Friday, December 31, 2010


I found this beautiful shell necklace in Honiara's Central Market yesterday, and I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful model to wear it. The necklace also has matching earrings that I forgot to have my mother wear for the picture. If you would like to own them, please leave a comment by midnight CST, Sunday, January 2. May God bless you richly in the coming year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Marulaon Welcome

Sunday morning, December 12, must have been the day that everybody in Honiara decided to travel out to the Western Solomons. After waiting for an hour on a standing-room-only Bikoi, all of the passengers headed to the Russell Islands (including Aaron, Katherine, and my parents) were moved off of the Bikoi and onto the newly acquired Bikoi Express. What a gift from the Lord! We were surprised to see the Express pull into Marulaon a little early (I had just finished cleaning the kitchen - whew!). This was the welcoming party that met my parents.
Monday, after our guests had settled in, we took them on a tour of the village. I was thankful Mama brought her camera along.

Olivia with some of her friends

Choate kids in a frangipanni tree

Sweet sisters

Some of the guys just hanging out on the beach with the canoes

Barnabas making me crack up

One of our neighbors relaxing in a hammock (makes you want to come visit, doesn't it?)

Katherine checking my hair for lice just for fun (she learned from her neighbors)

Mama whacking a coconut, and she's really good at it!

Fresh eyes in the Solomon Islands

I always enjoy viewing our home through other people's eyes, especially when it's the first time. My parents arrived in Honiara on December 7 and met Aaron and Katherine as they stepped off the Bikoi. Mama took lots of pictures during their time in Honiara as they waited to go to the Russell Islands.

Stepping on Solomon Islands soil for the first time

Bringing Nanny flowers

Choosing a papaya at Central Market

Buying tickets at the Bikoi office

Sharing coffee ice cream at Frangipanni Ice

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satifies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Ps. 107:8-9

This time of year, fresh fruits and veggies are abundant in Marulaon. Pineapples mature in December, and we've planted more than 30 tops in our garden already! Melon, beans, papaya, greens, tomatoes, eggplant -- we love this time of year. We stay healthier this time of year, too, usually March and April brings fewer variety and less abundance and more sickness for us. We are so thankful for the bounty God has provided for us.

Through Karen's Lens

Auntie Caroline swimming with the Choate kids

Auntie Karen checking in with SITAG during the radio sked

Sunrise on the beach

Everybody working together in my garden to plant ubikola (cassava)

Caroline found a visitor in my ubikola patch!

We're Back!

We arrived safely in Honiara yesterday morning about 2 a.m. Thanks for your prayers! My parents continue to enjoy their stay in the Solomons, and they will return to the States on Tuesday. It's nice to be back in the land of e-mail and internet again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Through Karen’s Lens 2

This was taken with Karen’s underwater lens while we were looking for kalimeta.
karen underwater

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Through Karen’s Lens

On December 5th, two precious friends came for a short visit to Marulaon: Karen, who works with SITAG, and Caroline, who was a great Pijin tutor for me when we fist came to the Solomons.  Their visit through Karen's lens.  First, on the Bikoi.

Translation Workshop in Hae

Aaron spent November 28-December 1 in Hae (Central Russells)teaching his first Translation Principles workshop.  This workshop precedes the selection of translators early next year.  He came home with a
froggy voice from teaching morning, afternoon, and evening, but it
was so nice to have him home again!

Hae workshop.JPG

Hae workshop

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Choate Update

Dear Friends of the Choates,

I am happy to report that we are having more success with our HF radio email.  I know that the Choates have been able to send and receive emails for most of this week.  However, I’ve been told that all attempts to update their blog have been unsuccessful.  Here is an update as of yesterday’s radio sked:


They are doing well.  They continue to get rain that is keeping their drinking tanks filled.  Sarah's sores are healing.  Joanna is busy showing her parents "village life".  They dove for shell fish the other day and have plans to go out to their garden for some work there.  Eventually they will also make cassava pudding together. 


Prayer Requests:

~~ Joanna's dad isn't sleeping well.  He has been having leg cramps at night.  Please pray that everyone will get good sleep.

~~Please pray for Aaron as he is preaching this Sunday and he hasn't felt led to speak on any certain thing up to this point.


