Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family life.

As I type this we are having a "tropical downpour". We are happy that we have been having a very generous Dry Season.

It has been very hot for many days but we have had rain in the late afternoons on some days. It is an amazing reminder of God's power to watch the rain sweep down, hearing thunder and watching the clouds illuminated with lightening.

Yesterday Evan and I went on a ride into the hills around Ukarumpa. It was a warm day and beautiful. I loved going through the villages. It sort of felt like we were in a parade or celebraties. All the kids in any given village could hear us coming and would come running to the road. They would shout and wave and try to get high fives as we passed.

It was a lovely ride, though I am a bit sore. There was only about 2 miles or something of paved road, the rest ranged from gravely dirt to mud pit. I am grateful to have a strong husband who can carry me on the back of his bike through the majority of the terrain. I only had to walk two or three places. Bridges that were just few planks for instance. :)

The boys in the meantime had a good time with the babysitter. Miss Alice. She is a national woman who has worked at SIL for many, many years. She works at the preschool during the week, but she is free on the weekends and seveal of my friends use her. She had the boys playing and laughing before we were even out of the driveway. Next weekend we will use her services again as Friday is my birthday, Saturday evening we are having a dessert party with some friends.

Friday we are hoping to go into Kainantu. One of the local towns. It will be the first time leaving the boys in the day care here. But the ladies are very experienced and I am confident the boys will have a good time. And when the day care ends at lunch our friend Mandy will pick them up. We will hopefully be back in time for naptime! It will be my first PMV ride (the public transport).

Many friends in the states are getting married, having babies and going through many life changes that it makes me a little sad to not be there. But then I look at my boys, and see how happy they are here (though Liam did get a bit sad after skyping with grandparents today - he wanted them to come here).  And I love what we are doing and the people. I love my house and my friends. It is right for us to be here, but we are planning on things we will do when we come home on furlough.

I am looking forward to and sort of dreading the holidays. My mom pointed out to me the other day it is first birthday I have been away from home since almost 10 years ago, when I was in University in New York.

It will be the first Thanksgiving apart since we went to the south when Evan and I went to visit friends the first year we were married. And we have NEVER been apart for Christmas. I plan to take lots of video.

But I am REALLY looking forward to the decorating, parties and fun that comes with the holidays with all our new friends and family. We will also be that much closer to POC training!

I have added lots of new pictures to the flickr photostream. Here is the Link. The ability to be outdoors has been tremendous for the boys. We recently aquired a sprinkler, though the only chance we have had to use it Liam was the only one awake thus there are just pictures of him. But they are great, if I do say so myself.

I guess I will end on that note. Please send your comments or questions. I am sorry to those who commented on the last posts. I didn't realize I wasn't getting notices for when people comment. I have remedied that.

Keep the e-mails and letters coming!

John 5 and beyond...

I found this unfinished blog post from a couple of months ago when I was looking for the unfinished portions of the postings I just made and thought I would post it too, with my additions to finish it with more recent events.


This week I am so grateful for two teenagers who are our weekly babysitters as without them I would have not received the profound word I did at our Bible Study. We were discussing John 5:1-15. For those who are not familiar here is the extract for those who are familiar you can skip to the next part (but you may want to read it anyway):

John 5:1-15

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] [b] One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

There was so much that we discussed (I really like our Bible Study group.). But one of the biggest things that stood out to me was when our leader for that study asked the question: “What does Jesus’command ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ mean to you?” We talked about it in somewhat general terms first. General as in we all had thoughts about it pertaining to us as missionaries taking ourselves up and out of our lives in our countries of origin. Literally moving our stuff (our mats) and walking out into the wider world. We talked about how this man in doing what Jesus told him probably was stepping into a world that he knew little if anything about as he had spent almost 40 years (perhaps his whole life?) in one spot.

Then we got more specific. We each have big and little examples of this. Our leader said that he viewed it in his own life at times like God was saying to get over yourself and just do what you are suppose to do. We also thought it applied to our specific roles as missionaries. In what ways was Jesus’command directed at us?

For me it is being willing to let other things go to be there and engaged with my family. It also means engaging in the community with other ladies so I can be a support to them as they are to me.

And other things...but sometimes commands are personal. :)

*As I said this was written a couple of months ago. In our Bible Study we are currently in John 8. This week I am leading, the first time in a VERY long time that I have done that. The section I have selected in John 8:12-30. I have been spending some time reading over that passage and making notes and It has been a really great experience, even though it has been hard. It has also been a lesson in not comparing myself to others.
You see, the other members of our Bible Study have a lot more experience than I do, through age, more schooling, or just this seemingly natural ability to absorb the Word and lead conversation well. I am trusting God to speak through me, and it is not my abilities but Him working through me this Wednesday.
I don't know if any of this will be important to anyone out there in the 'verse. But I am putting it out there because it is an important part of our lives and I want to share it with everyone.

Blog Post Part Deux: "Hevi" Days

As I said in my last entry, we have experienced darkness here too. There have been battles with battles of sickness, fatigue, loneliness, homesickness, rebellion… many tools of Satan have been tried against us. And for a time some have worked, but God has always prevailed. And He will ALWAYS prevail.

We, well, I, a, currently experiencing another bout of homesickness (another reason I am grateful to have our Bible Study – I know they – as well as you out there – are praying for us). Also, there has been a series of events recently that weigh heavily on me. Which I think is one reason why I am up writing this.

First, two black dogs, owned by SIL members, have disappeared and now are most assuredly dead. Black dogs are especially feared by the nationals here as they are associated with magic. However, while under normal circumstances black dogs would be avoided at all costs, they are occasionally procured, sacrificed, and eaten as part of a spiritual ceremony when the village "spirit man" wishes to perform a spell that is particularly strong and/or bad.

