Saturday, November 29, 2014
So, we shortened the school day just a little bit and worked on a nice lunch to welcome Aaron back home. I had already asked Prisca if Aaron could call her cell phone when they reached Hae Village, and Eta was working in our yard on purpose so she could tell me when Prisca came up with the message. Both of these young ladies were in on the secret!
I told the kids that I wanted to get some pictures with them and Edi playing with the starfish on the only little strip of white sand beach on our island. When lunch was ready to pop into the oven, Edi, the kids, and I sauntered over to the beach and began to take some pictures.
After I took a few pictures, the kids noticed that a motorboat was headed our direction. I had been listening to the engine for several minutes, anticipating the timing of Aaron's return because of his phone call.
Sure enough, here came our favorite driver, Belza, with Aaron and Brennen. Their arrival reminded me of a knight in shining armor on his trusty steed! Edi and the kids were SO surprised. Aaron hustled the three younger children into the boat to drive closer to our house to unload, Sarah and I retreated into the bushes with cameras, Edi said, "What are you DOING here?!?", and Brennen began his earnest proposal to the lovely Edi.
She said yes. I snapped photos while Sarah took a brief video, then we walked on home leaving the newly engaged couple chatting on the beach (in full view of our community).
We love this couple and are excited to share a few days with them in our home before they both return to America next week. God has some exciting things planned for them in the future, but He is already using them now to bless our family.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Our thankful turkey is sprouting several new feathers every day, and our basket of Thanksgiving books holds our old favorites like Louisa May Alcott's "Old Fashioned Thanksgiving" (which we read aloud every year) and "Thanks for Thanksgiving" by Julie Markes.
Hi. Well, we packed our town things into storage. Cleaned the stove and refrigerator for the next renters of the dorm we've been living in this time. Packed up all the things for the village, carried them up three flights of stairs and loaded the truck with boxes, bags and gas
cylinders. When I (Ron) say "we," actually it was pretty much Roxanne and Ethan, Matthew, Robyn and Claire. Because of my injured back, my contribution with regard to carrying things was minimal.
By then it was about 2PM, and Roxanne and the gang of four drove the truck into town and down to the wharf. They offloaded the things from the truck onto the ship, the Baruku. Then they headed to the central market to buy some veggies and fruit to take to the village (where they aren't available).
I was alone at the dorm, doing last minute packing of personal items. At about 4 PM, the phone rang. It was the owner of the ship. Emphasizing how sorry he was, he said (summarized):
1. Plans have changed.
2. The Baruku will not be going as far as your port, Wairokai. Instead it will terminate its trip three ports to the north, at Kiu.
3. This has something to do with the dissatisfaction of some people with the outcome of the parliamentary election (the results for W. Areare constituency/district were announced just today).
4. There is no petrol available, so you won't be able to get from Kiu to Wairokai by motor canoe. [my note: this was one of Neil's options, that they would use his 23' bray boat and 55 hp engine at Kiu to take us and our stuff down to Wairokai - though it's doubtful we could have done it in one trip. He was also concerned about weather.)
5.Therefore, please bring the truck back to the wharf and get all of
your things off of the ship.
6.Your tickets will be refunded.
So, Roxanne and the boys went back and retrieved our things.
What additional things to pray for? Here are a few that come to mind
* Calmness and good attitudes after the election.
* Ships to carry the many people who went to the village to vote back
to Honiara where they have jobs or school awaiting them.
* That we somehow get safely back to the village. (I wonder, are
Roxanne and I too old to take up parachuting?)
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Edi is continuing to add to her resume of accomplishments. Husking a coconut can be very difficult and requires strength.
My friend Ofoaen's daughter, Nako, showed Edi how to husk a coconut, and Edi quickly finished one like she had been doing this all her life!
Today was "Christ the King" Sunday, so our family made a few crowns and wrote verses on the inside. Mine had Philippians 1:6 in Pijin inside. I gave it to Eta. We really want our neighbors to realize that God's Word is applicable for every day life!
