Sunday, August 28, 2011


Safety is an interesting concept here. From our perspective some things are extremely cautious and some things that others think are fine are really dangerous.

The Metro doesn't run on Sunday so we took a taxi home earlier. The taxi door next to Rachel seemed to be firmly latched but didn't hang totally straight on the frame. People in car after car as they passed banged the door with their hands or yelled out an alert to us that the door wasn't right. It obviously really bothered them!

At the same time as we passed, people risked their lives weaving in and out of traffic to cross roads in front of us. People passed by on motor bikes with the driver wearing a helmet while their passenger didn't. Sometimes the passenger was a small child sitting in front of them or a wife sitting side-saddle on the back in her sari.

If our kids take off running down a lane people get upset and yell at them to stop lest they get hurt. Last year Aaron was sent to the principle's office at school for getting a ball that had a gone up on a ledge. He climbed up all of maybe 5 feet off of the ground to retrieve it to the horror and dismay of his teachers.

Electricians, however, regularly wire meters with 440V live electricity while wearing flip-flops/jandels! They also lean looooong bamboo ladders up against electrical wires for support to work on the wires connected to poles on the streets. Shocking! (pun intended)

If you look closely below you will see a guy wiring right outside of our house. He's 3 stories up on a metal ladder, with bare feet, casually leaned up against a pole to work. No one is watching the bottom of the ladder with heaps of people walking right past it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From Steve:

I am writing this from a cafe in the south part of the country. I am here dropping Aaron at boarding school to start a new chapter in his life, and indeed our own as we start to do life as a family apart from each other.

When we packed up our belongings and sold almost everything we owned to come here to serve girls trapped in slavery, I thought of it as just me serving others. I never considered for a moment that people were in fact going to be serving me. Yet this week I have reflected on and appreciated the people that are actually serving me.

This second half of the year I have chosen to do another subject towards a Diploma in 'M' and am studying "Understanding and Interpreting the B1ble." This week I've been writing an assignment on Phil. 4:15-20 where Paul is writing from prison to the people of Philippi thanking them for the money they had sent him. Prisoners back then had to get family and friends to supply all their needs.

At a meeting for new parents this morning at Aaron's boarding school, I realized that all of the teachers and dorm parents have come to this country to teach and look after our kid as an act of service to me. They will love on my kid, educate him, and instill life principles in him by a constant example of how to live life in J3sus. It is very humbling to observe the quality of staff here and know the love they will give out to my son.

Then, as I write this assignment on Philippians, I see how the people of Philippi sent a gift with a guy 1300km/800m, probably by foot, which possibly took up to 2 months (and I think he did this trip 4 times!), so that they could provide money and gifts for Paul's needs. I remember that many of you that 'think' of us and financially support us as a family have radically given that we might work here. It is you that serve us by your kindness and love. It's humbling to know that we came to serve, yet in doing this we are being served.

I would say to you the same thing that Paul said to the Philippians:

"They (your gifts) are a sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to G0d. And this same G0d that takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches , which have been given to us in Chr1st J3sus.

Now all glory to G0d our father forever and ever. Amen!"

Aaron in his uniform this morning at school.

Beautiful Flowers

As I was working at my computer a few minutes ago I was bothered by a subtle, but consistent bad smell. Bad smells float in my window often but this one didn't go away. I checked the rubbish bin/garbage can and while it needs to be emptied, nope, it's not that. Thankfully it's not the refrigerator either. I finally realized that it's the flowers on my counter.

People have been so sweet to the other kids and me since Steve took Aaron to boarding school for the first time several days ago; sending messages, texting, having us over. My lovely Irish friend, Emma, brought me a beautiful bouquet of bright pink zinnias (possibly) and white carnations. I didn't have a vase, so I put them on the counter in a plastic jar that used to hold muesli. That bouquet has made me smile every time I look at it. Something new and fresh and beautiful. (I should have taken a photo!)

But now it's starting to die. It's still pretty but some flowers are drooping. Now that I've discovered the source of the stench in the room, I'm pretty sure their days of glory are short lived! Why? Well, of course there are seasons in life and flowers don't last forever. I can also philosophically ponder the thought that if their beauty were always there would I appreciate it later? But the thing I'm thinking about now is how while those flowers were plucked for a purpose, they were disconnected from their life source. Water has deceptively kept them from wilting for a while, but they are no longer connected to stem, roots, and soil; their life.

How's my Connection today? Am I in a place where I'm looking good but it may not last? Am I wilting? Or am I firmly connected to the Stem? Like a newborn baby am I focused on drinking deeply of the Life offered, or am I just sipping water and hoping for the best?

