Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Home in Honiara

We're safely back in Honiara after a tummy-jarring ride on rough seas in the Kosco.  Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ship Update

We were told that the ship might come any time from midnight to 3 a.m., but it's 6:20 and the ship still isn't here yet.  Aaron and I kept one ear open all night long, and we woke up a little before 3:00 hearing somebody shouting, "Koscooooo, Koscooooo."  So, we sprang into action!  Aaron started stripping the sheets of our bed; I started shutting windows and pulled on my skirt.  I even turned on a light.  But then we realized that we didn't actually hear the ship's engines coming around the corner of our island.  And the more we listened to the voice, the more we realized he was drunk.  So, we lay back down and tried to go back to sleep.  So, now we get to make a press of coffee and eat some banana bread and hard-boiled eggs while we wait for daylight.  At least we get a day trip :-)

Saturday, July 19

Aaron teaching 7-19
While Aaron was busy teaching a language development workshop (because what good is a Bible in Lavukaleve if nobody is around who can read it?!?), the rest of us worked at the house, making lelenga (cassava pudding).

scraping cassava 7-19
Since Mama has been here before, we are trying to find new things to teach her.  She already knew how to scrape cassava and coconuts, but she had never husked a coconut before.  She was a great sport!

husking a coconut 7-19
After lunch, Mama and I walked around to distribute the bags of sewing supplies to two of Marulaon's groups, and to talk about theMako 7-19 pictures of my family that she had brought.  My neighbors really enjoy looking at pictures, and I had fun showing them a picture of four generations: my grandmother, my mom, me, and Sarah.  Most of my friends have already lost their moms, so it blows their minds that my mom's mom is still alive.  Sweet toddlers were often afraid of my mom, but she soon won them over with her "grandmotherly" ways.  When we got back home, I took advantage of my mom's hair cutting skills and put her to work on Benjamin's mop of hair.  She had him trimmed up in no time!

cutting Benjamin's hair

Friday, July 18

Last night, we celebrated Olivia and Mama's birthdays with a beautiful chocolate cake that Sarah made for the occasion. 

birthday cake 7-18
Today's plans included work in the garden, so Sarah, Katherine, Mama, and I, along with about ten village girls and young women (all members of the Girls' Friendly Society), all went to the garden to plant uvikola, umalau, and pau, three roots crops and over one hundred heaps dug.  I also planted some leafy greens alongside a few green bean seeds.  God gave us a lovely overcast morning for our work, and we only needed about three hours to clear, weed, and plant.  We came back and served them grape Kool-aid (my personal favorite!) and popcorn as a thank you to go alongside the money they had earned for their organization.  I'm so thankful for their help!

sewing supplies 7-18

After the girls left, the rain began to fall.  And it fell all afternoon long!  Our rain tanks slowly filled up, and I'm sure my garden was very, very happy for it's big drink.  My mom brought out some sewing supplies donated by several of her friends, many of them ladies that knew me when I was small.  So, while the rain fell and walking around the village would have been difficult, Olivia and I sorted the thread, elastic, and notions into three piles to match the three groups in our village.  I'm looking forward to distributing the goodies tomorrow to my friends around the village.

Packing and Sailing

The Choates learned that Kosco is coming through sooner than expected, so packing and preparing is pretty crazy right now! Please pray as they prepare to leave, probably within the next couple of hours (3:00 or 4:00 AM Marulaon time, 11:00 AM or noon CDT).


Monday, July 21, 2014

Thursday, July 17

She's here!  After many delays on both sides of the world, my Mama has finally arrived.  The canoe occupants were soaking wet from rough seas by the time they pulled into Marulaon, but they got to see flying fish, dolphins, and a baby orca on the their trip across the ocean.

Shortly after Mama arrived, rain began falling and continued all afternoon.  A huge thanks to everyone who has been praying.  Our neighbors  know that people all over the world are praying for a good balance of rain and sun for our village.  The next few days will be busy as we pack and clean in preparation for returning to Honiara on the Kosco next week.

Wednesday, July 16

slides for microscope 7-16
The kids have really been having fun with our current science experiment.  I don't know whether to be excited or disappointed that our well water grew bacteria well but failed to produce very many protozoa!

