Friday, February 27, 2015
We cooked it up with pumpkin greens coconut milk, curry, and salt for lunch. It's claws were as big as Katherine's feet!
After we were in bed last night, Aaron and I heard the bell ring three times slowly, the signal that somebody had died. I didn't hear anyone wailing, so I didn't think the deceased was from our village. While at market I learned about the bitter part of the day. The death was in Leru Village, and a man had killed his mother and sister with a bush knife. Several close relatives live in Marulaon, including our translation committee chairman, Hiva, whose sister was killed. The whole village is stunned. We have had the opportunity to send food and petrol for the needs of the family, and we would really appreciate prayers for the families and villages that have been touched.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
We have eight weeks left in the Choate school year, and Sarah and Benjamin finished the dissections for biology today. It's been so fun to watch them work together and to enjoy their delight and fascination as they learn. They have been a good team for a long time.
Thanks to all of you who have been praying for our kids' residence permits to be finalized. SITAG's director has been spending hours in the immigration office on our behalf. She has also been fighting for permits and visas and all kinds of paperwork for several other SITAG teams. Here's part of her update that showed up in our e-mail inbox today:
The next challenge is trying to finish off the permits for the Choate kids. This has been going on for months and was held up due to the change in policy and new required forms. It is no exaggeration that over the past few weeks I have been making 1-2 trips a day to follow up on these pending cases. Documents seem to be getting lost in Immigration and it's been an ongoing challenge, but one that I think we have nearly 'won'.
One of the things that came out of the meeting is the date for the next meeting of the entire committee - March 8. Please be in prayer for this meeting. Weather affects transport since almost every village is on a different island. Another exciting thing that came out of this meeting is the ground breaking for a translation office.
The office will be really nice to have, but more than that, it represents the momentum of the translation committee and the project as a whole. Sometimes it feels as if we are going backwards! But this morning, the goal was for the three Marulaon committee members to dig the post holes for the small translation office.
The four servant hearted guys began work shortly after Morning Prayer, while the day was still a little bit "cool". They cleared the brush with a grass knife, measured and lined up small sticks to mark where to dig, and then the hard work began. Chief Leonard and Walter had some other commitments, so Aaron and Hiva finished digging and scooping out the dirt with coconut shells.
By ten o'clock, the day's work was finished, and the committee members had all cleared out to go do their own personal work. Chief Leonard has the posts waiting in Leru Village, and the next step is supposed to take place on Saturday morning.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Children are such a gift. I love kids in any place, but I especially love the ones that God has given Aaron and me. Right now, Katherine delights all of us. From her sweet lyrics that she writes on the chalk board (can you tell we've been singing "I Need Thee Every Hour"?)
to her questions after the lights are out at night, "Mama, do dolphins have bones?" to her made up recipes and prolific art hanging the length of the hallway. She is always creating, composing, loving, and inquisitive, and fully the Meyer's Briggs ISFP sensitive artist type. That sensitivity spans physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental realms. This picture of Jesus showed up on our dry erase board:
I revel in watching my kids blossom and grow into the lovely people that God made each one of them to be!
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Pray for God's Guidance
Pray...so that by God's will I may come to you with joy.... Romans 15:31-32 (NIV)
Many missionaries travel frequently, both nationally and internationally. Their mode of transportation varies from country to country and often involves stressful situations.
- Pray for clear guidance from God regarding travel decisions.
- Pray for necessary permissions to travel.
- Pray for protection and provision during their travels.
Sarah and Aaron got home last night around 8:30. They left the other village just as supper was being served, so we pulled out some leftovers and triumphantly presented the caramel corn as a Valentine's Day treat. The parents and teenagers stayed up late chatting over the happenings of the day.
We learned that Sarah helped her Aunties decorate for the welcome of the diocese bishop. She also sang in the Marulaon choir who was assigned to the official welcome. I'm so proud of the lovely young woman that Sarah has become! This morning, that alarm seemed to go off super early, but we dragged everybody out of bed and made a quick pot of oatmeal to fortify us through the long morning. Officially, you aren't supposed to eat before a communion service, but I knew I wouldn't do well without some food in my tummy.
