Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday, August 27

Aaron surprised us yesterday by coming home for a few minutes. What a sweet shock to be helping Katherine with piano one minute and looking up into the face of my husband the next minute!
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One of the translators, Matthew, had a sore that isn't healing well, so he and Aaron paddled back to Marulaon in our new canoe. Aaron doctored the sore and grabbed some extra bandaids while I made a big batch of popcorn to send back to the translation team. Aaron said they finished reviewing Ruth last night and began with the review of Jonah this morning.
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I love hearing my husband get excited about the Bible and the original languages and the whole translation process. While Aaron waited for the 2nd pot of popcorn to finish, he shared a little about the end of Ruth, how meaningful it is to him, and how he hopes that the translators will begin to see the big picture of how the books of the Bible work together.

Friday, August 26

As we travel through history in school, our family enjoys learning about the artists and composers who were producing beautiful masterpieces at that time.
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Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was our focus this week as we attempted our own woodcarvings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesday, August 24

I met with Skita, Eta, and Kiko this morning to talk about “Daughter of the King/Aitum Ovovo.” They decided that there is a huge need to equip moms to talk to their daughters about puberty and staying pure. So, on September 4th, we're going to hold a workshop to read through the first half of the book and talk about the concepts and the scriptures inside. These three precious ladies are going to facilitate small groups. I'm excited about going ahead with this project!
At the end of our brief meeting, Eta was pulling out Skita's gray hairs, so I asked her to come pull mine out, too. After she discovered several and got rid of them, I suggested that we didn't have time for her to find all of mine since I had so many. I do love these women.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monday, August 22

Sarah and Benjamin know they have only a few months left in the Solomon Islands. They are very intentional about how they spend their time, especially here in Marulaon.
Over the weekend, our friends Leku and Ruthie took my high school students to explore a nearby island which was occupied during WWII. The aunties were full of stories from the war, when Marulaon was occupied by the Japanese.
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The adventurers crawled over a barge from the war that had run aground and tromped through the dense undergrowth to find the remains of old buildings, too.
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For lunch, they fished and dove for shellfish. Cooking was easy, you just “burn” (throw them on the fire) the critters. My kids came back a little sun-kissed, wind blown, and very happy just as the sun was setting.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Saturday, August 20

Snapshots of a normal week in Marulaon Village
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May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By his love and pow'r controlling
All I do and say.
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May the word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only thro' his pow'r.
May the peace of God, my Father,
Rule my life in ev'rything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

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May the love of Jesus fill me,
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing
This is victory.
May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe.
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

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May his beauty rest upon me
As I seek to lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only him.
~Kate B. Wilkinson, 1925
Tune: St. Leonards

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sunday, August 14

Here's Aaron's report:
The translation team gathered again to work on peer review of Ruth. With individual translators drafting the text, we believe it is important for the translation team to come together to give a peer review. This not only helps to clean up the rough draft and give us more confidence of having a “good” draft to send to the exegetical check, but it also provides the translators a good opportunity to hone their skills and to learn from each other.

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Our team consists of translators who each are leaders in their respective villages and each have many family and community obligations. When we come together, it is often good to assemble at a village that is not home to anyone on the team. This provides a separation from those regular obligations, allowing each member of the team to focus on the translation work at hand. It also gives visibility of the translation work to the hosting village. We want all the Lavukal people to have a feeling of ownership of the translation, to know what it going on so they can pray for us, and to be motivated to practically support the translators in their ministry.
One aspect of working together with this team is that they are hard workers and all very motivated to getting the text “right.” Some might call us work-aholics if they observed us in these work sessions. It is not uncommon for us to work 12-16 hour days. We usually shut down when the thinkers grind to a halt. We stop to attend church services and to eat. Otherwise we tend to work. From what we have heard from some colleagues, this is not a common trait. We are very thankful for the devotion of the Lavukal translators.
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Currently the team is assembling together to do peer review and other translation work about every two to three weeks. We try to continue this pace whether the Choate family is in the village or in Honiara. Please continue to pray for the translation team. Each of us are growing in our respective roles and we are encouraged to see some obvious signs of spiritual growth in some of the translators as well.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Thursday, August 11

Please be praying for the Lavukal translation team as they meet today, tomorrow, and Saturday to peer review Ruth and Jonah. It's a long, tedious process, but the results (a clear translation that flows naturally) are worth it!

After some miscommunication and some flexibility in changing plans, Aaron and the translation team finally got off this morning. Our family went down to the beach to see them off just before noon.

