Thursday, January 21, 2021

Monday, January 18

“We don’t all need to be making biscuits, but we should all be doing something. We should be getting our hands into stuff to give. We should be blessing others, thinking of others, giving to others. And we should be doing it so freely that we don’t remember it, because we are willing to wait to see what is done with it. We are willing to see, years down the road, what kind of interest accrued on those biscuits.” Rachel Jankovic, Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood

Since the soccer tournament is over, the requests for pain relievers and band-aids have decreased. But more and more people are asking for fishing hooks and birthday cakes! The little girls who want to fish always ask for Katherine when they come to our door, and the youth ask for Olivia.

(photo of Olivia and twins)

But my friends ask me for birthday cakes. Tomorrow, we will deliver two birthday cakes, one for each of these twins. And Wednesday, another birthday cake will go next door to our chief’s family as his oldest child celebrates her 20th birthday.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Friday, January 15

“Until we learn contentment in God alone, we’ll run far with our earthly desires and worship either their presence or their absence.” -Glenna Marshall, Everyday Faithfulness

Email is another little piece of sandpaper that quickly reveals where I have been looking for life. In the Strengths Finder evaluation, “Connection” tops the list for me. With no internet or phone, our satellite email is the only connection I have with the outside world. For some reason that my very tech challenged brain doesn’t understand, our email situation is different this time. We’re using much more data every time we ping the satellite, and since we pay by how much data we use, we’re paying a lot more during this village stay. The team at JAARS has been absolutely amazing, answering questions, making suggestions, and giving us updated information about our data. But WOW I like my connectivity. I like making a cup of coffee and finally resting in my rocking chair on the porch while our email unit beeps away and brings me words from people I love around the world. On our other village trips, I might do this three or four times a day. Now we are limiting ourselves to hooking up that precious connection to the outside world only once a day, at most, to cut down on costs. I’m a slow learner, thankfully God is patient with me as He reveals places in my life where I have tried to find comfort instead of learning “contentment in God alone.”

Wednesday, January 13

About half an hour after Aaron left to paddle to work with Ezekiel, two of my friends showed up unannounced to weed in my yard. We had already talked about me hiring them to take care of the area around the house during 2021, but I didn’t know when to expect them. Thankfully, I had planned to make a big pot of milked potatoes and pumpkin greens for lunch, so there was plenty to share.

(photo of proposalversary)

Celebration is the spiritual discipline associated with gratitude. Thus, we look for every opportunity to celebrate God’s presence with us and his activity among us.” -Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

Twenty-four years ago today, with a ring in one hand and a tub of rocky road ice cream in the other, Aaron asked me to marry him. So today we celebrated with homemade rocky road when Aaron paddled back home. He called it “Rocky Road Resurfaced” because we substituted cream cheese instead of marshmallows. The results delighted us! We look back at the ups and downs of our relationship, and we are so grateful to be able to “celebrate God’s presence with us and his activity among us.”

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Tuesday, January 12

One of the young moms asked Olivia to teach her how to make a chocolate (aka birthday) cake to bake in a drum oven. The mom had been wanting to learn for a long time, but she was afraid to ask me because I am a “big woman.” Yesterday afternoon, Olivia took down ingredients and a recipe for an eggless chocolate cake, and a wide range of ladies practiced stirring and measuring and mixing. After evening prayer, Olivia returned to show them how to make chocolate icing, too. And then they gobbled it all up.

(photo of Olivia and chocolate cake)

When we come to live in Marulaon, we have to bring everything we need with us: food, toiletries, school supplies, etc. We are constantly monitoring levels of everything from toilet paper to beans to how much propane is left in the cylinder. When Aaron started the kettle boiling for coffee this morning, the burner lit just fine. But after a few minutes, the flame sputtered out. So he tiptoed down the stairs and underneath the house to switch gas cylinders, then quietly relit the refrigerator (which also runs on propane) and got the kettle boiling again on the stove top when he came back up to the house. We are so grateful that the gas ran out when we were awake and could quickly catch the need to switch to a full cylinder. Our little freezer holds some precious ground beef that we will continue to use during the rest of our village stay.

Monday, January 11

Last night, our community gathered to celebrate the 1st and 3rd place finishes by our village’s soccer teams in last week’s tournament. The festivities also included a dance party to close out the sing roll and New Year’s exuberance. When our friends told us that the party would last until daylight, we didn’t believe them. But after we got home from the feast and speeches, the DJ kicked up the volume and the bass literally shook our house. Until six o’clock this morning.

(photo of translation)

We watched Ezekiel paddle across the glassy ocean to our village, and he and Aaron sat down to work. Evidently, Karumalun Village could hear the music all night long, too! I wanted to make sure the guys had good fuel for their sleepy brains and bodies, so I took two big pumpkins and stuffed them with a mixture of coconut cream, fish, onions, garlic, salt, and curry. Usually, I cook this recipe on hot stones, but since we still don’t have an outdoor kitchen, I just wrapped the pumpkins in foil, set each one in a 9x13 dish, and baked them in the oven. The hot stones must cook faster, because instead of one hour, my oven took closer to three (and I kept turning up the temperature), but the results were worth it!

