Our Third Day Learning Tok Pisin

Our Third Day Learning Tok Pisin


Practically speaking, we are here in Madang, Papua New Guinea, to learn the trade language of this region– Tok Pisin. We need to learn this so we will be able to move to a tribe in the Finisterre Mountain range which has never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and communicate. But in order to get that far, we first need to purchase supplies in Madang, move those supplies to the tribe, and then talk to the tribes in the bush to explain what we want to do and ask if we can do it there. To explain and ask these things, we must learn Tok Pisin. We feel the pressing need to learn this language as it is hard to do much here without knowing how to talk people. But we also need to buy food, get phones, pay for electricity, research tribes and supply costs, and take care of our families.

Language learning thus far has been tiring and overwhelming. But it’s only day three. How do we learn Tok Pisin? First, we’ll be talking with whomever we can that speaks it. Security guards, people walking down the street, vendors we meet at the market, children who play along the fences, and–eventually–each other and our kids. And second, we have a language helper. Her name is Julie, and she is great (you can see her below). Day two, she took us to the market to purch ase vegetables and fruit. And today, we worked with her from 2 pm to 4:45 pm, learning names for family members, words describing emotions, and some information about the culture. It’s hard to believe this is only the third day we have been here because, in a lot of ways, it feels like it’s been weeks. We are encouraged, though, that when we first arrived, we knew nothing, and now we are starting to understand some things!


Julie with us in a Tok Pisin language learning session. Susanna and Benaiah sit in on it (and Onesimus just came out to say hello)

Please pray for us and our team as we are here. That we can learn Tok Pisin well, and make good friendships while here. Pray that we can quickly learn to get around town, and learn where everything is. To finish this post, here are a few phrases in Tok Pisin that we learned. (NOTE: these may not be entirely correct, since it’s only day three. So if you know Tok Pisin and you are reading this, please don’t laugh…at the translation OR the spelling):

Nem belong mi Matt – My name is Matt
Bubu bilong mi – My grandparents
Amamas – happy/joy/glad/healthy
Matt likem kalap go down long sol wara – Matt likes to jump in the ocean
Yu tok gen na tok isi – Can you say it again slowly (I use this phrase a lot)


Us taking a break for tea and biscuits.


Close up on the “biscuits”…best cookies I’ve had in PNG. (mi numba won cuki – my favorite cookie)


  1. 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.
    15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
    16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
    17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
    18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
    2 Corinthians 4:14-18

  2. As I read this, the only thought I had was “God is so good”. He has provided a relatively comfortable, safe place for you to learn this most important step. Also – I can’t even tell you how much joy seeing these pictures of the house and the kids and Cameron and Matt bring to me. Praise God for the technology we have! I am praying that this language will become your own – soon. I love you all sooo much!


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