Saturday, March 28, 2020

Thursday, March 26

Both faith and fear sail into the harbor of your mind, but only faith should be allowed to anchor.” ~Unknown

(Photo of Ship LC Rusa)

Ships continue to come and go with little to no schedule here in the Russells. The government has said that if a positive case of COVID-19 is reported, shipping will be shut down. So, we’ve prepared some of our heavier things, like an empty propane cylinder, to go back on the first available ship. The less cargo we have to take back to Honiara, the easier we can make a trip in a motor canoe, if needed.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Wednesday, March 25

Olivia and Katherine lined up basket making lessons this afternoon with their friends. Ubiquitous coconut branches provide the basket material.

(photo of Teteka Katherine)

First, they learned to make the basic “teteka,” then they learned how to use the teteka to create other baskets with different shapes depending on the usage.

(photo of Teteka)

My favorite one is a big square basket named “gonu,” because it’s shape resembles a big turtle (gonu in Lavukaleve).

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tuesday, March 24

Within this Christian vision for marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!
~Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

(photo of Handholding Cutting the Dough)

Living in the village almost always brings extra attacks against our marriage. Even though we anticipate the attacks, they don’t get any easier. So we fight. We fight with the truth of God’s Word. We fight with “stones of remembrance” like those found in Joshua 4.

(photo of Handholding Rolling the Dough)

“He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” (Joshua 4:24)

Today we celebrate thirty years of holding hands. We tell the stories of God’s faithfulness over the years. We watch “Hunt for Red October” again. We taste the sweetness of my Mama’s sugar cookie recipe and remember the sweetness of our relationship.

Monday, March 23

Having been made in the image of a homemaking God, whose persistent concern is for our flourishing, the church must share his desire for the world’s habitability – for both the spiritual and material concerns of its neighbors.
~Jen Pollock Michel, Keeping Place

(photo of umalau)

I plopped this bag of goodness on the porch after buying the umalau/potatoes at market. Today, some of the starchy globes will find their way into a big pot, joining slippery cabbage, onion, wing beans, and curried coconut milk. There will be enough to feed the ones who live under my roof as well as enough to share with another family. So, while Aaron forges ahead in fine tuning the book of Matthew, and I type in Psalms, we also offer bandaids and soap and Tylenol and bowls of soup for “both the spiritual and material concern” of our neighbors.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Saturday, March 21

Super proud of my girls! They have jumped into the youth group activities here. Olivia worked really hard to get ahead on her school work so she could carry gravel with the youth earlier this week.

(photo of Weeding Youth)

Today, the goal was to tame the soccer field with bush knives, grass knives, and lots of elbow grease, and Olivia and Katherine gave several hours of their Saturday morning to join the effort.

Friday, March 20

Aaron spent the last three days in Sorana Village. Here is his report:

(photo of Sorana Translation Team)

I was excited to be able to do the work in Sorana, which is in the central part of our language group, because the translation project had not had much interaction with the village before. In addition to the translation team, I was delighted to have the village chief and catechist join us in many review sessions. Also, two members of the translation committee participated. These guests, combined with our translators, gave us a good variety of villages and dialects in our checking sessions. WE continued work editing the first draft of Matthew 5-6.

Though the review work can be sow and tedious at times, I always found it a great encouragement that the end result is always a better version of the text. Probably the most exciting part of the review sessions is seeing people have epiphany moments when we discuss a verse and they really understand its meaning for the first time. Matthew 6:22-23 is a good example. After working through the translation draft, I took time to physically “act out” the idea of this metaphor. Once they understood that if the only light you have is “darkness,” then truly, how great is that darkness!

This was the first time that we were able to use a portable solar system to run a small projector and Aaron’s laptop, allowing everyone to easily see the text and facilitating editing. Much better than the big chalk board we’ve used in the past! We plan to meet in a village in the far west of our language group at the end March to continue reviewing Matthew in preparation for a consultant check.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Thursday, March 19

She sets about her work vigorously, her arms are strong for her tasks….She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come….She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:17, 24, 25, 27

(photo of Sewing Materials)

Whenever I’m in America, I look for material that’s cotton, flaunts bright colors, and is on sale. My Lavukal friends are never far from my mind. They don’t have access to sturdy, good quality cloth, and I love to help provide it for them. So does my friend, Gayly, who often sends material and thread across the Pacific. This morning, I attended the 2020 opening of the Marulaon Homelav Association (homelav is the Lavukal word for women).

