Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sweet Sabbath

"I offer you all that I have:  my talents, my training, the years spent honing and crafting and creating, my passions, my personality, my history, the many sacrifices I and others have made in in order for me to be here.  I give you even my brokenness, of which I am also a steward.  I offer now these incomplete and insufficient provisions, remembering how you, in your days among us, twice blessed inadequate offerings, fashioning them into miraculous feasts that would sustain crowds in their hard journeys."  ~Douglas McKelvey, "Every Moment Holy"

We are much more comfortable hiding behind the translation desk, in the back of the cello section, or in the kitchen where no one sees.  But lately, God has been placing us a little bit more in front of people.  So, we continue to bring him our small "loaves and fishes".

"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, 
but how far will they go among so many?"  John 6:9

And we trust that He will use all that He has placed in us as we serve on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.  We're encouraged that the rough draft of Ephesians was recently brought to SITAG, and Aaron now possesses a digital copy.  This is the first time he hasn't had to type the draft from a pen and paper copy!  

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."  Romans 12:1

Will you join us on this day set aside for rest and worship as we once again offer our whole selves, with all our brokenness and history and personalities, as living sacrifices to the One who made us?

Saturday, November 17, 2018


Watching Aaron light up as he interacted with the JBU students this week was a highlight for me.  

So many students got excited as they worked the linguistics puzzles and talked about art and music across cultures.  By far, the neatest thing God did for us personally was to have this couple walk around from table to table, visiting each display.  

Dr. Boling taught at JBU for thirty years.  He taught Aaron's Greek professor, which in a way, makes Aaron a "grand-student".  But after Dr. Boling retired, he volunteered to teach in Dallas, and Aaron studied under him there.  They were reunited this week, and we were reminded that God most often works quietly in His faithful stewards over the years.  Exactly the encouragement we needed.

Friday, November 16, 2018

International Food Festival

Wednesday, the girls and I sat in to listen to the Cathedral Choir rehearse while Aaron manned the table.  Their new director is a bundle of energy!  They are preparing some beautiful music for the Christmas Candlelight performances which are just around the corner.

As soon as choir was finished, we hit the kitchen to prepare for the international food festival.  

We had already hunted down frozen grated cassava, and now we were ready to cook foods to represent the Solomon Islands.

Sarah's amazing roommate helped us spread the cold, messy stuff across the banana leaves.  I sure am thankful for God's provision in a kind, fun, and compatible roommate!

Somebody had to babysit the dorm's oven, so the girls and I moved school into the kitchen, once again leaving Aaron to interact with students at Dallas International University's display.  Our adventures also included a brief stint in the hallway because of a tornado drill.

So while Sarah was in class and work study, we got to hang out with all of the students who were cooking their home country's food for the festival.

And smell the banana leaves as the cassava pudding cooked.  Those leaves do create a distinctive smell.  Some might say di-stink-tive.  Tuesday night, our chicken in the crockpot made everybody asked what smelled so good, but Wednesday night the questions were about what smelled so bad!

The food festival was once again a huge success.  Sarah and Benjamin did a great job of planning a fun, interactive display representing the Solomon Islands.  Blowing the conch shell was a favorite.

  Benjamin can blow it loud and long!

Our village banana cake (made with coconut oil from the Solomon Islands) was a big hit next to the cassava pudding.  

We also had some havu, one of our favorite nuts, that Aaron brought back from his recent trip to the Solomon Islands.

Sarah looked great in the skirt she made herself.

Throughout the evening, different students performed something that represented their home country, and the last one of the night was my two college students singing in Lavukaleve.

 They did a great job, and there was much cheering for these two when they finished.  I'm so proud of the many ways they are taking advantage of every opportunity offered to them at JBU.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Missions Fair

One of the things I love about the work we do is the variety.  So, when Dallas International University contacted us about representing our alma mater at a missions fair, we jumped at the chance.  Aaron and I received our linguistics training at this special school.

And the "World Awareness Week" just happened to be at John Brown University, so seeing our two college kids was a definite bonus!  Tuesday morning kicked off with a parade of flags.  

 Each flag was carried by a student who claimed that country as home, so Benjamin carried the Solomon Islands flag.  Sarah carried it last year.

I was a very proud mama, hooting and hollering with my family by my side.

The majority of our time Tuesday was spent talking with students who visited from table to table with different organizations where they might give themselves once they finish at JBU.

Aaron is definitely in his element as he interacts with students and talks about the ways God might be using them.

Tuesday night, he got to share our top five language and culture learning tips with students, and we got to hear from other missionaries on a variety of topics.  What an exciting day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Ladies Retreat

"There are really only two types of people -- those who accept the need to change and those who don't.  The former grow,;the latter stay trapped in a prison of stagnation."  ~ Dr. Archibald Hart

Last weekend proved a sweet ladies retreat as we reminded each other that despite life's many changes, our anchor is Jesus and he will hold strong.  One of the highlights of the week was taking a walk on the nearby trails.  We visited the Indian Rock House where DeSoto stopped on his search for the Fountain of Youth.

