The End of the Earth

Our Awesome Friends

Can I just take a little minute to brag on our awesome friends?  You’ve seen them before on this blog.  We originally met Ryan and April in language school.  We went on a 3-day vacation with them that turned into a 5-day-running-out-of-food stay on a little Indonesian island.  We bonded over games of Shang Hai and we’ve been friends ever since.

Playing in the rain

This past weekend marked the one-year anniversary since they did their first survey trip into Turumo.  In the last year, they have built a home in the jungle (along with their two teammate families), moved into the tribe and started on language learning.  Not to mention that all of this was done through sickness, separation during build trips, and homeschooling their three kids.  And, did I mention, the language they are learning is one of the few known tonal languages in Papua, which means it’s hard.  Very hard. 

Running with the village kids

They are rock stars, no?  People like them are the reason we are here.  They are truly at the edge of the earth, living among people who have never heard and understood the Gospel.

Shelter from the rain

I feel isolated at times in Nabire, but Nabire is a city of 20,000 people.  Turumo is a village of about 200 hundred people…who they can’t yet talk to.  There are no stores…not a single one.  There’s no A/C.  There are no comforts of home.  Life there is day-in-day-out living outside your comfort zone.  It is hot.  And not “it’s a dry heat” hot.  It’s 105 with  61% humidity.  Yowzah.

Playing in the Rain

But they are there.  They are doing it.  They are living at the end of the earth.  They are learning a difficult language.  They are sacrificing their comfort and living in isolation.  All for the sake of the Gospel.

Rainbow

I’m so proud of them.

Staying

In the last seven years, our pattern has been this: move, settle; move again, settle; move once again, settle…and on and on  We have lived in 2 countries, 3 states, 7 cities, 10 homes.  The longest we have stayed in one place was in Nampa, Idaho for Elias’ adoption.  Our time there clocks in at 15 months, but even then we knew change was on the horizon once the adoption was final.

So, after 12 months of being back in Nabire, my internal clock is saying, “it’s time for a HUGE change!”  But there’s nothing.  We’re staying put.  This is so unlike us; I don’t know what to do with myself.  And it’s not even that I want to move and settle again, because I don’t.  I love my home and my life in Nabire.  I love having some stability, but there’s still this little niggling in the back of my head that’s ready for something different.

Somehow, in all of this transition and moving and change, I have lost my ability to sit still.  Let’s face it, change is stressful.  Change is hard.  But change is also invigorating and challenging.  It keeps you on your toes.

Now my new challenge is staying, digging deep, investing and I think it might be harder.

Bonfire Pit

Bonfire pit

Y’all, Nabire is a great place to live.  We have a fantastic team.  We live on the ocean.  What more do you need??  Oh, an A/Ced house in the tropics…yes, we have that too.  See?  Perfection.

So, for New Year’s Day, we wanted to have a team bonfire, but we didn’t have a bonfire pit.  The older kids on base worked ALL DAY to mow the lawn jungle of grass, bury an old fuel drum and make a seating area.  Didn’t they do great?  It felt like camp :)

Elias in tall grass

Elias was totes adorbs, as always.

Playing in the weeds

All of the littles had a fun time stomping around in the tall grass.  Kid laughter is the best.

DSC_9097 resize

Following the leader through the grass.

Sparkler

Once it was dark enough, we pulled out the sparklers.  Elias loved them at first…

Sparklers with Daddy

until one of the sparks hit his arm, and then he was a little wary.

All and all, a great evening with our peeps!

Grandpa

Grandpa A

My Grandpa, Frank Anderson, passed away last week.  He was 91 years old, and, if you can believe it, was still living on his own, driving and working.  On Friday, he got up, ate breakfast, got dressed and drove to church where he did finances.  I’m sure he didn’t expect to die that day, but what a way to go: faithfully serving God at the church he had attended for over 60 years!

Grandpa was amazingly kind and gentle.  I looked up to him.  When I think back over my time with Grandpa, a few memories stick out to me….

One summer, my mom was teaching a class and so Grandpa would pick up my brothers and me once a week to babysit while mom was teaching.  Grandpa, though, was no ordinary babysitter.  We didn’t just play in the yard or watch cartoons, Grandpa took us on adventures.  One week we went to Shireland (an amusement park of sorts that featured Shire horses) and once to Kiddieland (a more traditional amusement park).  There were also local festivals where he would buy us funnel cakes, and a waterpark or two.  I always looked forward to having Grandpa as our babysitter.

Grandpa was a class act and always a gentleman.  So, in turn, he expected me to act like a proper young lady.  One evening, Grandma and Grandpa were at our house for dinner.  I was running around screaming and chasing my brother.  And I distinctly remember thinking, “I am such a cool and fun girl!  Look at me acting crazy! (because that’s what cool, fun girls do)”  And so I asked Grandpa, “don’t you just love me????”  He very calmly looked at me and said, “not when you’re acting like this, young lady.”  I don’t think any other words could have straightened me up more quickly.

