Saturday, September 28, 2019


We have seen our SITAG family pull together this week in a ferocious display of teamwork and community.  

Multiple visits (by many different people) to immigration this week finally resulted in the much needed paperwork to get our director and his family back to Honiara.  We're thankful for the people who make the backup copies of documents and for those who are willing to take the massive amounts of time and energy to drive into town and hang out in line at the immigration office.

In addition, one of our colleagues came down with a mystery illness this week and needed some extra help, especially while her husband was in the village.  Our SITAG family rallied and took turns babysitting, and we were able to pick up some fresh food from market, too.  Neither of the sick mom's small children speak English, so we also needed our German-speaking colleagues to translate.  I had three extra beautiful children at my table for lunch one day this week, one of them was bilingual and saved the day.  I haven't had so much fun reading board books to a little one in a very long time, even if they were in English so she couldn't understand a word.

So looking back at the week, I see the Body of Christ at work.  The result has been a family with four little ones receiving a big welcome at the airport with all the correct paperwork in hand.  I also see a different family that needed some extra support and encouragement, and our SITAG family took a look at what resources we had to offer, befitting our individual personalities, and we reached out our hands to help.  We've certainly welcomed the assistance of others so many times in the past, and I'm sure there will be many times in the future when we rely on our friends again (probably tomorrow!).

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in various forms." I Peter 4:10

Friday, September 27, 2019

Happy Birthday, Katherine!

Our Katherine turned twelve this week.  As an Enneagram 4, she is one of many who "Want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty."  

We often find her outside, just staring at God's creation and soaking it all in.  Or bringing it all inside so the rest of the family can enjoy it!

For morning tea, she wanted to share her celebration with the whole team, so we served chocolate ice cream cones to our SITAG family.

Our family took the day off school, so there was extra time to play with friends and to connect with family from America via technology.

And thankfully, there was extra time to make another birthday cake when the first one was a big, sunken failure.  Her special day culminated in an evening with our SITAG family (most of these pictures were taken by our resident photographer, Mike).

Praying over the birthday girl and sharing her delicious peanut chocolate marble cake finished her day well.  We're so grateful that God has given this brown-eyed beauty to our family.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Weekend Wanderings

Katherine and I took a little bit of time this weekend to go pre-birthday shopping while I was doing our normal market shopping.  We found some fun balloons that spell out "Happy Birthday", and we split a hamburger while we were out and about.  

This weekend we also enjoyed providing a soft place for some friends to land as they briefly popped in at SITAG before they hopped on a plane for America.  Life here (really anywhere!) is challenging, so any opportunity we have to smooth the way for our friends and colleagues is a joy.  Picking up food from the market or providing meals is an easy and fun way to help nurture those around us and build community.

And no matter how old you are, birthday chocolate chip cheesecake made by Olivia always ramps up the celebration!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Did you know that September 30 is Bible Translation Day?  What are you waiting for?  Wycliffe Bible Translators challenges you to an "encouragement adventure":

God also calls us to be encouragements to one another — to our family members, neighbors, coworkers and even strangers. One way to live out the call of Scripture is by lifting up other believers and pointing them to the truth that they’re seen, known and loved by God. After all, everyone needs to be encouraged that they matter!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Once again, our family drove out to the edge of town to wait on top of the airport so we could whoop and holler when one of our favorite people stepped off the plane.

James, aka "Uncle Fudge" by all the SITAG kids, grew up as an MK in the Philippines and completed a New Testament here in the Solomon Islands.  He also did our consultant checking for Ruth and Jonah.  James is a wealth of information and experience and loves Jesus with his whole heart.

We are super excited to have him sit at our table tonight so we can catch up, and we're thankful for his willingness to make a short trip back to Honiara to help out some other projects.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sweet Sabbath

The morning sky stopped me in my tracks repeatedly.  Everywhere I looked, I couldn't get away from God's creation and His provision.  Aaron and I just had a mini worship service while we walked.  And I was reminded of some of my favorite verses from Philippians:

"Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent of praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."  
Philippians 4:4-9

I recently read this snippet about these verses from She Reads Truth:

1)  Rejoice in the Lord (v. 4).  Have I reminded myself of the joy in knowing Christ and that He, no matter the conflict I'm in, has already triumphed over it all?  Though it may be the last thing I feel like doing I am called to rejoice!

2)  Practice grace and patience (v. 5).  Am I being gracious and patient as I wait for the Lord and HIS resolution?

3)  Pray steadfastly (v. 6).  Have I poured out my heart to God, asking for His help and showing gratitude that He hears me and is already working on my behalf?

4) Dwell on Him, not the problem (v. 8).  Am I focusing on God's Word and His character - His beauty, compassion, righteousness, grace - instead of on the conflict?

5) Obey Him (v. 9).  Am I letting God be God, regardless of the conflict, holding onto my faith and obediently following His will?  Or am I abandoning His truth and being driven to sin?

Remembering Paul's charge to the Philippians, let's ask God to use our conflicts to change us, to help us focus on Him and those things worthy of our thoughts, and to keep us in His Word and will.

Saturday, September 14, 2019


I recently downloaded "Falling Free" on my Kindle, and I'm slowly chewing my way through it.  Vulnerability isn't a new topic for me.  But it's obviously one I still need to visit.  The last two Fridays in a row, I've had very public culinary disasters!  

