Sunday, August 24, 2008

another few days

I think I’ve been meaning to blog every day this week but somehow it just hasn’t happened! Never least I’m doing it now!

Let’s go back in time a few days... to Tuesday morning, which is Bible Fellowship for the ladies of the church. Last week we met in Kamkumung at the church, so this week we fellowshipped in the Biwat Settlement. I always find there is something so nice about having Bible Study right in the heart of the settlement, as it feels like a “presence” in the local community. Due to other “work” commitments (typing/translating for a church song book, literacy course preparation, preparation for Sunday School and a Sunday School training session coming up next Saturday...), I had thought about staying home this Tuesday to try and catch up a bit. But come Tuesday morning it was pouring rain – and you have to understand that in this tropical climate often when it rains it really rains! Now you might think that this just added to my resolve to stay home, as we don’t drive to Biwat – we walk (a short ten minute or so walk).

Now, admittedly I considered staying home as, especially because of the rain, that option was a whole lot easier than going, and since one of the ladies from our church leads the Bible Study at the moment, I had no real “need” to be there. However, many is the time where we have been disappointed about church attendance, or fellowship attendance on a rainy day – people tend to stay home rather than brave the rain (this includes staying home from school as well sometimes!), though many of them have umbrellas and it would not always be impossible (though sometimes it is almost impossible!!) for them to still attend. But we always feel kind of silly – how can we suggest to them that they should still try harder to attend in the rain, when we often (though not always) get to stay completely dry in a car? So with these thoughts in mind I decided to brave the rain with Ashlyn and go, if not just to prevent them from thinking that I do not value fellowship enough to be prepared to get a little wet for it!

So off we trundled armed with a big umbrella and Ashlyn in her gumboots! Along the road it was pretty simple walking but by the time we hit the settlement we had to splash through rather large puddles (actually the walkway kind of turns into a mini river!). But, thankfully, Ashlyn did really well walking, and as always was a great morning and I was really thankful in the end to have gone. Not just simply for the fellowship (though that is always heart warming), but also because a number or ladies from Kamkumung had braved the rain, too, to come all the way to Biwat for fellowship! That was so marvellous to see (and shame on me, in my scepticism I did not expect them to show!) and gave me a real lift – God is good!

The rest of the week was filled with our everyday activities – Andrew did a fellowship in Biwat on Wednesday night and did a couple of home visits. He also did the usual sermon/fellowship preparations and the usual running around (which in this country can take such a lot of time), sorting things out, including some building work and electrical work at Kamkumung (we now have fans in the church!!), and continued work on organising security at Kamkumung because of the troubles in this regard at the moment.

I spent Wednesday organising Sunday School things. I am trying to make it simpler and easier for our Sunday School teachers and at the same time show them practical ways to become better Sunday School teachers. Next Saturday I hope to run another short training session (Nadia and I have done one before together), also to stress the importance of the work and to explain some of the minor changes we are implementing. One of these changes is also getting a mother on board to help the teachers. It will be her responsibility to ensure the teachers are aware when they are supposed to be teaching the class, and to talk to them if they fail to show up. I am hoping that this will work well, as I much prefer to have her talking to those who are not pulling their weight (when it happens) rather than me. The problem with me doing it is that as a white person they may just agree with me and also am often loathe to come on too strong (though maybe I sometimes should when they neglect preparation or even do not show up) simply because of the white skin/black skin/superior/inferior mentality that I do not want to perpetuate. Coming from one of their own will hopefully help in a positive way.

Thursday was a literacy class with a difference as we were forced out of our usual “classroom”, the library at Kamkumung church because workers were working in the library. So we went upstairs and because I had no whiteboard we did a bit more of a reading-only session, and we worked on talking loudly and clearly (trying to give them confidence to speak out in public for things like Bible Study), and also worked on some comprehension type exercises, which proved very interesting – as I continue on this course it is so evident that literacy is not the only problem, although it is the underlying problem. Lack of education often results in lack of understanding/analysing/thinking/summarising, etc, etc. When sitting with these ladies it makes me so thankful for the opportunities we and our children have in regards to education. Something not to be taken for granted! It also makes me more determined to do all I can to work hard with these ladies to do what we can to help them improve in all these skills. However, it is much harder for them, at their age, to learn – there’s a reason we usually go to school when we are young, and of course there is only so much that can be done in one morning a week. But we go forward in this together in God’s strength...May He continue to bless us.

On Friday I suddenly had this crazy idea to sew some curtains for the girl’s room. It was crazy because, as my husband reminded me, I am busy on a few other projects at the moment...but the thing is that sometimes it gets tiresome doing the same thing over and over (e.g translating songs, and typing songs for our song book), so it was time to do something else for a few days. Besides which, I suddenly woke up one morning with an idea of how I could revamp the curtains very cheaply...I decided to buy cheap material (that is not curtain material) for about 4 kina per meter. But because it is not curtain material, but instead it is dress material so it is very thin for curtains so I just sewed the new material onto the old curtains and it is just like thick curtain material, for a fraction of the price!

Saturday I took a break from curtain making to make Ashlyn’s birthday cake and do some other household chores, but thankfully at 10pm I actually finished the curtains. Yay!! In time for Ashlyn’s birthday!

And today was Ashlyn’s birthday. We are so thankful for our precious youngest daughter and we can’t believe she’s three already!! After church we had a little party with some children in our compound. Here are some pics:

starting on the presents

more presents

friends for the party

cat birthay cake

blowing out the candle

getting the junk food fill!

the curtain revamp -when opened up

...and when shut!


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blogs and seeing the photos. The curtains look great and Ashlyn looks so cute on her birthday!
God's blessings in the months while Ian and Nadia are away. We are praying for you all.

HH said...

Great job on the curtains, Nat. Very nice and I'm sure Ashlyn loves the change as well. Glad you had a lovely day for her and we too, can't believe she is 3!! Hope she got our email yesterday.
Take care.

Joy said...

I have meant to write for long as well.
I am glad that it looks like you are doing well.

At the moment, I am in Australia. It happened that Joy is expecting to have a child soon. I still have to get used to the idea that I am going to be a dad, but it is very nice to think about it once awhile (sometimes it is scary as well, though).

Since I am staying in Australia, there must be more opportunities we can meet. Take care, and hope to see you.