Thursday, April 22, 2010

a great week

We have had a wonderful week with the Alkemas. It was great to share the work here with them. Here's a rundown of our past few days with some photos and a short video....(some of which I stole from Kristen....Thanks, Kristen!)

On Saturday afternoon we took them out to nearby Situm village so they could get a small taste of village life. We have a connection with this village as the family of a couple of workers at the girl's school live there. The great thing was that they are very proficient in English, so the Alkemas could really converse well with them and ask them lots of questions!

Here Shiana is posing as a parrot, wearing a flower on her nose (I don't know what the flower is called, I just know that it is used like this to make a parrot nose!)

After walking around the village we drove a little further to check out the local school. We had to cross this "river"....
...Ashlyn was not too impressed about the whole idea, as her face tells. I think she was having visions of being swallowed up by the river...
The river from a different angle....
Here's a short video (courtesy of Kristen) which shows us crossing. We had watched some women crossing by foot so we knew it was not too deep. They said it was okay for us to cross, and they crossed ahead of us as you can see in the video. However, the poor ladies got quite the fright when Andrew decided to put his foot down and go pretty fast so we would make it to the other side, and started running. They must have been worried that he was going to run them over. You can see them running on this video....



And here the ladies are afterward. The one hitching up her clothes is the one that fell over! After that ordeal they were hoping to hitch a ride with us way further up the road (the direction the lady is pointing in). However, we had to tell them that we were only going about 100m further to
the school. Sorry ladies!

video


On Sunday we had quite the fright as we sat in church, before church had started. We were sitting on the benches enjoying singing together when the ground began to shake. First quietly and then a little, before building up to a big rumble and a larger shake as the building began to shake too in an earthquake. We just got up and began moving out of the building for fear the earthquake would get bigger, when it thankfully stopped. The internet informed us later that day that it was a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which occurred about 29kms East of Lae. No wonder we felt it! Always gives a scare, but is a powerful reminder of God's awesome power! This poor baby bat on the photo below fell from the beams up high near the rooftop, as the building shook! He was kind of cute, actually. Last night we felt another earthquake here in Lae, though not as big as the one on Sunday....

A photo of Andrew....


And wherever Louisa is, one of our girls will be nearby:


Sharing their story after church on Sunday:


On Monday afternoon/evening we organised a meeting with the LCC (church leaders/trainee consistory) and their families over a PNG meal! We spent some time there earlier during the food preparation so that the Alkemas could experience how the nationals prepare their food. Here we are relaxing before our meal:


As were the men....

Sharing a local food called pitpit, which we cooked straight in the fire. I was trying to remove the husk so we could eat the inside, but it was a bit hot still....
Shiana practicing her coconut scraping skills...

Louisa as gorgeous as ever....I think she was eating some of the pitpit here....
As I write this, the Alkemas should be on their way back to Housten, BC, flying somewhere in this big, wide world. We pray they may have a safe journey, a joyful reunion with their children, and also that the Lord will give them much strength and wisdom as they continue to deliberate this call sent out to them. Needless to say, we would love to have them here, but we know that God is in control and He knows what is truly best. May He direct their steps!

Friday, April 16, 2010

another week to blog about...

Last weekend, while the girls were still enjoying school holidays, we could thankfully spend a few days in the highlands, at the SIL mission base at Ukarumpa. Being in the highlands means the temperature is much cooler than in Lae, which is so nice for a few days! So nice not to constantly sweat! We have friends in Ukarumpa, too, who we were able to visit and we always enjoy the peaceful surroundings, the lovely people, and the time to just relax for a few days. It seems that every time you travel in this country you see something out of the ordinary. This time this sight greeted us as we traveled. We are not sure what happened as it is a straight stretch of road with not obvious potholes nearby, but the fire was still flaming (not just smoking)...and as we had the camera handy we took some quick photos:



And the cooler temperatures in Ukarumpa mean that we spend more time outside. And Ashlyn is always happy to be the subject of my photos:



After returning to Lae I received a phone call from a friend who told me she was going to start teaching swimming lessons in the compound where she lives, and she wanted to know if we were interested! Well, offers for swimming lessons by a trained swimming instructor are not exactly something to pass by in Lae, as they just don't usually happen, so swimming lessons it is. 2 afternoons per week for the next three or so weeks. Ashlyn is in one class and Kirilee and Shiana directly after in another class. Here's Ashlyn doing her thing:




And here's a photo of Shiana. For some reason I didn't get one of Kirilee. Maybe another time. Our girls all are very confident in the water but they just have never really had the opportunity to refine their strokes and learn them properly (which would mean they would be far behind their age group in Australia in terms of stages). It looks like they are getting their strokes sorted out now, and we are very thankful for this opportunity!
And then....late this afternoon Andrew hopes to head to the airport to pick up Ian (who has been in Moresby for a few days), as well as Hendrik and Kristen Alkema! It has been about four years since we saw them last (at our farewell in Canada back in 2006!!!!), and we are looking forward to getting reacquainted with them. More than that, we, along with our co-workers, are keen to share the work here in Lae with them, to help them determine if this is the place that God would have them serve. Please pray that their time here may be a blessing, and that God will use this time to help them come to a decision which pleases Him. His Will be done!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kirilee's birthday

How's this? Two posts in one day....not bad for someone who struggles to get two posts in a week usually! Well I thought that I would do better separating the two posts today. This one is dedicated to our eldest daughter who turned 11 today. Where have those years gone?

Kirilee is our thinker, our reader, who never tires of talking (now where would she get that from?). She loves school and loves homework (doesn't get that from me!!). She loves babies and does a great job looking after them, never tiring of holding and cuddling them. Mostly she loves to be "grown up", but sometimes she loves just being a kid. She is very stubborn and sticks to her guns (which, well, sometimes poses problems when her will is not in line with her parent's will), but at the same time it means she is not a pushover and will stand up for what she believes in. She loves doing research, loves learning new things, loves looking through books which teach about Bible History and places. She loves writing little snippets in her diary and she loves hearing "Bible Stories" (for older children). She learns songs and Bible Texts very quickly. She loves vegetables, and dislikes many fruits (though she loves apples and watermelon). Well that about sums up our daughter...Thank you Lord for blessing us with this child and help us to be a blessing to her! Forgive us when we fail, and despite our faults and flaws, be her Perfect, Loving and Almighty Father always!

Kirilee received a desk for her birthday and was so pleased with it....she even got her Dad's old, old laptop to tinker with, though when we turned it on this morning we found that a few keys don't work....guess we'll have to hunt for a USB keyboard some time soon! Here she is showing off some books she received from Oma. Both Opa and Oma and Grandpa and Grandma gave her books...they sure know what makes her happy!

We had a little party this afternoon with Uncle Ian and Aunt Nadia and family...


Okay, now when you look at this cake I made, you have to understand that we live in PNG and I couldn't find the candies I needed, and then the piping bag which I bought (and I didn't even buy the cheapest) to pipe the melted chocolate ripped the second I used it, and then the gel stuff that I found in one store to make gel flowers came out all runny (perhaps from the heat??). Well it still looks like a castle, right? Shiana reassured me by telling me that it was just one of those old, old castles, which looks a bit rough. And I thanked her sweetly, reminding her that even though that might excuse the castle itself, actually the flowers should still not look old and dilapidated....

But Kirilee was happy....and we had a blessed day!!

Our Good Friday in photos...

We had a wonderfully blessed Good Friday. It was a beautiful day with our church community. What a blessing to celebrate that Christ Jesus our Lord died for us...for poor, miserable sinners. We tried to use this event to encourage our members to invite their family and friends to join us for this service. And some did which was wonderful to see. May God use his Word to change unrepentant hearts!

Here's a run down of our day in photos -

First we arrive at church after filling our cars to the max with people who live near us. Shiana makes a mad dash to find Louisa (she does every time we are at church, and then her and Kirilee spend the rest of the day arguing about who's turn it is to hold her and who's held her for the longest!). Here she is carting her around church...

Before church official starts we spend lots of time singing. Here are two of our very capable guitarists, Jason and Monica....


Among the singing I use the opportunity to shake hands and every now and then snap a few pics. And this gorgeous Louisa is just such a good candidate for gorgeous photos...


Then follows the beautiful service. Ian preached a powerful sermon on our need to truly repent and confess Jesus as Lord of our lives, and to live our lives in His grace. After church we had a special program where different groups performed various items. The Sunday school children performed two songs with actions....
And if you look carefully on the photo below you will see little Ashlyn hiding at the back with her big sister (who you can't actually see, but she is there), working hard on the actions...
Even our Women's Bible Study group sung a song.... You are my All in All....


Ashlyn sat on the floor with her friends "enjoying" the entertainment....

Some were just overwhelmed with boredom and decided to find their own fun on the grass...

This young boy, Hansley, was just content hanging on someone's arm....
And after every good program comes a very important element - food! We had donuts, flour balls and cakes and cordial. Here is Augustina enjoying every moment of her flour ball....


And this sweet lady, Marta, was only to happy to let me get a close up of what she was enjoying...

That was our blessed Good Friday in photos (and a few words....). We pray yours was blessed too!