If you want to respond directly to the Choates via email that has a good chance of going through.  If you would rather not take the chance than you can feel free to email me your message and I will relay it via the radio.  As usual, my email is




Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Aaron again,
Hard to believe Christmas is two weeks away. With poor contact with colder places over the past several weeks, it makes it even harder to remember that some of you are working hard to stay warm. Lots of days we are still wondering if the deodorant will give out after 30 minutes or only 20.
Thanks for all the prayers about our computer troubles. A colleague who works on computers all the time said he thinks it is a simple job of resetting the computer's memory. So, since I have not time or tools to try anything here, I will attempt my second computer surgery when I get back to Marulaon. The first was with the same machine, a keyboard transplant. The first procedure was 100% successful, no lasting complications. :)
We wish everyone a great Christmas and we are very much looking forward to catching up with everyone when we get back to Honiara shortly after Christmas. See you then
Aaron for all of us

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guest writer

Hi all,
Aaron here. Katherine and I are safely back in Honiara for a couple of days meeting up with Joanna's folks who are here for a visit. We are very excited to have a touch of "home" for the holidays. So far they are settling in well and we are getting everything ready for our return to the village on Sunday. Our village e-mail system is still not working well. Many man hours have been spent on various sides of the oceans to try to figure out our problems. Nothing certain yet. Thank you all for your prayers for the communication, please keep it up. The lack of communication with the outside world is becoming a serious stress for our village teams, so thanks ahead of time for the continued prayers, and thank God with us too for the right solution.

One other update. Joanna has diligently been keeping blog posts going through these weeks in Marulaon even though the connections have been so bad. She saves the articles and photos in our computer. The other day we were trying to send e-mail from the village and the computer suddenly stopped responding. We have tried several things to get something to happen, but we are very concerned. Please pray for us to have wisdom about getting the computer fixed, and we also pray that the articles and photos for November can be retrieved, as this is our family's fay of recording our time here is SI. Thank you all.

In case we don't get to do it again, Merry Christmas to everyone. Blessings on the new year. We look forward to catching up again after Christmas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Translation Committee workshop update

Dear friends,
As promised I'm passing along the information that I received from Aaron concerning the Translation Committee workshop that he just returned from.  Here is a summary of what he told me:
Aaron was happy with the outcome of his Translation Committee workshop.  He was a little disappointed that only 6 out of the 15 members showed up.  Those that came left with a clear picture of how Aaron envisions the translation process will look for their project.  They all worked on translating things into language.  Aaron has challenged them to say things in language and to not rely on borrowing words.  The committee members went home with homework and with instructions to have meetings in their villages to describe what a translator 'looks like' to the people.  Then the people can nominate someone to be a translator who fits that criteria.  The committee will then meet to whittle the nominees down to 4 translators. 
A brief look at the future of the project is as follows.  In December the committee members will start fundraising for the project (or at least coming up with ideas as to what fundraising will look like.)  They will also start earnestly praying over the translator selection process.  In January the committee will meet.  They will fill in the members who didn't attend this workshop as well as focus on prayer as a committee.  The plan is that translators will be chosen before the Choates go out to the village in March of next year.
Next year Aaron is looking to host two workshops for the translators, two workshops for the entire translation committee, and two to three general workshops on literacy to discuss some orthography issues that came up in Aaron's recent workshop.  Please pray that he'll be able to prepare well for these as it is hard to teach and run logistics for workshops at the same time. 
Thanks for your prayers for the Choate family during the last couple of weeks as Aaron has been at these two workshops.  As always, if you have any message that you'd like passed on via radio please let me know at the following email address:
That is all for today.
Andy Pierce

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Choate Update

Dear Friends of the Choates,


As the HF radio email is still hit or miss (mostly miss) Joanna asked me to post the following update:

Aaron has returned safely from the Translation Committee workshop that he has been hosting.  His voice was worn out from doing so much talking, but apparently things went well and he is happy with how things transpired.  I will get a fuller report from them at a future date at which time I will pass that along to you guys as well. 


Thanks for your prayers!


Andy Pierce

Sunday, November 28, 2010


The attached file was originally sent with another message.

