Sunday, September 7, 2008

rains, quakes, sand, bread, wine and falling trees

It must be Sunday again...it’s not that I don’t think of blogging during the week. To the contrary I often have “blog concepts” going through my head, but for some reason they just stay in my head and only transfer to the computer on Sundays. Hey, you never know, maybe this coming week will be different...
The rains really came down at the beginning of the week causing Lae to experience its worst flooding in recent years. It did not affect us too badly, but the people we minister to in the settlements, were really flooded out. The local paper had photos of people in the Biwat settlement wading through waist deep water. Water went inside their houses and one of the biggest problems is the inability to cook when it floods as they all cook outdoors on open fires. The roads were like rivers around town and the heavy rains served to widen the already deep potholes/craters in the roads. We also experienced another fairly small (though enough to awaken us and some of our kids) earthquake (much bigger than the tremor we felt last week as I typed my blog!). So it has been quite the week for experiencing the power of our Heavenly Father as manifested in “natural” occurrences. When speaking to the people here about these events, it is obvious that things like the bigger earthquakes are rather frightening to them. Flooding, and the inconveniences it causes is something that they are much more matter-of-fact about (admittedly, much more accepting than I have been in the few times our house has been flooded since we have been here!). But in all this we are thankful that they and we recognize that all these things come from the good hands of our Heavenly Father.
Oh, and I have a story about sand. Beach sand... Ashlyn constantly asks for a sand-pit/box at the moment. Well, though we live on the coast, the beach sand around here is very dark, and I mean very dark – pretty well black, and there seems to be no where locally that we can get any sandpit kind of sand. 400km away, in beautiful Madang, the sand is white, but it would be quite the effort to bring it back from Madang. So I thought I would tap into some local knowledge...our haus meri, Julie. She said that she didn’t think there was any white sand around Lae, but she would have a look the next day (the next day being Saturday). Well, about 11 am on Saturday Julie rolls up at our place. We were outside and she said she had a little bit of beach sand with her, and that I should come and have a look. She warned me that it was not very white, so I followed behind her imagining not white sand, but somehow greyish or brownish sand. I was mistaken...badly mistaken. Julie had lovingly carted (with the help of a youth) two fairly large bags full of black, completely black beach sand to our house. But the thing was, it was definitely beach sand. It was grainy, and although black, not really dirty. What I mean is, it wiped off clothes and hands easily without leaving black, dirty marks as soil does. So I hauled out an old inflatable pool of Ashlyn’s (now I know why I did not throw it out even though it had holes in it!), and we filled it with the black beach sand. And Ashlyn had quite the time playing in it, after getting over the initial shock of it being black, and stayed in there for a good while. We had to erect a temporary shade cover for her, as the morning sun was pretty strong, but by the afternoon that area is in beautiful shade! I loved just watching Julie’s reaction. She really lit up when she realised how much Ashlyn loved what she had done for her and was quite ready to go for another long walk and cart some more bags of sand to our house, until I assured her that Ashlyn had enough sand for now! Here’s some pics....






Oh, and something to add about this morning. We had Holy Supper today, and I had quite the time with Ashlyn (no, our young children are not tucked nicely away in babysitting/crèche!!). When she saw me receiving a piece of bread, she was quite upset and let it loudly be known (to the enjoyment of those around us), that it was highly unfair that “big people” got bread while she had to be content with her crackers. As I held it in my hand (we wait and eat the bread together, as one!) she kept trying to grab it and then with the wine (we have individual cups), she loudly told me after sticking her fingers in the wine and getting a good taste, that “no it’s not yucky, Mum (yes, I told her that she wouldn’t like it anyway!) my like it!”, before throwing her fingers in again for another good lick. Thankfully, children (including Ashlyn) often disrupt the services here in one way or another, so it was not as if it was a really big scene. It’s more just when we think about it and compare it to our church services back in Australia (or Canada), that we just have to laugh sometimes...
...and then as we were standing up to sing the last song in church this morning I had to have another laugh. The lady sitting in front of me was wearing a laplap (sarong kind of thing, really a large piece of hemmed material wrapped around to look like a “skirt”) which was obviously very appropriate for worship. It had “I love Jesus” written all over it and then I noticed another print all over it which said “God bress you!” The bress was meant to be bless, but obviously something went wrong in the editing process...mmm...not that unusual out here. One thing can be said though – at least people in this country are proud to wear clothes which proclaim their joy to be a Christian. Can you imagine some of our Western Countries mass producing and the actually selling a material with a print like that on it (with the correct spelling)??
...and then another laugh this afternoon. Andrew and I were busy watching a DVD of a church service in Launceston (we try to listen/watch something most Sundays), when suddenly we hear a big bang and notice a buai (beetlenut) tree (tall palm tree) crashing onto our neighbour’s roof (within our compound, actually his house is about 10m away from our house), just missing breaking a heap of wires which would have affected our house as well. I ran upstairs to get a good look over the fence where the tree came from. I see a man standing with a bush knife looking surprised and scratching his head at what had just happened – he obviously had not expected it to go that way when he cut it down, though judging by the angle of the tree, the odds were pretty high for it to land on the house next door - and a bunch of women just losing it laughing!! The gardener and the guards in our compound were soon onto it and in no time they had it removed (though there were a few tense moments on the wires....) and Andrew washed down the neighbour’s house with his hose. Well, all is well, that ends well...
...and I guess this a good time as any to sign off.
Goodnight...till next time.

2 comments:

HH said...

So glad Ashlyn loves her sandpit. Quite a contrast to ours, hey! And I also love the striking contrast between Ashlyn and Julie. White and black sitting side by side. Reminds me of that song, whether they are white or black, red or yellow, Jesus loves them all. Quite a different Holy Supper experience to what we have, that's for sure! Also thankful that tree missed your house by some metres. Never a dull moment ;)

Elissa W said...

Such cute pictures of Ashlyn! I also loved the story about her dipping her finger into the wine, that is priceless! I think there is something so amazing about having the kids in the service with you, I actually miss that here in Canada (and Noah does too, every Sunday he asks if we are going to the "Hosanna" church!!)

I love the "sandbox"... too bad Tim wasn't there still or he could build a shade cover!
Keeping you guys in our prayers,
Tim, Elissa & boys