It's starfruit, also called five corner, season around here. This pair of sweet sisters, Daris and Mariska, brought a shirt-full of fruit into the kitchen where I was visiting with Eta and several other young women. I love the life that sparkles in their eyes!
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
This afternoon, I walked down to Margaret Rasol's house to continue working on the translation of "Dota blong King", a Bible-based tool for moms to use in teaching their daughters about purity. One of the Lavukal translators used this book, written by a former SITAG colleague, as practice for his translation training. As we work and laugh together, I'm learning all kinds of new vocabulary and reinforcing words that were buried in the corners of my brain. I'm also discovering that the translator has used older Lavukaleve words that many people don't use any more. Being involved in a minority language that is growing and changing is a very good thing!
My awesome husband took advantage of the visitors and set up a table for translation and literacy awareness.
He and our translation committee chairman sat at the table asking people to draw pictures, reading picture books to anyone who wanted to listen, and answering questions about the Lavukaleve translation and literacy work.
I had fun reading to some of the kids in my halting Lavukaleve and taking pictures of the cuties that will one day be the leaders of these amazing people.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Sunday night, Ruthie (our diving guide) came over to say that her sister's big canoe wasn't going to be available and that we needed to take a fiberglass canoe so we would all fit. I was sorely disappointed, but God worked out everything, and when I went down yesterday morning to see if the sprinkles were going to delay our trip again, Ruthie said that we COULD take her sister canoe. Yipee!
So, we loaded up a canoe full of girls, Ruthie, her niece, Jayli (one of Olivia's good friends), Edi, Sarah, Olivia, Josa, and me, and began to paddle out to the beautiful place where we find a bounty of God's creation of kalimeta.
I never get tired of how beautiful the Russell Islands are. We swam around, scanning the sandy bottom of the ocean for the little critters we were hoping to eat for lunch, but they were hiding or had changed addresses. Finally, when I was about ready to call it quits, Ruthie shouted, "Kalimeta vutia!" to let us know that she found their new home!
We loaded up a couple of flour sacks with kalimeta, Josa added some clam shells (suta) and another critter or two, and we paddled back to Marulaon. Paddling back home is always a little harder after you've been fighting the current and diving down in water over your head for several hours.
Ruthie and Katherine helped clean the clam shells, and we divided the kalimeta between the three households represented in our diving crew. I think Edi was a little bit grossed out by the slimy, black contents in the clam shells.
But she was a really good sport and ate them for lunch when I cooked them up with some green papaya.
After lunch, we worked on preparing the kalimeta. They are much more labor intensive. First you boil the shells to kill the critters and to wash off the sand and grime.
Then, you pull each little critter out of the shell and clean off the parts you don't want to eat.
Finally, you rinse them off again and cook them up in some fresh coconut milk with curry and salt.
And when God gives you plenty to eat, you always share with your neighbors, so I took a small bowl over to my friend, Ofoaen. On the way back, I got into a great discussion with a pregnant mama and another friend who has six children. We discussed how God gives our children personalities while they are still in the womb and what a gift those children are to us!
After morning prayer, the bell rang insistently calling strong muscles to come carry the timber from the beach up to the District Priest's new house.
Benjamin and Aaron responded to the call and hauled boards up the hill until the job was done. I love my guys' servant hearts!
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I'm still getting used to the fancy-dancy new camera that Gayly brought me in June. I have to think about so many things, and I often forget some aspect of picture taking. When I took this photo of Olivia watching her siblings play, I forgot to check the light meter, but I love the way the overexposure really focuses on her beautiful brown eyes.
God often takes my "goofs" and makes beautiful things, too, and I'm so thankful!
Since my cassava isn't ripe yet, we used our Saturday morning to dig heaps and plant more cassava instead of making lelenga. Edi learned very quickly with my kids as teachers.
