Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thursday, November 20

Edi is getting a taste of the "glamorous" work of Bible translation and literacy.  She and Aaron spent a large part of today cutting and pasting (literally), copying, stapling, and coloring books written in Lavukalave.

Edi & Aaron THURS
This afternoon, I walked down to Margaret Rasol's house to continue working on the translation of "Dota blong King", a Bible-based tool for moms to use in teaching their daughters about purity.  One of the Lavukal translators used this book, written by a former SITAG colleague, as practice for his translation training.  As we work and laugh together, I'm learning all kinds of new vocabulary and reinforcing words that were buried in the corners of my brain.  I'm also discovering that the translator has used older Lavukaleve words that many people don't use any more.  Being involved in a minority language that is growing and changing is a very good thing!

Wednesday, November 19

Election Day!  Marulaon Village is a polling center for five different villages, so our village was full of people today.

Aaron reading Lavukaleve to kids

My awesome husband took advantage of the visitors and set up a table for translation and literacy awareness. 

(Can you find Aaron?)

Aaron surrounded by kids WED

He and our translation committee chairman sat at the table asking people to draw pictures, reading picture books to anyone who wanted to listen, and answering questions about the Lavukaleve translation and literacy work.

kids sitting on boards
I had fun reading to some of the kids in my halting Lavukaleve and taking pictures of the cuties that will one day be the leaders of these amazing people.

beautiful baby

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tuesday, November 18

After several rainy mornings and the lack of canoe, we finally got our trip to take Edi diving for shellfish yesterday morning.  God gave us the perfect weather, a little bit cloudy, a light breeze, and low tide.

Edi holding starfish
Sunday night, Ruthie (our diving guide) came over to say that her sister's big canoe wasn't going to be available and that we needed to take a fiberglass canoe so we would all fit.  I was sorely disappointed, but God worked out everything, and when I went down yesterday morning to see if the sprinkles were going to delay our trip again, Ruthie said that we COULD take her sister canoe.  Yipee!

(Jayli peeking over the canoe)

Jayli peeking over canoe
So, we loaded up a canoe full of girls, Ruthie, her niece, Jayli (one of Olivia's good friends), Edi, Sarah, Olivia, Josa, and me, and began to paddle out to the beautiful place where we find a bounty of God's creation of kalimeta.

Joanna & Olivia by canoe
I never get tired of how beautiful the Russell Islands are.  We swam around, scanning the sandy bottom of the ocean for the little critters we were hoping to eat for lunch, but they were hiding or had changed addresses.  Finally, when I was about ready to call it quits, Ruthie shouted, "Kalimeta vutia!" to let us know that she found their new home!

Katherine holding lunchWe loaded up a couple of flour sacks with kalimeta, Josa added some clam shells (suta) and another critter or two, and we paddled back to Marulaon.  Paddling back home is always a little harder after you've been fighting the current and diving down in water over your head for several hours.

Girls cleaning shellfish
Ruthie and Katherine helped clean the clam shells, and we divided the kalimeta between the three households represented in our diving crew.  I think Edi was a little bit grossed out by the slimy, black contents in the clam shells.

But she was a really good sport and ate them for lunch when I cooked them up with some green papaya.Edi & Joanna holding suta
After lunch, we worked on preparing the kalimeta.  They are much more labor intensive.  First you boil the shells to kill the critters and to wash off the sand and grime. 

Aaron grabbing a kalimeta
Then, you pull each little critter out of the shell and clean off the parts you don't want to eat.

Katherine pulling out kalimeta
Finally, you rinse them off again and cook them up in some fresh coconut milk with curry and salt.

group showing off kalimeta

And when God gives you plenty to eat, you always share with your neighbors, so I took a small bowl over to my friend, Ofoaen.  On the way back, I got into a great discussion with a pregnant mama and another friend who has six children.  We discussed how God gives our children personalities while they are still in the womb and what a gift those children are to us!