We were down at the beach just a few minutes after 6:00, and Belza showed up a few minutes later to whisk us away in his canoe taxi. The sunrise and the view were absolutely beautiful.
Belza is such a good driver. When we came out of the shelter of the smaller islands and entered more open sea, the swells increased. Belza knew exactly how to maneuver the boat, slow down and speed up, whatever it took to ease the ride. So thankful for his skill in driving!
Nukofero Village is located on "mainland", one of the larger islands that make up our area. This village is nestled at the bottom of some mountains, and we watched the tiny speck of the bishop's ship, the Southern Cross, come into view in the little harbor in front of Nukofero.
Unbeknownst to us, the service was following clock time, not Solomon Time, and we pulled up on shore just as we heard the bell signaling that the service was beginning. We carried Marulaon's contribution of cooked pig and the contribution of a beautifully carved table up the hill, and then Aaron and Sarah slipped into the choir while the rest of us found seats at the back of the very full church.
The first time I knelt down in the church, I felt little fingers scraping the dirt off the sole of my feet. It tickled, and I fought the urge to turn around and see who was helping me have "clean" feet. The service rang with at least five different languages, the most multi-cultural service I think I've ever attended. The three hour service was in English, but the bishop brought his own choir who responded to the service in their own language and sang in their own language, too. Marulaon's choir sang in Pijin, English, and Lavukaleve, and the announcements were made in Pijin and Tikopian, a Polynesian language. Even though this village is in the Russells, most of the inhabitants are Tikopian and retain the language and customs of their native island.
After church, the village fed the Bishop and his guests, but the rest of us went to find some shade and hang out for a while. I was so thankful that we brought a hand of bananas and some precious hard boiled eggs. My friend, Kiko, was glad we brought bananas, too. I think she ate four of them in a row! Most of our friends chowed down on betel nut to push through the hunger until the feasting began in a few hours. We enjoyed a really sweet time of visiting with old friends and making new ones as we waited for the festivities to begin.
The whole family was invited to come sit on the benches with the "big men". The kids and I declined, preferring to stay with our friends from Marulaon, since each village had a section in the shade. Finally, I joined some of the "big women" from the bishop's visiting group. They knew the SITAG translation advisor who had lived in their village, so that gave us some common ground. Watching my sweet kids and my friends sit on the ground together, wave flies together, visit together...all of it was so sweet. I'm thankful for the many ways the Marulaon community has opened its arms and hearts to our family.
Before anybody could eat, the speeches had to be given. Aaron was thrilled that he was not on the speech list this time! At one point during the speeches, Benjamin came over to us and whispered that he was going to go help Dawa tie up the pig that our church district was giving to the Bishop. Aaron just grinned and nodded his head.
Finally, the speeches were finished, and we enjoyed digging into the wonderful food that God has put in the Russell Islands, especially the fish, shellfish, and cassava pudding. I really do think that God had lots of fun creating this area that is so beautiful and so abundant with sea creatures.
When it came time for our district to make the presentation, we all started from far away, singing and dancing in the hot early afternoon sun, whooping and hollering while Aaron and Dawa laid the pig next to the Bishop and we all filed by and shook his hand.
In between the presentations, different groups presented dances. Again, several different cultures were represented: the visitors from Isabel, the Tikopian transplants, and our Lavukal neighbors. Each group was beautiful and fun to watch!
Towards the end of the dancing, the moves became less traditional and more inappropriate. When I made a comment to Grace about how I didn't like it, she said, "Sikalam" which basically means "Trash!" So, we got up and left and found that we weren't alone among our Marulaon neighbors. As my friend Julie wrote, "It must be exhausting/difficult to know which aspects of culture to accept and support, and which to try to bring into obedience with God's Word." Belza had two groups to ferry back and forth, and he was as eager as we were to get started on the long ride back home. We finally pulled up to Marulaon about 5:30, just as the Kosco was pulling out to continue its trip out West. Exhausted and thirsty, we traipsed up the hill for a quick shower, a bite of leftovers, and an early bedtime.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
You might have heard reports that there was an earthquake in the Solomons. Most of the family was outside and didn’t even notice it. Joanna said she only noticed because, from her position on the porch, she could tell that the house and water in the rank tank were shaking just a bit.
