Monday, August 30, 2010

Jonathan's Big Day

Last Friday was a big day for Jonathan at school.

At the Junior Assembly in the morning, he was one of the three students from his class who received a "Student of the Fortnight" Award. His was for "Being enthusiastic when learning new maths concepts and strategies"!

Here he is with his lovely teacher, Mrs. Brickland.
Then in the afternoon, at the whole school assembly, he also received a Bronze Award. This Award is given to all the students who have earned 1o Merit Points for good behaviour over the past couple months.
His class hosted that assembly and shared what they've been learning about different family traditions. Here is Jonathan introducing Ian who talked about Thanksgiving in Canada!
So that was last Friday. Today (Monday), school was cancelled because a nearby store had caught on fire early this morning and many, many people took advantage of the situation and looted it along with two other stores. The police needed to be called in to restore order.

We may miss out on 'snow days', but instead we have our very own "looting days".

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Lord Has Heard Our Prayers

The Lord has led Tim and Francine Sikkema to ACCEPT the call from our supporting churches to work in Lae with us. If all goes according to plan, they will be joining us here sometime later next year! We thank and praise God for this!

We pray now that He will prepare the road ahead of them. It's a long journey which includes further mission studies, applying for visas, classis exam and ordination in Australia, packing up and saying goodbye and not forgetting, of course, the anticipated arrival of their little one in the middle of all that!

May the Lord make everything well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

She's Four!

Karlyn celebrated her Birthday yesterday!

Thanks Papa and Nana for my new bathers!
Our little lady in her new dress from Grandma and Grandpa. The chic purple purse slung over her shoulder was from Jonathan (he picked it himself!).
Still smiling, even though she actually has the chicken pox right now and most of her friends couldn't celebrate with her! (Thankfully she doesn't have it too bad because she was immunized for it).
The flutterby butterfly cake.
"Happy birthday dear Karlyn, happy birthday to you!"

It took a few big blows and help from her brother to get that one out!
And here's Caleb...happy to be celebrating his sister's big day! No chicken pox on him yet, but we figure it's only a matter of time...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tim and Francine's Visit

Francine and Tim on a rainy morning in Lae... Their 10 days here with us went by quickly. And already now they are in Sydney and will soon be flying back over the Pacific. We enjoyed showing them around, introducing them to church members and friends, taking them along to church, outreach evenings and Bible Study, and talking with them about the joys and struggles of life and mission work here. They tried their hand at manoeuvering the potholes and driving on the left, frequented the market for tropical produce and got a taste of PNG food. A highlight of the trip was when Tim had the opportunity to share a message at the home of one of our church member's in the heart of one of the settlements. Ian was there to translate and to a crowd of about 50, Tim preached an encouraging message on Genesis 28 (Jacob's ladder) and God's faithfulness to His promises--that He is with us always and fulfilling His plan even when we don't realize it.

Karlyn and Jonathan will miss having Mrs. Francine and Mr. Tim around! They had some fun afternoon swims together!
Tim and Francine, we will continue to pray for you as you decide on God's will for your lives!
Of course we hope and pray you'll be joining us back here one day....!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another Woman's Story

He wants 1 kina (40 cents), but she doesn't have any money to give him. As a result, he flies into a rage, as he often does, and begins throwing things and breaking things around their property. She runs to take refuge in the house and when he tries to follow her to beat her, their 8 year old daughter yells at him to leave mama alone. Thankfully he listens to his little girl, but still her mama hides in the house, upset and afraid.

That was when she called us and told us what was going on.

This isn't the first time that such violence has gone on in this family. She's cried many times in front of us missionaries about the abuse she's endured. Her husband is almost deaf from working for too many years with loud equipment and no ear protection. There's no excuse for his violent behaviour, but he is a very frustrated man because of these hearing problems which have also impeded him from being able to work. And he takes it out on his wife. All the neighbours see and hear what's going on, but they either do not or cannot intervene.

Ian writes a letter for him to read (because of his hearing problems) and we walk over to the settlement where they live. By the time we get there, he has left, leaving behind a wife deeply hurt and a daughter who misses another day of school because of what she witnessed. The letter urges him to stop beating his wife; to repent; to love her unconditionally; and surrender to the One who alone can redeem him from the rage that overtakes him.

We sit down with her to try and bring some words of comfort and encouragement, through the Word and prayer. She is shooken up and upset, but still speaks of the comfort she always receives from the Word and shares that when he is on one of his rampages, and she goes into the house to pray, she feels strengthened and encouraged. I'm so thankful that this woman knows the Lord, for He alone can get her through. She is safe with Him.

In situations like these, we feel pretty inadequate. We offer our support; as does our church; and we may need to involve the authorities if it happens again (although we're not sure how much that will help). But even with all of that, the abuse may still continue. Ultimately the Lord needs to change her husband's heart. That's what we will continue to pray for.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goodbye, Mom and Dad

My Mom and Dad left yesterday and, as always, it hurt to say goodbye. But, overarching the sadness is our thankfulness that God enabled them to come and share our life with us for a few weeks.

