Beautiful Mamit

Every summer, we have MAF family conference; a time when we can get together with our teammates from all over the island to rest, learn and have fun together!

This summer, conference was held in the mountain village of Mamit.  Mamit has a rich history.  Have you ever read the book Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson?  Well, if you haven’t, go read it!  And if you have, you may recognize Mamit as one of the the villages where Stan Dale and his teammates opened an airstrip in 1961.

Obviously, Mamit has come a long way since 1961!  It is one of the most gorgeous villages I have ever visited.  Everything is clean and well manicured.  And the mountain lanscape just can’t be beat.

Beautiful Mamit Beautiful Mamit

Beautiful Mamit

Beautiful Mamit

Beautiful Mamit

Beautiful Mamit

Beautiful Mamit

My favorite picture

This might be one of my most favorite pictures I have ever taken!  Handsome hubster, cute kiddo, beautiful landscape, what more do you need really?

Upriver

Another fun thing we did while in Turumo a few weeks ago, was ride a boat upriver to a secluded island where we could swim, talk, cool down and relax.

Carved canoes

Wood carved canoes at the Turumo port.  We didn’t ride in one of these though.

On the Boat

The missionary families purchased this boat along with a boat motor so that they could have these little escapes up river.  They can also get to another village upriver where there is another airstrip (should theirs still be closed).

On the bough

I often have “how did I get here?” moments over here and riding in down the river in the middle of the Papuan jungle definitely provided one of those moments for me.

Rock Beach

River Rocks

After about 45 minutes, one bent motor prop, and other adventures (life is never boring with these friends of ours!) we arrived at a little island made up mostly of river rocks.  The water here was clean and cool since it streams down from the mountains.

Riding down the river

Riding down the river

Tubing

The rapids are quick enough here that you can ride down on a tube, or in a life jacket.  Elias quickly got over his initial fear and was ready to ride down all by himself.  Poor kid, mom and dad were not so ready to let him do this.

First Fraps

We had a picnic, including Starbucks Frappucinos!  I think I am safe in saying we are the first people in the history of time to drink Frappucinos here.  Call Guinness Book!

Frap

Buds

Tuckered

Well, after a few hours of eating and fun, the littles were tuckered and we packed up to head back home.

 

April

She is slowing becoming Papuan: carrying her net bag on her head.

Depth Check

Middle of Nowhere, Papua

Hello Middle of Nowhere!

Muddy Feet

It might have been a wee bit muddy back at the Turumo port!

Thanks for the adventures, friends!  We love you guys!

 

Airstrip Maintenance

In addition to visiting our awesome friends in Turumo last week, we were also able to help them fix up their runway a little bit.  We didn’t really anticipate helping, but when we arrived with the stomper (the machine seen below), the people got all excited and basically said, “Look!  The pilot is here to work with us on the runway.”  So…yep, we helped with the runway.

Turumo is located in the hot, flat swampland of Papua.  So the runway has many challenges.  Nathan could explain all the technical stuff to you, but my basic understanding is that the ground is too soft and so when a plane lands, it sinks right into the dirt creating ruts all the way down.  The culprits: too much rain and sandy soil.

While we were there, we (I say “we” but I was really more of an observer) showed them how to use the stomper, a gas powered machine that stomps the ground so that it can become compacted and more solid.  The people also started carrying rocks up from the river which will have to be stomped down into the ground as well.

Using the Stomper

"helping"

Elias, um, helped too…and I just took pictures.

Digging Ditches

Digging Ditches (hot arm muscles, honey!)

Another thing they worked on was digging drainage ditches and clearing away brush from the side of the runway. (and I just watched…his arm muscles at work)

Cutting away brush

Men, women and children all worked together.  Maintaining an airstrip is no joke.

more ditch digging

Chain Gang

MK right of passage

Kids in the jungle learn how to use a machete at a really young age.  I’m not quite ready for Elias to swing free with a 2-foot knife yet, but he did get some practice with Dad’s help.

Those arms again...

Cool dudes, hanging together on the runway…with a machete, in the swampland of Papua.  What is this life that we live?

Clearing the brush

clearing the brush

I don’t have great pictures of this, but they also fell a whole bunch of trees at one end of the runway to make the glide path upon landing a little more smooth (Right, honey?  All these technical questions are really not in my wheelhouse.)  To do this, they walked through the jungle taking notches out of a group of trees forming a triangle, with the hope that you could knock the tree at the peak of the triangle and the rest would fall with it.  I think it worked, because the trees got cleared pretty quickly!

There is still a lot of work to be done on the Turumo runway, but hopefully our three days there at least helped to  motivate everyone to work!  The people consider Nathan “their” pilot even though there are others that fly-in and so they listen to what he says!

1,000 Words

They say a picture says 1,000 words and last week, as our family visited the interior village of Turumo, I took about 500,000 words worth.

1,000 words, yes, but there are 1,000 more that the picture doesn’t tell.

On the Porch

It doesn’t speak about the hot, thick, still air that surrounds,  the sun beating down and the relief of the shade.

On the Porch

You can’t hear the foreign tongue being spoken, nor see the shared language of laughter and tears.

