Beyond My Borders

It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the “everydayness” of my everyday.  There’s laundry and dishes, meals to cook, owies to kiss, frogs to find, groceries to buy…the list goes on and on.

But beyond the borders of our base, beyond the borders of Nabire, are people who are lost.  People who can still remember what human flesh tastes like.  People who are terrified of evil spirits.  People who don’t know that Papua is an island.  People who are isolated by terrain.  People who don’t know there is hope.

These aren’t nameless people on the other side of the world.  They are in my backyard.  They have faces.  They have names.  They have stories.

Papuan child Shade for the Baby Nathan and Sepius Sweet faces

 

What’s beyond your borders?

My Little Fish

We have just wrapped up a three-week stint of visitors.  We had a wonderful time with Nathan’s parents.  That was followed up by a visit from our friends who live interior.  You may remember them, I bragged about there here.

While Miles and Terri were still here, we took a little trip to Timika.  Timika is about an hour’s flight from here.  They have an awesome hotel there with an amazing pool for my little fish.  I swear he has natural swimming ability because he just jumps right on in and starts kicking his little feet.  He doesn’t want us to hold him anymore, he wants to be FREE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“I do it, Mommy.”  He doesn’t even want me to catch him.  He is growing up so fast!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How can I resist this little face?  It’s impossible, I tell you.  Impossible.

This and That

DSC_3758 resize

Way back when, in language school, our homework assignment one day was to go around asking “What’s this?” (Apa ini?) and “What’s that?” (Apa itu?), and then write down what we learned.  It’s a strangely humbling process as an adult when your vocabulary is limited to “What’s this?” and “What’s that,” but it is an effective language learning tool.  We learned a lot of vocabulary that day.

Now that Elias is almost two, we have entered into the “What’s this?,” “What’s that?” phase with him.  Everyday he is absorbing new vocabulary (and learning much more quickly than his mama did back in language school).

Sometimes I still feel like a toddler when I’m stumbling through my Indonesian.  There is so much vocabulary that I have forgotten just because I don’t use it.  Do I know the word for “saw”?  Nope…but Nathan does.  Does Nathan know the word for “fork”?  Nope…but I do.  It’s all a matter for what “world” we each live in within our little world here.  Sometimes I wish that I still had the little sponge brain for language that Elias has.  He is learning English and Indonesian at the same time (although he knows much more English) and he has amazing recollection for vocabulary.  Oh to be two again :-)

 

Grandpa and Grandma Come to Nabire!

While the whole of America, or so it seems, is glued to their t.v.’s watching the Super Bowl (I honestly would not have even known that it was Super Bowl weekend if not for social media…don’t hate me), we are enjoying a visit from Nathan’s parents!!

They have travelled halfway around the world just to hug Elias.  I mean, I guess they want to see Nathan and I too, but let’s face it, their main motivation is Elias.  He is the cutest of the three of us, so I don’t really blame them.

It has been just over a year since we last saw them in person, so I wasn’t sure how Elias would react to seeing them again.  We do frequent Skype calls, so their faces are familiar, but I’m pretty sure Elias just believed them to be an interactive t.v. show or something.

He has had a whole laundry list of things to do with them: “Granpa swing”,”Granma play blocks”, “Granpa play Legos”. And so, I am SOO happy to see him warm up to them quickly and do all the things he’s been dreaming about doing with them.

Elias and Grandpa play Legos

This makes my heart happy.

Elias and Grandma blow bubbles

And I’m quite certain that it makes Grandpa and Grandpa’s hearts happy too.

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!