Benjamin looking through microscope 7-16

Tuesday, July 15

Happy Birthday, Olivia!
Olivia 7-15
Things we like about Olivia:
-Her compassion for everything and everyone
-The funny faces she makes that send all of us into convulsions of laughter
-Listening to my aural learner read her Bible out loud and sing songs to Jesus during her "Jesus Time" in the early morning
-Her contagious laughter

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Monday, July 14

We got a good rain for 10-15? minutes (I wasn't really counting at 3 a.m.) last night. Aaron got up to check and make sure that the water was actually going into the tanks. It was :-) And I was thankful that the taps were off. I've often found them open and just dripping, dripping, dripping...So while I was on the porch with a flashlight reading my Bible, I saw people sneaking to the big rain tank by the church holding big buckets. And right now, girls are lined up at the church tank with tons of water bottles. So thankful! And Aaron said our tank is up two inches.  I feel like it's our "manna" for the day.

Kosco came this morning around 6:00. They made some garbled announcements which I couldn't understand, so I walked down to the shore to find friends who heard the announcement. The gist of it was that, depending on cargo, they might come back "next week" on a long trip out West via the Russells. That would be perfect timing for us! But holding it VERY loosely.

Benjamin holding shark head 7-13
While I was down on the shore, I found a friend cleaning two sharks. Here's the story, a different family got word that their daughter, in Form 3 (9th grade) at a good school, made straight A's. She's always been a good student. So the grandfather killed a pig! And traveled back with the pig on the Kosco to deliver the "congratulations" to his granddaughter.

shark's mouth 7-13
They discarded the innards of the pig, and when the shark family heard about it, they rescued the innards because they make great bait. Result: two sharks.

shark liver 7-13
I discovered they eat the liver, too.  There's not much iron in my neighbors' diets, so I was excited that this sweet family will get an extra boost of iron today.

shark being cleaned 7-13
I watched as several little girls scraped the skin off the shark with shells. And I got two big slabs.

two slabs of shark meat
This will be my first time to cook shark. My friend, Sylvester, suggested I cut it up and boil it with lime leaves. So, I asked Aaron to get some leaves from our lime trees in the garden.  He takes "brain breaks" from time to time and looks for something to get him out of the house for a few minutes to rest his brain.

shark in pot with lime leaves 7-14
And we will be eating shark for lunch today :-) I love it how God provided when I didn't have a clue what I was going to cook to feed my family!

Sunday, July 13

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."  Colossians 3:23

washing clothes 7-13
After attending church and sharing several plates of lelenga with our neighbors, it was time for laundry.  Our clothes are really sweaty and REALLY stinky by the end of the day, so we don't like to skip a day of washing clothes.  Katherine and Olivia did a great job of singing and pretending to be a washing machine while they worked. 

Katherine swimming 7-13
Katherine really enjoys playing in the water, although most people around here don't use the ocean for a playground.  It's more useful as a toilet and trash removal system.  Therefore, we carefully follow the tides and only swim at low tide when the water is pulling away from the shore!

Aaron studing on beach 7-13
While she swam, Aaron sat on the shore and studied.  He kept an eye on Katherine while getting in some good introvert time.

Olivia & baby 7-13
Olivia helped watch a little one (one of Marulaon's many twins) while his mama worked.  Olivia's big heart is compassionate toward all living things:  babies, plants, and especially animals.

Sarah playing soccer 7-13
Sarah has joined Marulaon's young ladies' soccer team.  They practiced for several hours today, and I went out and cheered them on for a little while.  I've been appointed the team mom, so I brought out some cold kool-aid to give them a little bit of refreshment in the heat of the day.

girls playing in shade 7-13
When I returned to the house, I found Katherine and Olivia playing with a group of girls in the shade of our house.  They were smart to find shade on this blazing hot and sunny day!

playing England

These girls are spunky and all in between Katherine and Olivia's age.  I love watching the girls, my own and my neighbor's girls, blossom as their personalities pop!

Tisan 7-14
They played game after game until it was time for my children to come in and shower before church. 

group of girls 7-13
What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, working and playing wholeheartedly for the Lord!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rain & Sunshine

Good afternoon, Choate friends!

Thanks to your prayers, Marulaon saw two afternoons of really good rain. Of course, there is always that struggle between rain and sunshine. Much rain means full tanks but low batteries due to lack of sunshine. So, while you are thanking God for the rain, please continue to pray for that good balance between rain and sunshine that will keep the tanks full and the batteries charged!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saturday, July 12

The Kosco came on Thursday morning, and we experienced Christmas in July.  Not only did we receive our much needed gas cylinder (yay for a tiny emergency backup cylinder!), but several of our colleagues included sweet notes and treats, and Gayly sent new copra bags to replace the ones that caught on fire while she was here.