Sunday, January 10

“Human beings in community are like rocks in a riverbed; we are shaped by the flow of life in the communities we are a part of.” -Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

(photo of Olivia and Losma)

Our kids are forever shaped by the flow of our Marulaon community, and each one of them has embraced his or her personality and giftings to pour into and shape our community. Olivia makes opportunities. She does everything full throttle. In fact, I joke sometimes with our neighbors that Olivia is like a 60 horsepower engine (the biggest we have in our area). She plays at 60 horsepower, she works at 60 horsepower, she does school at 60 horsepower, she feels at 60 horsepower.

Saturday, January 9

“Trials reveal your true thoughts and desires where you have been looking for life, where you have sought meaning and where you have looked to give you hope.” -P.D. Tripp, Suffering

Sometimes the grade of the “sandpaper” is rougher than other times. This week, we’ve experienced some of those sandpaper moments, just small trials that reveal where I have sought meaning and where I have looked to give me hope.

Things like late night “sing roll” challenge me. When Olivia participates, she reminds her friends that she still has school, even though they don’t, and she comes home before midnight. Since we arrived in the village more than two weeks ago, we haven’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep, headaches plague me. And I’m crabby.

Our family’s habit is to leave the battery powered twinkly white lights on, and when Olivia comes home, she turns them off. With no ceilings in the house, we can easily see if the lights are reflecting on the inside of our roof and know if everyone is safely tucked in bed. One night Aaron forgot that Olivia was gone, and he turned off the lights and locked the door. When Olivia got home, she called to Katherine to unlock the door because her bedroom window is right next to the stairs leading to our porch.  Yay for unselfish sisters who are willing to climb out of a comfortable bed!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Friday, January 8

I’m so grateful for our state’s digital library system, its wide variety of books helps me toward my goal of life long learning. Even here in the village, I try to take at least a few minutes each day to rest my body and sharpen my mind. Before we left Honiara, I checked out three books to read on the Kindle:

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dimitri Shostakovich & the Seige of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson

Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, & Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking by Bill Buford

- Glory in the Ordinary by Courtney Reissig

Thursday, January 7

Marulaon hosted a soccer tournament this week for village from the Central and Western Russells. The girls alternated between tackling school and cheering for the home teams (our village had five teams and two of them made it to the last day).

(photo of Marulaon Soccer)

Aaron and Ezekiel worked all day long at the church, with only a short lunch break. When Aaron brought home the dishes at the end of the day, I learned that Ezekiel liked the curried chunks of pumpkin that I served. Many people around here don’t like the fruit of the pumpkin and will eat only the leaves. We like both! I happily put the leftovers in a big jar and sent them home with Ezekiel.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Wednesday, January 6

Today we hosted our “First Annual Epiphany Morning Tea” underneath our house for the catechists and their wives, along with Chief Hensi and his wife. Sharing our family’s tradition of hiding “baby Jesus” in the cake was a small way to say thank you to these couples who serve the community so faithfully. And it was fun to be able to hand out the frisbees whenever anyone found a whole almond in his or her piece of cake. The best part? Hearing Matthew 2:1-12 read in Lavukaleve!

Tuesday, January 5

We thought we had it figured out. A few boards, a few nails, and the new rain tank stand would be in place lickety-split. That was a year ago. Obviously, our cross cultural communication and understanding still has a lot of room for improvement. Daily, we earnestly pray for the Holy Spirit to whisper in our ears as we navigate every nuance of living immersed in another culture.

(photo of rain tank building)

This time, Aaron delivered a handwritten note with some reimbursement for time and energy and supplies tucked inside. And by the end of the day, we had a new stand for our 1200 gallon rain tank. I’ve struggled watching the water shoot out the end of the gutter with nowhere to go except the ground. Now I feel like we are being better stewards of the precious resource of water.

(photo of rain tank cleaning)

Before the tank could be placed on the new stand, it needed to be cleaned out. After sitting underneath our house for more than a year, it was full of stones tossed in by children and cobwebs built by spiders who thought this cavernous dry rain tank provided the perfect place for a home. Aaron and Katherine crawled inside to insure that the tank was ready to receive rain.

(photo of rain tank painting)

Aaron also needed to prepare the stand so it will last as long as possible in our tropical climate. He spent some time today painting a waterproof coating on the wood so our neighbors will have fresh, clean drinking water from this tank for a very long time.

Monday, January 4

One of my friends told me a funny story today. On New Year’s Eve, when our neighbors were gathering to ring the bell and beat the drum and make a lot of noise to welcome the new year, her daughter was standing with a group of young people at the corner of our house. They were counting down to midnight and getting ready to make a ruckus, but at just a few minutes before the stroke of twelve, Aaron walked out on our porch, and the group scattered in fear that he was coming to get them. What they couldn’t see was that he had a rat trap in his hand. The trap had just sprung, and Aaron was only walking down to drown the critter in the ocean before coming back to bed!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Sunday, January 3

It is not wrong to make resolutions, but it is useless to do so unless we season them well with believing cries to God. Davide intended to keep the law of the Lord but first he needed the Lord of the law to keep him.” -C.H. Spurgeon, The Golden Alphabet

I’ve set myself a goal of typing in the hand written translation first drafts for thirty minutes each morning and thirty minutes each afternoon. That’s about all my eyes can handle as I ponder over the cursive written in dull pencil, often over erased portions. I’m still working on Luke, but as soon as I finish it (which will be a while at my very slow pace!), I have Philippians to begin.

(photo of leaf house)

The translation team continues to balance drafting scripture with editing, refining, and checking it. Slowly and carefully, the pieces are coming together for the Lavukal to have God’s Word in their own language.