It is believed this is what happened as it was later reported the dogs were seen being "greased" – which means being given food and being made friends with by nationals. And, these dogs would have to be taken off their chains and made to follow.

I think I am particularly disturbed by this as not only am I a dog lover, but I knew both of these dogs. One, I had walked him for nearly a month not long after we arrived here for the family who were caring for him. His name was Buka (boo-ka) and he was an incredibly sweet lab. The other was named Shadow and he was a sweet dog when he wanted to be. He was strong and very protective of his family.

Two days ago there wa a road accident on the highway between here and Goroka. I cannot give many details here, but the main thing is that because of this accident which had several fatalities SIL members are advised not to travel to Goroka.

Finally, a little girl aged six years, has passed away in Tairora village. This village is on the edge of Ukarumpa. The little girl was somehow related to our yard man, Mattias. Kinship ties are sometimes fuzzy. One thing I know for sure is that Mattias is greatly saddened by the girl's death. His own young daughter used to play with her he told me. He is a gentle man who loves children, including my boys and I could see today in his eyes the sorrow. It broke my heart.

As I lay tossing and turning not knowing why, I finally realized that not only am I affected so because I am a mother, but it reminded me of so many emotions I felt when my niece, Charlotte, passed away. All these deep wounds that never quite heal over. It makes me ache. I want to put my arms around the family of this girl I don't know the name of and cry with them. It also makes me want to see my family.

It is events like these that make me want to leave and yet, it is because of events like these that motivate me to stay. Without the light of God's Word, His love continuing to press in to this country, to these beloved people, their lives would be so many sorrows with no hope for light at the end of the tunnel.

Our neighbors, Mandy and Ben, are translators in the Sepik (a region down on the coast). About 10 years ago or so, there was a tsunami in the area the work. It devasted the coastline, sweeping out to sea forever about 50% of the villagers living there. Those who were left moved in-land. They had the Bible that had been translated into their heart language. When the tribes in-land saw this, they said - "We want this too." and it was the start of what Wycliffe calls a "cluster project". Related languages are brought together to work together and produce Bible translations faster.

Out of great tragedy can come great triumph. Like the pheonix bird.

I don't know what will come of these recent events. But I hope you will pray with me that God will be glorified in it. That comfort, peace and joy will break through.

So long, so late...

I have been trying to blog for the months we have been here. Every time I sit to write I am stymied. Overwhelmed by it all and find I can only write stilted sentences which I have no mind to publish to the web. So, finally, here we are; four months here and the 2nd blog entry.

*Side note: It has been about two weeks since I started writing this and the following blog. I am hoping to follow these two with at least one more current entry.

What finally prompted and/or enabled me? I don’t know. But I lay awake last night ---early this morning, I knew sleep would not come until I let something out. So, upstairs I went to jot down my thoughts on paper. No computer at the moment. To be typed when I could and sent when I could.

In brief here are some things that have happened, have profoundly affected me, or just propelled our family forward one way or another.

1. Moving to Papua New Guinea. The Boys flopped back and forth between being astoundingly adjusted being totally and legitimately overwhelmed. As I was. I responded by getting a bit over my head in work. Stepped back and tried to be the mom and wife I am called to be. It has been going much better since then.

2. Joining a Bible Study. It is the first Bible Study we have been in together since we were married (not including Sunday morning study). Both Evan and I have been blessed beyond measure by our friends within this Wednesday night group (and outside the group, but that’s another story) and I think I will be forever grateful to Michelle and Jim for inviting us to join. The group has been a rock in so many ways for us.

3. Our friends. In Bible Study and out we have enjoyed the benefits of a close-knit community. We have met and begun to cultivate friendships with so many interesting and Godly people. We are joyful to God for this. Our newest friendship is with our new neighbors since we moved into our very own home a few weeks ago. Having them be who they are is surely Providence. It has been such a wonderful thing to have playmates for the boys; including a caring "big brother" for Liam. To have a fellow mom who lets me come and relax in her house and chat is great too! Mandy has shown true hospitality to me and has been a great support. I hope I have been the same to her even in small way.

Generosity of spirit is evident in many of our friends. From borrowing appliances, to borrowed time on a computer, to watching our kids, we have been provided for. We love the friends we have here in Ukarumpa.

4. My job. I work at the High School Library two shifts a week. It has allowed me to keep loving me job at home. Plus, it has been fun! It is an interesting and uplifting experience working with kids who for the most part are polite, respectful, kind, and make me laugh. I also have enjoyed getting to know the other ladies I work with (albeit mostly through our notebook of communiques).

I am allowed creativity on the table displays, coming up with ways to engage the students with reading. And I have access to free books! Who could ask for anything more?

A recent 6th grade research project allowed me to get a glimpse into what teaching could be like here and it excited me! But for now I am content being aide to the students in the library.

5. Our new house. I already mentioned the blessing on one of our new neighbors. We are also so happy to have friends on the other side as well as just over the hill (a two minute walk across a playground from out house) to even more friends! The freedom from mesquitos here on the hill with delicious breezes has been a welcome relief. Though we have to stay more on top of Liam’s grass allergies and such as he spends most of the time out of doors and it is quite a walk anywhere; we are so happy to have a place of our own where the boys can feel secure and settled. Us too! We really feel God choose this house for us.

We had a wonderful Saturday recently where friends came and filled our home with joy, laughter, prayers and good food! Now the last step is finally getting all our crates delivered and unpacked. I am hoping the last of this will happen before Thanksgiving.

Of course living here has not been all sunshine and love. I have decided to create a second blog entry to continue this – As this one is already quite long.