esteban bai i go long as graun bilong em

Ahem, I have an announcement!

We wrapped up the second term here at St. Fidelis Seminary and, after a great deal of prayer and discernment, I have decided to return to Oklahoma.

At least for the next 6 months, perhaps permanently.  If you’ve read some of my early posts, you’ll understand why it’s been heavy on my heart to return to Tulsa and my responsibilities there.

It was a hard decision, and now that I’m just a couple of days away from leaving, I’m both filled with excitement of returning home, and feeling sad about leaving the friars and students of St. Fidelis.

It’s quite hard to put this all into words, but I know that I’m going where I’m being led.

The Capuchins, especially the friars at St. Fidelis, have become like an extended family.  They also could not be more understanding and supportive of my decision.  I’m welcome to come back to PNG and St. Fidelis next year if the situation at home is such.

I have no idea what the next few months will bring.  It’s time to start looking for work again and to see what doors God will open for me.  So, if you have any ideas ….  🙂

A consolation for me these last couple of weeks has been Thomas Merton’s “Prayer of the Unknowing”.  Perhaps you’ve read it:


My Lord God,

I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.



OK, time for a lesson in Tok Pisin (i.e. Pidgin) before you go.  Parsing out the title of this post:

esteban bai i go long as graun bilong em

esteban (that’s me)

“i go” = goes

“bai” = future tense marker, so “bai i go” becomes “will go”, supposedly bai come from “by and by”

“long” = universal preposition the meaning of which comes from context.

“as graun” = we can thank the Australians for this one, literally meaning “ass ground” or “homeland”.  “home” would be written as “haus” (home or house).

“bilong em” = “that belongs to him/her/them”

So you can read this as “esteban will go to his homeland”

Thus endeth the lesson.

13 thoughts on “esteban bai i go long as graun bilong em

  1. Wow! Steve, we will surely be glad to welcome you back to the USA. Thanks for your honesty in these blog posts. I feel like I’ve learned so much through *your* experiences! The PNG seminarians are in the prayers of my heart now. They’re surely losing a great teacher, but I am so happy you have the opportunity to go home and be with family. Peace and safe travels!

  2. This is big news! St. Fidelis has been lucky to have you, and Tulsa will be lucky to have you back.

    Also – after looking at your pictures of the hike yesterday, I had dreams about living on an island that looked a lot like PNG . . .

    • PNG is very beautiful in so many ways. The coastal area are just like all the tropical islands that you think about.

      Thanks for reading my blog. You’ve been my muse, following what you wrote in China. I just wish the quality of my writing is even half of yours.

      I do have the wanderlust now. I wonder what the next adventure will be.

  3. I’m quite late to this party as I know you’ve already landed on this side of the world. It’s been wonderful following your adventures in PNG through your blog. Best wishes with all your future endeavours, Steve!

    • That is a fantastic thing to say. Thank you for reading my blog and I’m glad I could share a bit of that fascinating experience and truly unique part of the world. They call PNG “The Land of the Unexpected”, which fits in so many ways.

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