Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 25, Tuesday

This morning, I met with ten women from two different villages to create some Bible stories in Lavukaleve.  We were not translating, just retelling Bible stories.  I'm excited that they chose creation and the birth of Jesus, because both of those stories lend themselves to adding more stories down the road to make complete story books of Genesis and the Life of Christ.  We ate popcorn, laughed, and worked hard.  One of the groups chose to craft the story on paper first, then record it orally.  The other group chose to record it as they might tell it to their children, then transcribe it later.  I'm looking forward to discovering which of the two methods provides the kind of Bible story that is easy to understand and sounds natural when read aloud.  We plan to meet back together next week after Aaron returns from teaching the Translation Principles workshop in Losiolen.

Rain kicked in shortly after I returned to the house – a pouring, driving, tank filling, cooling rain.  About three o'clock, we heard a knock on the door, and Grace Delight stood there dripping underneath an umbrella and asking for Naomi.  On our last trip, Naomi had proved that she knew her way around a hand cranked sewing machine (there are perks to being an MK), so the ladies were requesting her again.  The three of us waited for a break in the rain, then we slipped and slid our way down to Daisy and Hiva's house and spent some time visiting and helping out with the sewing machine.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Monday, October 24

Yesterday, during the announcements after church, we learned that one of the Sisters of the Church was arriving in Marulaon with a big ice chest.  Sister Mary Faith is from Marulaon, and she is here to collect lots of fish and shellfish from the community to take back to Honiara.  As part of the Marulaon community, Sarah, Katherine, Naomi and I went with Kiko and Grace to dive for kalimeta to send back. 

I never get tired of looking at all of the amazing underwater creatures that God made: bright blue starfish, fish of every hue, and creatures that look like little flowers attached to the coral, until you get close and they disappear into the protection of the coral.  And the variety of coral!  The lightning coral is purple tipped to warn you that it stings, the brain coral makes a great home for lots of little animals.  At one point, I pulled Sarah close and asked her if she could believe that we lived in such a gorgeous place.

We came back tired and waterlogged and with a full bag of kalimeta.  Kiko is going to look after the bag and keep the critters fresh in the edge of the water just by her house until it is time to send them back to Honiara.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saturday, October 22

Market this morning felt like such a gift!  Our neighbors were so generous with the produce from their gardens:  slippery cabbage, pumpkin, green and dry coconuts, bush apples, pineapples, papayas, grape tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, cutnuts, ngali nuts, and the cutest little bell peppers.  They've been asking me to make banana cake to bring to the big soccer tournament today, but no bananas have shown up at market since we got here.  You can only bring food that is ripe!

After market, Benjamin, Olivia, Katherine and I walked to our bush garden to harvest uvikola for lelenga.  We met Sylvester and her two youngest girls in her garden which borders mine.  Our last heap of uvikola produced an abundance of deep fruit intertwined with each other, so Sylvester came over to help me get it out.  Our uvikola are yellow, so Sylvester shared some of her white uvikola that was especially nice for boiling.  Benjamin found a huge hermit crab (kokovan), big enough that it's claw could have made his finger really hurt.  The crab even made it part of the way home.  We ended up with more uvikola that I had anticipated, so my bag was HEAVY.  I think my neck will be sore tomorrow from carrying the bag back to the house.

While we were in Honiara, Naris and Dawa did a great job of taking care of our yard and house.  Our big munu shade tree was dropping dead leaves and flowers on top of our rain tank, so Dawa choppedmunu tree off half the branches.  Aaron finished the job today (with a little help from the kids).  I spread the word to my friends that we would have lots of leaves for motuing lelenga, and several ladies came by for leaves.