Yesterday, we got about five minutes of light rain, so we moved the clothes underneath the house to dry.  But the rest of the day was hot and sunny.  I was thankful to see a small parcel of green beans at market this morning, as well as some tiny capsicum (bell pepper), bananas, and papaya.  As an extra treat, one of the ladies brought peanuts!

Katherine looking at peanuts2 7-12
As soon as the kids started eating the peanuts, Katherine broke one apart and started looking at it to find all that parts.  She's become very interested in all things seeds and flowers since she started reading about them in science.  I pulled out a couple of extra books, "A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds" by Jean Richards and "How a Seed Grows" by Helene J. Jordan.
Katherine looking at peanuts

Then she found several seeds that had already sprouted, and she was even more delighted!  Now we have four peanuts planted in an old ice cream container on our porch waiting to grow and be transplanted after we get some rain.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday, July 9

Today was a little bit of a "down in the dumps" day.  Our radio/e-mail didn't work for the majority of the day, our gas cylinder (think propane thank, it runs the fridge and the oven) ran out, and the front two rain tanks ran dry.  It's so easy to be discouraged because of our surroundings.  Then I think about my neighbors who don't have a fridge or an oven, nor do they have e-mail, and they, too, depend on our family's one remaining tank for water. Perspective. Thanks, Lord.

Skita & Translyn

Lately, I've been interacting a lot with the single mothers here in Marulaon.  I can quickly count ten single mamas who have either recently had babies or who are currently pregnant in Marulaon alone.  That's a huge number for our tiny little village.  My cultural eyes have been searching to find how these mamas and their little ones fit into the family structure here, and I always thought that they were absorbed with little ill effect.  But lately, I've been hearing from them how hard it is.  I don't know yet if the Lord is softening my heart and opening my ears to DO anything, or just to be a shoulder to cry on, a gentle reminder of God's ways, and an encouraging prayer partner.

Tuesday, July 8

Yesterday, I went to Sylvester's to take her some onions as a thank you for the clam shells she gave us.

(Sylvester at motu)

Sylvester at motu 7-8

We chatted for a while, and she asked if I had any more of the big cans with plastic lid (the tins that our dehydrated fruits and veggies come in) so she could store her dried havu.

Shark 7-8

I walked quickly back up the hill to grab a can for her, and when I returned, she asked if I had ever eaten shark.  Her husband accidentally caught a shark when he was fishing for his son's visit, but the son's ship didn't make the trip because of engine trouble (good ol' Bikoi).  So, she had extra shark.  Some, she had boiled with limes and lime leaves, and some she had cooked on the hot stones.  So, she gave us some of both so we could see which one we liked better.  We liked both!

Marulaon Woman's Daybook

Marulaon house

Just for today...Monday, July 7

Outside my window...lines of people waiting to get water out of our rain tanks. 

girls at rain tank 7-7

From the learning school today because it's Solomon Island Independence Day.  But we did do a microscope experiment looking at well water that had been sitting in jars for several days.

science experiment jars 7-7

  The jar with the powdered egg was so much fun to observe with all of the squiggly life inside! 

Benjamin & microscope

On my bookshelf...The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

From the kitchen...the kids asked for Solomon Islands food that we sometimes take to potlucks here, white rice mixed with canned tuna and Chinese cabbage.

One of my favorite bookmark from Katherine.


A heart of thankfulness...for the ladies who were on my porch just a few minutes ago measuring their feet.  I'll be buying sports shoes for the ladies' Marulaon soccer team when we go back to Honiara.  Sarah has started playing with them, so I'm happy to help out.

Pondering these words... “The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.  He makes the clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.”  (Psalm 135:6-7)  We still really need some rain.  Lots and lots and lots of rain.

A peek into my corner of the world...this little one, a recent transplant to Marulaon, has taken a liking to me.  Any time I walk over to his house, he RUNS to greet me and gives me a huge hug around my legs! 

little boy 7-7

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday, July 6 - Sweet Sabbath

Most everyone has heard the story of how Jesus multiplied one boy's lunch of a few loaves and a couple of fish into something big enough to feed a massive crowd.  I believe God is calling us, like the boy, to smallness -- to give what we have in thankfulness and let Him to do the miraculous multiplication.  ~Kristen Welch

Hiva came by this afternoon to chat with Aaron and to check up on the programs and plans of the Lavukal Translation Committee and the Lavukal Translators. 

