Saturday, March 27, 2021

Out of isolation...

 


We're so grateful for the ten days in isolation that we've enjoyed.  They have been a sweet opportunity to rest and to let our bodies and minds adjust to America.  We've hit the trails with picnics, practiced music, gently reminded ourselves how to drive on the right hand side of the road without accidentally hitting the windshield wipers,


and slowly begun the adventure of shopping for things we need.  In small doses and with lots of snacks packed in the van.  Finally getting nose pads on my glasses again (they popped off months ago) was a life changing experience.


And now we are enjoying carefully catching up with people we love...friends in Bible translation and former students.  We're looking forward to attending Palm Sunday at Hillcrest Baptist Church where we've made so many sweet memories.


Friday, March 19, 2021

Home again, home again, jiggity, jig!


A huge thank you to everyone who has been praying through our transition from the Solomon Islands back to America.


Our SITAG family prayed for us during morning tea, and then several of them joined us with picnic lunches in the leaf house outside the airport.  We checked in so early that we had plenty of time to eat and chat and enjoy each other's company one more time before boarding.



Our first, and shortest, flight to Brisbane went smoothly.  We were four of nineteen passengers on the Solomon Airlines flight.  We quickly transited the Brisbane airport and enjoyed Subway, the only restaurant open.  The next flight was 14 1/2 hours to Dubai, somewhere we had never traveled before.  Our bodies had no clue what time it was supposed to be, but the clocks said we arrived a five something in the morning, so finding coffee was a top priority.


We could barely see the skyline through the hazy skies, and we bought a deck a cards to remind us of our journey.  During our layover, we watched a couple walk off and leave a phone on the bench behind us.  I ran after them with the phone, and when they returned to wait for the plane, they brought a big box of McDonald's french fries as a thank you to our family!


Our last flight took sixteen hours to fly us from Dubai to Dallas, we couldn't have asked for a smoother trip.  All of our luggage arrived, with only one broken mug handle.  Now we focusing on getting our bodies on Dallas time, enjoying fresh broccoli and cooler weather, and watching Spring burst into bloom.  We appreciate the continued prayers for our transition and the anticipated culture shock that always accompanies an international move.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday Favorite Five

Today we leave for America.  Again.  This time, we will fly the "wrong way"...around the world through the Middle East (because COVID).  Our transition will be a bit longer due to our self imposed quarantine and a side trip to celebrate with our college kids before we move into our house in central Arkansas.  So many wise people have written well about cross cultural transition, so today's Friday Favorite Five is a special resource for those who join us in moving around the world:


*Laughing in the Face of Transition (I might add that Dude Perfect has become one of our favorite laugh producers)

*10 Things to Tell Yourself During Transition (#2 Ask for help...so grateful for the people on both side of the globe who are willing to help us in the midst of the chaos!)

*Finding God in the Fog of Massive Transitions ("I know I'm relaxing in Jesus when...")

*Transition - Building a RAFT

*Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First ("How you process your own emotions and work through challenging situations directly impacts how your child will do so. This doesn't only impact their "little years" but sets the patterns for the rest of their life.")

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

On the road again...


...except this time we'll be singing, "In the air again..."  We're cleaning out the fridge, weighing suitcases, and getting COVID tests.


 Meat Cheato works well together, and we're just about ready to get on the plane that will begin our journey back to America.  Three flights, following a different route and going places we've never been before!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sweet Sabbath

 Will we say no to all other kings, including self, because we trust in God alone and the King he’s set over us? Or will we concoct some mix of God and safe, tangible plan B? This is our fight on the daily: whether or not we’ll hedge our bets, whether or not we’ll cultivate wholeheartedness.

-Christine Hoover, “With All Your Heart



Cultivating wholeheartedness challenges me every single day.  God gave me a sweet reminder in my daily Bible reading yesterday...remembering the miracles He has performed and celebrating His faithfulness fuels my trust and my wholeheartedness.

"But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands.  They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them." 
Nehemiah 9:16-17, NIV

Today, we find it easy to celebrate, because God has provided a vehicle for our time in America.  Using generous friends with the knack of finding vehicles for us and the willingness to drop everything and deliver a van to Dallas, we will have a vehicle waiting for us when we arrive next weekend.  We alternate between tears of gratitude and shouts of joy at this unexpected blessing.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Olivia's farewell



Olivia requested cassava pudding for her SITAG farewell and recognition of her graduation.  So Thursday afternoon, we began the preparations.  To include our entire SITAG family, we planned to host the festivities during the lunch hour so nobody's work would be interrupted.


We were delighted by how many people took time to come help us dig, peel, and scrape cassava.  Our sweet employees stayed late after work and thoughtful colleagues gave up the hours when they could have been working on their own food prep.



