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.

Safety Bash

Recently, MAF Papua celebrated 3 years of accident-free flying!  Each base gets to have a little party to celebrate, so we in Nabire decided to have a beach party.  Pantai Gedo (Gedo Beach) is just about a 20 minutes drive from base, so we all gathered there for some singing, eating and swimming!

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This is our whole Nabire team including our national staff families.  We are so honored to work along side these awesome folks!

Safety Bash Singing

Our time starting out with singing and praising God for protection and guidance over the last 3 years.  Safe flying doesn’t happen without each and every part of our staff and we are so grateful for them!

Safety Bash Swimming

And, of curse, you can’t have a beach party without some time playing in the water and a good ol’ game of soccer (or football to everyone except Americans) on the sand.

Playing Catch

Elias got in on some of the ball-plyaing too with a game of catch with Gideon and Teguh.

Big E, Little E

Nabire has put up huge signs on each of the beaches with the name of that beach, so we had to take a picture of our little E in the big E of the “Pantai Gedo” sign.  Don’t worry, Nathan is right behind him so he couldn’t fall.

Thank you for your prayers for us as we live, work and fly in Papua.  Please continue to pray for safety in our flying over the next 3 years!