Monday, November 17

Benjamin carrying wood
After morning prayer, the bell rang insistently calling strong muscles to come carry the timber from the beach up to the District Priest's new house. 

Aaron carrying wood
Benjamin and Aaron responded to the call and hauled boards up the hill until the job was done.  I love my guys' servant hearts!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekend Wonders

Sunday, November 16

I'm still getting used to the fancy-dancy new camera that Gayly brought me in June. I have to think about so many things, and I often forget some aspect of picture taking. When I took this photo of Olivia watching her siblings play, I forgot to check the light meter, but I love the way the overexposure really focuses on her beautiful brown eyes.

Olivia - day uncertain

God often takes my "goofs" and makes beautiful things, too, and I'm so thankful!

Edi digging heaps MON
Since my cassava isn't ripe yet, we used our Saturday morning to dig heaps and plant more cassava instead of making lelenga. Edi learned very quickly with my kids as teachers.
Katherine hoeing
The small garden plot next to the house was the perfect place to plant the new batch of cassava, but we needed to weed it first. Everything is done by hand here, and clearing the ground of weeds took most of the morning.

everybody working in the garden
One of the nicest things about having Edi around is the beautiful example she sets for my children. I often find Katherine snuggled up with Edi as they both read their Bibles during their "Jesus Time" early in the mornings.

Edi & Katherine reading Bibles
In the Solomon Islands, church and state merge together, and last night our church held a thanksgiving communion service for one of the candidates for MP (member of parliament). He is from our village and brought a large campaign team with him to participate in the service. Our district priest stayed around for the morning service as well, so we had another communion service. Normally, we are out of church around 8:00 on a Sunday morning, but today it was closer to 11:00 by the time we got home. My friend, Margaret, mentioned that she didn't have any lelenga, and I told her I didn't either. When I asked her what she WAS going to eat for breakfast, she said "dry rice". I asked, no fish? no greens? no potatoes? She shook her head sadly, so I invited her to come cut some of my slippery cabbage. She has quite a few people in her family, including a nursing mother and some grandchildren, so they need more than just dry rice to eat!

worm eating cabbage
While I was giving some greens to Margaret, I noticed a beautiful green worm eating my freshly planted slippery cabbage. He was so pretty I needed to take a picture. God gave me the gift of ministering through food, and at the same time, Edi was praying for another one of my friends outside the church. He has given Edi the gift of prayer. I love how He makes each one of us different!

Friday, November 21, 2014


E-mails started flowing through from Joanna yesterday morning! Thanks for the prayers! I’m processing through them and hope to have a new blog post up very soon.

Thanks again for the prayers!

- Ann H.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No E-mails

Hello, friends!

I just wanted to give you a quick update. I have not received an e-mail from Joanna since Thursday. That is a pretty good indication that UUPlus is not working. Let’s get back to praying, friends! E-mail connection is a lifeline to this precious family, and that becomes especially true during the holiday season.

Thanks for the prayers!

~ Ann H.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Wednesday, November 12

I decided to stay inside to read my Bible this morning, since we got rain yesterday and the mosquitos would be busier today if I were on the porch.  As we head towards summer, the days are getting longer, and the sun is beginning to make its light known by 5:00.  So, the bell for morning prayer rings early, often around 5:50, meaning our whole family is up early. 

sunrise WED
Sarah came into my room about 6:00 saying, "Mama!  You've got to go outside and see the rainbow!"  Sure enough, a rainbow shone against the clouds in the west that promised more rain.  I never get bored of God's creativity.

Katherine blowing science experiments WED

Katherine's science experiment today was to test her lung capacity by blowing the water out of an upturned bottle.  The biggest available bottle I had was only 1.8 liters, but this little girl could blow it all out!

Edi & Katherine (WED)
Of course, everybody was pulled into the experiment, especially Edi.  We're so glad she is here to share life with us.