They are excited to be sharing their skills with each other in the areas of sewing, dying, and flower arranging, and today they kicked off their sewing and dying. My friends were super excited about the material, there was one in particular, a deep, ruby red with white flowers that everyone loved. Sitting in front of everyone and wearing a necklace of fragrant frangipannis is NOT my idea of a good time. I would rather be in the audience, holding babies and visiting with my friends.

(photo of Sewing Lavalavas)

But today, I accepted their culturally appropriate way of saying “thank you.” Next time, I’ll be back in the midst of them. I watched the ladies live out Proverbs 31 today as they used one hand to crank the sewing machine and the other hand to guide the material. Washing clothes, going to the garden, cooking supper, minding babies...all those things awaited them at home. No lazy woman can survive for very long here. Yet somehow they manage to bring beauty and color into their lives, reflecting their Creator.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Tuesday, March 17

“When we focus on the world’s values of happiness and success and comfort, we aren’t in line with God’s syllabus for us….In my school of life, the assignments would all be easy, and I could ace the class. God’s desired outcome for our lives is not our comfort but our character, not our happiness but our transformation. His assignments line up perfectly with moving us toward those outcomes.”
~Gina Brenna Butz, “Making Peace With Change”

(photo of Olivia Science Experiment)

When we settled on using Sonlight curriculum so many years ago, we had no idea the impact the books and assignments would have on our family culture. So many of our family’s inside jokes are from books we have read together for school, so much of my kids’ academic success is because this curriculum has made them think and taught them to love learning.

(photo of Olivia Science Experiment Shared)

But my “school of life” isn’t laid out in a colorful graphic presenting a scope and sequence. My assignments require heart searching and ambiguity. Acing the class looks like keeping a soft heart while navigating the challenges of God’s syllabus for me. But my heavenly Teacher provides encouragement and comfort and perseverance and holds my hand as He helps me work through each assignment.

“...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Phil. 2:12-13

Monday, March 16, 2020

Monday, March 16

Ezekiel has been working hard on translating the Psalms into Lavukaleve. This morning, he brought Psalms 20-35. Because Aaron is leaving tomorrow to meet with the translation team for the next three days in another village, I asked if I could be the one to convert the precious handwritten pages into a digital format while he’s gone.

So please pray for my fingers as I type patterns that are unfamiliar and for Aaron, Ezekiel, Simon, and Matthew as they meet in Sorana Village to work through as much of Matthew as they can cram into three days.

Saturday, March 14

We tend to think right here, right now. God is thinking nations and generations. We have no idea how our lives are going to alter the course of history downstream, but there is divine domino effect for every decision we make. Don’t underestimate the potential impact of obeying God’s prompts. Those are the whispers that will echo for all eternity!
~Mark Batterson, Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God

Looking forward to watching these two for years to come. Eternal echoes indeed...

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Friday, March 13

For almost thirty years, Aaron’s handwriting has been making my heart speed up. A person’s scrawl is as unique as their fingerprint, which is why I love handwritten recipes and old notes full of loopy ink written by people I love (and I have a big stash of both).

During the translation committee workshop, two young ladies from Karumalun brought back a bucket that I sent over full of popcorn. They giggled and pointed inside to show me the folded piece of notebook paper, but they had no idea that those few lines of communication were more precious to me than a Shakespeare sonnet.

Thursday, March 12

We delayed our celebration of Purim until Aaron could be with us. Olivia mixed up the hamantaschen dough with a whisk instead of an electric mixer because of our power shortage, and she used powdered eggs to conserve our precious, few “real” eggs for breakfast.

As a result, the dough was crumbly and tough, and making individual cookies was impossible. Creative Olivia decided to make the world’s largest hamantaschen. Ugly, but delicious!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Wednesday, March 11

Aaron set out paddling for the translation committee meeting yesterday afternoon with Kiko, and Belza and Walter followed closely behind in their canoe. It was funny to hear Kiko holler, “I get to steer!”, kind of like a kid yelling, “I get shotgun!”

Around 11:30 last night, Aaron crawled into bed, and he was out the door to preach, with his belly full of baked oatmeal and coffee, before six o’clock this morning. Our weather must be birthing another baby cyclone, because we’ve experienced band after band of wind and rain. I’m grateful that the Marulaon committee members chose to take a motor canoe this morning, because the seas were really rolling. Our rain tanks are all full, and I certainly love the cooler weather, but everyone’s batteries are empty after four days of clouds and rain. We’ll be using flashlights to read again tonight.