 

Turu mama

Flies swarm, poisonous snakes slither, infection spreads; the everyday worries of jungle living are masked in a picture.

 

Turu mama

And then the rain falls and water tanks are refilled.  The river runs quickly again.

 

Gather round the fire

Pots of rice, a break from their usual diet of garden vegetables and whatever meat they can catch, cook over a hot fire after a hard day’s work.

 

MKs and friends

Friends gather and laugh.  Boys chase girls around with the giant spider that they caught.

 

Turu kiddo

Beauty surrounds, God’s creation hums.

 

Rice on the fire

The sun sets and the heat of the day turns into the humidity of the evening.  Rice bubbles, stomachs growl.

 

Turu kiddos

It’s a beautiful, simple life in the jungle.  A life full of hard work, sweat, danger, sickness, death, light, heat, love, joy, laughter….life.

 

Turu mama

And there’s a group of people, thirsty to know God, without a full understanding of what they are thirsting for.  30 years ago, one among them hiked 2 weeks through the dense jungle to ask for missionaries to come.

 

Turu

And now, the missionaries are there; living, learning, loving, making their way through a world and culture they don’t yet fully understand.

It’s hard, it’s stressful, it’s heartbreaking and it’s worth it.

Father’s Day

I’m a little behind on the goings-on around here, so let’s back up for a hot minute to Father’s Day.

We had a pretty relaxed day and just hung out as a family.

Father and son

Concentration

Elias and I are so grateful to have Nathan in our lives!  He is kind, caring, consistent and fiercely loyal.

Father and Son

Concentration

Love you, honey!  Happy Father’s Day!

(Don’t worry, I did wish him this on the real day too :) )

Homemade Smashburgers

Smahsburger

If you ask pretty much any missionary in southeast Asia what food they miss from home, I can almost guarantee that a good burger makes the list.  It definitely makes my list.  And I’ve been on the quest for the best homemade burger from the day we first stepped off the plane.  Finding the perfect bun recipe along with the perfect burger recipe to go with it has made for a lot of experimenting.

Recently, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Hamburger buns and after many less than perfect white hamburger buns, I was willing to give it a try.  Sounds strange maybe, but the pumpkin adds just the right amount of moisture to make this a delicious, moist bun (and you don’t even taste the pumpkin)!

Pumpkin Buns

Makes 8 buns
  • 1/3 cup 1 tbsp milk, plus more as needed
  • 1(1/4 oz) packet active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or light brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  1. Use a saucepan or the microwave to warm 1/3 cup milk to 100º F, or about body temperature. (I like the baby-bottle test: put a couple drops of milk on the inside of your wrist, and if you can’t feel it, it’s the right temp.) Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm milk, and let stand for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and foamy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add butter, 1 egg, pumpkin puree, and yeast mixture, and stir until the flour is combined. The dough should be slightly sticky, but not cling to your fingers. If it feels too wet, add a bit of all-purpose flour; if it feels too dry, add a splash of milk.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding just enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board. Stop kneading when the dough is soft, supple, and slightly tacky; if you poke it with your finger, it should spring back. (You can also knead the dough for 6-8 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.)
  4. Grease or butter a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, and toss to coat evenly with the oil or butter. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. While the dough rises, lightly grease a baking sheet.
  5. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press out any excess air. Divide the dough into 8 even pieces. Working one at a time, roll each piece of dough into a ball, then gently press it into a disc about 1/2 inch thick. Lay the discs of dough out onto the greased baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (The buns should now be slightly touching each other.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375º F, and position a rack in the middle. In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk to make an egg wash. Lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, being careful not to deflate the dough. Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds onto the center of each bun, and gently pat them down to make sure they’ve stuck to the egg wash. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the buns are golden on top and firm to the touch.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the buns cool completely, then gently pull them apart. Slice in half lengthwise, and serve with whatever fillings you like.
  8. To store leftover buns, leave them whole (unsliced). Store in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to 4 days. For longer-term storage, wrap individual buns in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months.

The restaurant, Smashburger, became a “thing” since we’ve been living overseas, so truth be told, I have only eaten there once or twice.  So, I believe these burgers are a pretty close approximation, but I’m no expert.  Either way, they are delicious.

On the Grill

12 oz room-temperature ground beef (high quality beef would obviously make a better burger, but we’re not too picky around here)
salt, to taste

Seriously, that’s it!

  1. Heat flat top grill until 600-650 degrees F.  I use my stove top cast iron griddle.  Heat is important in this whole deal, so make sure it’s good and hot!
  2. Divide ground beef into 2 oz portions.  Roll each portion into a ball.
  3. Place one ball at a time onto HOT grill (no grease on the grill) and press flat, until it is the size of your hamburger bun.  I use the bottom of a frying pan to press flat.  Immediately sprinkle with salt.
  4. Wait 1-2 minutes and then flip.  You’ll need a metal spatula to scrap all of the meat goodness off of the grill.  Add cheese to the cooked side of the burger, if you so desire.
  5. Once cooked though (this will not take long!), place burgers onto prepared buns.  I prefer 2 patties on my burger.  Nathan likes 3.

Smashburger

I hope you have a Happy–and delicious–Fourth of July weekend!  I know we will be!

Peace out.