Sunday, September 28, 2014

These are some of the hardest working, most flexible guys I know.  They were up until almost 2:00 this morning printing and stapling, and then they were back on our porch at 6:30 to get their clean clothes and load up for the ship.

But their hard work is paving the way for Bible translation.  These guys continue to produce materials for their communities, schools, and churches that are teaching people how to improve their quality of life.  Most importantly their hours and hours of labor are providing the foundation for the Lavukal to learn how to read Lavukaleve and preparing them to absorb God's Word in their heart language.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday night lights, SITAG style

We may not have football games here at SITAG on Friday nights, but tonight we enjoyed some volleyball and a cookout, or a barby as our Australian friends would say.  Everybody brought their own meat to grill, so I found a nice kingfish at market for the translators and our family to eat.

One of my favorite things about our organization is the servant leadership.  Know who this guy is manning the grill?  He's the Pacific Area Director.  Serving the group by cooking.  And he did a GREAT job!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ezekiel, Simon, Matthew, and Albert arrived on the Kosco around 2:00 this morning.  They had the wrong phone number for us, so we didn't realize they had already arrived.  When light began to creep over the horizon, Aaron looked down and noticed that the ship was at the wharf, so he went down to the training center to see if the guys had taken a taxi.

No Lavukal were in the training center, so Aaron, Katherine, and Benjamin went down to the wharf and found four very sleepy guys.  After a shower and a quick breakfast, they were all hard at work.  So thankful for these guys who were willing to try something new and come in to Honiara to work.  I think a nap might be in their future...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Birthday, Katherine!

Best friend by her side.

Beautiful cake that her sister made,

and that this whole crew helped decorate (can you see the orange snake?).

How can this lovely little girl be seven already?  Or six?  Or even five?

Where did her fourth birthday go?  And her third?  I remember her second birthday like it was yesterday.  And she celebrated her first birthday in Papua New Guinea.  This gift of a child, whom God gave us when Aaron and I were both smack in the middle of linguistic school, this child? 

She is the delight of the household, bringing a smile to each of our faces as she sings hymns to Jesus in the morning.  Katherine is a little village girl who, thankfully, no longer tries to sneak out of the door without underwear anymore.  But Mom, none of my friends in the village wear underwear!
This girl is learning about self control and how Proverbs 25:28 applies to real, everyday life.  She is learning the basics of multiplication, and her tender heart has a hard time discovering the city of Pompeii.  She knows her primary love language is physical touch and thoroughly enjoys every minute of snuggle-time.  Katherine works hard to help out and washes dishes meticulously.  Thank you, Lord, for giving us our sweet Katherine!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How normal, everyday life can be such a whirlwind, I still haven't figured out!  Sarah made our house smell like Autumn over the weekend with Pumpkin Streusel Swirled Cream Cheese Pound Cake.   We shared with one of the translation advisors, and he described it as "high-octane".  True words!  But the taste does bring me back to cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and Friday night football games.

Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon in the Educational Resource Center, working alongside some teenagers and another colleague to clean, sort, organize and input books into the ERC's database.  Aaron came in and out to help around SITAG's team meeting.  Working together was a microcosm of the Body of Christ.  I missed my other committee members who are spread out around the globe right now, because we all have different strengths and weaknesses that complement each other.

Today, Aaron began village shopping for our return to Marulaon in a few weeks.  Now Benjamin's room (packing central) is filling up with rice, toilet paper, shampoo, and oats.  Aaron got home in time to wolf down some tuna salad and head downstairs to lead the Advisory Committee meeting.  He's the current chairman, and I'm so proud of the time and effort he is putting in to serving SITAG.

Tomorrow is Katherine's birthday, and we're looking forward to celebrating her seven years of life.  What a gift she is to our family!  The Kosco should also arrive in Honiara tomorrow, bringing four amazing Lavukal guys (Simon, Ezekiel, Matthew, and Albert) to SITAG to work with Aaron for the next several days.  They will be cramming a lot into their time here - producing materials with SITAG's big printer, making decisions about key terms for the translation, continuing to build relationships, and doing lots of planning for the year ahead.  When Aaron travels to other villages, the ladies take care of him and the translators.  Now it's my turn to show hospitality to these guys.  The rest of the week will be intense, and we would really appreciate prayers for "Team Choate"!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Day in the life of SITAG...

Teamwork.  Life here is all about teamwork.
Between 3:00 and 4:30 this afternoon, SITAG was full of teamwork as I walked around poking my nose in different places.  Sarah was scooping ice cream to serve to the participants at the close of the Trauma Healing workshop.

More than twenty church and community leaders completed the course held at SITAG this week.

I walked downstairs and found the Baeggu language team checking portions of the New Testament.

Then I walked back up two flights of steps where some of our precious employees were using their gifts to help Bible translation.  Frida was sweeping and making everything clean outside,

and sweet Betsy was mopping and cleaning up inside.  Love these ladies!

Only a few steps away, the Gela team was hard at work on their final read-through of the New Testament,

making changes on the screen as they edited.

