Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Waiting. Waiting. (Tap, tap, tap…..)

My fingers nervously drum on the kitchen counter….tap, tap, tap.  If shouting or screaming would help, I would go for it.  But it doesn’t, so my fingers just tap or my foot.  Waiting for our visa’s since December (but they have been in process since September).  Waiting for news that our passports have been stamped and we are released to travel.  Tap, tap, tap.  Months drag by.  Trips are cancelled.  Suitcases are unpacked from trips that surely we could go on…..because surely our visas would come????  Tomorrow???!  Waiting.

Waiting.  I don’t do it well.  Nor do people from my Western culture. We don’t like to wait for meetings to start or waiting for doctors or waiting on friends.  Nor do we like waiting on slow internet connections or waiting to hear about information that in our own culture we could find answers to right away. Clash that with people from an Asian culture.  Who are happy to wait or are at least really good at it!!!!  They will wait all day to speak to my husband.  They will sit under a tree for several hours waiting for me to come home.  I have much to learn about waiting, patiently. 

Two stories of Asian patience in waiting recently popped out to me.  One being our squatter neighbor.  Twenty one years old and only the opportunity to attend school until about 5th/6th grade in a remote tribal group.  He desires to study and become a pastor.  In order to do this, this young man needs to pass two different tests, to the equivalent of our GED.  One for middle school and one for high school.  He arrived here in January and was told that the middle school test would be in February or March.  So meanwhile he and his fourteen year old bride, wait.  To their credit, they work and wait. Diligently every day, they showed up to Darron’s office seeking work. Every week, Darron’s secretary would check to see if it was time to take the test.  Each week, she was given a similar answer.  “It will be later”.  Or “It will be in March.”  Just last week, the school informed us that the test was given last December.  Stunned, we question what was all that waiting for?   Now, This young man has to wait until when??!  Tap, tap, tap, tap…….

 

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On Sunday a struggling to breath sick man was flown out to get medical help.  They load him onto a rolling cart as we wait for an ambulance.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Phone calls are made.  The ambulance is less than a quarter mile from our home.  Twenty, maybe thirty minutes tick by.  Difficulty breathing.  Oxygen flowing.  Flies being brushed away. The family stands by waiting.  Not upset.  Not frustrated.  They are not expecting anything more than to wait.  Tap, tap, tap……  this is not right. I could drive him myself, quicker, faster.  Finally the ambulance comes.

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Yesterday our waiting was over.  The passports arrived.  The 5 year privilege of living here has been granted.  We are so grateful to our friend, Pastor Desmond, who worked so hard, along side the immigration people to obtain this visa for us.  I know that he had to do many many hours of long waiting for signatures, for proper documents, for ……I don’t even begin to know. This is a visa that few foreigners have.  We feel very blessed.  I can only imagine that I will be learning many more lessons on this important topic of waiting in the months and years to come. 

 

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As I was at a special prayer group for our school yesterday we read this, “I waited patiently for the Lord;  And He inclined  his ear to me, And heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth.”   Ps 40:1-3  I don’t know about you but sometimes just waiting can feel like a pit and miry clay.  As I stand on this rock and establish my feet…..tap, tap, tap…..I’ve got a new song in my mouth. Pujih Tuhan.  Praise the Lord. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

116+ Patients, 4ish Hours, Teamwork

A persistent invitation kept coming to me.  To join an Indonesian team of doctors and nurses, to do a free clinic day, as an outreach ministry.  Dr. Reni, a fun energetic female Papua doctor, really pursued me.  Calendar checked, I agreed to join, along with “my girls” and Kathleen (our Indonesian super nurse) and Erin (Darron’s super secretary and housemate to the girls). 

We met at a Adventist church in Abe.  In typical fashion, we were 15 minutes late, but 45 minutes early.  If you don’t understand that last sentence…….welcome to rubber time, where flexibility is more important than timeliness.  People kept joining the group and gathering.  Many photos were taken of us girls, with lots of people who didn’t even introduce themselves.  They just kept asking for photos.  We kept smiling, in missionary spirit.