I don't want to survive, I want to thrive!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Favorite Photos from America

Our kiddos in Yellowstone National Park

Adam gets to touch snow outside for the first time!
(He'd been snowboarding INSIDE before)

Steve helps Rachel get a bit more familiar with the snow.
(Caught it in the air!)

I love how they (usually) love each other!
Orcas Island, WA

Thursday, August 4, 2011

True Persistence

Water, the preserver of life. It's always an issue in our city. There's been a screaming match going on outside my window for more than half an hour. I don't need to look out or listen too closely. It's in the direction of the tap in the lane on the outside wall of our building----the fight is about water. Twice a day for a couple of hours the water flows and the women in the building across the lane come out and have to share a common tap. It doesn't always go well!

I'm glad that the yelling is on that side of the building today. The last few days there's been discontent in the courtyard on the other side of our building, the place where we enter our home from. The people who live there are tenants that FS inherited with the purchase of this building. They live in rooms that where probably servant quarters, store rooms or stables in the courtyard a hundred years ago.

The tenants are actually privileged. Not only is there a tap in the courtyard that they get water from a couple of times a day(just like the people in the lane outside), but there is a well that they can use any time for washing things or bathing. A while back Steve and helpers piped the water from the well so that part of it can be pumped to use for the bathrooms of the T-shirt unit in the building, but also so the tenants in the courtyard can get water from a tap anytime they want without having to drop a bucket in the well. They were thrilled!

Until a few days ago when the well dried up. Steve told them over and over that the well was dry and that we had to wait for it to fill again. The first day it was random comments asking what was going on. The next day turned into demands for Steve to do something. The following day people sat in small groups in the courtyard demanding and muttering to themselves. By the end of the day they were angrily fussing at anyone in our family who came out of the house. They thought that by continuing to harass our family that Steve would somehow make the water appear.

It reminded me of the parable of the persistent widow who asked and asked and asked until her request was granted. I think sometimes we interpret those verses that we must nag our Father the way that the tenants were nagging and demanding from our family. But is that what He intends?

I don't think so.

In the parable the widow was asking a judge who "neither feared G-d or cared about people." (Luke 18:2) We have to remember that! J3sus goes on to say that wouldn't our Father be more quick to answer? Of course!

We are definitely to be persistent in talking Him because He's told us to. He wants relationship with us and knows that we NEED relationship with Him. But our attitude when we come to Him shouldn't be to hound Him into giving us what we want but this attitude instead:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by pra.yer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to G-d." Phil. 4:6

I remember a time in my life when I felt like I desperately needed an answer (the one I wanted, of course!)---and the heavens were silent. By pushing willfully all I did was create stress and anxiety in my own life when the truth of the matter was that He had the situation in His hands the whole time---and worked it out better than I ever could have my own way.

It's all about relationship through coming to Him often and trust.

The issue with the courtyard tenants and the well has eased somewhat. My smart husband siphoned water from our own tanks (pumped when the water comes on a couple of times a day) into the pipes by the well. He's hoping that the break will allow the well to catch up a bit. So I guess their persistence paid off-----but it was stressful for everyone!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Life and Death

Today they're burying my first father-in-law. We're sad that we can't be there but oh so glad that we got to see him before he passed away. The situation has me pondering the concept of death a bit.

I look at a painting on my kitchen wall that I brought to remind us of Fiji. It's of frangipani flowers, a beautiful explosion of beauty and exquisite smell from a tree that spends a lot of it's time looking like it's dead. The man who painted the picture is a leper we know who can no longer walk and doesn't have all of his fingers. Beauty again from the dying.

It reminds me of my father-in-law's face as I hugged him 'goodbye' what I knew would be the last time. I told him I loved him and he whispered, "I love you, too, sweetie." I looked at his face and saw the bit of radiance there that I'd seen a numb
er of times during our recent visits to see him, as if the veil between life and death was getting thin for him and the light of his eternal home was starting to seep through. Beauty.

It's a thin veil really. I will never forget Hannah's words as I performed CPR on my father-in-law's son's earthly body. Medical help doesn't come right away in Fiji and things like how LONG to keep trying CPR don't stick from the classes until you need to know. Hannah said, "Mom, it's OK. That's not Daddy anymore." The veil between
life and death is thin.

I will be remembering my mother-in-law today and the days to come. To continue life without the partner of 50 odd years...... But I'm not sad at
all for her husband. He's seen the Face I long to see. He's beheld His glory! And he'll never be in pain, sick, or sorrowful again! Beauty!!!

Grandpa chasing a tiny Hannah on the beach in Fiji