Skip to main content

Shy Kisses and Canceled Flights

Kathleen is not only a great nurse and teacher, she is also a friend (and now a daughter….keep reading).  Last Fall on a medical outing together we chatted about her upcoming wedding in January.  Unfortunately, for most of us living in Papua, we could not go to Kathleen’s wedding because it was in Manado (a flight away).  Thus was born the idea of a wedding reception, in our yard, upon her return to Papua.



At last we decided upon the date of March 11.  And plans started going into motion.  Borrowed dresses and rented tents and chairs.  Church women cooking and a good friend/neighbor decorating.  Darron was due back that afternoon from an all week interior trip.  Perhaps not ideal, but he was game and so plans continued. 


By 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, the preparations were well under way with dress alterations, food preparation, and silk flowers being arranged.  Early afternoon Darron flew in on the bush plane, tired but satisfied.  Dirty.  Happy to be home and take a hot shower.  Along with him were Steve and Verna (Bob’s sister) also Gary, Wendy and Cherise.  They had spent the week with Darron building the jungle chapel.  Verna exclaimed, “It was wonderful” upon exiting the plane.   I tried to listen to a few of Darron’s stories and deal with the flow of reception preparations in the house and out in the yard.  The main story I caught from Darron in between chairs being set up and candles and pumpkin bread muffins and cinnamon rolls was that the jungle chapel was not finished and he would be returning interior the following day.  I pondered how we would get his weeks worth of muddy smelly laundry washed and dried in that amount of time (with no dryer) and food prepared for my, “I don’t want to spend time cooking” kind of guy????!   But those thoughts were pushed to the back burner as we had a wedding reception about to start.



As the sun began to loose its steam the guests started to arrive.  I must say we are blessed with a lovely yard and it looked beautiful.  I have an obsession with tropical flowers and I am learning how easy they are to cultivate into more plants.  Around 200 guests gather.  The Indonesian children moved the trampoline to the back of the house, out of adult view, so they could keep jumping through all the formalities. 

1C4648E0-479D-459D-929D-5422B07CA49F07AF7419-2BC7-4E70-8B97-D8682AAF58C64EA8F5E2-007B-4E10-A50C-C6C64CAA613C (1)8A974E8B-3381-4817-9F87-425AB5A33CCE82521F09-62EC-4D5F-B55B-E59508FDF551E042204C-152D-422D-B9A3-1AE3C4497332

The girls and I had fun helping Kathleen with her final touching preparations.  A tiara and a bouquet of flowers.  And at last the ceremony began with singing and prayers and a little sermonette.  Then the ”parents” were called forward.  Lui’s parents have lived here a long time and were present, but because Kathleen’s were far away, they spontaneously announced us as the parents to Kathleen. So up front we go… what???!  We were fed cake and hugs were given.  Then it was announced that the newly weds could watch the parents kiss and learn from us.  Well kissing at Indonesian weddings is a funny thing.  The crowd gets very involved with their ooohing and awwwing and clapping and laughter.  Also whoever is “kissing” is usually very shy.  So the boys parents went first; meanwhile, I’m watching all their social clues closely.  The father places a shy kiss on the mothers forehead.  The crowd laughs and it is made known that they want more.  So then with much blushing and more shyness they kiss on each others cheeks.  The crowd laughs and claps, they are satisfied.  Now its Kathleen’s “parents” turn.  I whisper to Darron, “Are we going to kiss for real?” He whole heartedly responds, “Of course we are going to kiss.”  And so the un shy Americans kiss on the lips, much to the entertainment and delight of all our “daughter’s” guests.  Then the newly weds are told that they do not need to kiss now, but can practice later.


The food was plentiful.  I am so indebted to the church ladies for all their cooking.  They made my job so incredibly easy.  Around 8:00 p.m. our last guests were leaving and the last few pieces of garbage were being gathered along with chairs stacked.


