Sunday, June 27, 2010

Translation Center

Isn't the new translation center just flying along?!? We've had lots of amazing Wycliffe Associates come and help with construction. Now, SITAG has to begin buying furniture and linens and dishes to prepare the new building. We need between 50 and 60 white cotton pillowcases - would any of you be willing to buy a couple and mail them to Honiara? A great number of encouragers sent white pillowcases for the recently completed dorm, and they have been such a blessing!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Off we go!

Just a little while ago, Aaron loaded the trucks with boxes and people and drove down to the Bikoi. We leave Honiara at 4 p.m. CST, Saturday afternoon and appreciate your prayers for safe travel and calm seas.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Big Bad Wolf and Pigs

Our kids have certainly enjoyed the visiting teacher this week. Olivia and Sarah worked with some of the other girls to create a picture book, and the whole SITAG kids' crew performed a drama based on several fairy tales. Bejamin played one of the three little pigs, while Olivia performed as narrator/the big bad wolf. Sarah filled a couple of small parts, but she moved so quickly that I couldn't get a good picture of her.

This teacher will come visit us out in Marulaon in just a few weeks, and we are super excited to show her life in Marulaon.

Cake Pops

Some thoughtful friends sent us the ingredients and the directions to make Bakerella's cake pops. We decided that a little baking would be a great way for the kids to have fun while Aaron and I packed. However, I didn't take into account how tricky melting the candy coating can be.

We ended up with Sarah making a creative solution and kids scarfing down the results. Chocolate covered the floor, the cabinets, and the kids, but they had a great time!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This is what Katherine and I have been doing while the big three have been enjoying the visiting teacher. Katherine can peel and de-seed like a champ, and the canning is finished!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ripe and Juicy

It's mango season - yum! I'm just glad he was wearing an orange shirt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Bookshelf

We're packing up the books! Here's what's been on the bookshelf lately here in Honiara:

Katherine: Mr. Putter & Tabby books and Henry & Mudge books, both sweet series by Cynthia Rylant, one of our favorite authors, and we all love reading these books to her

Olivia: Sisters in Time books (great historical fiction), 10 Boys Who... and 10 Girls Who... series by Irene Howat

Benjamin: Hatchet by Gary Paulson and lots of Trailblazer Biographies by Dave and Neta Jackson

Sarah: Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott and the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery

Joanna: Persuasion by Jane Austen and Spritual Classics by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin

Aaron: Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things by George Lakoff (don't you just love that title?!?), Jack's Life by Douglas Gresham, Unearthly Powers by David Burnett, and The Deep Sea Canoe by Alan Tippett

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sweet Sabbath

"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:8-9

-godly grandfathers who shaped my parents, and in turn helped shape me (my dad's dad on the horse, he still loves fishing in the lake and working in the garden)

-an incredibly patient and funny daddy for my own four children

-sweet rice pudding lovingly decorated by my husband

-God's gift of a cool rainy & breezy Sunday morning to refill the rain tanks outside and to spiritually & emotionally refill our inner tanks, too

-cool bugs

-another SITAG family to enjoy sharing Sunday brunch and good fellowship before both families head to our respective villages next week

-family hymn singing

-a new-to-me blog to refuel my passion for home and creativity

-Princess Katherine wearing a cape/blanket that her great-grandmother created for me to wrap up my babies

-sermon series on CD sent by sweet friends for us to ponder

-a dove carved from a clam shell by our creative and talented neighbors to remind us of the Holy Spirit's presence and work in our lives

-yummy eggplant recipes to utilize the abundance in Marulaon

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Good and Pleasant

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cultural Anthropology

Aaron led a discussion between the SITAG translators and the SITBLP translators this afternoon to share what he learned on his recent trip to Papua New Guinea. I'm so proud of my husband!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Honiara Woman's Daybook

For today...Tuesday, June 15

Outside my window...a rapidly draining water tank. SITAG is hosting fourteen guys for the SIBTLP workshop and eleven Wycliffe Associates in addition to our regular crew.

I am thinking...about my friends in Marulaon and hoping they haven't forgotten about me

I am thankful for...cloudy days.

I am praying children to be peacemakers (I Peter 3:8-9).

I am wearing...burgundy t-shirt, floral knee-length skirt, both from the second hand store here in Honiara, and new flip-flops from Aaron's mom
I am creating...quart jars full of orange jewels (carrots and pumpkins).
I am buy running shoes. I love my Tevas, but they aren't made for running up and down Honiara's rocky dirt roads.

From the kitchen...lasagna, salad, and pineapple tonight for supper, LOTS of baking as we finish out our time in Honiara where we don't have to worry about emptying the gas cylinder

I am reading..."Wild West: Rainforests of Western Solomon Islands" by Patrick G. Pikacha

I am hearing...banging and sawing because of all the construction going on around us

I am remembering...watching Lakers/Celtics games with my Dad when I was a girl. Larry Bird was my hero. Go Celtics!

From the learning rooms...finishing up Honiara school this week. A visiting teacher arrives today to hold some special workshops for the SITAG kids over the next month, so our kids will enjoy her company next week while Aaron, Katherine, and I pack.