Edi & Katherine grinning WED

Market this morning was small, the only green thing that showed up was a small parcel of long green beans.  So before school started, Sarah and I traipsed off to the garden to see if any of our green beans or pineapple were ripe.  We found one ripe pineapple, but the ripe beans had the strangest thing all over them.  It looked like somebody had taken a tiny pair of nail scissors and neatly cut out each seed from several beans.

Green beans WED
I asked my friend Ofoaen what might have done that, and she told me that the culprit was the red parrots that are so beautiful.  Those stinkers!

Edi Playing
After school, the kids went out to play and took Edi along.  She has been quick to learn village games, and all of the kids love her.

Mama and baby WED
I came down to visit with neighbors and found my friend, Mai, and her little one resting in a hammock underneath the house where the kids were playing.  This mama has a sweet smile and a joy that every single one of her five children inherited.

Tuesday, November 11

A huge thank you to everybody who prayed for our trip to the police station in Yandina yesterday!  We got off a little bit later than we anticipated, but that meant that the sun wasn't quite so hot on our backs.  After 45 minutes on VERY calm seas, we arrived at the police station.  The guys stationed there knew we were coming because our hard-working director had called them.  Yandina used to be the center of a coconut plantation, so the village is equipped with both a cell-phone tower and a land line phone.  Unfortunately, the station didn't have the "police clearance" form we needed for our residence visa, so the policeman called the main police station in Honiara to see if we could use a regular fingerprint form.  The first person he talked to said we would have to come into Honiara because Yandina didn't have the forms.  But then, the policeman called a different department, and the officer there said that we could use the regular fingerprint forms.  I'm so thankful that people were praying for us!  The whole time the policeman in Yandina was on the phone with headquarters, we were on the cell phone with our SITAG director, finding out new details and bumps on the road to completing our visas. 

We watched the policeman fill in two forms for each of us.  By hand.  He got a kick out of the name of the "village" where I was born - Little Rock.  Then Aaron and I made a set of fingerprints for each form.  We were encouraged to hear lots of Lavukaleve around the police station.  Yandina has traditionally been a melting pot of people working on the coconut plantations.  My watch said five o'clock by the time we finished, and I asked what time they usually closed.  The answer - four thirty.  I was really glad that we brought banana cake as a thank you for these hard working policemen!
Then we headed off to Hae Village to find Matthew, one of the Lavukal translators, and Stanley, one of the members of the translation committee.  They didn't know we were coming.  Just as we pulled up to the beach, we heard a boat behind us, and up pulled several guys who had been campaigning for the upcoming elections.  Matthew and Stanley were both in the boat - God continued to work out the details of our trip!  Aaron was able to quickly chat with them to set up a meeting for the entire Lavukal Translation Committee to be held on November 21-22 in their village.

spider TUES

Last night it began to rain, a lovely soft rain, a little bit heavy at times, perfect for the rain tanks and for the garden.  I found a beautiful black and gold (Steelers fan?) spider among the pineapples next to the house.  And Katherine and I dug a small spot and planted some green bean seeds this morning, too.  It has rained all day long today.  Much needed as the rain refills our rain tanks and our souls.

Edi & Sarah singing TUES
Having Edi in the house has renewed our love for all things musical.  What a joy to hear her humming, to enjoy watching operas with her, and to observe her teaching Sarah voice every morning!

Edi & Sara TUES

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Saturday, November 8

Market this morning was wonderful!  Our friends are so gracious to bring us the fruits and veggies we need to keep our bodies strong and healthy.

market SAT(Joanna at market - photo credit to Edi)

After market, I had some great chances to visit with friends.  One of my friends wanted a sewing machine needle, one needed a band-aid, another wanted an onion.  I was also asked to give some material to make shorts for her grandson, and I got to check up on a friend to whom I gave medicine for tinea a few days ago.  We've had the opportunity to share lots of things in our short time in the village!  I also heard good feedback about our willingness to share banana cake with our neighbors, and I was able to remind my friends that sharing banana cake is a good way for me to say thank you for all of the ways my neighbors give to me.