Naomi and I prepared the fire for the lelenga.  The whole family always works together to prepare our lelenga since it takes lots of work:  scraping the coconuts, peeling the uvikola, scraping the uvikola, squeezing the juice out of the coconuts, boiling the juice, building the fire, heating the banana leaves, assembling the pudding, removing the hot stones, placing the pudding in its preheated place, replacing the stones, covering the pudding with munu leaves, and finally covering the whole thing with old copra sacks to seal in the heat.  When I looked up on the shelf for my copra sacks, I could only see two of the three I expected.  I started to grab one of the sacks to shake it out in case two were folded together, but I stopped short of grabbing the snake that camouflaged itself beautifully in the sack.  Glad I looked before I grabbed the sack.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday, October 21

warming_upI woke up feeling rotten with a cold this morning, so I canceled my language learning sessions with Margaret.  We ended up enjoying heavy thunderstorms all day today, so Marulaon was quiet with everybody staying inside.  While our family thinks the cool weather is refreshing, our neighbors are wearing long sleeves, complaining about the cold, and building fires underneath their leaf houses!

Katherine awoke earlier this week and announced she had stuck a green bead in one ear and a pink bead in the other.  While I think that a four-year-old should know better, I'm also reminded that Olivia stuck googly-eyes in her ear when she was four.  The beads are quite deep and big enough that no space exists in the ear canal to help dislodge the bead.  We have tried irrigating, ear candles, coconut oil, sucking out the bead with a straw, and putting a dab of superglue on the end of a q-tip and trying to glue it to the bead to pull it out.  We would appreciate your prayers for our little girl's ears and for our wisdom.

A little reading tip: Sometimes the pictures for certain posts get separated in the email process or are delayed for whatever reason. Because of this, they are sometimes uploaded as much as a week or so after the original post. So, be sure to scroll back a few days just to make sure you don’t miss any great pictures!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back in Marulaon

Monday, October 17
Our trip on the Bikoi was fabulous!  The ship hadn't left Honiara for several weeks, so I think maybe everybody made other plans to travel.  The ship was more empty than we had ever seen it!  We had lots of room (for a Solomon Islands' ship) to spread out.  Friends came to help us load everything on the ship and to wave goodbye until they were tiny specks on the end of the wharf - we are so thankful for our SITAG buddies!


Canoes were waiting for us, and we unloaded kids and boxes over the side of the Bikoi and into the hands of friends.  Once on land, lots of smiles greeted us, and we visited with friends for a while before we turned to the task of settling in.  We left quite a bit of food in Marulaon, knowing that our trip to Honiara would be short.  So, unpacking and cleaning has gone really quickly today.  Naomi's extra hands and encouragement have helped us make record time!

Thursday, October 20
The kids started back to school today, with Naomi taking a couple of hours so I can work on learning Lavukaleve.  We have slipped right back into our (anything but) normal life here in beautiful Marulaon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We had to finish our Christmas shopping before we left Honiara.  For those of you still shopping, would you consider giving Christmas presents using Wycliffe Bible Translator's Gift Catalog?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back in Marulaon!

As of right now, email communication is not working from the village. But, an email just came through from someone with radio contact with the Choates. The report is that “they had a wonderful, uncrowded, calm boat trip out to the village, they were warmly greeted by friends and chiefs when they got there, the rain tanks are FULL, and with Naomi's welcome and willing set of extra hands, they are getting settled in in record time.  Many answered prayers!!”

Keep up the prayers, and thanks for being patient with the spotty email connection and blog updates!

~Ann Hibbard for the Choates

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Here we go again...

Last night, everybody got in bed early and we decided not to set an alarm.  Turns out it was a good choice, two of our kids stayed in bed for twelve hours, and one of them slept for eleven hours.  My early-bird Katherine slept in until 6 a.m.  God gifted me with a quiet morning to sit in bed and read my Bible while I drank my coffee and watched the sun come up.  The light filtered softly through the two big mango trees behind the house, and the shadows tiptoed on my walls.  What a peaceful way to start a busy day!

