Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

“Stori” PNG-style

on August 2, 2013

It’s that time of week again – Five Minute Friday.  Lisa-Jo Baker gives us a one-word prompt and we write for five minutes without pressure, just for the joy of writing.  Why don’t you join us here?

This week’s word is Story.


Some words are like smells. They evoke memories from times past, some with smiles, some with sadness, and some a bittersweet mixture of the two.

Story is one such word for me.  It takes me back to that half-island home of Papua New Guinea (PNG), back to our bush house of woven bamboo up on stilts on the side of a clay mountain.  Nights of rain on a tin roof lulling us to sleep.  Chilly mornings of woodsmoke and toast made in the woodstove.  Because the word story is “stori” in tok pisin, the pidgin trade language of PNG.

But in tok pisin, the word stori carries with it various nuances.  It can mean a simple story, but it can also be used in the vernacular as somewhat of a verb (in my limited understanding).  You can stori with another person, communicate with them, swap information through the act of story-telling. So to my MK self, stori means more than just a tale; it’s sharing verbally with someone else either for the purpose of making friends or for the purpose of learning.

And I think I rather like the word stori better than our English word because that’s what stories are truly for.  They don’t exist merely for entertainment, although many are entertaining, but they exist for a purpose, to teach us something, to impart some new truth, to open our eyes to a new understanding.

So, I would rather stori with someone than story at them.  I don’t want my words to be things I just throw out there willy-nilly.  I want them to serve a purpose.

I’ve always been in love with words, with stories, with learning new truth.  And now, as a new blogger, I’m learning to be in love with stori, with sharing not just for the sake of sharing or telling for the sake of telling, but for the purpose of learning.

About others.

About self.

Even about the greatest Story-teller ever.

His story. My story. Together they become part of my stori with others.

Yes, I like this stori.

Jen 🙂

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15 responses to ““Stori” PNG-style

  1. what beautiful thoughts! i love learning to express myself in another language and how that language reveals God in His rich complexity from a different angle than I’d ever see Him when limited to thinking, speaking, reading and writing only English.

    • I enjoyed your post as well, Richelle. 🙂 And I agree; learning meanings in another language adds such depth to words! Thanks for stopping by.
      Jen 🙂

      • thanks for popping by my place!

        thinking lots recently about the fact that sometimes, while i appreciate the sentiment and “encouragement” behind it, i get tired of the message preached so commonly today of: “be courageous and tell your story…” “you have a valuable story, so share it.”

        what if it takes more courage to listen, really hearing another’s story and the possibility that it might change me or make me uncomfortable without feeling the need to “retaliate…” ?

      • Mmhmm. I think that’s very similar to where I was heading with this – that the stori or conversation goes both ways. We stori with and learn from each other. Honestly, when I first started blogging I thought God wanted me to write to encourage others, to speak truth to them. 🙂 I know, I know – I’m embarrassed to even put that out there. But in the few months I’ve been at it, He’s humbled me. I’m learning that even as I write, He’s teaching me first, and if it happens to encourage others as well, great! Even beyond the words He gives me, I’m being exposed to what He gives to others, and that’s challenging, too! Most of all, I think He’s stretching my ideas about who He is and how we relate to him.

        I think some people who have stories to tell (especially those of a generation or a background that has taught them to be silent), but are fearful, really need that encouragement to follow God’s leading. However, I think you’re also correct in that sometimes we get caught up in our own stories and even our own dreams and we forget that sometimes He leads us to listen rather than speak (or write). Maybe you should write a post about it?? Haha 😉

  2. Wendy Meijer says:

    Oh, I love that, stori with others! Thanks for stopping by at my blog 🙂

    • Me, too. 🙂 My understanding is limited since I just picked up phrases here and there, but I think I have the gist of it. I like the idea of the stori conversation being a two-way street.
      Jen 🙂

  3. Tina says:

    I love that – stori as a verb! And storying with people, not at them – such an important distinction. Thanks so much for sharing today!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    How beautiful. I love the depth of meaning in stori.

  5. Stephani says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I just cannot believe this! I was born in PNG! My father, the father I wrote about in my blog post today, was a medical missionary there with our church for about 4 years. We built the Nazarene Hospital in Kudjip. He was the first doctor (and only doctor) at that time. The post I did in June on Father’s day, which was a letter to him, has a picture of him in New Guinea at that time. What a small world! So glad to meet you!

    • How neat! It really is a small world! When my parents first went over, I was already 14 years old, so I didn’t spend as much time there as my younger siblings, but it was still life-changing. Is the Nazarene hospital in the Highlands province? The town sounds familiar. My parents worked through New Tribes Mission in a tribe near Mt. Elimbari (I believe it was with the Duma people). I had my appendix removed at a hospital in Lae during our years there. That was an interesting experience, haha. Nice to meet you, too!
      Jen 🙂

  6. What a beautiful word! I think I’m going to tuck this gem away and begin to “stori” with others.

  7. Andrea says:

    How wonderful to think of it as a verb! I’m so glad you shared this! Blessings!

    Returning your visit from last week’s fmf:

  8. Ceil says:

    Hi Jen! I just love these bloghops, I learn so much from them! And I agree about learning from our stories. It creates connections that we can understand, and opens our hearts.

    Thanks for your language lesson today 🙂

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