When I walked through my own door, I found my husband hard at work in the little space he has created for himself.

My kitchen was full of girls cooking, giggling, and creating with their own sort of teamwork.  I think this is exactly how God intended for our lives to be lived - working together and depending upon each other.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Both of my guys were way overdue for a haircut.  I haven't cut hair with scissors in a really long time (I just use the clippers and buzz away), so I warned Benjamin that his hair might not look exactly the way he wanted it.

So, my Sarah decided that now was a good time to learn how to cut hair, and who better to practice on than Benjamin?  And what better place than the Solomon Islands, where nobody really cares how your hair looks?

She did a great job cutting his hair.  And then we all laughed at the size of the two piles of hair:  Benjamin's hair on the left, and Aaron's pile on the right.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From the other side...

Usually, I'm the one taking pictures from the top of the airport, but this afternoon, I was the one returning to Honiara on the plane.
It's good to be home.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Brisbane Woman's Daybook

 Just for today...Monday, September 15

A heart overflowing with thankfulness...for whomever made the extra donation to our account last month in a church in Texas.  We have no idea who you are, but your obedience to God's whisper means that this month I can make a very quick trip to Brisbane for an eye appointment to relieve my perpetual headaches.
One of my favorite things...old houses.  This beautiful old Queenslander house was divided up into apartments long ago, and somebody from Wycliffe Australia had the foresight to buy it when it came up for sale a few years ago.  The apartments provide a lovely place for Wycliffe members to stay while they have doctors' appointments or are in between flights.  And for an old house lover like me, ahh, the smell alone is enough to send me into ecstasy.  Did I mention the stained glass?
Even in the bathroom?  And the beautiful architectural detail throughout the apartment?  Being here in Brisbane is reminding me of how different our little world in the Solomon Islands is compared to what most of our friends and family experience.  In the heat & humidity, with the very slow internet, surrounded by filth, trash, red betelnut spit, and smoke, I often forget that those things aren't a part of everyday life for everybody!
On my bookshelf..."Age of Opportunity:  A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens" by Paul David Tripp.  Big thanks to my friend, Julie, who knew this book was exactly what I needed and mailed it to me as a surprise!
From the learning rooms...Aaron is substitute teaching while I'm gone, but I'm looking forward to being back in Honiara on Wednesday afternoon and jumping back into school with my awesome kids.
Pondering these words..."If we are to be his instruments, we must deal with our own idolatry and bring a robust biblical faith to each rocky moment, a faith that believes that God rules over all things for our sake, that he is an ever-present help in trouble, that he is at work in every situation accomplishing his redemptive purpose, and that his Word is powerful, active, and effective." 
~Paul David Tripp
From the kitchen...strawberries.  And milk in a jug.  These are my guilty pleasures while I'm in Brisbane.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Selwyn College Fundraiser

Last year, we got to attend Selwyn College's fundraiser to support a couple of students from Marulaon.  Now we have three students who attend this secondary school.  Sarah's friend, Harris, will be graduating from Form 3 in October.

So after the race yesterday, we drove over to the fundraiser where we found all kinds of good things to eat.  We also found a couple of guys from our village.  We tried to buy our food from the Central Province stalls, since the Russell Islands are a part of the Central Province.

Theses two lovely ladies served us the fish and panna (a root crop) with coconut cream that our family chose to eat for lunch. 
On the way home from the fundraiser, Hiva, our translation committee chairman, called to tell us that our family's big rain tank had run dry.  This is the first time we have opened it up to our community.  We felt like having a big tank full of water locked up wasn't the right thing to do when the rest of the tanks in the village were dry.  The woman tending our yard has a key to the tank's lock.  The tank was bulging and full when Aaron left the village a few weeks ago.  Hiva has asked us not to return to the village until the tank has plenty of water in it.  We would appreciate prayers for wisdom in how to utilize our water well and for when to return to Marulaon.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

G'Day Solomons Fun Run

Bright and early this morning, Team SITAG drove down to participate in the G'Day Solomons Fun Run.


We discovered that running on a flat paved surface is much easier than running on a pitted, gravel, hilly surface with dogs and drunks running after you. 

But a chilled green coconut is still a nice way to cool down after you've just run your heart out to cross the finish line.

I was super proud of my kids!  Both Sarah and Benjamin had their best times yet on the 5K,

and a couple of our colleagues won prizes for being some of the oldest people to participate in the race. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Basketball and extended family

God continues to provide the extra grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that our hearts so desperately miss while we are far away from our "real" extended family.

For the next few weeks, we get to enjoy another auntie who comes to the Solomons from time to time.

She is a brilliant translator and consultant, but she used to teach Physical Education, and while she is here, she is sharing her knowledge and skills with the SITAG kids.

So every morning, our kids get a mini basketball clinic.

Their adopted auntie could be spending her time on "important" things like preparing for her upcoming checking session on 1 & 2 Corinthians.  But she is choosing to take a few minutes each day and invest in eight children instead.  Wow, what a great example for all of us!