This morning, we set the alarms for 4:30 so we could get the fire started in time.  Because of the rain, the night was cool for the Solomon Islands, and we found the guard asleep in the outdoor kitchen.  He willingly helped us build the fire in record time.


Another one of our friends woke up early to help cut banana leaves and to assemble the trays with us.  We had everything cooking in plenty of time! 


 Our lunch celebration of Olivia included notes from SITAG family past and present, a slideshow of her 12 1/2 years in the Solomon Islands, lots of delicious food, and a brief time of blessing and prayer for her.  

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

"Light tomorrow with today!"  -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We took some time in between packing and sorting to say goodbye to friends from Marulaon who are living in Honiara.  When this crew finished their Christmas break in Marulaon, sweet Ruthie intentionally tiptoed by our house as the sun was coming up and sang out her goodbyes to Olivia before the motorboat left. 


Ruthie is one of our family's first and best friends.  She has watched our kids grow up and we've watched her daughter, Bethany, grow up.  Ruthie is generous with her resources and looks after our kids like they are her own.

We're so grateful for the years of building relationships that God has given us on this side of the Pacific Ocean.  When we arrived in Marulaon twelve years ago, we didn't realize how precious these faithful, unselfish friendships would grow, nor how they would provide nourishment to our family. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Purim and Friends

 Once again, we pulled out our favorite recipe to help us celebrate Purim.  And once again, we invited some friends to share the baking and Bible story with us.


If you had walked by our house late yesterday afternoon, your senses would have been assaulted by the delicious aroma of chocolate baking and the cheerful noise of children laughing.  You would have heard Aaron reading the story of Esther and encouraging the kids to say "ooh la la" every time they heard the word Esther and "our hero" every time they heard the word Mordecai.  And I think you, too, would have been encouraged as we reminded ourselves of God's faithfulness and His sometimes unseen hand at work.

Friday, February 26, 2021

They did it!

 


I have never seen a harder working bunch of people.  This room was filled with perseverance and dedication despite painful knees and sniffly noses.  Every time this team works together, they get better and better.  The Sermon on the Mount is now consultant checked!


So Aaron took the team out for ice cream yesterday afternoon.  One baby step at a time, we are celebrating the Lavukal translation progress.


This morning, the team assembled early, and the truck rumbled up our gravel road at 5:30.  Those last hugs and handshakes were harder than I anticipated.  The weather was mediocre for a motorboat ride across the ocean, but the forecast for the weekend was even worse.  After waiting for several hours at Komibo for visibility to improve, the team took off back towards their home villages.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Cousin Sisters


Yesterday afternoon, Olivia, Katherine, Kiko and I drove over to visit some Lavukal friends, Kathleen and Augustine.  God's beautiful timing meant that Olivia had quite a few of her friends available for an afternoon of catching up as several of these young ladies (three more who aren't in this picture) wait for a boat to take them to school on another island.


I haven't seen Kathleen's grandchildren (that's Iggy on the right!) in a very long time, and I got to hold her newest one, a cuddly little girl only five months old.  This house is one of the very few Lavukal homes in Honiara, so they always open their doors for students and for family who are coming and going.  I was excited to find a Lavukal friend at market this morning who was selling crabs, so I bought those and some other groceries to help feed all the extra mouths that stay at this Lavukal Bed and Breakfast.  Olivia also shared peanut butter cookies that quickly disappeared.


Kiko and Kathleen's moms were twins, so they are "cousin sisters".  In our matrilineal society, that means they function as sisters, so Iggy called Kiko tutua/grandmother.  Both of these ladies have very large extended families, and they all look after each other.  I love the focus on family and relationships here in Melanesia.
 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Blastoff


 The consultant check began this morning!  So many small details have to fall into place for this event to move forward, and it's really fun to watch God work out all of the details.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

 

The Lenten season is about the sin that was the reason for the suffering and sacrifice of the Savior. It is about taking time to reflect on why we all needed such a radical move of redemption, to confess the hold that sin still has on us, and to focus on opening our hands, in confession and submission, and letting go of sin once again. But as we do this, it is important to remember that the knowledge of sin is not a dark and nasty thing but a huge and wonderful blessing. If you are aware of your sin, you are aware of it only because you have been visited by amazing grace.

-P.D. Tripp, “Journey to the Cross



I'm thankful for the rare treat of quiet house on this cloudy Sunday afternoon.  As much as I love the bustle of a houseful, I needed time to ponder Tripp's words and to remember that the knowledge of our sin can be a huge and wonderful blessing.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

3, 2, 1...

 


The translation team arrived at SITAG just a few hours ago, and already these dedicated guys are hard at work getting everything ready for the consultant check that will begin on Tuesday morning.