Aaron & Hiva 7-6 
While they were chatting, I left to go visit with my friend, Sylvester.  Sunday afternoon is a great time to find people at home.  Sylvester told me that her son, who goes to school in Honiara, was expected to hop on the Bikoi tonight and arrive in Marulaon tomorrow.  So, her husband had been fishing to provide a welcome feast.  She also had a bag of haleav (some type of clam) shells, which she promptly gave to me.  She is so generous!

Kathering open haleav 7-6

I knew that if I was the only one opening these shells, I'd still be working on it at midnight.  So I quickly went and found Leku and enlisted her to come up to the house to help me.  She brought a friend, and Katherine and Olivia helped, too.

Katherine cleaning halea2 7-6

Katherine turned out to be really quick at getting those little critters out of their shells, and she earned high praise from our helping friends. 

katherine cleaning halea 7-6

With the stresses of not enough water in our language area, I'm finding the "dross" of my soul coming up to the surface.  Yuck.

If I'm feeling out of control, I've probably embraced the lie that what I want is more important than glorifying God in every situation of life.  God gave us our emotions as a barometer -- something to alert us that there might be something off in our surroundings or our hearts -- but He didn't give them to us to rule our lives, or dictate our behavior.  He wants to rule our lives.  ~Brooke McGlothlin

Just living here makes me feel out of control.  Add a lack of rain and the uncertainty of living in a culture where time is not a value, and I struggle to give what little I have in thankfulness.  I have to pray for God's extra doses of love for the people around me.  Because Psalm 145:10-12 really is where I want to be:

All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you.  They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your might acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Friday, July 4

Olivia's hair with flags 7-4 
The kids opted to have school today and take off next Monday on Solomon Islands Independence Day.  But we still had fun celebrating our passport country's special day!  Gayly brought paper goods to help us during the patriotic months of June and July, and we saved some of our ground beef rations to make hamburgers today. 

Kathering eating hamburger 7-4

Katherine licking fingers 7-4Gayly also brought some pre-cooked bacon with her.  I had never tried it before, but it made our cheeseburgers extra special (picture of Katherine licking her fingers) alongside the Pringles we had saved from a care package and our dill pickle spears!

Thursday, July 3

pushups 7-3

We're using "Homeschool Family Fitness" by Bruce Whitney, Ph.D. this year for our PE curriculum, and we're having a blast!

jumprope 7-3

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wednesday, July 2

Katherine & hibiscus 7-2

Katherine explored the flowers in our yard today using the magnifying glass.

Kathering & flowers 7-2

While she marveled at the petals, sepals, stamen, and pistils that God created, I marveled at the six-year-old eyelashes and at her delight of first-time discovery.

Katherine looking at flowers

Marulaon Woman’s Daybook

Marulaon house

Just for today...Monday, June 30

Outside my window...wing bean vines finally crawling up their supports.  I planted them two months ago, but with the lack of rain they have been slow to grow.

From the learning rooms...Sarah & Benjamin will set up an experiment to grow some fresh water organisms.  We don't have a pond, so the well will have to do! 

On my bookshelf...Rhinestone Jesus:  Saying yes to God when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough by Kristen Welch, another gift from my thoughtful friend, Gayly.  She knows how much I love books and that I miss my library and my Barnes and Noble.

One of my favorite things...the curls framing Sarah's face

Sarah's curls 6-30

I am hearing...long lines of people at the rain tanks in front of our house.

A heart of thankfulness...for people who take the time to stay connected with us out in a remote village setting.

Around the house...our favorite granola bars in a container on the cabinet, sheets that really need to be washed when we have enough water, and tomato seedlings growing on the front porch.

Pondering these words..."When you're running a race, you can sprint because the race only lasts a short time.  But when you sprint day in and day out, you use up what God has supplied for emergencies."  ~Mimi Wilson

A few plans for the rest of the week...Aaron was gone all day fishing on Saturday, and yesterday he attended a Translation Committee meeting in Nono village and didn't return until after the kids were in bed.  Thankfully, the rest of this week looks pretty "normal" and quiet.

A peek into my corner of the door, a puppy running off with the treasure of a recently scraped coconut shell