Around the house...five 10-kilo bags of flour to be put into buckets to freeze, twenty-three 1-kilo bags of rice to freeze, ad nauseum

On my mind...nourishing me and my family physically, emotionally, mentally, & spiritually. I don't feel up to the task.

Noticing's getting harder and harder to stay in touch with family and friends around the world

Pondering these words..."Still He hates the sins of His people, and uses all kinds of inward and outward pains and friefs to wean their hearts from compromise and disobedience. Still He seeks fellowship of His people, and sends them both sorrows and joys in order to detach their love from other things and attach it to Himself." J.I. Packer

One of my favorite things...watching my husband play basketball with the guys on our tiny SITAG court nestled into the side of the hill

A few plans for the rest of the week...picking up some more Wycliffe Associates this afternoon at the airport, hosting the visiting teacher for lunch each day the rest of this week, canning the carrots (the shipment came in!), making snacks for the SIBTLP guys working on the Gospel of John, saying goodbye to a precious SITAG family who has finished their New Testament and is moving to Papua New Guinea

Here's a picture thought I am sharing...

a birthday present and much needed reminder from a sweet SITAG friend

Monday, June 14, 2010

And the winner is...

Julie! Please e-mail me at joanna underscore choate at sil dot org and send me your snail mail address.

Wycliffe Associates' Motu Party

Saturday afternoon, several SITAG families got together to share good motu cooking with some Wycliffe Associates who are living in Honiara for a while.

They learned how to husk coconuts and then break them open and scrape them.

They peeled umalau (sweet potatoes) and dug holes in them to hold the rumit (thick coconut cream).

We found a whopper of a fish to cook on the hot stones!

We enjoyed working together to produce a yummy meal...

...and we were so busy eating together that I didn't take any more pictures!

Technical Difficulties

We've been experiencing trouble with the internet here at SITAG. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, June 11, 2010


This small salad set was too beautiful to pass up, and it's one of those things I've only found once. The rosewood bowl is a perfect size for a small green salad. This will be our last giveaway until we come back to Honiara at the end of August.

Please leave a comment by midnight (CST), Sunday, June 13, if you would like to add your name to our scientifically accurate "kids draw a paper out of the bowl" approach.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


An outdated box of Fruit Loops for about US$2.50 provided us with some fun and creativity this morning.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Honiara Woman's Daybook

For today...June 9, 2010

Outside my window...a few gray clouds and some thunder off in the distance

I am thinking...about the feasibility of (don't laugh) training for a 5K in September in Honiara. The Fly Solomons Half Marathon and Fun Runs would fall just after we came back to Honiara and just before we left for Australia. There is a 2K race for the kids, so if we can continue to exercise while we are in Marulaon (very counter-cultural), our whole family can participate in the race.

I am thankful for...the times when the internet does connect

I am praying for...rain, none in Honiara for two weeks, which means that Marulaon probably hasn't had any rain either. Schools here are letting out early because they don't have enough water, and the hospital doesn't have water, either.

I am wearing...denim wrap-around skirt, yellow t-shirt, turtle-shell earrings

I am creating...boxes to go to Marulaon

I am be hosting lots of "good-bye" company as we prepare to go back to the village

I am reading..."Ten Things I Want my Daughter to Know" by Annie Chapman

I am hoping...that a new shipment of carrots comes in soon so I can begin canning

I am hearing...ceiling fans, kids playing outside, I love this time of day!

I am fabulous and faithful walking buddies from seminary days as I begin to train for the upcoming race
From the learning rooms...finishing up "The Hobbit" this week, Olivia learning her 3's times tables, Benjamin finishing up another level of piano books that I used almost 30 years ago, Sarah diligently typing away (she's up to 25 WPM most days!), Katherine absorbing everything in her environment and loving painting, singing, counting, cutting...

From the kitchen...taking a friend out for lunch before she flies to Australia this afternoon, company for supper (and we're having breakfast!)

Around the house...chaos is beginning as we reach the crazy stage of village preparation again. It kinda takes over our lives and our house!

On my mind...the spiritual training of my children. I don't want them to get lost in all of the coming and going of our many moves.

Noticing that...I tend to look to things, good things, before I seek the Lord as my refuge - an air conditioned store to escape the heat when we're in town, a nice candle to escape the smell - instead of just enjoying those lovely gifts He has given me and choosing to make Him my only rock and refuge.

Pondering these words..."Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Ps. 62: 5-8

One of my favorite things...running into people from the Russells in Honiara's Central Market. This morning I found a girl from Louna in the West Russells who was selling some seluk (sea snails), so I bought a heap. It was really nice to hear Lavukaleve again.
A few plans for the rest of the week...staff meeting this afternoon, CHED (children's education) committee meeting tomorrow afternoon, company Thursday and Saturday, motu party on Saturday, big feast at church on Sunday to celebrate St. Barnabas

Here is a picture I am sharing...
sorry, the computer isn't liking to upload photos

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mouse in the House

Look what Aaron found in the toilet this morning! Best we can guess, our furry friend crawled in through the sewer. Sarah said, "Ewww, and we're in town now!"