The small garden plot next to the house was the perfect place to plant the new batch of cassava, but we needed to weed it first. Everything is done by hand here, and clearing the ground of weeds took most of the morning.
One of the nicest things about having Edi around is the beautiful example she sets for my children. I often find Katherine snuggled up with Edi as they both read their Bibles during their "Jesus Time" early in the mornings.
In the Solomon Islands, church and state merge together, and last night our church held a thanksgiving communion service for one of the candidates for MP (member of parliament). He is from our village and brought a large campaign team with him to participate in the service. Our district priest stayed around for the morning service as well, so we had another communion service. Normally, we are out of church around 8:00 on a Sunday morning, but today it was closer to 11:00 by the time we got home. My friend, Margaret, mentioned that she didn't have any lelenga, and I told her I didn't either. When I asked her what she WAS going to eat for breakfast, she said "dry rice". I asked, no fish? no greens? no potatoes? She shook her head sadly, so I invited her to come cut some of my slippery cabbage. She has quite a few people in her family, including a nursing mother and some grandchildren, so they need more than just dry rice to eat!
While I was giving some greens to Margaret, I noticed a beautiful green worm eating my freshly planted slippery cabbage. He was so pretty I needed to take a picture. God gave me the gift of ministering through food, and at the same time, Edi was praying for another one of my friends outside the church. He has given Edi the gift of prayer. I love how He makes each one of us different!
Friday, November 21, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I just wanted to give you a quick update. I have not received an e-mail from Joanna since Thursday. That is a pretty good indication that UUPlus is not working. Let’s get back to praying, friends! E-mail connection is a lifeline to this precious family, and that becomes especially true during the holiday season.
Thanks for the prayers!
~ Ann H.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Sarah came into my room about 6:00 saying, "Mama! You've got to go outside and see the rainbow!" Sure enough, a rainbow shone against the clouds in the west that promised more rain. I never get bored of God's creativity.
Katherine's science experiment today was to test her lung capacity by blowing the water out of an upturned bottle. The biggest available bottle I had was only 1.8 liters, but this little girl could blow it all out!
Of course, everybody was pulled into the experiment, especially Edi. We're so glad she is here to share life with us.
Market this morning was small, the only green thing that showed up was a small parcel of long green beans. So before school started, Sarah and I traipsed off to the garden to see if any of our green beans or pineapple were ripe. We found one ripe pineapple, but the ripe beans had the strangest thing all over them. It looked like somebody had taken a tiny pair of nail scissors and neatly cut out each seed from several beans.
I asked my friend Ofoaen what might have done that, and she told me that the culprit was the red parrots that are so beautiful. Those stinkers!
After school, the kids went out to play and took Edi along. She has been quick to learn village games, and all of the kids love her.
I came down to visit with neighbors and found my friend, Mai, and her little one resting in a hammock underneath the house where the kids were playing. This mama has a sweet smile and a joy that every single one of her five children inherited.
We watched the policeman fill in two forms for each of us. By hand. He got a kick out of the name of the "village" where I was born - Little Rock. Then Aaron and I made a set of fingerprints for each form. We were encouraged to hear lots of Lavukaleve around the police station. Yandina has traditionally been a melting pot of people working on the coconut plantations. My watch said five o'clock by the time we finished, and I asked what time they usually closed. The answer - four thirty. I was really glad that we brought banana cake as a thank you for these hard working policemen!
Then we headed off to Hae Village to find Matthew, one of the Lavukal translators, and Stanley, one of the members of the translation committee. They didn't know we were coming. Just as we pulled up to the beach, we heard a boat behind us, and up pulled several guys who had been campaigning for the upcoming elections. Matthew and Stanley were both in the boat - God continued to work out the details of our trip! Aaron was able to quickly chat with them to set up a meeting for the entire Lavukal Translation Committee to be held on November 21-22 in their village.