I read words by Frances Ridley Havergal this morning, "The connection in Romans 12:1-2 between our sacrifice, which He so graciously calls acceptable to Himself, and our finding out that His will is acceptable to ourselves is very on both sides is at the bottom of the whole transaction and its results." 

So, I'm once again asking the Lord to help me to submit contentedly to His transforming hand as I offer myself as a living sacrifice.  I'm resting in His provision of friends who offer sweet fellowship and good food during our busy day, friends around the world who are praying for us, and the Choate family team who works hard and well together.  Tomorrow, we'll be leaving around 8 a.m. our time/4 p.m. Saturday CST. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thanks for your prayers!

This morning, after lots of long distance phone calls, we finally got our airplane tickets!  It's official - furlough begins May 1st (Lord willing, and the creek don't rise).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hebrews Workshop

Solomon Islands Bible Translation and Literacy Project (SIBTLP) is hosting a workshop covering the book of Hebrews from October 10 through October 21.  These translators have come from all over the Solomon Islands to learn because they are in the process of drafting or revising the book of Hebrews. 

Naomi's family works with the Gela language, and a couple of their translators are here at SITAG for the workshop.  This evening, she was chatting with one them.  He told her that often the teacher asks a question about the text and he can't understand the English Bible well enough to figure out the answer.  So, he just turns to his Gela translation, and the answer immediately becomes clear!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quick Prayer Request

We have been trying to order plane tickets for furlough for more than three weeks, yet the credit card company still doesn't want to take the money we have been carefully saving for more than three years.  Please pray for our wisdom because we would really like to have this completed before we leave for Marulaon on Sunday morning.  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Honiara Woman's Daybook

For Today...Tuesday, October 11

Outside my window...gray skies, everything is really still.

I am thinking...about my sister who will be getting married this weekend.  Wish I could be there, Liss.

From the learning rooms...yesterday was the last day of school, the kids have a break until we get settled in Marulaon next week.

I am thankful for...all the prayers offered up on behalf of Naomi.  She is healthy enough to go run with me in the mornings!  Her visa has been extended, and we are planning to leave for Marulaon on Sunday, October 16.

From the kitchen...baked French toast for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, Benjamin cooking cheesy bread pudding tonight for company.

I am reading..."Written by Mrs. Bach:  The amazing discovery that shocked the music world" by Martin Jarvis, a gift Aaron brought back from his trip last week.

I am hoping...for calm seas on Sunday.  Yay for Bonine in care packages (thanks, Mama!).

I am creating...lists.  Got to get organized around here.

I am hearing...thunder, SITAG kids playing down on the basketball court, Palestrina's "Missa Papae Marcelli".

Around the house...boxes filling up, Katherine taking a nap, clean clothes on my bed just brought in to escape the coming rain.

One of my favorite things...checking off items on my to-do list.

Pondering these words..."Yes, I see only too clearly how bad people are.  I wish I did not see it so.  It is my own sins that give me so much clarity.  If I did not bear the scars of so many sins to dim my sight and dull my capacity for love and joy, then I would see Christ more clearly in you all....My prayer from day to day is that God will so enlarge my heart that I will see you all, and live with you all, in His love."  --Dorothy Day (and if she had been from the South, she would have said "y'all")

A few plans for the rest of the week...buying plane tickets for furlough, mailing Christmas presents, finishing the newsletter, just wrapping up everything in Honiara and hopping a boat on Sunday.  Bikoi tickets are in hand!

Here's a picture thought I am sharing with you...oh, how I love my children.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just because...

"Married couples who love each other tell each other a thousand things without talking."  
-- Chinese proverb

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sweet Sabbath

"I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples."  Psalm 108: 3

-bouncy curls
-glorious rain refreshing the ground and our spirits

-plum skillet cake, because one shipment a year we get plums in Honiara, and they are worth spending a little extra

-other people working toward Bible translation in the Pacific, we are only a small piece of the puzzle

Saturday, October 8, 2011

And the winner is...