The first kitchen fail was rock hard potatoes and almost raw (and very tough) chicken when I was trying to nourish a family whose mama was fighting malaria.  They were very gracious, and we still enjoyed visiting during supper.  The second disaster was caramel corn that overcooked, so the syrup was grainy.  The bowl still emptied quickly (I actually couldn't keep my own sticky hand out!) while our SITAG family played games.  And nobody complained.  

Now we have funny stories to share and to build our community, because I didn't have time or energy to cook something else for supper last week, and there was no way I was going to toss that precious popcorn yesterday.  Vulnerability certainly does glue us together into a community.  I urge you to try it and see for yourselves.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Chicken, Rice, and Black Bean Salad

I often find leftover chicken as well as leftover brown rice in my fridge.  And one of my favorite things to do with those two ingredients is to marry them in this chicken, rice, and black bean salad.  Cause it may be September, but we are still hot as blazes here at the equator!

Chicken, Rice, and Black Bean Salad
Adapted from Martha Stewart 
Serves four

1 cup cooked brown rice
2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken 
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
15-20 grape or plum tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, finely diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/8 cup white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
coarse salt and ground pepper

Mix everything in a bowl and toss to combine.  

Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, up to one day.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Sensitive Plant

 One of my favorite things about living in the Solomon Islands is the abundance of flora and fauna.  Around here, we have a story behind the "Sensitive Plant".  Supposedly when the Japanese occupied Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, they planted a lot of these to give them an advantage.

When you touch their leaves, they immediately fold up and stay that way for several minutes.  The Japanese could tell if anyone had recently walked by because of the position of the leaves.

Returning home from my morning walk, these beautiful flowers caught my eye.  No matter why they were planted in this country, the Creator still gets the glory as I sit in awe and wonder at their design.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sweet Sabbath

"Now every day I am offered the gift of living in such a way that I get a taste of what it means to need him.  Resting fully dependent in the palm of his hand, I realize the safety of staying small.  I get to embrace the full shock value of the kingdom of God, and that is the real blessing.  I get to be knocked around by the fallout of belonging to a life where I am wildly ill equipped to meet its demands.  I am honored to experience an existence marked by dependence, where I submit to God's will for my life."  

When we're in the Solomon Islands, I have to look a little bit harder for the gifts.  I need help remembering that "every day I am offered the gift of living in such a way that I get a taste of what it means to need him"!  Some of the beautiful gifts from the last few days:

-Watching the sun break through the clouds as it set behind the mountains of Guadalcanal.

-Finding activities that qualify as a "date night" is a challenge here, so when we got to attend a lecture given by Kristy of Kultured Wellness and sponsored by Kokonut Pacific, we were thrilled.

-But it gets better!  We had a sponsor for meal in a restaurant (only the second time we've eaten out at night here since 2008), so we enjoyed Indian cuisine after the lecture.  It was a delight to be able to chat about the lecture and enjoy good food, such a rare treat.

-Sometimes the gifts are harder to accept, like nights when the neighborhood is loud with dogs or drunken parties.  With our windows wide open, sleep is elusive on those nights, so then we receive the gift of dependence for strength and energy the next day.  And we appreciate the gift of sleep even more the next time we rest well.

-Our children are certainly gifts.  And Katherine brought me much joy when she turned her boring breakfast bowl into a smiling masterpiece.

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"  
Matthew 7:11

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sunday morning, Aaron made his third trip in three days to the end of Guadalcanal.  He took SITAG's project coordinator along, and they attended a translation awareness meeting for the Savosavo language.  

Our area shares many similarities with this language group, politically we are represented by the same member of parliament, our church districts are shared with other language groups (just like theirs), we're both tiny people groups, and both of these languages belong to the group of four language isolates in the Solomon Islands.

Aaron really enjoyed his time getting to know our neighbors and encouraging them as they begin a translation project.  Life is never boring here!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Lavukaleve Recording Team Update

Last Friday morning, Aaron set out early to drive to the end of Guadalcanal so he could pick up the recording team that had been working in our village to capture Ruth and Jonah.  He waited for several hours until he had to return the truck to SITAG because it was needed for other things.  

Later that afternoon, he got a phone call that the team never left the village that morning, and the trip across the ocean was rescheduled for Saturday morning.  Saturday felt like a repeat of Friday, except that one of our colleagues and his son accompanied Aaron.  

These guys are all super flexible!  With no phone signal at Komibo, the pickup location, Aaron had no way of knowing when (or if!) the guys would arrive.  Thankfully, our colleague's village was just down the road, so they took the opportunity to pop in and say hi.  Eventually, the little motor boat appeared on the horizon.  Everyone connected, ate a little breakfast, and headed back to their different homes.

This project has been dragging on for almost a year, so we are super excited that things are finally moving forward again.  These guys are persevering and hard working.  Usually, the recordings aren't made in the village, but the speakers come into town for their voices to be captured.

Robert Mark and George didn't waste any time.  They are in SITAG's recording studio this week, splicing together everything needed for the dramatized recording of Ruth and Jonah in Lavukaleve.  Then they will create an app that we can share with our Lavukal neighbors.

We're so thankful for these guys and for their willingness to be inconvenienced (three hours slamming across the ocean in a motor boat!) as they give themselves to end Bible poverty.