In time an old bus groaned to a stop in the parking lot.  Soon it was clear that we could all ride along, which beat me having to drive to near the PNG boarder.  The scenery was breath taking as we left the city and clicked off miles into the country side.  Vast, beautiful gardens, with ocean and mountains as the background.  The old bus with seats cracked open, exposing the foam and metal, barely would make it up each steep hill.  All I could do was will it up each incline with the words, “I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.”

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In time, we arrived.  To an Adventist church in Koia.  There was already clear evidence of much work going ahead of us in preparation.  As shade tents had been pitched for patients and workers.  Tables were set out and it was all organized.  A patient waiting area.  A triage section.  A lab.  An area to meet with the Doctors.  A med station and FREE FOOD.  IMG_20161204_132202

The girls would be in the lab section.  Testing blood glucose, cholesterol and uric acid levels. Erin was with them as translator.  I worked with Kathleen most of the time in triage.  Taking histories and doing blood pressures, and vital signs.  I did most of the blood pressure part and absorbed thousands of Indonesian medical words.  Great language day!!!!   When I felt I could, I slipped around to all the stations and observed it all.  I would estimate that at least 50% (but probably closer to 75% of the blood pressures) were high. 

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The patients were already waiting when we arrived.  Villagers from every age and back ground.  Young, old.  It was heart warming to be with them.  I loved the beauty of their faces and their laughter.

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In 4ish hours over 116 patients were seen. Over 6 doctors came and donated their time, along with many nurses.  Blood levels were checked until they ran out of test strips on some of the tests.  Everyone was fed.  What a beautiful ministry.  “Everybody doing a little part”, says Dr. Reni.

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I was so blessed to be a tiny part of this team.  I’m looking forward to the next time we go and growing with this amazing team. I arrived home after a 9 hour day out.  Nathaniel’s lungs were full of wheezes as I put my stethoscope to his chest.  Time to be Mommy again.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Squat

Squats…..I dislike them.  Our workout instructor loves to have us do them. “”Go lower than ninety degrees,” she often encouragingly shouts.  But it is not these kind of squats that I want to talk with you about.  Nor is it squat potties.  Though this is definitely the country of them.  They have there positive and negative features.  The positive being, great posture for complete elimination.  Was that clean and clear enough?  haha.  The negative being, it’s hard to leave the squat pot room without wet feet and unclean hands.
The squat I want to chat about is really a bit more plural than just one squat.  It is squatters.  People moving into abandoned or unused property and claiming it as there own.  Our ”new” neighbors of about two months are squatting.  The home they are squatting in is one of the original buildings on this property. Approximately 50 years old and in disrepair.  Their “home” sits facing our master bedroom.  So late at night and early in the morning we hear the high pitch screams of little Dora.  After a while this sound has become normal, as normal as the sound of the mosque calling people to prayer five times a day and as normal as all the humming, clicking, and chirping of tropical creation. 
Somehow our squatter family has hooked up electricity and found a source of water through a hose that runs all day and all night.  The squatters are made up of a mother, father and little Dora.  Also a twenty one year old male and his new fourteen year old wife.  They are all from the same village.  Some are awaiting flights back to their village.  Others are awaiting tests for schooling.  These tests have no dates.  Just the word that they should happen “sometime in March”.  Which messes with our Western, know the dates for the next year of exams, minds.  The family doesn’t want to work.  The young couple do.  Diligently every day they work cutting out jungle chapels for future building.  They are also eager to cultivate many trees for future sale.
Earlier this week we had guests visiting for lunch. Our male retriever loves it when guests come and capitalizes on the fact that this would be a great time to escape and go hunting for chickens or other innocent victims.  This day was no different.  Unfortunately within five minutes of his escape, he had killed Dora’s beloved kitten.  We were unaware until the next morning when the parents told us that their little girl was not to be consoled.  Gratefully, another kitten was found and Dora accepted it.  She is seen putting it in a native bag and toting it around, the kitty purring.  20170207_105915
          One day this week I became aware that I had not noticed Dora's usual high squeel noises.  Looking over into their yard, it seemed empty and abandoned again.  I began to wonder if room had opened up on the plane for them and if they had left.  Had I loved them enough?  Or had I ignored them too much?  I didn't even say Good bye......   Several hours later, I heard the familiar Dora sound.  Relief washed over me.  The squaters were still squating, they hadn't left me yet.