Edi Scraping cocounut SAT
As always, Saturday means making lelenga at our house!  Edi got her first taste of scraping coconut - she did a great job.  In fact, she was scraping one after another until I warned her to stop so she didn't get blisters on her hands. 

Edi's hands SAT
We ran out of cassava close to the house, so Sarah, Edi, and I made a quick trip out to the bush garden to dig up a few more heaps.  While we were there, we found that a nice big pineapple we left to ripen had been taken in the last 36 hours.  I was a little bummed.  In the midst of making lelenga, we made lots and lots of copies for Fly Harbour School's exams next week.  Edi did most of the work, freeing up Aaron and me to work on other things.  I don't think Edi included scraping coconuts or making copies on her job description when she was getting ready to come to Marulaon Village, but we are so thankful she is here!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Friday, November 7

God gave us glassy, calm seas for today's adventure over to Karumulun Village.

Everyone in boat FRI
We arrived mid-morning and introduced Edi to everybody before thJanet & Julian FRIe kids whisked her off to play.  The ladies and I went to Janet and Ezekiel's house to record the stories of the boy Jesus in the temple and the temptation of Adam and Eve, while the men stayed in the little shelter next to Janet's kitchen.  Ezekiel's plans had changed, so he was available, and the translation committee chairman, Hiva, came over with us.  Aaron got to have a much-needed meeting with the committee members from Karumulun.

Aaron & Ezekiel FRI
After I finished with the recordings, we visited some about a book written by a former SITAG member.  This book, written in Pijin, is the story of a Solomon Island mother who is teaching her daughter about the changes she can expect in her body and how to glorify God with her body.  Every time the mom makes a point, she doesn't point to her own thinking, but to the Bible as the source of information.  We really need this book in Lavukaleve, and one of the Lavukal translators has crafted the first draft.  This will be the next project for the women in our area.  The more our neighbors can practice reading in their heart language, the more prepared they will be when the scriptures are finally translated.

Three ladies FRI
After all of the meetings were finished, the ladies who made the recordings graciously prepared a lunch of fish and rice for our family and the translation committee chairman.  Fish cooked in coconut milk is SO delicious!  Because all of the women who met today have names that begin with "J", we joked that we should form some sort of singing or dancing group.

Edi & Sima FRI
Edi made lots of little friends, and one of Ezekiel and Janet's grandchildren fell asleep on Edi's shoulder.

And another one of their grandchildren (they have thirteen so far) was a little bit frightened of me and would only peek around the post when I tried to take his picture.

FRI pic

We paddled back home mid-afternoon, and Aaron and I got right to work while the kids went out to play.  Our stapler wasn't working well, so I ended up hand-sewing the spines on the little Bible story booklets.  God continued to bless our day when I discovered that the man who had done the drawings for the story of creation was now a teacher at the local elementary school.  And, he happened to be at his parents' house in Marulaon today!  So, I gave him a copy of the story of temptation found in Genesis 3, and he promised to draw some pictures soon.  He and another teacher also requested us to make copies for each of the students taking an exam next week at school.  They provided a ream of paper to help.  Each of the exams has been written by hand, including drawings for science.  I can't even imagine writing out 16-20 tests by hand.

Olivia & Katherine in Canoe
While I was out and about, I checked on the kids who were swimming and paddling around.  I found my tender-hearted Benjamin rescuing a lizard from a canoe that had turned over and was full of water.  He was swimming toward shore with the lizard propped on his hand while the canoe and paddle drifted away.  So, Olivia and Katherine went to rescue the canoe!

Moon Rise FRI
Our day finished well, too.  After church, I was visiting with Margaret, and as we walked back to the house in the dusk, I noticed that the moon was just rising blazing red over the horizon.  I ran up to the house and interrupted the others who were singing, and we all stood in awe in the dark as the moon continue to come up.


