on some things differs.  Most of my friends love Chipotle and various takes on Mexican food, but not me.  I love pasta, but Michael and Josh and Jesse all don’t and I’m still their friend.  =)  My main point is that I think something God created was limited beings who have unique personalities and tastes, and as long as we leave out unfounded superiority, we can celebrate that, too. 
I was pondering last week why a certain song was unappealing to me even though my friends like it.  I could hear that it was not merely noisy, but had musical integrity.  One thing I noticed was that it didn’t resonate with me.  As much as I could relate to some of the circumstances the song was expressing, the emotional response I have isn’t the same.  I think this is one of the purposes of art, to connect to something a person already senses, and expound on that.  And I don’t think it was a waste to listen to the song, and to ponder my reaction.  What I caught from a single listen was that the song dealt with the daily grind, with a modern George Bailey living a simple drudgery far from where he’d dreamed of being.  And the song’s reaction to this was a music of marching.  Left right, determined, forward, steady, a little tired, a little angry, a little discouraged.  And I can relate even to those adjectives.  But when I feel that way in life, I picture myself either standing firmly, unmoving, faithful – or charging passionately into the work because I must have passion even if the everyday doesn’t inspire as I think it should.  Slight difference.  Or, I hear a sadscape, more the grief of the bleakness than an angry rhythm.  There are songs that resonate on this subject.  Just not this one.  But, I could absolutely see how this music resonates with some of my friends.  It matches their personality differently. 
Anyway, point of that is the value in not just trying to enjoy something you don’t automatically like, but letting the fact that others like it communicate to you something more about them, not so you can judge, but so that you can walk beside with friendship.

Education

The real human division is this; the luminous and the shady. To diminish the number of the shady, to augment the number of the luminous,- that is the object. That is why we cry: Education! science! To teach reading, means to light the fire; every syllable spelled out sparkles.

~Victor Hugo

 

Ever since the inception of OIPNG it has been involved with education.

 

Recently, Karie started tutoring and facilitating a FODE (formerly CODE) school for the ApMa people. FODE (Flexible Open and Distance Education) is a program to allow those who cannot attend a reguler school to still obtain their highschool diplomas.

Many students in PNG drop out before completing highschool and because students are not allowed to be married it is impossible for most adults to ever get their diplomas once they drop out. So along comes FODE, a correspondance school that, in theory, will allow older students or those otherwise unable to attend a typical school to still complete their studies. FODE is grade 7-12 plus a matriculation program that is kinda like AP for grades 11 and 12.

When I came in 2017 Karie asked me if I’d like to help her teach a couple of the classes. Teaching is one of my passions so I immediately agreed. At the end of last year all students were required to write essays on various topics as part of their final exams. Some of them made us cry, others made us laugh. One reminded us of the importance of what we’re doing. I’m sharing it here for all of you.

 

Dreaming of Education

Mark Balu

Grade 7

Since 1996 I completed my grade six at Samban community school. Than I was not selected to go to Angoram High School. Some of my class mates were seleted a they went to Angoram High Chool to continue on their education. I was very worried During that time there was a Topu Up school at Gawien in the Angoram districk. I asked my father If I could go there for school. But he said that he has no money to buy my school fees. That makes me very dissapointed and very sad.

This happen in early 1997 when I was 18 years old. These thought bring me into doing bad things like smoking marijuana and drinking home brew. But I am still thinking of schooling  That really upset me. From 1998 to 1999 I started doing bad activities with the other village boys in and around the Samban area. In October 1999, I went to Lae city stayed there doing nothing. I lived there almost four years.

In 2005 I came back to Samban and got married to a Paniten lady. In 2008 I joined the OIPNG and became a level 2 Shawmill operator. We milled timber in and around thge Apma area. But the thought of education is still on my mine.

In the year 2015 the OIPNG put up a notice of a FODE Centre will start at Samban. The lady in charge of the FODE Centre is Mrs. Karie Pryor of the OIPNG. So I was the first person to give my name to her. Karie asked me about my grade. I said “I am a grade six drop out at Samban community school and now I want to continue on with grade seven in FODE”

So other student joined in to continue on with the FODE.

Karie named the FODE CENTRE THE APMA FODE CENTRE

Now I see my dream came true. I am doing my FODE final examination for grade seven(7).

I thank God to make my dream come tru.

 

This year we have 26 students between the two of us (Karie and myself). Next year, it is likely that neither of us will be here. I don’t believe that education is the answer to all problems, social or otherwise. Only Jesus gives us true solutions. But education is a powerful tool. Especially in a country like PNG where we can openly use the bible as a textbook and use school lessons to teach life lessons centered around a Jesus like approach to problem solving.

All that to say, pray that God would send out laborers because the harvest is plenty and the laborers are few.

Pictures from November

Proof that I’m still working.She was a *galvanized steel* house Does this count as monkeying around?Or at least that I’m still goofing off.

 

If a picture’s worth 1000 words than I think this post is plenty long enough.

 

More to follow (probably, maybe… eventually).

October Picture Update

Arik helping me test my new shelves.

Look! Counter-tops! (This is my “kitchen” at the moment.”)

Guys Playing SoccerIt’s soccer season.

Other Guys Playing SoccerJust look at them go.Pigs resting.My pigs resting after a long day of lounging around. There’s actually 4 pigs in this picture. The last one is just buried underneath the others. Alus sleeping.Little Alus came over to my house and promptly passed out on my couch. Must’ve been a long day for him too.

Bare Bones The clinic staff house.Avast a house. Now under roof. Hopefully soon with siding.Head Wound One of my emergency patients.Scalped Not to sure what the emergency was with this one…Sewn Turns out patients with concussions are very docile.Sorry.The nurse liked my suture job so… If Auntie’s happy everybody’s happy.

That’s all for now folks.