Here are a few more photos from their last weekend here:

Mom and Alosinda prepare some PNG food. Mom trying a sip of coconut water.
Dad taking his turn at scraping the coconut. The scraper seat was a little tippy, so Andrew's there holding Dad up, just in case! (The coconut was then mixed with water, the 'milk' squeezed out of it, and that was used to boil the sweet potato, yams and greens).
Mom and Dad saying thank you and farewell at church. Mom worked hard at learning enough pidgin to say a few short sentences. Everyone was delighted!
Showered with gifts! It's amazing how generous people are to all of our visitors, considering how little they have themselves.
A friend of ours with a nice camera took some special photos of us together.

We cherish the memories.
And on a happier note, Tim and Francine Sikkema arrived safely in Lae last evening! Please pray for a blessing over their time here and for the Lord to guide their decision-making.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The First Year Has Flown By

Happy 1st Birthday to Caleb! We praise God for our little man!
We ordered this cake from the local grocery store and brought it to church to celebrate his big day with our church family.

Although we didn't know this when we ordered the cake, it was also Lian's 5th birthday, so we sang to her too! Her mom is holding Caleb. (Birthdays are not usually celebrated here. Many people in PNG do not know how old they are or when their birthday is!)

Ready to try a bite of cake!

"Even better with icing on my face!"

Then in the afternoon, we joined up with a few friends. This is our friend, Corrinne--she and her husband have been in PNG for over 50 years and are working on translating the Bible into a tribal language, which they hope to finish later this year. We got together to celebrate her birthday too--she's 80 years older than Caleb! The cakes worked well together.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Launching Celeste

Friday marked a momentous occasion as our boat took to the water after 2.5 years of being dry-docked!
She's our little tugboat... a beauty on the water, isn't she?!

These two gentlemen have been working on the boat for the last little while. The one to the rear is a former helicopter pilot. He's our technician...hooking up or fixing up some of the electrical items. The skipper, well he is a mechanic, welder, avid fisherman and a good friend to Ian. And here's the deal: they are fixing up the boat in exchange for some time on the open sea and hopefully reeling in some marlin!

Here's my dad, taking the helm. The reason he is so relaxed is because the boat is travelling only about 6 knots an hour. That's not much for a 135 horsepower engine, but maybe understandable since it's not been used for years. Hopefully that will be sorted out by the crew. They didn't mind a slow but steady journey along the coastline of the beautiful Huon Gulf anyway.

One of the beaches where they threw down the anchor and enjoyed a nice swim. My dad was worried about the sharks...but thankfully nothing nipped his toes.

The kids and I met up with them in the afternoon and took a little tour just outside the yacht club. The wind had picked up by that time and it was a little choppy, so the little tour was enough for me and the kids! But still the ocean breeze felt good.
It was good and refreshing for Ian and the rest to be away from Lae for a few hours and out enjoying God's awesome creation in the vast skies and open sea. Rejuvenating.

How to Make A 5Kina Lion

It was National Book Week and at Jonathan's school they celebrated by dressing up as book characters. Since Ian's been reading The Chronicles of Narnia to the kids lately, Jonathan had no hesitation about who he wanted to be--Aslan!

With no Wal-Mart's or Michael's Arts and Crafts Stores in sight, we had to get creative in putting the costume together. Thankfully, there are many second-hand clothing stores around. I found a brown knitted shawl, a brown pillow case, and a brown shirt all for about 5kina (about $2 Aus/Can). And thankfully my mom is here right now because I don't know how to sew! She went to work sewing a tail out of the pillow case, unravelling the shawl, and sewing pieces of the yarn onto the shirt and the end of the tail.
One of our craft books inspired us to make this mask out of a cardboard box. We all--Mom, Dad, Ian, Jonathan and I--did our share of cutting, gluing, painting, and attaching some more of that yarn for the mane!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Visit to TISOL

Jonathan's class has just started a unit on "Celebrations and Traditions", where the students are gaining an appreciation for different cultures and the way they celebrate special occasions. My parents were invited to go and share about their Dutch and Canadian cultures and special stories that have been told in their families. The supply of available grandparents to come and visit the class is pretty low here since most of the kids are ex-pats and their grandparents live in their home countries. So this was a special opportunity!

My mom shared some stories about growing up in Holland with the dikes and bikes. She also told a story about my grandparents during WWII (in a way that 5/6 year old's could understand), when my grandmother was taken to a concentration camp because her brothers were involved in hiding Jews. Although Mom didn't share this with the kids, my grandparents were engaged at the time and when my grandfather heard that his young fiance had been taken, one side of his face paralyzed because of the shock. Something that you could notice on him for the rest of his life. Thankfully, the Lord was with my grandmother and after 5 months, she was released. Still, it is a powerful story that will remain in our family and be passed down to the next generations to remember the sacrifices made during the war.
To end her sharing time, my mom gave them a little taste of Holland...some purple and pink 'vruchtenhagel' on toast!

Here they are using a giant atlas to show where Canada and Holland are...far from this side of the world, that's for sure!

Dad read to the kid's an A to Z book on Canada. "If only my colleagues could see me now...", Dad was thinking.
He told them stories about dog-sledding...and tobogganing...and hockey...and Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our family has the tradition at Thanksgiving to each share something we are thankful to God for. Jonathan's teacher liked this so much she asked the kids to share their thanksgivings that day after my parent's session.
It was Caleb's first day at TISOL too.
Karlyn enjoyed the Library Corner!
My parents were really thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with Jonathan and his class during their time here. A reminder again that God's timing is perfect in every way.