From January 18

Oh, we had fun at the farewell party last night! Kiko came to the house after church and we fixed up some of the TVP with onions and bell peppers and lots of salt and curry. Then, I gave her half of the TVP and a kilo of rice, and we all headed out the door. We were the first ones at the party, no surprise. I brought the camera, but with only a couple of lights powered by a generator, it was too dark to take pictures without a flash. (I was very reluctant to blind everybody with the flash.) After everyone arrived, Aaron was asked to say the blessing, and we all sang a song together. Then we all waited while the young ladies served us huge platefuls of food. Our family was served first, and I'm still not used to being honored guests. My plate had loads of rice with a little bit of noodles and canned meat on top, lelenga/cassava pudding, half of a fish, and motued breadfruit. Soima, Naris's daughter, sat with us, and I sat next to Julie so I could ask questions. In the Solomons, you don't drink with your meal, you wait until after you are finished eating. We were almost finished eating when Janet brought us a water bottle and three cups.

When we were finished eating, one of the girls brought us a bowl full of water to rinse our hands, and the singing and dancing began. We all joined in and sang and danced our way single file up to where the two students sat behind a table. We each shook hands and dropped some money into the bowl on the table. Singing, dancing, shaking hands, all with Katherine on my hip required a little more coordination than I possess!

Then we heard the speeches. Janet surprised Aaron by asking him to speak on the spur of the moment after a much admired uncle. Aaron did a great job of encouraging the boys to put God first in their lives. About ten o'clock, everything finished up and we sleepily trudged back up the hill to the house.
This morning, I anticipated a market. Since Marulaon doesn't hold a market unless we are here (I'm always amazed by this!), I was a little concerned that they might be slow in getting the market up and running again. I shouldn't have worried! My friends brought faluk/slippery cabbage,  kino/cutnut, a couple of small pineapples, lots of eggplant, of course, some green beans, sugar cane, and loads of papaya. I'm so thankful for these ladies and their willingness to share their food so we can stay healthy.

We tackled the school bookshelves and the rest of the windows after breakfast was cleaned up. Took us all morning and into the afternoon to finish the cleaning and unpacking and cooking lunch and banana cake, but it's finished now! The kids are outside playing, Aaron is working on details for his next workshop in a couple of weeks, and I'm enjoying sitting down for a little bit and catching up on everything that's been going on.

Last night's New Testament text for Evening Prayer was I Corinthians 1:18-31, and tonight's is the whole of chapter two. I needed to be reminded that it's okay to be weak and that my faith should rest on God's power and not on my own wisdom. I am so very weak, and living in Marulaon removes every little thing that I try to use to cover up my weakness. Living here stretches me, and although it hurts to be stretched, it's good for me!


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