Last night it began to rain, a lovely soft rain, a little bit heavy at times, perfect for the rain tanks and for the garden. I found a beautiful black and gold (Steelers fan?) spider among the pineapples next to the house. And Katherine and I dug a small spot and planted some green bean seeds this morning, too. It has rained all day long today. Much needed as the rain refills our rain tanks and our souls.
Having Edi in the house has renewed our love for all things musical. What a joy to hear her humming, to enjoy watching operas with her, and to observe her teaching Sarah voice every morning!
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
As always, Saturday means making lelenga at our house! Edi got her first taste of scraping coconut - she did a great job. In fact, she was scraping one after another until I warned her to stop so she didn't get blisters on her hands.
We ran out of cassava close to the house, so Sarah, Edi, and I made a quick trip out to the bush garden to dig up a few more heaps. While we were there, we found that a nice big pineapple we left to ripen had been taken in the last 36 hours. I was a little bummed. In the midst of making lelenga, we made lots and lots of copies for Fly Harbour School's exams next week. Edi did most of the work, freeing up Aaron and me to work on other things. I don't think Edi included scraping coconuts or making copies on her job description when she was getting ready to come to Marulaon Village, but we are so thankful she is here!
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
We arrived mid-morning and introduced Edi to everybody before the kids whisked her off to play. The ladies and I went to Janet and Ezekiel's house to record the stories of the boy Jesus in the temple and the temptation of Adam and Eve, while the men stayed in the little shelter next to Janet's kitchen. Ezekiel's plans had changed, so he was available, and the translation committee chairman, Hiva, came over with us. Aaron got to have a much-needed meeting with the committee members from Karumulun.
After I finished with the recordings, we visited some about a book written by a former SITAG member. This book, written in Pijin, is the story of a Solomon Island mother who is teaching her daughter about the changes she can expect in her body and how to glorify God with her body. Every time the mom makes a point, she doesn't point to her own thinking, but to the Bible as the source of information. We really need this book in Lavukaleve, and one of the Lavukal translators has crafted the first draft. This will be the next project for the women in our area. The more our neighbors can practice reading in their heart language, the more prepared they will be when the scriptures are finally translated.
After all of the meetings were finished, the ladies who made the recordings graciously prepared a lunch of fish and rice for our family and the translation committee chairman. Fish cooked in coconut milk is SO delicious! Because all of the women who met today have names that begin with "J", we joked that we should form some sort of singing or dancing group.
Edi made lots of little friends, and one of Ezekiel and Janet's grandchildren fell asleep on Edi's shoulder.
And another one of their grandchildren (they have thirteen so far) was a little bit frightened of me and would only peek around the post when I tried to take his picture.
We paddled back home mid-afternoon, and Aaron and I got right to work while the kids went out to play. Our stapler wasn't working well, so I ended up hand-sewing the spines on the little Bible story booklets. God continued to bless our day when I discovered that the man who had done the drawings for the story of creation was now a teacher at the local elementary school. And, he happened to be at his parents' house in Marulaon today! So, I gave him a copy of the story of temptation found in Genesis 3, and he promised to draw some pictures soon. He and another teacher also requested us to make copies for each of the students taking an exam next week at school. They provided a ream of paper to help. Each of the exams has been written by hand, including drawings for science. I can't even imagine writing out 16-20 tests by hand.
While I was out and about, I checked on the kids who were swimming and paddling around. I found my tender-hearted Benjamin rescuing a lizard from a canoe that had turned over and was full of water. He was swimming toward shore with the lizard propped on his hand while the canoe and paddle drifted away. So, Olivia and Katherine went to rescue the canoe!
Our day finished well, too. After church, I was visiting with Margaret, and as we walked back to the house in the dusk, I noticed that the moon was just rising blazing red over the horizon. I ran up to the house and interrupted the others who were singing, and we all stood in awe in the dark as the moon continue to come up.