On my wedding day, Grandpa hugged me so tight, like he always did, kissed my cheek and whispered “I love you” into my ear.  He then hugged Nathan tight and handed him a jewelry box that contained a pair of airplane cufflinks. Grandpa was the kind of man who owned cufflinks.  And Grandpa knew that a fellow pilot needed airplane cufflinks on his wedding day so, he generously lent a pair of his own for Nathan to wear.  At the end of the day, as a surprise to us, Grandpa decided that Nathan could keep the cufflinks.  I think it was his way of welcoming Nathan into the family.

I will greatly miss my Grandpa.  My life has been better for having him in it.  I am so grateful to know that he is not only reunited with my Grandma, but that they are worshipping Jesus together once again.

DIY Train/Plane board

We had decided to give Elias a train set for Christmas.  We were given this train set at one of our baby showers in the U.S., but had never pulled it out for Elias because he was too young for it.  But now that he’s almost TWO (how the heck did that happen??), he’s ready.

I’ve seen some really cute DIY-ed train boards on the internet, so I decided to try it out myself.  How hard could it be really??  I used paint I had on hand and a board we found in the scrap wood pile, making this project virtually FREE!  Yippee!

My one major goal when choosing the size of the board was to make it fit under the couch for storage.  Easy peasy.  Nathan cut the  board for me and I was off to sand and paint.

I painted it outside on my front porch so as not to have paint fumes in the house and that’s when my DIY train/plane board became very DIYed looking.  Outside has bugs and blowing leaves.  Oy.  So, I lovingly tried to pick all of the bug carcasses and leaves out of my drying paint, but there just might be a little leg or torso still stuck.  The “clear” polyurethane wasn’t clear so much as “muddy” making my train and plane landscape look like that had recently been a part of mudslide.

But such is the life when DIY-ing, amIright?

In the end, Elias still loves it.  Trains can still ride on it.  Planes can still land.  The bugs and “mud” add a realistic touch to it, at least that’s what I tell myself!

Train Board Plane board

And yes, there are two different shade of green when flipping from one side to the other because I didn’t mix enough paint to start with and then I couldn’t get it to match when I was ready to do the second side of the board.  Oh well, it’s not perfect, but Elias likes it anyway.

 

Raining in the New Year

New Year’s Eve is particularly impressive in Indonesia.  Fireworks are abundant and legal and so the whole town lights up with fireworks as the clock rolls around to the New Year.  This year, I went to bed around 10 p.m. and planned to get up just before midnight to go see the show,  It’s nearly impossible to sleep through it anyway; it sounds like a war zone.

Photo by Tandem Lens

Fireworks on the runway                                                               Photo by Tandem Lens

So, at 11:50 I headed out to the runway to join the rest of our team.  Nathan and Elias were sound asleep, miracle of miracles.  From the runway, there is a 360 view of fireworks.  It’s a sight to behold.  When the clock struck midnight, the already impressive show increased even more!  I could barely hear the person standing next to be because of the noise.

And then…

The rain came.  It not only came, it poured.  Our whole team scattered, running to the nearest shelter.  I ran home.

Image by French Press Mornings

Image by French Press Mornings

I’ve had this verse on my wall for awhile.  I printed it because it was pretty, to be honest.  But on this night of sudden rain, I decided to look up it’s context.

Chapter 6

    “Come, let us return to the Lord,
For it is he who has torn, but he will heal us;
    he has struck down, but he will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    to live in his presence.
Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord;
    as certain as the dawn is his coming.
He will come to us like the rain,
    like spring rain that waters the earth.”

What a great reminder as we head into the new year!  “…but he will heal us;…but he will bind our wounds.”  Whatever the year may hold, “He will come to us like the rain.”  Sudden, nourishing, life-giving, but gentle rain.  Praise God!

Rainy Day Rice

It was a cool and rainy morning this morning, as it often is in the month of December.  Rain is necessary and life-giving, but it also means delayed flights and soggy airstrips.  Nathan’s airplane has gotten good and muddy landing on a wet dirt airstrip.

For Elias and I, rainy days means indoor activities.  Today we pulled out a bucket of noodles and rice with some food coloring mixed in.  Elias loves scooping the rice and noodles into bowls and them dumping it out again!

Rainy Day Rice

Drinking the Rice

He also enjoys “drinking” the rice.

Clean up!

And, of course, part of the fun is cleaning up afterwards!  This boy loves to sweep!