At 6:00 a.m. Monday morning, I throw all of Darron’’s dirty, nasty, interior clothes into the washing machine.  30 minutes later, they are out on the laundry line.  The sky is cloudy and I am praying for sun shine.  My morning scoots along with putting together food for Darron’s next few days. Granola.  Peanut butter.  Dried Fruit.  Nuts.  Etc.  Also I am busy with lunch preparations.  I call Darron at noon to find out if he had learned when his flight would be.  He notified me that it would be in an hour and a half.  I encourage him to hurry home and get packed.  Darron came as soon as he could, his morning had been filled with many important meetings and questions from people who had been waiting for days while he was out of touch in the land of radio at best communication only, but 99% of the time no communication.  Meanwhile ladies were packing up all the fake flowers on our porch.  I longed for just a few snatches of words of conversation with Darron before our next stent apart……so I counter culturally did not invite all the extra people for lunch and we snuck into the one a/c room and had a 20 minute chat over our lunch. Really important words crammed into 20 minutes.  Clothes were dry.  Darron packed.  Then it was time to get down to the hanger.  There we learned that Gary had been delayed.  Deep breath, the rush was over.

Arriving later into Doyo than Gary intended, the flight got cancelled until the following a.m..  The positive to this delayed flight was we (the boys and I) could snatch some more Darron time.  And Darron could get just a few more details, emails and refreshment before his early morning flight.  I whip up a decadent treat, an English Trifle to celebrate.  And we counted our blessing.  This would also give us some time to practice our shy kissing, because apparently we need to be ready for the next wedding we are called upon to be substitute parents again.  The joy of living in another culture, is being ready to embrace the unexpected, or at least be willing to be laughed at as you muddle through and be ready to flex with ever changing schedules. 



  1. Hello dear friend! I miss you and am always encouraged by your posts that you both are exactly where you need to be. I love you both and your family very much.

    1. Yaya!!!!! Thank you so much for reading, for cheering us on, for praying and encouraging us. Praying for you as you are in recovery mode. Love you and miss you too.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Change Never Happens Fast, Except Today it Did

Today (Wednesday, Nov. 1),  Darron and Gary were leaving on an afternoon flight to the Philippines.  The nicer of our two cars had just been picked up from the repair shop ( it was an alternator this time).  They are at that stage.  Always, something falling apart.  With the mission mobile, we can’t complain.  It is 21 years old!!!!  Darron just popped down to the hanger to fill up the tires with air and I heard him pip the horn at the gate, to indicate he was read to go to the airport.  Yet, he had a different message.  The tire needed repaired…..or more probably replaced. Groan.  There is ONE thing, I disdain as a woman and that is handling car problems.  It’s hard enough to do it in your home country and a language you are fluent in.  Try doing it in a foreign country.  Also to me, it is a MANS world.  If you want to plop me in my discomfort zone, tell me I have to get the car fixed.So off we drive.  Air hissing out of the tire.  The good news, my husband is by my side.  The bad ne…

Anguished Hearts

Image after image flashes through my mind.  I see little but “growing bigger and stronger” two and half year old Azarya coming towards me on the gravel runway.  Wanting to give me a high five and nothing warms my heart more.  Knowing that this is the little boy who drank his way back to life with goats milk.  More images of all over campus this little boy waving at me and smiling shyly, running and playing like normal children should.  Every time I saw him, I rejoiced in the second chance that Jesus had given him.  More images of being with his Mommy and Daddy and their JOY and gratefulness in Ayarya’s strength and change as he transformed before their eyes from being severely malnourished to vibrant.  Ida, his Mommy, is my closest Papua friend, and I see so many images of her and I chatting and laughing together and enjoying her new fat little baby boy, now two months old.  Despite that Ida was still morning the unexpected loss of her father and still mourning the loss of her first c…

I’d Drive a Thousand Miles….if only

I was quite surprised this week when tears began to flow and this crazy Mommy urge to drive a thousand miles to see a boy or two filled my heart. It’s almost time for Thanksgiving break and boy #2 needed some help trying to figure out rides.  From the other side of the world, I am reaching out to friends and family to see who is going where and when and ……  It felt so complicated and difficult. It made me sad….because I recognized that I really just wanted to go and get him myself.  That most kids go home on break.  Most parents go get their kids on break.  Most parents are normal people who work 9-5 jobs and who live within a three to five hour radius of their children’s schools and Universities.  If only …….we were normal.I haven’t written about saying good bye to TWO boys at one time this summer.  Not a week goes by where fellow missionaries and local friends ask me,  “How are you doing without two boys?”  My standard reply is, “They are happy and I am busy, so it hasn’t been too b…