It is quite a dilemma to know how kind and how warm we should be to people who are squatting.  Life here is full of situations that we are not one hundred percent sure of how to act and react too.  Often we are praying for wisdom.  We often want to respond from our own culture and yet we are in this culture.  As always we covet your prayers, as the longer we are here the deeper beyond ninety we are learning to squat.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

And Just Like That…..It Is Finished!

Eleven and a half years is a long time.  Yet I honestly thought there was still five years left.  Unexpectedly, the long days and the short years came to an abrupt halt.  The commitment, the daily grind, the need to be extremely focused and scheduled Monday through Friday, 7:30 until 3 was taken away.  Or maybe it was given away?
I was passionate about it, fully devoted and yet burned out.  Doing something that was not my natural gifting and yet for my children, like most mothers, I would do anything.  Home school.  The early years were simple and yet muddled with ABC’s and 123’s were more babies and diapers and feedings and distractions.  How did that little boy Aubrey, learn so well?  Now he is months away from graduating and launching back into his passport culture.  His grade point average, is higher than a 4.0.  He had to teach me how that makes sense.  His younger brother Andrew, who stands taller than us all, also learned something in between re learning phonics in 3rd grade and little brothers building trains at his feet.  He also is months away from launching back into his passport culture to finish his senior year of high school State side.  Though talented at school, this boy is teaching me daily new tricks in the kitchen, talking circles around my head about computers, videography, photography, and anything he puts his mind too.  I’ll jump to the youngest…..who I learned to linger the longest in the rocking chair with.  By the fourth baby boy, I had learned that in no time did they push away and not need Mommy, so I savored each moment.  Yes, but somewhere amidst the rocking chair snuggles were multiplication tables and hundreds of chapter books read out loud.  We laughed and sometimes Mommy cried.  And it was always, “Just one more chapter Mommy, please.”  Nathaniel learned so well (probably from just over hearing all his older brothers were being taught ) that I needed to send him early to school so that he could be challenged.  Each child and each season so different.  And I’m ever so grateful that we lingered in the rocking chair together.
Jacob (the third Boyd boy), threw a twist into my home school career.  A learning disability, that we have learned to embrace together as his ABILITY.  Because even though “dyslexia” has made this boy have to work so so hard, for what comes so easy for many of us…..his focus, his ability to think outside the box, his analytical strengths and creative voice are emerging into someone with dynamic possibilities.  Last semester we felt it was time to try and nudge Jacob into school part time.  The idea of “going to REAL school” was very traumatic for Jacob.  No longer could he hide his weaknesses of struggling with reading and writing at home.  With counsel and sweet support of Jacob’s God Given Special Education Teacher (who taught him how to read with the Orton-Gillingham approach) Jacob enrolled for P.E., Science, Art, Math and band.  Day one was tough.  By day two, Jacob was thriving.  Jacob has thrived so incredibly well, and given so many readiness signals this past semester (despite his special education teacher having to leave not even a 1/4 of the way into the school year) that we decided it was time for him to do school full time.  Unbelievable. 
I am no longer a home school mom.  What???!!  How did that happen?  Just like that.  I’m relieved and yet sad.  I’m excited and yet somewhat at a loss.  I’m THRILLED and yet shaken by the fact that IT IS OVER.  The years of extreme discipline, of reading until I couldn’t read another word, of listening to words being sounded out and cross stitching, just so that I wouldn’t over correct the mis pronounced words, they are finished. 
However, I am dancing in the gift of time that I was given to spend with each of my precious boys.  Each of them are close to me. Somewhere between math drills and “you would not treat your teacher that way”, we bonded.  And so, even though this season is finished, the fruit of my labor and time is not.  To those of you who are still IN SEASON of home schooling may each day you find renewal in Jesus Christ to continue on.
Meanwhile, I’m so happy it’s Monday.  The kids are all at school.  Yippee…..no home school for me today.  And even though "it is finished", the fruit of my labor is just beginning!!!!