Jolene!  I'll be contacting a few more of you for "runner-up" prizes, too!  Thanks to all of you who pray for our family and for the Lavukal.  You encourage us so much!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rainy days and Fridays...

This was the view from my porch this morning:

Not your usual postcard perfect day on a tropical island, but it made me SO happy!  Rainy days not only bring us drinking water in the raintanks, but they also bring cooler temperatures and their delicious sound and smell.  At our house, rainy days also mean baking!

The rain lasted all day today, and we finished up the day with one of my favorite recipes from my mama, curried chicken and apples.  Here in the Solomons, apples only come from overseas, so they are infrequent and expensive, meaning we hardly ever enjoy this dish.  With the recent arrival of a shipment of fruit from across the ocean, and the cool day to make me think of fall, we shared our creamy treat with friends tonight.

Curried Chicken and Apples
(serves two generously)

1 onion chopped
2 chicken breasts (I usually chop the chicken to make it stretch)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp curry
1/4 tsp ginger
3 Tbsp raisins
1 cup chopped apple

Mix all ingredients and place into a slow cooker.

Stir together:
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillion granules
1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water

Pour on top of the chicken mixture.  Cook 3 1/2 to 4 hours on high.  Just before serving stir in 1/2 tsp. cornstarch and 1/4 cup sour cream.  Serve over rice.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I found another gorgeous set of salad tongs while I was shopping in Honiara last week.


If you would like to own them, please leave a comment by midnight CST, Friday night, October 7, and we will draw a name out of the bowl to see who gets a care package from the Solomon Islands.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Honiara woman's daybook

For today...Tuesday, October 4

Outside my window...very calm seas, muggy air, clouds gathering, come on rain...

I am thinking...that it was a good choice to delay our return to Marulaon.  One extra week to get Naomi healthy and to buy and mail Christmas presents!

From the learning rooms...last week we enjoyed reading "Two Travelers" by Christopher Manson as we studied about Charlemagne.  Now, we're looking at "The Bayeux Tapestry: The Norman Conquest 1066" by Norman Denny & Joshephine Filmer-Sankey as well as coloring through history with "Kings & Queens of England to Color" and "Knights and Armor Coloring Book".  I'm learning so much right along with the kids.

I am thankful for...the boxes that finally arrived yesterday.  I'm still amazed that after being gone three years, people still remember and love us enough to send boxes!

From the kitchen...eggplant parmesan (from "The New Laurel's Kitchen"), a big green salad, fresh pineapple,  and my new favorite bread, Danish Country Egg Bread from "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book".

I am get a lot of furlough plans nailed down before we leave for Marulaon next week.  Plane tickets, housing, vehicle, etc.  God's got a lot of work cut out for him to provide all of these things for us!

I am creating...well, I'm not creating, but I bought lots of colorful gingham and yarn today for my friends in Marulaon to make table covers.  They love color!

I am hearing...the new washing machine that SITAG just installed in this house.  It's huge!  And now I can do laundry in our house instead of walking next door to share a machine.

Around the house...a middle ages timeline on the wall, overripe pineapple in the kitchen waiting to be cut up, two 10 kilo bags of sugar under the bed waiting to go out to Marulaon

One of my favorite things...bags from this mama's shop

Pondering these words...
The fretting friction of our daily life,
Heart-weariness with loving patience born,
The meek endurance of the inward strife,
The painful crown of thorn,
Prepare the heart for God's own dwelling place,
Adorn with sacred loveliness His shrine,
And brighten every inconspicuous grace,
For God alone to shine.
-Mary E. Atkinson

A few plans for the rest of the dig out of my inbox!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...Olivia (my aural learner) reading out loud to me from her perch in a frangipanni tree while I hang out laundry

Monday, October 3, 2011


The theme over at Snapshots Around the World this week is "Bench".  This bench is a coconut scraper, a vital piece of equipment in the Solomon Islands and something I hope to bring back to the States on furlough.