Septembers

While Fall is creeping in on the land of my youth, Summer is ever present over here in the tropics.  And while I miss apple cider, fresh crisp air, pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters, I am learning to enjoy this eternal summer.

The Septembers of my youth were spent shopping for school supplies, drinking apple cider, and apple picking (it’s all very idealistic in my head).  The Septembers of Elias’ youth will be spent taking boat rides to empty, secluded tropical islands.  It’s a wee bit different.  But both amazing and special in their own way.

We have a family staying with us on base for a few weeks.  They are awesome people.  You can learn more about them here.  They, along with us and the Marxes took an hour and a half boat ride out to Garden Eel island this past Saturday.

The boat

Our boat.

dug-out canoe

Not our boat.

water wings

My little fish.

a walk on the beach

Looking for pretty shells (It’s kinda like apple-picking…right?? except for the sand, ocean, hot air and lack of apples.  Practically the same thing.)

Wake boarding

Some people carve pumpkins, some people wake board.

macro coral

Playing with the macro settings on our waterproof camera.

Through the leaves

It’s not a pumpkin spice latte…but I’ll take it.  This view.  Gorgeous.

A boy and a beach

Playing in the sand is very serious business.

Sand builders Looking for crabs

Some shop for school supplies in September, some hunt for hermit crabs.

Racing crabs

And then the crabs have to race, obviously.

All the babies are tired

At the end of the day, all the kids are pooped.

Sleeping on Mommy

Nabire shoreline

View from the boat on the way home.

So, while my Septembers are no longer made up of changing leaves and pumpkin carving, they have a special beauty of their own.

Illaga

After our stop in Pogapa and a weekend in Timika, we winged our way over to Illaga on our way to Sentani.  Am I name-dropping villages and cities.  Yep, cause I’m cool like that.

Illaga, like Pogapa, is also a mountain town.  The airstrip is paved, which usually means they were touched by the outside world earlier on than some of the other strips Nathan services.  That’s not to say that Illaga isn’t still a difficult strip.  Nathan says that it looks easy (because it’s paved and mostly flat), but it still has it’s challenges.  If I were a pilot, I could explain those challenges to you, but this blog isn’t really about that is it?  As a passenger, I’ll say this: my hubby rocked it.

Plane in Illaga

There is usually a military presence in Illaga.  The soldiers are usually friendly and are excited that we speak Indonesian.  They usually ask where we are from and if they can take our picture.

Found a Rock!

Totally unimpressed by the airplane and scenery, a rock draws his attention.

Smiling boy

I love capturing pictures of smiles.

Pictures with the Soldiers

Elias often gets his picture taken with strangers, but he has his trusty bear in hand to keep him safe!

Kodiak in Illaga Illaga runway

Illaga has beautiful colors!

 

Eighteen Months

My baby is eighteen months old.  Where does the time go?  It somehow seems like yesterday and also ages ago that we held him for the first time.  He is one awesome kid!

Some fun facts about Elias:

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1. He loves to swim.  I mean, like, really truly loves it.  He is a crazy man in the water and he has no fear!

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2. He loves to help me in the kitchen.  Just about every time I’m cooking or baking, he scoots a stool over to stand next to me so that he can, ahem, “help.”

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3. He wants to be a big kid.  If the big kids are jumping off the top of the playset, he wants to jump too!  We don’t let him of course…He keeps us on our toes!

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4. He loves to give hugs and kisses.  I’m so grateful for my affectionate boy!

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5.  He likes to help around the house, so I give him little tasks to do like putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, cleaning up his own spills and throwing dirty diapers in the trash.  He has such a happy spirit about it!  I hope that we can continue to foster that spirit as he grows.

Pogapa

A few weeks ago, when our team was starting their long journey home, Nathan flew the first leg from Nabire to Timika.  On the way, we stopped in the village of Pogapa.

Pogapa is a mountain village, with cool air and gorgeous mountain views.  The two airplanes off the side of the runway are a stark reminder of just exactly how dangerous the flying can be here in Papua.

I am ever so grateful when I get to fly along on these trips and take some pictures of the beautiful scenery and the beautiful people!

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Notice the plane off to the left of this picture (not an MAF plane).  I don’t know the details of the crash, but we’re told that everyone on board survived.

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Walking down this runway, with a slope ranging from 15% to 6% was a breeze.  Walking back up, on the other hand, was our work out for the day. :-)  Elias was the smart one, hitching a ride on Dad’s shoulders.

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Elias draws a little crowd wherever he goes.  Sweet boy.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that this life we’re living is really real.  We love it here and we’re so blessed to have such an awesome group of people supporting us!!  Thank you!

The Nabire Zoo

Usually we have quite the zoo here in Nabire, between the three families here we had two dogs, two cats, a bunny, pigeons, a parrot, geese and chickens.

But all of a sudden, our animals have started dying.  First, we lost all of the chickens to some kind of respiratory infection.  Next, one of the cats went missing.  Then the two dogs.  And then another cat.