And Just Like That…..It Is Finished!

Eleven and a half years is a long time.  Yet I honestly thought there was still five years left.  Unexpectedly, the long days and the short years came to an abrupt halt.  The commitment, the daily grind, the need to be extremely focused and scheduled Monday through Friday, 7:30 until 3 was taken away.  Or maybe it was given away?

I was passionate about it, fully devoted and yet burned out.  Doing something that was not my natural gifting and yet for my children, like most mothers, I would do anything.  Home school.  The early years were simple and yet muddled with ABC’s and 123’s were more babies and diapers and feedings and distractions.  How did that little boy Aubrey, learn so well?  Now he is months away from graduating and launching back into his passport culture.  His grade point average, is higher than a 4.0.  He had to teach me how that makes sense.  His younger brother Andrew, who stands taller than us all, also learned something in between re learning phonics in 3rd grade and little brothers building trains at his feet.  He also is months away from launching back into his passport culture to finish his senior year of high school State side.  Though talented at school, this boy is teaching me daily new tricks in the kitchen, talking circles around my head about computers, videography, photography, and anything he puts his mind too.  I’ll jump to the youngest…..who I learned to linger the longest in the rocking chair with.  By the fourth baby boy, I had learned that in no time did they push away and not need Mommy, so I savored each moment.  Yes, but somewhere amidst the rocking chair snuggles were multiplication tables and hundreds of chapter books read out loud.  We laughed and sometimes Mommy cried.  And it was always, “Just one more chapter Mommy, please.”  Nathaniel learned so well (probably from just over hearing all his older brothers were being taught ) that I needed to send him early to school so that he could be challenged.  Each child and each season so different.  And I’m ever so grateful that we lingered in the rocking chair together.

Jacob (the third Boyd boy), threw a twist into my home school career.  A learning disability, that we have learned to embrace together as his opportunity.  Because even though “dyslexia” has made this boy have to work so so hard, for what comes so easy for many of us…..his focus, his ability to think outside the box, his analytical strengths and creative voice are emerging into someone with dynamic possibilities.  Last semester we felt it was time to try and nudge Jacob into school part time.  The idea of “going to REAL school” was very traumatic for Jacob.  No longer could he hide his weaknesses of struggling with reading and writing at home.  With counsel and sweet support of Jacob’s God Given Special Education Teacher (who taught him how to read with the Orton-Gillingham approach) Jacob enrolled for P.E., Science, Art, Math and band.  Day one was tough.  By day two, Jacob was thriving.  Jacob has thrived so incredibly well, and given so many readiness signals this past semester (despite his special education teacher having to leave not even a 1/4 of the way into the school year) that we decided it was time for him to learn to do school full time.  Unbelievable. 

I am no longer a home school mom.  What???!!  How did that happen?  Just like that.  I’m relieved and yet sad.  I’m excited and yet somewhat at a loss.  I’m THRILLED and yet shaken by the fact that IT IS OVER.  The years of extreme discipline, of reading until I couldn’t read another word, of listening to words being sounded out and cross stitching, just so that I wouldn’t over correct the mis pronounced words, they are finished. 