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Leonard, with Benjamin as his first mate, and Aaron took off to pick up Matthew from Hae Village, then crisscrossed over to Karumalun Village to pick up Ezekiel. On the way, a huge line of wind and rain blew through. Those of us in the house closed the louvers, but those who were in the boat got soaked. When Benjamin finally got dropped off, before the team headed to Leru Village where Simon lives, he was sopping wet and needed a change of clothes before he ate lunch and finished school.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tuesday, August 9

All of the school kids came back this morning. Seems that some people from another village have a dispute about a boundary line where the new boys dorm is being built, and last night was the perfect time to come destroy the beginnings of the new building. So the headmaster sent all of the kids home. My own school kids love having other kids of the same age in the village during the week! While I was out walking around this afternoon, I found several girls shelling nuts and hanging out in the hammock.
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After lunch today, Aaron walked two miles to Baison, the village on the other end of our island. With no internet or cell phone reception, the best way to communicate information here is face to face. Aaron wanted to talk with our translation committee secretary and also needed to pass a written message to one of our translators in a different village because the translation team is getting together later this week to work on reviewing Ruth and Jonah. The school is in between Marulaon and Baisen, so Aaron was also able to stop and chat with the headmaster, who is from Marulaon. Aaron must have walked really fast, because he completed his business and the four miles in time to be home for supper.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sunday, August 7

Sweet Sabbath
“A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God's work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness...” ~Charles H. Spurgeon
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“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Every time we come back to Marulaon Village, I'm confronted with my weakness. Physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental weakness. I long to be able to do “God's work well and triumphantly.” This weekend, God has been strengthening me in creative ways:
-Several months ago, God moved in the heart of a man in my parents' church to send medicine for the children in Marulaon Village. This weekend, I got to help several baby boys who got their immunizations and needed a little extra TLC.
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-I love watching our kids build cross-cultural relationships here. When guests arrived on Saturday afternoon, Olivia and a few of her friends placed flower necklaces over the neck of each guest. Our chief made a point to say that we were part of the community and that it was appropriate for one of our girls to help with the flowers.
-We got asked to make another birthday cake this weekend. Providing a special treat that would be out-of-the-ballpark expensive in Honiara brings us much joy!
-People let us walk around with their babies here. I can remember dreading going to church back when Sarah and Benjamin were babies. All of the ladies wanted to take my baby away! It's an act of trust to watch somebody walk away with your child. I traipsed around the village yesterday with baby Alfonse on my hip while I looked for my friend, Sylvester. I commonly find each of our kids with a baby in tow (even Benjamin!).
-Before the alarm went off early this morning, the rain began to fall. Once again, God gave us a steady, soft rain that would sink into the ground but also help the level of water in the rain tanks creep back up. The big tank by the church emptied yesterday, and the two small tanks in front of our house were down to little trickles. Sitting on the porch this morning with my Bible, God refreshed my spirit with cool rain and His Word.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Friday, August 5

Yesterday afternoon when school was finished, I walked around most of the village. Not many people were home, but it was really nice to chat with the few that were around. I found Ruthie and Leku sitting on their steps, and enjoyed a good visit for more than an hour. When I looked at watch at discovered that it was time for radio sched with SITAG, Leku grabbed me and said she had a watermelon for our family. We enjoyed it with lunch today. It was beautiful, sweet, and yellow inside!
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Nako and her baby boy, Samuel, came home from Yandina's clinic yesterday, so I made extra lunch of curried pumpkin and lentils over rice to share with her.
Margaret came and weeded our ground for several hours this morning. No matter how hard I try, I can't make our yard look right in the eyes of our neighbors. So I pay friends to help me! Every single time we leave the village, my language skills go backwards. I was thrilled that I caught what Margaret said in two different extended conversations this morning. Once, when I took down some pumpkin seeds, she told me to take the dish back up into the house so the village kids wouldn't ruin the seeds. And another time she asked me what I planned to plant in an area I was clearing. Even though I can't spit out very much Lavukaleve, I'm encouraged when I can hear and understand it.

Thursday, August 4

Ezekiel stopped by and chatted with Aaron on our porch recently. When he left, Aaron wrote this encouraging summary:
On St. James' day, he was the gospel reader. As he prepared, an idea came to his mind of how to really get the people to understand what the work of Bible translation was really all about. Ezekiel looked ahead to the gospel reading for the special day and worked up a rough draft of the required verses from the gospel of Matthew (which is being drafted at this time by the Translation Team).
Ezekiel talked with the new District Priest of his plan and made sure the priest was approving and knew the intent was to build interest in God's word, not to deceive the people. 
When the time came in the service for the reading, Ezekiel had a Pijin Bible and put his paper with the Lavukaleve version of the reading discretely in the pages so that the congregation did not know it was there. 
He read the passage in Lavukaleve and the whole place was so surprised. Many afterward had comments for Ezekiel. One dealt with the reading itself. A member of the translation committee encouraged Ezekiel that he read it just right (a big issue for us as we are starting to sort out where to put punctuation marks). Another man asked where the Lavukaleve Bible was that he read from because he wanted to see it. Ezekiel explained that we don't have it yet, but that they now have a better idea of what we are doing in the translation project. Many talked about how clear and understandable it was in their language and how happy they were to hear it. There was also another big encouragement for Ezekiel who had worked hard on his draft making it have older words with full meaning, but balanced with the style of talk that the younger generation also uses. He got many comments that it was really good at being the real Lavukaleve for everyone.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Wednesday, August 3