Our national employees have all kinds of theories as to what happened to the cats and dogs: they were poisoned, they were hit by cars, they were stolen to be sold to restaurants and eaten.  Yes, people eat dog here.  (not cats though, MOM…just so you know.)

Whatever the cause, we are sad to lose our dog, Daisy and two of our cats, Smeagel and Shadow.

DaisyDaisy and Elias were buds.  He keeps talking about her and every time he says her name, it breaks my heart a little bit.

Inspection

Last week we were in Sentani for an airplane inspection, so Elias and I took the opportunity to visit Nathan in the hangar.  Elias looooved it because two of his very favorites were there: Daddy and “pains” (planes).  Plus, we brought Oreos to share, and we all know that Oreos make everything better.

DSC_6893 resize DSC_6897 resizeAirplane maintenance doesn’t usually produce awe inspiring photos or stories, but man is it an important part of what we do here!  I’m so grateful for well-maintained planes that help keep our pilots safe out there.

P.S.-have you seen the trailer for this documentary yet?  This is exactly where Nathan flies, so we’re really curious to see the show when it airs!  The title?  “Worst Place to be a Pilot.” Ha.

Gotcha!

Just over a year ago, on August 15, 2013, we went to court, signed some papers, and left as an official family of three!

We ended up being in Sentani for Elias’ “Gotcha Day” this year, but we still had a mini party with good friends, pizza, brownies and ice cream.

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What a difference a year makes, huh? Last year’s Gotcha Day:

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We sure do love this sweet boy of ours and are ever so grateful that he is forever ours!!

 

Signs Elias’ childhood is very different from my own.

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1. Before the age of one he had been on an airplane (I didn’t fly until I was 13), visited 9 States, flown internationally (didn’t do that until I was 22) and flown on a small plane (not until I was 24).

2. He has eaten durian…and he likes it.  If you don’t know what durian is, check it out here.

3. He loves the ocean.  I didn’t see the ocean until I was 13.

4. One of his favorite play things is a freshly fallen mango.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t know what a mango was until grade school.

5. He has never had fresh corn.  Poor kid.

6.  There is an airplane hangar within throwing distance of our house.  I couldn’t even tell you the first time I saw an airplane hangar…

7.  He does not always sit in a carseat when we ride in a car, sometimes he just sits on my lap (please don’t freak out about this…we live in a country where seat belts are not required and we never drive over 30 mph.  Indonesians usually just sit their kids on the back of a motorbike, often without a helmet!)

8.  We frequently take family walks down the runway (after it’s closed).  My family walks as a child were around the block, on a sidewalk.

9.  He has swam in the ocean more than a swimming pool.  (see number 3)

10.  We speak to him in two different languages, depending on who’s around.  If we are with Indonesians, we speak to him in Indonesian.  At home, we speak in English.  He knows the Indonesian words for “Goodbye” (Da-Da!), “don’t” (jangan) and “patience” (sabar).

The Team: A Very Brief Picture Show

Well, our team has come and gone.  I’m not sure I would ever do their experience justice since I wasn’t there with them, so for now I’ll post a handful of their pictures.  But please, go find them and ask.  They are bursting with stories!

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There are sooo many more pictures than this, I haven’t even looked at them all yet.

We are so grateful for these four guys and their willingness to travel half-way around the world to serve us and our friends!  They kinda rocked it! :-)  Thanks gentlemen!

The Team

About a year ago, Nathan mentioned an idea he had to bring a team of guys from America to Papua to do some kind of work project to an elder in one of our supporting churches.  It would be adventure, it would be dangerous, it would be a blessing to those they serve.

Y’all.  They are coming!!!!!!  We have a team of 4 men from one of our supporting churches in route to Papua as I type!  What, What!!

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We so rarely get visitors here because it is FAR.  I mean, like, FAAAARRRR.  They left from Chicago yesterday morning and arrive tomorrow morning.  I think Papua might possibly be the farthest you can travel from the U.S. of A. or at least it’s the longest travel time.  I haven’t researched that fact or anything…but it’s FAR.

Anyway, we are super excited to have these guys coming!  They will be in Papua for just over a week.  On Thursday they will head into the village of Turumo (which I wrote about here) where they will be helping some missionary families build their homes.  These are the first missionaries to ever live among the Turu people.

Turumo is hot, there are bees and scorpions and poisonous snakes.  There are malaria and dengue fever carrying mosquitos.  There is no electricity or indoor plumping (yet!…but it’s coming…plumping, not electricity).  It’s going to be like extreme camping, while doing construction under the blazing sun in the middle of the jungle to which there are no roads and no nearby medical care, near crocodile invested rivers, in the middle of Papua (which is the farthest you can travel from the U.S. of A).  Sound fun?

I told you: adventure and danger.

But what a blessing it will be as well!  These 4 men are traveling from the U.S. of A to the jungles of Papua to help missionaries build their homes.  Their homes where they will raise their children.  Their homes where they will celebrate holidays.  Their homes where they will live and eat and work.  Their homes where they will study a tribal language and write it down for the first time ever.  Their homes where they will teach the Gospel to a people who desperately need to hear it.

So, pray for these guys will you?  Add Nathan to your list as well, he’s going with them.