Christmas at the Fagerlie’s

Christmas can be hard on this side of the world.  Family is far away and there’s not a real snowflake in sight (for this Midwestern girl, snow is a must for that “Christmasy” feeling).

But Christmas on this side of the world with Elias is so much fun!  When I was growing up, Christmas was sort of magical.  This was mostly due to the atmosphere my mom created in our home.  I loved the Christmas lights, advent, fires in the fireplace, Christmas music, snowy days with hot chocolate.  So, now that I’m a mom, I want to try to create that same magical feeling for Elias.  Obviously, it’s going to look different for him.  We don’t have a fireplace or snow, but Christmas isn’t really about all of that, is it?

Christmas Tree

Someone turned all of the nativity characters to face Jesus.  Love it.  We’ve been talking a lot about baby Jesus around here.  Especially how he was adopted by Joseph and he became a part of his family, just as Elias was adopted into ours and we are adopted into God’s family through Jesus!

A few weeks ago, we ran into a pregnant lady in the store.  Indonesians have a belief that if you touch a handsome (or pretty) baby and then touch your pregnant belly, your child will look like the child you touched.  So, she approached us to that she could touch Elias.  I explained to Elias that she had a little baby in her belly, and he innocently asked, “Baby Jesus?”  Hum…I guess he hasn’t quite got it figured out yet, but at least he knows His name!

Christmas Books

This is one of my favorite pieces of Christmas decor: our basket of Christmas books!  The teddy bear hanging out in there was my Grandma’s, another person who helped create Christmas magic in my childhood.  I love that she can be a little part of our Christmas celebrations now.

Stockings

We don’t have a fireplace, so we improvised and hung our stockings on our kitchen cabinets.

Snowflake hallway

While we don’t have any real snowflakes, I did try to create a winter wonderland in our hallway!  I cut out these on my Silhouette machine and hung them with yarn and scotch tape.  Elias was napping while I hung them, and when he woke up he stared and pointed at the ceiling.  I think he loves it too!

Merry Christmas everyone!  Squeeze your family tight if you get to celebrate with them (and maybe squeeze mine tight for me too if you see them)!

Natalan

Be Still My Heart

This photo has nothing to do with our Natalan (keep reading to find out what exactly a Natalan is) except that it was taken the same day.  Do you have those moments as a parent when you just look at your kid and your heart could burst with joy that they are yours?  Man oh man, do I love this kiddo!  I love that he calls me mommy.  It’s such a honor.  I am ever so grateful that his birth mom chose me to be his mommy. [Heart bursting…]

Ok, Natalan: Natal is the Indonesian word for Christmas.  A Natalan is a Christmas event (or at least, I believe that’s how the word is used…oy with this second language.)  So, a few Saturdays ago we had our MAF Natalan.  An Indonesian Christmas party is a pretty formal affair.  There’s singing, a sermon and lots of food.

Nabire Team

We took the opportunity of having all of our National staff and their families together to take a photo of our awesome team (including our two airplanes!)

Helicopter

This was actually on our way out to the plane.  Elias, Nathan and Paul.  And a helicopter!

Natalan Hangar

Our hangar, all decked out for Christmas.

Kids singing

A bunch of the kids sang for us.

Expats singing

All the expats did some singing too.

Elias by candlelight

It was right around the candlelit rendition of “Silent Night” when Elias was ready for bed, so I went home to tuck him in.  Nathan hung out at the party and listened to the sermon and ate some soto ayam (basically the Indonesian version of chicken noodle soup)

All and all, it was a great evening and a great kick off to the Christmas season!

Pig and Machetes

120 kg Pig and a Machete Wielding Passenger!

That’s what the headline would read in the U.S., right?  But here, it’s just another day of flying for Nathan.

The village of Hitadipa has a huge Christmas feast coming up and roasted pig is on the menu!  Today Nathan picked up their pig, weighing in at 120 kg, from one village to be carried to Hitadipa for the feast.

Pig on a stick

Pigs are a big deal in Papua.  They are traded like currency and used as a bride pride.  I have no idea what this pig would go for at the market, but I would guess it’s worth at least a thousand dollars.  So roasting it for a Christmas party is a really big deal.  Only really special occasions warrant a pig roast.  For the village of Hitadipa, Christmas is just such an occasion.
Pig strapped in to fly

This guy was too big to fit in the pod of Nathan’s airplane, so he got priority seating alongside the other passengers.  Pigs are not happy fliers and so they strapped him down tight to be sure he couldn’t get loose (and, as we all know, a loose pig on a plane is bad news.)  Nathan then handed one of the passengers a machete and said, “if the pig gets loose, you have to kill it.”

Yup, just another day in the life of my jungle pilot.

P.S.-the pig didn’t get loose.  It now awaits its fate in Hitadipa.