However, I am dancing in the gift of time that I was given to spend with each of my precious boys.  Each of them are close to me. Somewhere between math drills and “you would not treat your teacher that way”, we bonded.  And so, even though this season is finished, the fruit of my labor and time is not.  To those of you who are still IN SEASON of home schooling may each day you find renewal in Jesus Christ to continue on.

Meanwhile, I’m so happy it’s Monday.  The kids are all at school.  Yippee…..no home school for me today.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Jolly Quirky Christmas (Part 2)

Our little 3 foot Christmas tree has been put away, along with all the special decorations that have stories and memories with each one.  We were grateful that Pastor Rob brought us new Christmas lights, as ours had all reached the max life stage which was less then 1/2  to no strand working status.  The tropics having played its humid torture to yet another electronic thing in our home.  January 3rd was when life finally calmed down enough for Darron, the boys and I to enjoy a simple family Christmas. It was complete with Doritos from Singapore and a Christmas pudding from Australia.   I think all of us appreciated this Christmas family time even more than Christmas’ past because……..

Perhaps I should back up and pick up this story from where my last blog left off.  Remember, Andrew and I were landing into Papua after an all night flight from getting Andrew’s visa in Singapore. 

We arrived into Sentani and went directly home at 7:30 a.m..  Honestly, I thought I was going to explode from fatigue, the pressure of turning immediately around and needing to catch another flight to head interior, and hoping everyone had all their stuff packed and ready.  Ashamedly, I hit our home frustrated and a wee bit angry. Yep, being a missionary can pull the most unbecoming qualities out of me.  Aubrey took the brunt of my anxiety and handled me calmly while I flew around the house switching 1st world gear for 3rd world interior gear.  40 minutes later we were back in the car heading to the airport.  At this point, I let our a huge sigh. Recognized my poor attitude.  Repented to my kids and God. Grace is a beautiful thing.  I asked the Lord to strengthen me for what lay ahead as I didn’t have it in me and I drank in the grace extended to me.

The airport was crazy with Christmas travelers.  When we checked in, they informed us that our flight was delayed.  Due to no information when our flight would be, we decided to wait it out.  3 hours later we boarded.  As usual the tropical terrain out the airplane window was breath taking.  30 minutes later we began our decent into Wamena (the largest city that is air supplied only).  Pastor Bahasa picked us up in his truck along with KD and Erin.  As we began our drive to Heberima I was surprised at the stone walls and countryside that was a mixture of tropical and almost England.  I was startled by how much it reminded me of England, minus the sheep.  I was enjoying the relief from the pressing humidity and anticipation began to fill me of the adventure of it all.

When Darron saw us pulling up, he ran/danced from the church building sight.  His body language said it all.  He was thrilled that his family had arrived.  I think the image of his joy in seeing us will be replayed often in my mind.  It was the sweetest welcome greeting ever.  It spoke volumes of love.  Darron’s JOY was a Christmas gift, of the finest quality, to me.  I enjoyed being shoulder to shoulder with him, as often I stay home.

We quickly settled our belongings and joined the group to go to a village traditional feast given in part to honor us and in part as an offering of gratitude for a “new” vehicle that the village had obtained (it was only 24 years new).  My boys and Darron have been to many traditional feasts, but this was my first one.  So despite the rain, I watched the village women in complete fascination.  They started removing layers and layers and layers of weeds and grass from a large hand dug pit.  Then they were down to the edible greens.  These were laid on the rice sacks and banana leaves.  More layers of weeds were removed, along with hot rocks.  Out were pulled dozens and dozens of cooked chickens.  These were also laid on the ground.  Skinny, hungry village dogs began to sniff around and were shooed away, if they were noticed.  More rocks removed, more weeds, discarded, more cooked greens discovered.  By now all the village people had gathered.  People broke up into clusters.  A pile of hot cooked weeds and chicken were laid on a banana leaf and everyone started digging in with their right hand, squat position.  Honestly, the greens were delicious.  They had made a spicy Indonesian like hot sauce dressing and bathed it over the ferns. Ferns are incredible!!!  Talking with all the village women and girls was beautiful.  They had a unique wave, which in American culture was more like an handle gesture that would mean, come here to me….I want to talk with you.  So any time one of the ladies would wave to me, it went through my American filter and I would find myself taking steps towards them.  

