Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Week–Sun & Mon

Sunday, August 21
Most of us are beginning to feel better now, but we are still staying close to home for the "facilities".  Aaron went to a community meeting after church which lasted for several hours, and I went down and practiced asking people things like, "Kosora lalumun, man avolorine ngongoa?" (What did you do this morning?)and "Daine, man ngovolorirem?" (Tomorrow, what are you going to do?) and recording their answers.  I'm trying to get a handle on verbs and how to use the correct tenses in everyday visiting.  Slowly but surely, my vocabulary is growing, tiny word by tiny word.

Monday, August 22
This week is set aside for the community to try and finish up the church building, so Aaron went to work on laying the ceiling in the church today. Marulaon is hoping to dedicate the church building sometime early next year.

Nobody is physically back to 100% yet, but we are seeing signs of improvement.

Our rain tank measured fourteen inches of water today. The tap is a few inches above the bottom, so we actually have less available water, but we're thankful for what still remains in the tank!

Saturday, August 20

This morning when we woke up, we found a huge bundle of flowers on the front porch!  What a delightful surprise considering that most of us feel rotten.  I found out at market that Isabella brought them early last night but found all of our lights off, so she just left them on the porch. 

We had a tiny bit of rain overnight, so the tank now sits at 15 inches.  Since all of the grownups in our family are running a fever, we are taking turns hauling buckets up the hill.

Grace came by late this morning while I was making banana cake.  She had also come by last night and found our lights off, but she had caught and cleaned some squid, havigo, to share with us.  I cut them into thin slices and sauteed them with onion and a little bit of coconut oil.  It was delicious!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Friday, August 19

This morning, my good friend Ofain came up the hill to tell me that a woman had come from another village to sell mud crabs, kafol.  So, I followed her back down the hill to find three of the HUGEST crabs I have ever seen!  Their claws were as big as Benjamin's hand!  I bought two and we enjoyed trying to dump them from the flour sack into the pot of water.

Later, Ofain's husband, David, came up and asked if we had any fish hooks and if he could borrow Aaron's canoe.  Sure enough, later in the day, he came back with two beautiful fish for our family.

When we arrived in Marulaon earlier this week, we were surprised to find our big rain tank more empty than full.  With not enough rain, we have begun to haul buckets of water from the wells around us to wash clothes and flush the toilet.  Aaron measured the rain tank yesterday, and it measured 18 inches of water.  Today it measured 16 inches.

Now several of us are feeling rather yucky with fever, more of the belly run, and some aches and pains.  I think we will all crash early tonight.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thursday, August 18

The kids started back to school today, and I began my language learning sessions as well.  Naomi still hasn't totally recovered from her ear infection during SITAG's conference, and Aaron has picked up some village bug commonly known as "belly run", so we're moving a little slowly around here.

We were happy to catch the end of havu season.  It's our favorite nut in the Solomon Islands, but it is only available in June, July, and August in the Russells.  We hear the click, click of the nut being banged in between two stones, and we recognize that somebody is "havu atane" (banging havu).  Katherine recognizes the sound, too, and this afternoon she begged to go down and shell the nuts with Auntie Naris.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wednesday, August 17

This morning, I bought several green coconuts at market.  We enjoy both the liquid and the meat, but today we enjoyed a couple of recipes from Naomi's mom using both!

Simple Coconut Custard
4 young coconut meats
1/2-3/4 cup green coconut water
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Blend until creamy.
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or to taste
Coconut Fruit Custard
4 young coconut meats
1/2 cup dates
1 cup fresh fruit (bananas, mangoes, berries, etc.)
maple syrup to taste (we don't use any)
Place fruit in blender first to create liquid.  Add the rest of ingredients and blend until creamy.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tuesday, August 16

It rained a little bit last night!  Please keep praying for a good balance of sun and rain.

While we were cleaning off the school books this morning, we heard a C-R-A-C-K followed by a thud and looked out the window to see another papaya tree on the ground.

Naomi taught the kids how to cut the papaya branches to make a sort of whistle/kazoo, and Benjamin began experimenting with different lengths of papaya trunk for drums.

The fun that followed would surely have made our music professors grimace, but the Choate band drummed and squawked and made a ruckus.  The break was a nice diversion from cleaning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Monday, August 15

We started the cleaning today, and Naomi certainly makes a huge difference in our family.  Not only is she an extra pair of hands, but she encourages the kids and leads them by her example with her cheerful attitude and sweet voice.  I think we might try to keep her longer!

This morning, I was praying I Timothy 6:17-19 for my children, that they would become generous people.  Then, this afternoon, Machi, the leader of the SWIM workshop, came by to let us know that the village was not going to throw them a farewell feast since the workshop participants threw them a party on Saturday.  She offered to get together for supper since they were free, and so we invited them for supper and enjoyed a sweet time of fellowship with this group of seven ladies who had poured themselves out for our neighbors in our church district during the last week. SWIM team 6SWIM team 5
SWIM team 5
SWIM team 2SWIM team 4SWIM team 7

SWIM team

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sunday, August 14

We watched the sun rise this morning as we loaded the van and with the help of some SITAG friends.  The Bikoi was almost empty when we arrived and found our spots, but the ship quickly filled up about thirty minutes before it was scheduled to leave.  We watched two boxes of pigs being loaded along with the people. 

Our SITAG friends came to see us off - what a sweet sight to see their smiling faces amongst the swarms of people on the wharf.
As the ship revved its engines, rain began to fall lightly and we were thankful to not have to endure the blazing sun.  We enjoyed smooth seas and found a couple of people from Marulaon on the ship, too.