"Embracing change has resulted in a journey of growth, taking me to a place I did not want to go, only to find there the person I wanted to be."  ~Lee McDowell "Embracing Change"

I still struggle to embrace change, but if that's the venue that God uses to help me look more like Him, then I'm thankful for His patience and for the safety His unchangeable, rock steady faithfulness gives me.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

In Heavenly Love Abiding

This is one of my favorite hymns and my prayer this weekend as step out of my comfort zone this weekend and share at a women's retreat.  I'm reminded that whether I'm residing in the South Pacific enjoying fresh coconuts or I'm living in the deep South enjoying the spectacular fall colors, my heart doesn't have to fear change.

In heav'nly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here:
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?

Wherever he may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack:
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way he taketh,
And I will walk with him.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Holy Trinity

"There is nothing for those who are really my friends.  I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."  ~Jane Austen

My "holy trinity" of ladies, Ann, Julie, and Gayly, have walked through so many ups and downs with me over the years and across the miles.  Like Jane Austen, none of them love by halves.

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness.  Look at your three best friends.  If they're ok, then it's you."  ~Rita Mae Brown

These ladies keep me accountable and bring me joy.  When Julie was stitching this beautiful quilt for me, she had no idea that shortly after she left Arkansas I would be huddled underneath it drinking my cold care tea.  So grateful for friends and the ways they nourish me!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Mt. Nebo. Again.

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."  ~George Elliot

We wanted to take Julie to one of our favorite placesMt. Nebo.

There is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon worshipping, playing, and resting than traipsing around the beautiful trails on this little mountain.

Time and time again, we've felt our spirits and bodies revived and strengthened by time spent in this special place.

The waterfall flowed with more water than we've ever seen before!


Although our hike began with dark clouds, they parted as we began the descent.

This little state park doesn't have fancy bells and whistles, nor is it a top tourist destination.

Thanks to Julie for sharing a very cold picnic (and later for sharing her pictures) as we watched the sun slip behind the hills in our very own worship service.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Old Mill and Pancakes

While Katherine attended youth orchestra rehearsal in Little Rock last Saturday, Julie and I attended a "Body Pump" class.  Julie contributed to my gym membership so I could get healthier and stronger, and I wanted to share that joy with her.

 Saturday afternoon, we met the Hibbards at the Old Mill.

According to Little Rock's website, "The Old Mill is famous for the opening scene in the movie, "Gone With The Wind", made in 1939. (It is believed to be the only remaining structure from the film.)"

Sunday morning, we started our Sabbath day of rest and worship by eating pancakes at Stoby's.  The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre was holding a fundraiser:  all you can eat pancakes and sausage for $5!  

We love their summer festival and anticipated seeing one of the orchestra students involved in the festival as he served pancakes. Sure enough, he was there, and we enjoyed supporting the arts while filling our bellies.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Arkansas History

Our adventures in Arkansas history continue to delight us.  Recently I discovered that Arkansas housed two Japanese internment camps during WWII, so when my friend Julie decided to come back for a visit, we knew that a trip to southeast Arkansas was in the plans.

Our first stop was the Japanese American Internment Museum in McGehee, where we added a visitor's pin to the Solomon Islands.  An excellent video resource is "Time of Fear", which provided a great foundation of information before we toured the small museum.  

We've just discovered "Relocation Arkansas:  Aftermath of Incarceration", and we're hoping to watch it very soon as a follow up to our field trip.

After we enjoyed a picnic lunch, we drove over to Rowher and the monuments that still remain.

The Rowher War Relocation Center would have been right next to this small cemetery.

The monuments stood in honor of the Japanese American soldiers who gave their lives to fight for the same America that was holding their families in isolation.

Aaron and I were both reminded of the Japanese Memorial and some of the war remnants we've seen in Honiara as we looked around this little spot currently nestled in between fields in Arkansas.

"May the people of Arkansas keep in beauty and reverence forever this ground where our bodies sleep."  I'm thankful that this place is respectfully preserved in memory.  

Ann and I are both planners, we find that thinking ahead smooths the path for us.  But leading up to this weekend, we both felt like we were panting and trying to catch our breath.  So when supper time rolled around, and we were still on the road, we decided that Julie needed a good taste of Southern culture.

Enter "The Bullpen" with its all-you-can-eat buffet, complete with catfish, hushpuppies, onion rings, frog legs, and banana pudding.  What a fun way to end a day that had been a little bit serious as we learned about some hard things.  So grateful for these ladies and their friendship!  On the way home, we even saw a huge meteor streak across the sky