The nights were cold and cuddly.  It was REFRESHING to FEEL cold and WANT to drink hot drinks.  Something we rarely or perhaps never feel in Sentani.  “

My three girls had taken the cooking in stride.  They had adapted to what the situation handed them.  They made adjustments and went with it.  I was thrilled at their ability and ease at which they served many many people.  Also Darron’s secretary, Erin, and a new Indonesian nurse that has joined our team, Afri, were there.  They also cooked delicious Indonesian food to keep tummies filled.  So I played in the kitchen, rather than led.  One day I made steamed cinnamon rolls, and another day steamed garlic bread.  It was fun to utilize tricks that I had learned my student mission year in the jungle of the Philippines more than 22 plus years ago.

Another favorite memory of mine was Sabbath morning.  After waiting for quite a while for our ride to church, we began to walk.  The countryside is gorgeous and it was downhill to the main road.  Many of the village women and children were going to church also.  They walked barefooted, saving their best shoes for in town.  Its now Christmas Eve day and I’m loving these people.

Christmas Day.  The group knows we need to work because all the village people want to join us and help.  For days our group and many others before us had been mucking around in the foundation.  Moving huge rocks.  Leveling dirt.  Building ditches for foundations.  Overwhelming piles of dirt, dirt, muck, more dirt, wet dirt, mud, stick to your shoes, stick to your clothes, DIRT.  This was our quirky Christmas.  When I was squatting in the bathroom, I realized that Mary probably didn’t realize the circumstances under which she would deliver this baby placed in her womb by God.  A stable???!  This truth became so real to me and something I had never pondered.  It was a precious spiritual nugget on Christmas day, that I will carry with me the rest of my life. Life is not always comfortable.  Gorgeous things are born in discomfort. If God’s own son was born into very very humble circumstances…..who am I to think I deserve or should have more?  Maybe not Jolly thoughts, but good ones.  There were sweet Christmas treats (Puppy chow and fudge, thanks Wendy). 

I think finally on the Tuesday did the building start going up. It lifted the moral of the group to stop doing dirt only.  Now it was dirt and steel. 

Wednesday night I left to get a 24 hour head start on the group arriving back at our home.  Not a time to hit the massage parlor and put my feet up, but rather time to hit the kitchen to prepare for 9 extra mouths, post interior hungry. What a treat to spend the night with a lovely missionary family who live in the town of Wamena, before my early morning flight.  I was served their left over Christmas dinner on special Christmas dishes.  I was teary all evening with gratitude or maybe it was just the hot shower that kept leaking out of my eyes. Arriving back into Sentani I was blessed that people helped me shop at the market, my baker showed and a friend came to chop veggies for different dishes for 3 hours.

Friday, the group arrived back in three different time slots.  Each with their back packs full of dirty clothes and all longing for a hot shower. And so meals were produced and bellies were filled and stories were shared and growing was done.  The house became a constant stream of young adults with my own family mixed somewhere in it all. Saturday night was much anticipated as there is NOTHING like an Indonesian New Year.  We stayed up very very early, watching in AMAZEMENT once again, a firework display that goes and goes and goes until the smoke in the air is so thick that it blocks out the more distant fireworks.  Unbelievable.

Sunday, New Years Day, we were slow to get going from our lack of sleep the night before.  Shortly after our late breakfast it was decided that rather than go to a beach we would do a more local activity.  The waterfall was the destination.  I decided to stay home and try get things straightened out.  A few hours later Darron calls to share that one of our visiting young adults had taken a 100 foot fall at the waterfall. His toes were clearly dislocated and a large gash was in his knee.  He felt that Jordan was making slow but steady progress out and to be ready to meet them at the clinic later.