File Name: Sunday_afternoon_stroll.jpg

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Choate update

Dear Friends of the Choates,

The radio email system is working on occasion.  Sometimes it works fine and other times it doesn’t work at all.  It is frustrating for both sides, but probably more so for the Choates as I know how much they would like to share with all of you.  As it is, I have the following update to share with you.


Things are going well for them.  Aaron had a good workshop last week.  He is preparing for a workshop with his Translation committee starting next Monday.  They have been having a good mix of sunshine and rain.  They don’t have to worry about their drinking water at this time.  As always continue to pray that they will have good health.  They are expecting to have some visitors next week so pray that the ship will follow its normal schedule.  Normally the boat is very reliable, but it has been irregular the last month or so. 


As usual, if you have any messages that you’d like passed along via the radio please email them to me at:  


Andy Pierce

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The attached file was originally sent with another message.

File Name: Aaron_fixing_the_house.jpg

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aaron's return

Dear Friends of the Choates,
At yesterday's radio sked Joanna informed me that Aaron had safely returned from the workshop on the other island.  Aaron said that the number of participants wasn't large, but it was still a good meeting.  Thank you to all who have prayed for them during their time apart.
Andy Pierce

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Choate Update

Dear Family and Friends of the Choates,


Email contact has been very spotty with the village teams this month.  We are trying to find answers, but as of yet a good solution has evaded us. 


Joanna asked me to post the following comments…

They have arrived safe and sound in the village.  Aaron is currently helping with a literacy workshop on a different island.  He was supposed to be out of contact for a week, but happily Joanna received a handwritten letter from him today.  Joanna and the kids are all doing well and are carrying on with their normal schedules.  They are all looking forward to Aaron’s return on Friday. 


Hopefully the radio email system can be figured out and the Choates will be able to contact you directly very soon.  In the meantime, if you have any messages that you’d like for me to pass along to them via the radio, please feel free to write to:  


Andy Pierce


Friday, November 12, 2010

rain and Bibles

Sunday, November 7
It rained last night! We got a huge thunderstorm, which is quite unusual for the Solomon Islands - thank you, Lord! It's nice to have the front tanks running fast again instead of drip, drip, dripping. Our big tank is about 3/4 full again. Please keep praying for rain. Everybody's crops are stunted and water is still a huge need for all of the small islands around the Russells.

This morning after church, the head catechist gave a big lecture on how important it was to purchase a Pijin Bible (dedicated in 2008) instead of trying to use an English one. He talked about how much easier to understand the Pijin Bible is. We always bring Pijin Bibles back from Honiara and make them available for purchase. Then we take the money and put it back toward the Lavukaleve Translation Project. Unfortunately, the Pijin Bible are too expensive for most families. One Bible is equivalent to sixteen heaps of cassava, eighty coconuts, or twenty parcels of green beans. That's a lot of work!

My heart aches to be able to quickly get them a Bible in Lavukaleve, but I'm excited to see the little baby steps (like Aaron's upcoming translation principles workshop) and the excitement that is beginning to build among our neighbors.

still need rain

Thursday, November 4
This morning, a requiem mass was held for a man who died last Thursday. Aaron had only been home from the service a few minutes when Ezekiel showed up. He knew the mass was this morning and timed his arrival to coincide with the end of the service. He and Aaron sat under the house for about four hours visiting and hammering out more plans for the coming months. Ezekiel brought a huge papaya, too!

We enjoyed a rain shower this morning during school. It didn't last very long, maybe 30 minutes, but it was enough to give a few families several pots of water from our tanks. Please keep praying for rain.


Wednesday, November 3
Market this morning was great! I found donuts, papaya, green beans, bell pepper, eggplant, green coconuts, mangoes, and the biggest treat of all -- watermelons! What a blessing to have so many options of fresh fruits and veggies to nourish our bodies.

Yesterday, several of the neighbor kids were standing by our big rain tank blowing on leaves. They sounded like a bunch of chickens!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stoplight Cookies

Last week, Sarah and Katherine made stoplight cookies. We'll be learning about safety with Katherine when we get back to school in Marulaon (and since we've been to Brisbane, now she knows what a stoplight looks like!).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Loadin' Up

This afternoon, we loaded up the SITAG truck once again and drove down to the wharf for the fastest "load the Bikoi" session ever! God has really provided for our weary bodies and minds by giving us generous friends to provide lots of meals and to help us clean today. What a gift!