Nako's daddy, David, was at our house before seven this morning to let us know that she and the baby were about to leave in a motor canoe for the bigger clinic in Yandina. The baby had begun running a fever and needed a better equipped clinic. So, I raced down the hill to find a crowd of women and children surrounding Nako who was holding a tiny bundle. All I could do as they stepped in the canoe was say a quick prayer over baby and mama as I slipped a little petrol money into my friend's hand.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tuesday, August 2

God is answering prayers for rain! Our neighbors told us that when we came back, God would give rain to Marulaon. Today we've gotten a nice, soft garden rain all day long. The ground couldn't handle a “gully washer” anyway, because the dirt is so dry and cracked. Please keep praying for a good balance of rain and sun.

I found out yesterday that my sweet friend, Ofoaen, has a new grandbaby. Her daughter Nako delivered a little boy early yesterday morning. In the last year and half, a bunch of baby boys have been born here, but only one little girl. They are at the clinic in another village because our clinic is closed.

This afternoon, two little boys were hanging around our house. During a break in the rain, I went down to chase down our rake which we had loaned out. The boys finally approached me with three small coconut crab for sale. I bought the two biggest ones with Nako in mind, and Aaron hung them up on the porch with the rope that safely held their claws. After evening prayer, I asked Nancy what to do to keep the crabs alive overnight. Nako's dad plans to visit the clinic tomorrow morning, and I want to send the crabs to her. Nancy said to put the crabs in a bag and tie them tightly. So we did. And we put them in a bucket with a lid. On the porch. We've had way too many escapee crabs!

Sunday, July 31

Thanks to our SITAG friends, we were down at the wharf by 6:30, watching the rising sun make each ship especially beautiful in the glow.
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The Kosco was moored farther away from the dock than we've ever seen before, so each pass from the wharf to the ship required a leap and a helping hand.
SITAG lined up and formed a line of muscles
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that got our cargo quickly loaded onto the ship.
We had plenty of time to visit and play games in our favorite spot on the ship. If we had arrived even half an hour later, we would have had to look for a different place.
Some of our SITAG family arrived around 8:00 to send us off with their prayers and hugs. My favorite part of the whole trip is when our colleagues gather around us and encourage us with prayer, right there on the deck of the ship.

We hadn't seen the ship this full in a very long time. The crane even loaded a couple of motor canoes on top of the ship! Because of the extra loading time, we didn't pull out until 9:40. The rest of the day passed as we read or ate or dozed. At one point, a couple of drunk guys made life a little exciting, but it also providing some bonding time with a family who were also on their way to the Russell Islands to see a sick family member.

As we got closer and closer to Marulaon we began to see rain on the main island of Pavuvu and a huge rainbow spread behind us. The beautiful arc was wide and flat and I couldn't get it all in one camera shot.

The last hour from Yandina to Marulaon always goes the most slowly because we know we are getting closer to home.

Olivia dozed (she lost her lunch over the side of the ship) while the rest of us gawked at the beauty unfolding around us.

When we finally reached Marulaon, we could see the line of rain coming and the skies were growing dark as the sun descended. The kids said the motor boats coming toward us looked a motorcycle gang coming from the end of Marulaon.

The girls and I climbed across the slippery deck and down the rope ladder to jump our way across three motor canoes. Leonard was ready for us and whisked us away to land while the guys began to load our cargo in the next canoe. Our neighbors are truly amazing. When we landed, it was pitch dark. A new moon provided no light, and I was thankful for my phone with its flashlight. The rain hadn't reached Marulaon, so our trek to the house was dry. Only a few of our friends realized we had arrived, but those faithful friends helped unload the first load of cargo off the canoe, from hand to hand, to the beach, up the rocky hill to our house. Over and over again. I'm grateful for the things we own that we get to bring back and forth. School books and pecans and American chili powder make Marulaon feel a little bit more like home.

By the time I got in the house, my quads were cramping (obviously, I'm just out of shape!). The guys finally arrived on shore with the gas cylinder to find that we girls had finished moving the rest of the cargo up to the house. I was so proud of my wet, tired family. Thirteen hours after we arrived at the Honiara wharf, we walked into our house. Thanks for all of the prayers that sustained us through the long day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Safely in Marulaon

Hello, friends!

The Choates made it safely to Marulaon over good seas. They arrived to a full rain tank and, as of last e-mail, were enjoying a drizzly morning of rain showers. Please continue praying for a good balance of rain and sunshine!

E-mail is iffy, at best, but some things are trickling through. So, keep praying. A blog post will hopefully be coming soon!

- Ann