Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goodbye again

Once again, it was time for our SITAG family to come out in full force and get a village team packed up and on the boat.  I'm so thankful that our kids get to be a part of something like this!  After a full morning of school and a quick lunch, we drove over to our friends' house to help load up the truck and to do whatever needed to be done.
Our friends had a list of things still to be done, and one of those was a trip to market to buy some fruits and veggies to take out to the village.  So we left Benjamin and Olivia with some SITAG uncles to stay with the truck until it went down to the wharf.  The rest of our family fought Honiara traffic to get to the market.  Can you see the traffic in the mirror?  Katherine needed a little rest, and she had plenty of time while we sat in traffic.

After we bought food, we drove back up to our friends' house and packed up the food, wiped out the fridge, and waited for word that the ship was on its way to the wharf.  Around 4 o'clock, another SITAG colleague called to say he could the ship chugging in, so we all began the descent to the wharf to help unload the truck.

Back in the SITAG van again, we followed the truck carrying boxes, a SITAG uncle, and all four of our kids.  Our cell phone rang while we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.  It was our friends trying to catch the ship, and they were desperate for the woven mats in the back of the truck.  They needed to save their places on the boat.  Our ships don't have assigned seats, you just find a spot on the floor and spread out, hoping you have enough room to sleep!  So our amazing colleagues, who are always up for an adventure, decided that the mats would arrive at the wharf faster if they were hand carried!

So the SITAG uncle jumped out of the truck and ran with the mats all the way to the wharf.  (His behavior was acceptable in Solomon Island culture, don't worry!)  Our friends got their mats a little faster,

and when we arrived,we were able to sit with him to help hold their spots on the ship.  These guys were the "Three Musketeers" all day long, backing the big truck all the way down the wharf onto the ship, being on call the entire afternoon and evening, lending their muscles, chatting with the crowd at the wharf while we waited, doing whatever needed to be done. 
We anticipated the ship to leave late, so the families of the Three Musketeers decided to go grab a bite to eat (the first time our family has gone out to eat at night here), then come back to the wharf.  Just after we had ordered our food, the phone rang.  Our colleagues were calling to let us know that the ship had blown its whistle, and they would be pulling out soon.  We were shocked!  Katherine was in tears because she wanted to hug her friend one more time and say goodbye.  But we enjoyed the rest of our meal with the other two SITAG families.  On the way home, we needed to drive by the wharf to pick up the SITAG truck.  What did we find in addition to the truck?  Our friends' ship!!! 
Here is God's perfect timing in action.  Two hours after the first whistle blew, the ship was still at the wharf.  We quickly called our friends, and with the ship's crew standing at the front of the landing craft waiting to lift the front of the ship, we hugged one more time.  Seconds later, the ship began to pull away from the wharf, and we waved until we could no longer see our friends.  By the time we got home, it was way past time for bed, and everybody took quick showers and hopped into bed.  Just another "normal" day in the Solomon Islands.  Full of God's good gifts!


Anonymous said...

Every blog post makes me smile :) Love you guys, lifting you up!

Jolene said...

That is truly God's timing! What is your favorite fruit you can get in the Solomon Islands but not here in the U.S?

Choate Family said...


That's a tough question. The "tropical" fruits we love here are so much sweeter and riper than anything we can get in the US. For the last year on furlough, I almost didn't buy bananas! Red papayas (often called melon popo here) are one of the fruits that we really enjoy here, and I don't remember seeing any when we were back in the US.