We'll leave for the Russell Islands about 4 p.m. CST Saturday afternoon (8 a.m. Sunday morning our time), and we would appreciate your prayers for safe travel and calm seas.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Celebrating letter C

Gotta have carrot cake with cream cheese icing, especially when Sarah makes it!

Covering a cardstock "C" with cotton balls just after they raced the cotton balls down the hall by blowing on them

a letter-sorting activity, Sarah and Olivia helped make the "clothes"

and Benjamin helped paint with cars, followed by a car wash, of course!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Honiara Woman's Daybook

For today...Sunday, October 24 (finished Wednesday, October 27)

Outside my window...the morning sun is catching the spider webs strung across the tree outside my bedroom window. The big red ants are lighting up like jewels as they crawl across the tree branches - God's creation never fails to amaze me!

I am thinking...about all of the packing we have to do and feeling like I want to crawl in a hole. Honest, all-about-me feelings, I know.

I am thankful best friend, lover, provider, box packer, and shoulder to cry on. Aaron continues to be a rock for me and the kids during this season of great transition. He is a great physical representation of our Heavenly Father.

I am praying for...lots of people coming and going from Honiara this week

I am wearing...denim skirt, blue denim/sequin flip-flops I bought at a second hand store in Brisbane, and a black t-shirt that says, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice, & perform with the ENMU Choir" from some dear college friends.

I am creating...lots of "to-do" lists, jars of food, and an "open-me-first" box for Marulaon

I am miss keeping in touch with all of our family and friends. We don't anticipate having e-mail this trip out to Marulaon.

I am hoping...and praying for calm seas on Sunday. We're out of Bonine!

I am hearing...the album "Until the Whole World Hears" by Casting Crowns, this music is like cold water sent from a distant land to our weary souls (Proverbs 25:25). Thanks, Ann.

I am give thanks in all circumstances. It wouldn't hurt to remind me. Frequently.

From the learning rooms... no school this week. Usually, I just give the kids Thursday and Friday off, but we are feeling rather swamped this time with only three weeks to switch from Brisbane to Marulaon.

From the from the freezer! So glad we had a cooking bonanza last weekend. Just before we leave, our thoughtful SITAG friends will host us and provide physical and emotional refreshment.

Around the house...chaos

On my mind...shepherding my precious children.

Noticing that...I've worn a blister on the base of my right index finger from cutting so much pumpkin to can.

Pondering these words..." filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ." (Eph. 5:18-21)

So, being fill with the Spirit results in 1) musical joy, 2) universal gratitude, 3) loving submission to each other's needs (From John Piper's "Taste and See")

One of my favorite things...Katherine's sweet exclamations. This morning, when we added a little cream to her coffee, she said "That's amazing!" Her words are finally becoming clear and easy to all of the three languages that she speaks.

A few plans for the rest of the week...canning the apples Aaron brought home yesterday, finishing up school plans for Marulaon, mailing the last of the Christmas packages, digging through my in-box, packing and cleaning, getting on the Bikoi Sunday morning - it's resumed its former schedule!

Here is a picture I am sharing...

Benjamin really needed a haircut, and he wanted a mohawk for just a few minutes. Isn't he handsome?!?

Celebrating Autumn

We're trying to pretend that the leaves are changing colors and that the temperatures are dropping, when in reality, we're headed into summer and the hottest part of the year.

Celebrating autumn has been short and sweet - a few books, a few crafts, but lots of fun! I can't wait to introduce my kids to a "real" autumn in a couple of years, but right now, we're so thankful for our tropical paradise with its incredible flora and fauna.

With a little help from Sarah, Katherine created a hilarious story about her oak leaf creature, "Pink". He even traveled to Singapore and to Arkansas!

Monday, October 25, 2010

And the winner is...

Adam and Ruth! (Better late than never) Lisa, we'll send you a mug, too, as the runner-up. And the rest of you? Well, you never know what might show up from the Solomon Islands in your mailbox. Thanks to all of you who cover us in prayer and continue to remind us of your love with e-mail and snail mail - we couldn't be here without you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Just a small giveaway this time, and it's a little corny, I know. If you would like to be the first of your friends to own an "I love Solomon Islands" mug, then leave a comment by midnight CST, Friday, October 22.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Around the house

Aaron did a hunk of the village shopping today. Forty 500 gram bags of sugar...