An hour later, Darron calls again.  This time there is more urgency in his voice.  Jordan is no longer able to move as well.  Could I send a stretcher in?  And more clean water?  At this rate, it was going to take 5 hours to get out to the main road, is how Darron felt.  I know many details happened at the waterfall and on the trail that I don’t know of.  People running the trail and a car sent to the clinic and phones and people left at the base of the trail and one phone up with the group helping Jordan.

Meanwhile I make my way to the clinic. I am so grateful that Dr. Di and Alicia were there, as my mind was not as clear as it usually is in these type of situations.  It was being muddled with the feelings and emotions of responsibility and this was one of “our” kids.  With anticipation a medical back pack was loaded with splints, pain meds, slings, gauze and more.  A team of the most ripped and eager college guys was rounded up to go carry Jordan out.  Prayers were uttered and answered.

To Jordan’s aid came Papua guys who piggy backed him out of the jungle waterfall trail.  By the time my muscle team arrived, this other group almost had Jordan down to the easy part of the trail and road.  It seemed like very little time on our end at the clinic, and the team….with Jordan…..was there.

Again, I am so grateful that Dr. Di and Alicia were at the clinic.  We went to work, cleaning, assessing Jordan and his wounds. It wasn’t long before Dr. Di felt the damage was significant enough that it warranted Jordan leaving the country early and getting to Singapore for surgical care.  She carefully placed a drain in the wound (made from a foley catheter) and we put a boot on Jordan’s foot.  Pain meds and antibiotics given and then we took him to our home to arrange flights and insurance coverage and keep Jordan comfortable.  Meanwhile, mouths were fed and many needs were met and tickets were purchased.  This is where my stress level really rose, because our internet has been almost non existent again.  Also trying to get a phone line out of the country was extremely difficult.  So trying to contact insurance companies for flight and hospital approvals bogged down into poor poor, hour after hour reaching out and getting almost no where communication.  It was one thing to have an emergency on our hands.  It was a whole new level, having an emergency and not being able to make appropriate phone calls and get approvals needed.  We decided to move forward despite approval or not. 

Nick, another one of the short term guys, committed to traveling with Jordan.  This meant cutting his time short here in Papua (and with his girlfriend, Paige) short by 24 hours. At 11:40 the following morning Jordan and Nick were Singapore bound.  At the time of his flight, we had insurance approval, thank you to a team in America…..working hard.  The whole group was somewhat deflated after that.  Even though Darron and I just wanted to crawl into a hole, we put on our happy missionary faces and got everyone excited about going for some beach therapy.  It really proved to be good for all of us.

The group left the following morning. Their testimonies were sweet.  Their lives had been impacted.  Papua now a part of their heart beat.  As it is ours.  We tried really hard to disconnect and be a just a family for the next 5 days.  And that is how long Jordan was an in patient at the hospital in Singapore. 

It was a Jolly Quirky Christmas indeed.  One that will not be forgotten in a hurry.  I think all of us appreciated this Christmas family time even more than Christmas’ past because….. we had given and we received much in our spirits in return.   And that is the mystery of serving a God who seems to thrive in working in the most unusual, unique circumstances.  A God that can use the most humble settings: like a stable and a squat pot.  A God that chooses to use humans.  Pujih Tuhan.  Praise the Lord.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Jolly Quirky Christmas

 

Anticipation of this Christmas is not running high in our home this year, as we won't even be home.  Today our family is stepping into another world, the interior of Papua, where Christmas trees and Christmas cookies are unknown.  Our goal is to join Darron and his team of 9 young adults from America, 5 guys from the seminary, and 2 Indonesian girls, to help finish a jungle chapel.  