And the winner is...

Elizabeth Drue! We'll get a package out to you later this week - hope you enjoye it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sweet Sabbath

"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you. Were I to speak of them, they would be too many to declare." Psalm 40:5

-fun orange tumblers (the only color in the store) welcoming the arrival of summer

-family read-alouds (still enjoying The Hobbit)

-playhouses created by a big sister for a little sister who loves playing with her babies

-family games (from Benjamin)

-new recipes & the ten-year-old who makes them

Pecan Biscuit Spirals

(from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbs. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 cup margarine or butter

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup milk

1 Tbs. margarine or butter

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

3 Tbs. brown sugar

In a mixing bowl combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and 1/4 salt. Cut in 1/2 cup margarine or butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center. Combine egg and milk; add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just till dough clings together. On a floured surface, knead gently for 15 strokes.

Roll dough into a 15 x 8 inch rectangle. Melt 1 tablespoon margarine or butter; brush on dough. Combine nuts and brown sugar; sprinkle over dough. Fold dough in half lengthwise. Cut into fifteen 1-inch-wide strips. Holding a strip at both ends, carefully twist in opposite directions twice. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, pressing both ends down. Repeat. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or till golden. Serve warm. Makes 15.

Friday, June 4, 2010


We found this beautiful, gray necklace at Central Market in Honiara. If you would like an opportunity to own it, please leave a comment by midnight (CST) Sunday, June 7. Thanks for encouraging us as we serve in the Solomon Islands!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Herb Hunting

Thursday morning, I left the house early to go herb hunting with three other SITAG moms. One of the ladies had purchased some mint and basil at a festival last fall, and now we were in search of a nursery where we could find some more.

We weren't sure where we were going, but we pulled off the side of the road, found some ladies, and began asking questions. They led us to an absolutely beautiful village nearby. A swiftly flowing stream sang to us as we looked at plants. I felt like I was walking through a recreation done by Disney or some zoo. It was so beautiful it almost seemed fake!

The first nursery didn't have any herbs, but they sent us on to another nursery just down the road. This one looked a little more like a business, and the owner was very knowledgeable about her plants. Soon, we discovered that she was originally from the East Russells, and then the fun began! Of course, she wanted to speak with me in Lavukaleve, so I pulled out the few sentences and words that I knew. She excitedly introduced me to her mom who had just come in to watch the kids for school holidays in June and July. I storied a little bit with her, too, in my broken mix of Pijin and Lavukaleve.
When we got ready to leave, my new friend began to load my bag with free plants, so I came home with six in addition to the sweet little African Violet I bought. We never did find any herbs, but both nurseries said they would try to start some more basil. Now this pretty little plant will remind me to study Lavukaleve since I never know where or when God will place somebody from the Russells in my path.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Last Friday, the SITAG school kids were supposed to go on a WWII tour around Honiara. In one of God's "just wait, I have something even better in mind" situations, our tour guide forgot. So we rescheduled for today. We began at the US and Japanese memorials where we heard amazing personal stories and learned about battles like "Seahorse" and "Galloping Horse" (named because from overhead, those ridges resemble a seahores and a galloping horse). Our guide played a major role in finding the identity of the "unknown soldier" to whom the US memorial is dedicated.
The fun really began when fourteen kids (ages 6-16) and five moms followed our guide on top of Mt. Austen. He led us to the Japanese observation post where a spy had dug a tunnel more than eight feet into the hillside and lived for several months. Now, most of the tunnel has caved in, but a trench is still there, and the kids could get in the hole that still remains. They loved it!
The observation point was well chosen. We could see Henderson Field, Savo Island, Ironbottom Sound, everything that would have been tactically important to the Japanese. Sarah is standing on the eastern half of the observation site - you can just see Henderson Field to the left.

We drove over to the Gifu to see a small "museum" and to view the site of another battle.

Where else could our kids try on old army helmets...

pretend to drink out of bottles once held by an American sweating in the Solomon Island heat almost 70 years ago...

finger old silverware stamped with "US" on its handle...

gaze upon old pocketwatches that ticked in a homesick soldier's pocket and razors that shaved a weary man's face...

hold a bayonet...

or hunker down in a foxhole dug behind coral?

A small monument stood to commemorate the 89 Japanese who remained after the battle. They chose to end the battle honorably - by charging the strongest point of the American line. Only four survived.

At the end of our tour, the local kids played a game of coconut shells (one of our kids' favorite games). Sarah really wanted to join in, but she couldn't get any of the SITAG kids to go with her. I watched her struggle, then choose to jump into an unfamiliar situation and begin to play the game without an invitation. She had a blast! She was moving so quickly I had a hard time catching a picture of her.

After four hours of walking around in the hot sun, we all piled back into the vans. Our guide very kindly waived the fee for the kids since he had forgotten last week. Wasn't that gracious? What memories we made today! This website provides more information and pictures, or you can always come visit us.