All that to say, all is well and they are fine!
In scraping the coconuts, I pulled something in my back in a place that is prone to injury ever since I went and collected big motu stones in the river on one of the Russell Islands's big islands. Some people have old football injuries, I have old cooking injuries from the village! I've been doing school on my back in bed, getting up from time to time, but mostly trying to rest my back for the upcoming trip on Sunday.
Barnabas brought his empty bowl back within a few hours of delivery. He was SO happy and told me his belly was full now. Edwin returned his bowl on Thursday, but he didn't get to eat his food. He was in the garden when Aaron delivered the bowl, and somebody else ate the food!
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
As the sun began to dip behind the trees, several of our neighbors helped us take down the old metal tank and lift up the new plastic tank into the perfect spot to fill up pots and pans with clean water. This morning after market, Ofoaen sent her work crew (husband, son, and various assorted male neighbors) to bring the old tank over to her house. She is SO excited to get this tank (which we considered trash) to collect water to use for washing bodies and clothes.
Lots of people turned out to give advice to the guys trying to move the unwieldy rain tank. Ofoaen's daughter, Naris, had to rescue the guys when they almost knocked over a clothesline with the big tank. She held up the line so they could pass underneath.
Benjamin watched the whole process from the top of a cutnut tree where he was knocking down ripe nuts with a bamboo pole. He also provided entertainment for our neighbors who were quick to tell him to hold on and not fall or to point out some nuts that he missed.
Our morning started with all of that excitement, but now we are back into our normal routine of Aaron meeting with Barnabas and Edwin for language learning, and the rest of us are immersed in school.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Pray...that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there.... Romans 15:31 (NIV)
- Pray that the missionary's ministry and attitude will be worthy of acceptance.
- Pray that colleagues and fellow believers will be supportive.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Pray for Protection
Pray, too, that we will be saved from wicked and evil people, for not everyone believes in the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 (NLT)
- Pray that God will keep Christian workers safe from those who seek to hurt them.
- Pray that God will change the hearts of those who are resistant to his Word.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
And robin bird has ceased his song,
And have the finest kind of play.
As easily as does a boat;
Till Daddy tells me to come out.
Finally dear brothers and sisters,I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord' message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.... 2 Thessalonians 3:1(NLT)
Obstacles must be removed to allow God's Word to spread rapidly and freely. Removing obstacles implies resolute resistance in spiritual warfare. Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses' arms in the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), you can strengthen the arms of missionaries through your prayers.
- Pray for strength and stamina as missionaries encounter antagonistic spiritual forces. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
- Pray that people will resist Satan's plans to obstruct the spread of the gospel. (James 4:7)
- Pray that God's Word will indeed spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.
Friday, February 13, 2015
While the guys work over in the church, the rest of us do school at home. My scholars are so diligent! Yesterday, Sarah and Benjamin dissected a crayfish for biology. I love being able to learn together as a family! And I love the flexibility that school at home brings, too.
Aaron is off this morning for a work day at Fly Harbour Primary School, almost a two mile walk to the other end of our island. His language learning today will be practicing everything he has been learning while we works alongside our neighbors. World Vision is here holding a community awareness program about nutrition, specifically aimed at pregnant and nursing mothers and children ages 0-5. I attended the meeting this morning, while my awesome kids worked hard at home. Mid-morning, when the meeting finished, I came home to find everybody doing well in their studies, and I was able to jump right back into the school day. Now, I'm waiting for Janet to come get me for the next workshop. Of course, I've been waiting for five hours already. Got to love Solomon Time!