This is a project that we have been preparing for over 3 months for.  Darron in all the preparations of designing a new build, ordering material, getting it cut to size, going ahead several times to work out all the logistics, sending a crew on ahead to prepare the foundation, going with Pastor Rob (camp director from America) to help with that foundation and more logistics, and more details that I am completely unaware of.  I, had to wrap my mind around how to feed a team of 16+ in the tribe.  The grocery trip alone took 6 hours.  Which then all had to be boxed and shipped.  

A detail that sent my mind spinning was it became clear that Andrew would need to leave the country to get his visa status worked out.  Once a minor gets close to 18 they can no longer be carried under their father's visa.  It was decided that it made most sense that once the mission group from America was launched interior, and finals were taken, that Andrew and I would whisk off to Singapore to get the needed Visa.  Leaving the other three Boyd brothers home alone.  So it became necessary to take all my cooking thoughts and impart them and empower the three girls with them. 

Singapore was an amazing adventure.  The visa was obtained smoothly.  Meanwhile in 2 days Andrew and I crammed more first world Singapore in then you want to hear about.  Let's just say we road the MRT and bus system all over the city, Andrew filmed the city at night, we indulged in foods that are not available in Papua, and saw more Santa's and Christmas trees to make up for what we will not see this next week. 

Words don't adequately describe a flip side to this exotic traveling.  The inability to communicate with Darron and my boys at home.  Darron has no internet access and very splotchy (at best) texting only coverage.  We've been hobbling along in communicating with random texts here and there, but once I left Indonesia, we had to try relay info through Aubrey who could receive emails from me and text main ideas into Darron.  YA, great plan.  Reality, it did not work.  We have no internet in our home, and evidently Aubrey was not able to access internet at the school.  This is a huge need and prayer request of mine, that we can have internet in our home.  I did get random information from Darron as we were leaving the country.  "2 people were shot.". In my questions to if they were safe.  His response, "Yes, we are safe, it's a distance away.". And more random information like, "The plates you sent for the group, went missing, bring more when you come.". "Text me as soon as you arrive back in Indonesia.". Which I did.  The only response in our 3 hour lay over was, "Hey are you awake and not flying?.    Its dumping rain so i just woke up from the rain on the roof.". This text was delivered to my inbox 4 times.  Clearly non of my texts had gone into his inbox.  Lack of communication increases stress as Andrew and I land in Papua and 3 hours later are on a plane (with the rest of the family) to join the group.  What if there are things they need, supplies that are running short?  The inability to communicate basic stuff is: _______________ (I'll let you fill in the blank, about a million words are popping into my tired head).

So we land in about 30 minutes.  I am hopeful that the other boys are alive, packed and ready (in that order of importance).  Also hoping to grab my last shower in the next 6 days and to sit on a clean toilet.  Pastor Rob did assure me that there is a squat potty and it is "very real". Hopefully I'll remember to grab the hand sanitizer, that is not yet in my stack of stuff to go.  And all those last minute items that I haven't thought about in the last 72 hours and not sure I'll remember on a nights lack of sleep (in the middle).  I need to hand my passport over to someone, as it is in process of a 5 year renewal.  And dozens more details. 

This will be a Jolly Quirky Christmas indeed.  I've wrestled with my thoughts about it all.  And I'm still wrestling.  Honestly I would rather be home with my family (that is about to undergo radical change) and just embrace good will, and music and normal things that make it "Christmas" at this time of year.  In my wrestling I have concluded that I will probably SEE more of Christmas than I have ever seen before in the next week.  A Christmas that makes no sense, a Christmas full of the most humble beginnings (like a baby in a manger).  A Christmas full of young adults working hard and sacrificing their break.  A beautiful people, with hungry hearts.  A chance to be shoulder to shoulder with Darron, in a work he loves.

So from us to you:. May you have yourself a lovely little Christmas.  We are descending right now into Papua as I type these final words. Peace.  Good will to ALL mankind.  Be looking for a follow up blog to see what was revealed to me in a gift of time that I don't yet understand.  Love, RuthIMG_20161221_121612 (1)