From March 14

Being immersed in the ways our neighbors live has been a good reminder of how spoiled we are in our house in Marulaon. Stanley and Margaret's house is very nice.   They were so sweet to give it up for the duration of the workshop. 

Margaret, isn't she beautiful?!?

They have a timber house with a copper roof composed of four small bedrooms and an enclosed porch. They gave it up for our family and four other translator trainees. A few very small windows punctuate the walls, but little breeze gets inside the house. None of us slept well last night. I got the only bed, it included a kimita/woven mat on top of a thin piece of foam. The kids and Aaron all slept on kimitas (we brought two with us): two kids under each mosquito net and Aaron's kimita pulled up under our mosquito net next to my bed. The translation committee meeting finished around midnight, and our neighbors storied outside until the meeting finished. I quietly laughed inside each time I heard our box of banana cake muffins opened and whispers of “telako, telako” (one, just one) accompanying the furtive snacking. The aroma from the muffins wafted easily to my bed every time the box was opened. The translator trainees were disappointed to find an empty box when they returned to the house. After Aaron came back, the translator trainees continued to story long into the night. I wish I needed as little sleep as my Lavukal friends!

Without a watch, I have no idea what time the first set of bells rang to get us moving for the big communion service this morning. Aaron and Benjamin took their turn to walk down to the “boys' bathroom” first, then when they returned, I took the girls.  

A gorgeous view, but just on the other side of the canoe is the bathroom.

Both paths followed the shore line, but the path for the girls stayed close to the shore while the path for the boys veered into the bush a little bit.

This is the path for the girls to follow

Almost there now...

An old wrecked barge from WWII made the perfect "bathroom stalls"

We returned to the house just in time to grab some peanut butter and crackers that we brought to fortify us through the long morning service, and then we all walked up the hill to the church. After the service Aaron presented each of the translator trainees with a certificate of appreciation for their participation.

Janet, from Marulaon, receving her certificate

All of the participants in the translation program

Then we waited for morning tea and bun cake. Margaret took really good care of our family and always made sure that the kids had plenty to eat, usually well before the adults had food. The food has been MARVELOUS!  This village boasts an abundance of shellfish and sea life.  Last night we had several different kinds of shellfish and a big fish in addition to root crops.  Today, we've enjoyed turtle as well.  Our kids were so content to play and hang out and eat at the house.

After we ate, the meeting with the translation committee and the translators began.

Ezekiel speaking to the translation committee

Soon, it became very clear that rain was going to chase us into the church for the meeting...

Notice the sand on the floor.  That's we kneel on during church.

After a while, I decided to go check on the kids.  When the tropical downpour finished, I headed down the hill, and the meeting moved back outside.

When I finally picked my way down the hill, I found that Margaret and her "food committee" had boiled some cooking bananas, and Katherine was happy to sample their hospitality.  Our kids really enjoyed playing with the other kids in the village.

Can you see them on the tiny island?

Sarah making a ball from coconut leaves

After I visited a while with Margaret and the ladies that lived nearby, I decided to walk around the village for a little while and take pictures since the committee meeting didn't show any signs of slowing down.

I passed a well very similar to the one Sarah and I bathed in last night...

and found some bags of copra ready to sell.

I was fascinated to watch a man making a mola/dugout canoe.

The canoe was REALLY big!

And I found what looked like a "parking lot" for canoes.

On my way back to the committee meeting, I found a pot full of shellfish that somebody had brought ashore. 


Just before the final feasting and farewells began, I spied a group of ladies sitting underneath a tree giggling.  They had copies of the Nguzunguzu picture books that had been translated into Lavukaleve, and they were so tickled by the funny stories!  That was exactly what we wanted to hear - people responding to words written in their own heart language.

Four translators were selected during the meetings - exciting stuff!  One from the East (Albert), one from the Central Russells (Matthew), and two from the West (Simon and Ezekiel).  Please pray for these men

We finally got into the motor canoe as the sun began to set.  The canoe was full, full, full.  Close to twenty people and a pig.  That's right, a pig.  We got to follow Venus and Jupiter as beacons on our way westward toward Karumulun and Marulaon.  It was an absolutely gorgeous ride home, and I couldn't help but sing, "Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee..."


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