The rain only continued a little way, but the skies stayed overcast providing a great day to travel!  The showers picked up again when we arrived in Marulaon, so we rode the motor canoe to the shore in the rain.
Our friends were so kind and helped us carry the boxes and buckets and gas cylinders up the hill as always, and we got to meet the ladies from SWIM (short term work in missions) who came to teach a sewing workshop, hold a children's program, and do some medical work. 
We found that four of our papaya trees had blown over and another couple have some kind of fungus that makes the fruit fall off while it's still green.  Our two beds of Chinese cabbage only yielded enough for one meal for us, the green beans didn't grow,  the bell pepper plants all died, the pumpkin vines all died, but the root crops did great! 

Our big rain tank has been enjoyed by neighbors in our absence, so it's down to about 1/3 full.  I'm praying for a generous heart and for more rain.  It's nice to be back home in our beautiful Marulaon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And We're Off!

This was the action at our house just a few minutes ago.  Several of our SITAG friends came to help us load the truck and take our stuff down to the wharf.

The Bikoi should leave about 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, CST, and we should arrive in Marulaon about 11 p.m. Saturday night, CST.  Thanks for your prayers!

Just a reminder that we don't have internet access when we are in the village, we get our e-mail through the radio.  But a sweet friend of mine will be posting on our behalf.  Please do leave comments so I can moderate them when we come back to Honiara.  It's always so fun to see your responses to our adventures in Marulaon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Goodbyes

We've been saying goodbyes all week.  Some of our colleagues have furloughs that overlap ours, so we won't see them for two years.  Today, we said goodbye to two more friends after another great picnic on the airport's grounds.

(I love Olivia's t-shirt from Wild Olive Tees.)  We enjoyed more sweet fellowship and shed more tears.  This week we've been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's "Beauty Will Rise" and crying as we grieve and pack.  Please know that I'm not comparing our grief to the grief of losing a child.  But the constant changing of location and the loss of technology and the ability to stay in touch when we go to Marulaon does cause us to grieve the changes in relationships.

However, we are so thankful that God is faithful and provides friends and family who flow through the changes with us.  And that He nevers changes.

Even when we have to say goodbye again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yesterday, our family went into town for one last treat of smoothies and the last big shopping trip.  Aaron also picked up our Bikoi tickets and learned that the boat is planning to go on Sunday.  Packing is proceeding according to schedule...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Theatrical Encore

"Children have abounding vitality....Therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  They always say, 'Do it again.'...Grown up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun; and every evening, 'Do it again' to the moon.  The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore." 
--G.K. Chesterson

Monday, August 8, 2011

Honiara Woman's Daybook

For Today...Monday, August 8

Outside my window...skies that can't decide if they want to be sunny or rainy, my pot of mint on the porch going out of control (hello, watermelon mint smoothies!), and Frieda meticulously weeding by hand and "brooming" the ground, mango blooming and causing my sinuses to want to explode

I am thinking...about and praying for my sweet friend who will leave this week to go pick up another daughter from China.

From the learning school this week, but we'll get back into the swing of things and watch Rome fall next week after we've unpacked in Marulaon

I am thankful for...a husband who is good at organizing & packing and people around the world who pray for us

From the meatballs, veggie medley, watermelon, and cappuccino brownies with vanilla ice cream for dessert

I am reading..."Letters Missionaries Never Write" by Frederick Kosin; I go back and forth between laughing and crying - if you know a missionary, you should read this book

I am hoping...that the Bikoi gets repaired in time for us to go back to Marulaon on Sunday

I am lesson plans for Naomi and me to use in Marulaon, a grocery list for that "one last trip" into town

I am hearing...the coconut broom outside, traffic zooming by at the bottom of the hill, construction noises as the SITAG crew transforms the old office into a small new apartment

Around the looks like a moving van threw up

One of my favorite things...a big bear hug

Pondering these words...
"What shall I do my God to love,
My God who loved, and died for me?
Obdurate heart, will nothing move,
Will nothing melt or soften thee?...
I want a heart to love my God,
I cannot bear this heart of stone;
Soften it, Savior, by thy blood,
And melt the nether millstone down."
-Charles Wesley

A few plans for the rest of the week...just to finish packing and to continue to nurture my family in all of the chaos

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with big girl on the rope swing.  Wow!  She's growing up fast.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The perfect Sunday afternoon...

...spent with precious friends on the front yard of Honiara's international airport while waiting for a plane to take away a sweet sister.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."

We wouldn't have lasted ten minutes

 Sixty-nine years ago today, Allied forces landed on Guadalcanal.  To commemorate the efforts of the coastwatchers, a statue was unveiled this morning in downtown Honiara. 

 Three Solomon Islanders who served as Coastwatchers participated in the ceremony, and other ceremonies were held around town throughout the day to honor this special day.

We are thankful to live here among such a generous people.

In case you can't read the tiny print below, it says, "Without local help I don't know what we would have done, we wouldn't have lasted ten minutes."  That's the way we feel about our
Solomon friends, too.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And They're Offf!

These spunky young ladies are two of the six who are currently on their way to Marulaon to hold a sewing workshop, share God's Word, and offer a lot of medical assistance.  Last night about 7:30, one of the SITAG guards stepped up on the porch and called for Aaron to come out because Chief Leonard had come.  Leonard wanted us to know that the Bikoi was experiencing technical difficulties and wouldn't go on its normal Sunday run.  So, all of the Bikoi's passengers were to ride on the Kosko, and that ship would make a special stop at Marulaon!

You can't see them, but one of the ladies is waving her hat from the back of the ship.  They should arrive in Marulaon around midnight, CST.  Please keep them in your prayers this week.  They will be living in a village house and depending on our Marulaon community to feed them.  And, using the bathroom facilities on the beach will probably be a new experience for most of them.