The Lord was with us every step of the way yesterday.  Seas were flat, and since we didn't leave until 3:00, the sun wasn't too fierce.  We arrived at the police station at 3:45 to find that they expected us because our director had called.  However, they didn't have the "police clearance" form, only the regular fingerprint form.  Yandina used to be the center of a huge coconut plantation that collapsed with the ethnic tension, but they have a land line phone.  So, the officer was able to call the main police station in Honiara.  The first person he called told him that Aaron and I would have to come into Honiara to get our fingerprints on the correct form.  Then, our new friend called a different department and got permission to use the regular fingerprint form :-) 

After we got our fingerprints, we putted over to Hae Village to look for a Lavukal translator and a member of the translation committee.  A meeting is scheduled in Hae for November 21-22, and we needed to clarify some things with them.  We pulled up to shore and stepped out, and seconds later another canoe pulled in from political campaigning with the two guys we wanted!  Aaron was able to talk to them while I handed out roasted local nuts to the kids, and we zoomed off to Marulaon a short time later.

The kids did great while we were gone, Sarah grated coconut to complete the soup I had ready to go before we left, they brought in the shower bags, made it to evening prayer, and were singing hymns with Edi playing the guitar when Aaron and I walked up the steps to the house.

The fingerprinting is only one of several steps toward the renewal of our permits, so please continuing praying for every piece to fall into place.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Prayer Request

Due to a lack of personnel in the SITAG office, our residence permits expired in October.  Our hard-working director has filed for a 21-day extension, but Aaron and I still have to get the police clearance and finger prints finished before our paperwork is considered completed.  This afternoon (around 10 p.m. Central Standard Time Sunday night), we will take a 45 minute motor canoe ride to the nearest police station in Yandina.  Aaron will also use this opportunity to stop by Hae Village and visit with Matthew, one of the Lavukal translators.  We're so thankful that Edi is here at this time to help!  Please pray for us as we travel and for the paperwork to be completed so the residence permits can be renewed quickly.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thursday, November 6

IMG_3775 - Copy (267x400)
One of our favorite coffee shops is in Texas, White Rhino Coffee House.  Edi brought a bag of "Texas Delight" coffee, sent by my friend from church, Margaret.  We ground the coffee and began enjoying it today - a little taste of "home", thanks!

White Rhino mugs

After church last night, Edi asked my friend Hilda if she preferred singing hymns in English or Lavukaleve.  Lately our services have been almost entirely in English, and English is a "high" language in this country.  We've been working to help raise the prestige of Lavukaleve, because it really is the heart language of our neighbors and communicates better than any other language.  So, I was very happy to hear Hilda response to Edi.  Hilda said she preferred to use Lavukaleve, and then she gave a specific example of one of the hymns that has been translated from English to Lavukaleve.  Her words were a real encouragement for all of the work we are doing here.

Marulaon Woman's Daybook

Marulaon house
Just for today...Monday, November 3

Edi cleaning books MONAround the house...we began cleaning each of the school books today.  The biggest chore is not reading while we clean!  Edi has a such a servant heart.

From the kitchen...crab!  One of Olivia's friends sent up a plate of crab - with the legs all pulled off. 

crab MON

Edi got to try a new food tonight and had to figure out which part was the correct part to eat.  She's such a good sport.

Opening crabs MON

A heart of thankfulness...that the rain tanks have made it to the school.  The plans have changed, though, and our whole family will be present for the official "hand over" at the school graduation on November 28.

Rain tanks SUN

From the learning rooms...I love the way Sonlight's Cores often correspond in their studies, all three of my older kids are studying genetics this week in various levels of difficulty.  We've pulled out the wonderful picture book "Gregor Mendel:  The Friar Who Grew Peas"  by Cheryl Bardoe, so Katherine can follow along, too.

Pondering these words..."Spending my time sighing over what I've given up doesn't impress God; obeying Him with joy does."  ~Joshua Harris

A few plans for the rest of the week...making lots of banana muffins to share with our neighbors and paddling over to Karumalun to record some Bible stories on Friday.

A peek into my corner of the world...I took Edi to the small spit of white sand beach on our island and she got to experience starfish for the first time.

Edi & Starfish SUN