...forty kilos of rice...

...forty-four kilos of flour, including the two hard to find RAT PROOF buckets!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Thanks to Peggy for encouraging us to slow down record our lives each week.
For today...Monday, October 18

Outside my skies, kids running around on the basketball court to get the wiggles out, a "foster dog" on the porch

I am thinking...about both of grandfathers' birthdays this week. One of them will be eighty and the other will get fresh flowers on his grave.

I am thankful amazing family that continues to pull together as a team to make this life we live a treat

I am wearing...a deep red A-line skirt, white t-shirt, gold filigree ball earrings that Aaron's mother gave me for Easter when I was in college

In the learning room...reading a biography of Gandhi as we continue studying India, celebrating fall with some leaf activities, Benjamin about to finish up his math book

I am ask for God to turn my heart toward His statutes and not toward selfish gain and to turn my eyes away from worthless things. (Ps. 119:36-37)

I am going...on a date with my husband for lunch today (thanks to some gracious WAs)

I am currently reading..."Taste and See" by John Piper

I am hoping...that a new shipment of carrots and apples comes in this week, it's time to can!

On my mind...the obvious, getting ready to go back to Marulaon

Noticing that...the sun comes up much earlier now, just a little after five it's getting light, I guess even eight degrees south of the equator spring means more light

Pondering these words..."He makes the light yoke of Christ still lighter, not by lessening duty, but by increasing its ease through familiarity." --Hannah More

From the kitchen...oatmeal for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch, quiche for supper and s'mores for desert (thanks, Julie)

Around the screens going in (so long, mosquitos!)

One of my favorite things...vintage chintz snack sets
From my camera...

this is what happens to Ranch seasoning packets in the Solomon Islands when we don't use them fast enough...they become a solid brick!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sweet Sabbath

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus;
Stand in his strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
You dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor;
Each piece put on with prayer.
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there."
-George Duffield
-old favorite hymns to encourage and convict
-seven-year-olds who love Dvorak's New World Symphony (especially the 3rd movement!)

-tax-refund checks waiting for us when we returned from Brisbane

-friends who provide the blessing and fellowship of a meal

-two brown-eyed-girls creating together (and enccouraging the whole crew to make hats)

-the gift of electricity
-a great weekend of the whole family working together to cook, bake, and freeze and help prepare for the crazy two weeks ahead
-sermons sent by friends across the ocean

-two friends from Marulaon who dropped by last week to visit and to let us know that our house and garden are both doing great and the rain tanks are full!
the papaya tree just outside our house in Marulaon full of baby papayas in August

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Celebrating Letter B

Bowing for B

Biscuits Before Baking

Blowing Blue Bubbles

Bringing Birds into the "Letter B Birdhouse"

Baking Banana Bread

We began celebrating letter B while we were in Brisbane since we had such an abundance of B foods. Almost every morning, we ate berries and yogurt. We also cooked a couple of our favorite recipes. We devoured them so quickly that I didn't get any pictures! We are having a Blast celebrating the letter B.

GranMollie's Blueberry Cobbler

3-31/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (sprinkle over blueberries)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
6 Tbsp. butter - melted
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Rinse blueberries & drain. Place in bottom of 10 x 6 glass baking dish. Mix next 4 ingredients until it resembles corn meal, lumpy. Distribute flour mix over the berries & top with butter. Combine cinnamon & sugar & sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Do not overbake.

Orange Beef and Beans
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
3/4 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak, cut int othis strips
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3 cups fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 pepper
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. orange juice
(garlic to taste)

In a large bowl, combine sugar and orange peel; mix well. Add beef; toss to coat. In a large non-stick skillet, stir fry beef in oil for 5 minutes or until browned. In a microwave safe dish, cover and cook beans in water for 3-5 minutes on high; drain. Add beans to skillet; cook, stirring constantly until tender. In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, ginger and pepper. Stir in the soy sauce and orange juice until smooth. Pour the sauce over beef and beans; toss to coat. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minutes or until thickened. Makes four 1 cup servings.