Sunday, 26 October 2008

a new friend

Earlier this term we had a visit from Betty Murray, an Australian woman in her retirement years.  But, as she herself says, we do not retire from the Lord's service, and that she has been able to continue her service in such as way as to visit us, was a great blessing to all of us at Talua.

Betty was brought to the Lord as a young woman by an Aboriginal Pastor while she was in an early teaching position way out west.   Later she served as a missionary teacher in Papua New Guinea and even later she worked with the Queensland Department of Education traveling all around the world to train teachers of English in places where English is not the first language.  It was her expertise in this area that brought her to us.

Betty spent three weeks helping the students with their English.  For most students at Talua, English is the third or fourth language they have learnt; few are fluent.  Yet all the books and all the resources are in English.  They need to read well!  There are many constructions in English that have no parallel in either Bislama, the common language, or the vernacular languages of the villages (of which there are over one hundred!).  Betty spent many hours with the students, explaining the difficult bits (of which there are many) and showing them how to be better learners of English.  She also spent a little time with the staff, encouraging them to be better teachers of English in their everyday lessons.

I have to admit that I was a little surprised when Betty accepted my invitation to have lunch at our home whenever she needed to.  Not everyone is willing to eat in a house filled with children, as ours was, especially with our extra guests at that time.  But she was not flustered by exuberance, nor impatient with bad table manners.  She knew their names immediately and quietly directed them in more appropriate ways of acquiring that jug of water. 

I learnt much from her; from her ways with our children and from her faithful service of our Lord. I am glad that she came!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Rachael,

I think I would like to meet Betty Murray if that is possible.