Thursday, March 29, 2007


Well, it's been brought to my attention that I don't have a spot for you to leave comments on here. This whole time I've just thought no one was reading...Thanks, Katie W!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kinship Anyone?

For the most part, kinship is not as important to those of us in the western world as it is to those in developing countries. Many of us live hundreds of miles away from brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents etc. It is likely that we have relatives we have not even met and probably will never meet--and might not even care to! However, the vast majority of tribal cultures are organized around their kinship relationships. Who they fight, how they settle disputes, the work they do in the village, the gifts they give, their status in the village, and obligations to each other are all determined by kinship relationships.

The catch for us as westerners is to understand that tribal people don't view their relatives as we view our relatives. There are five main types of kinship systems, which all kinship systems include in one way or another. In the Hawaiin kinship system, a person calls all of the males in the his father's generation the same thing he would call his father (i.e. all of his uncles would be called whatever he calls his father). The same with the females in his mother's generation--all of the 'aunts' would be called whatever he calls his mother. Because of this, the children of those 'aunts' and 'uncles' (cousins) would be called that person's brothers and sisters, and they would relate to each other in that way.

There are four other kinship systems: Iroquois, Sudanese, Crow and Eskimo. These names were derived from the particular people group where the system was discovered. Each system has its own way of tracing descent and in turn, how they relate to each other because of what they call each other. In our thinking, we would naturally expect that our dad is more responsible for our well-being than he is someone else's kids. However, in one tribe, the father is more responsible for his sister's kids than he is for his own children.

Why in the world is studying kinship important to planting a tribal church? Kinship dictates how the people relate to each other through gift-giving, obligations, privileges etc. Understanding kinship is one of the keys to know why they do what they do and why they interrelate the way they do--and even later on down the road how they relate to us.

Knowing this will help us to teach the Bible more clearly when we start talking about relationships in Scripture - God as our Father, we are His children - brothers and sisters in Christ, and even how God wants us to relate to those outside of the Body of Christ regardless of where they fall in line with being kin.

(Thank you to Sonya for writing this!)

Love you all,

Friday, March 09, 2007

My "Little" Brother

I'm very proud of my younger brother, Tim. He's been in the Navy for a year and a half now. He's a helo mechanic, and just last week got to fly up to Boston for a reward trip. The best workers for the day shift and night shift were flown up to Boston for the day.

Soon he will be going to England, Norway, and Greece for a few weeks to work on the helos there. I miss him terribly when he's in Maryland, but I'm so proud of him! Keep up the good work, Tim!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ha Ha Tonka

My friend Autumn and I saw that it was a nice day a few weeks ago, so we decided to take a hike through Ha Ha Tonka.

To our left, we had "Florida water", blue water at 56 degrees. This part of the lake is spring fed and stays the same temperature year round. Make way for ducklings!
Also to our left, was this fallen log, with moss at the bottom and snow at the top. I though that was so cool that God could make the log warm enough near the water to grow moss, yet cool enough out of the water to keep the snow!
To our right was a cliff of rocks with some ice--a kid's winter wonder!
The trails were considerable clear, since it had snowed the night before! (Till we hit the parts of snow covering ice...) I'm currently happy with our 10-day forecast of 60 degree weather!

Have a great day!

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Note from Tɛnɛ

This week our class has begun a seven week course of Dobu culture study. The Dobu people live in Papua New Guinea, but their culture has been used here at the Language School for decades. There are teachers that dress as tribal people, and we go into a small attic area each day for our lesson. We plan each day to learn certain words and the processes to elicit them. Though we are learning Dobu culture, our language helper, "Britney" (derived from Britney Spears--Britney likes to listen to American radio) was a missionary to the Palaka people in western Africa, so we are learning to speak various phrases in Palaka.
This picture is of me learning the types of people in pictures. To be culturally sensitive, I asked permission to come sit on her mat and asked how I should sit in the Dobu culture. She told me that "Carrie" (as she pronounces it) means "go" in her language. I told her I didn't want to go, that I wanted to stay a long time, so she gave me the name "Tɛnɛ" which means "sit down." This was exciting to me, because she was accepting my presence with the Dobu.

Please pray for our class as we learn to work together as a group, much like we will in the future on a tribal church planting team. Pray also that we will be culturally sensitive to "Britney."