Natalan (Our MAF Christmas Party!)

It’s that most wonderful time of year again!  With humidity and tropical rain showers, right?  Well, at least that’s what it is over here.  But it wouldn’t be Christmas in Indonesia for us without our MAF staff Christmas party.  This year, we decided to do things a little differently and blend our Western and Eastern cultures a bit more.  And, I think, we struck just the right balance.
MAF Nabire Team

Our annual staff photo.  This year on the runway instead of in front of an airplane.

Note from Timika

MAF Timika sent us a little note on a dirty airplane.  Thanks guys!  And Selamat Natal to you too :)

Pondok Natal

Natal Tables

Instead of our normal party in the hangar, this year we did a party in the yard (it’s warm here, remember?) with magical Christmas lights and gorgeous mango trees.


Manger Scene

After the photo, we split into 4 groups: one group per home and each group was assigned the task of coming up with a drama, acting out part of the Christmas story.  I don’t have pictures in the homes, but I loved the drama that ensued afterwards.

Night lights

J's devotional

As the sun set, we ate a meal together that all the wives worked so hard to make.  Traditionally, Indonesians wouldn’t eat at tables at a party like this, but I think they all enjoyed it.  To finished up, we sang Silent Night and Jeremiah shared a short devotional.

All and all, it was a super enjoyable evening for everyone involved.  Selamat Natal!

A Good Story


I love stories.  It doesn’t even have to be a good story, I still want to know how it ends.  This is why I have trouble not finishing a bad book, or a terrible movie.  I even want to see the end of Elias’ episodes of Octonauts or Wild Kratts.  It kills me when a show is cancelled before the story resolves.

The story I’m currently living, the story of our second adoption, isn’t over.  I’m anxiously awaiting to hear the resolve.  Who will our child be?  When will he or she be born?  Only God knows, and He is the best storywriter of them all!

In the mean time, we are doing what we can to prepare.  So we have set up a site where you can donate if you are interested in helping us with the costs of adoption.  It is a non-profit organization and so your donation is tax-deductible!  You can find it here.



I Want to Move to Bali

We had an amazing time in Bali!  So much so, that it’s worth saying again.  A-MAY-ZING.  I’m ready to move there, if God should somehow change up our ministry. :)

So, why Bali?  It is one of the cheapest places for us to go that is off-island and somewhat Western.  Did you know that Bali is part of Indonesia?  Yup, sure is!  While it is super touristy, it is so gorgeous and you can get a decent burger!  What more do you need in a vacation, really?

This was our 4th trip to Bali and so we decided to spread our wings and explore some parts of Bali that we had never seen before.  Since it was a two-week trip, we got to spend a decent amount of time in each place.  Something else new for us this trip: we stayed mostly in rented villas rather than hotel rooms.  I’m not sure I can go back to a hotel room now.  A private villa with a private pool is the way to go!  (And depending where you stay and how many people you need to house, it can actually be cheaper than a hotel room!)

Room with a View


Pool with a View

Could I wake up to this view every morning?  Yes, yes I could.


Rice Terrace

One of our stops was this amazing coffee plantation, that not only had an amazing view, but also amazing coffee. Have you heard of Kopi Luwak?  It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world.  It’s poop coffee guys.  Poop.  It’s really good, I swear.  And while one cup of this can go for upwards of $35-$100, I had a cup for about $3.50.  Not to shabby.  Learn more about it here.

At this plantation, called Bali Pulina, they show the process from bean to cup.  Elias was fascinated.  And I was fascinated by how fascinated he was.  They gave us several different kinds of coffee to try for free (and we also opted to pay for a cup of kopi luwak).  Elias tried every single one of them, except for the poop one.  He just couldn’t get passed the “drinking poop” aspect of it.  I couldn’t convince him that you’re not actually drinking poop.

Rice Field

Home Path

Bali boats

Bali Zoo Elephant


Bali Door

I was obsessed with all of the gorgeous doorways.  They range from beautifully ornate, to super simple and I loved each and every one of them.  When I buy my Bali property, I’m definitely getting a gorgeous door 😉

While this life we live comes with many challenges, I never want to forget all of the amazing experiences and beautiful places that are within arms-reach.

Safety Bash: 5 Years of Accident-Free flying!

In September, MAF Papua celebrated 5 years of safe, accident-free flying!  This is a huge milestone, especially considering the environment in which our pilots and mechanics work and fly.  It is not uncommon for their to be an aviation accident, often fatal, every month in Papua.  (I should say here, that in MAF’s accident 5 years ago, no one was injured.  Praise God.)  We are so, so grateful for our culture of safety in MAF and we know that both our pilots and mechanics are striving to make safe choices everyday!

In light of this milestone, we had a safety bash on base.  And, as one does, we had a pig roast!  Pig roasts in Papua signal celebration, especially since pigs are so highly valued.  One pig can sell for as much as $1,000.

Babi Guling


Different from pig roasts we have done in the past (bakar batu: cooking the pig in the ground with hot stones), this time the pig was roasted on a spit.  This method, called babi guling, is most common in Bali.  However, a man who lives here in Nabire, and is a huge supporter of MAF, offered to roast the pig for us!  Yum.

Happy 5 years, MAF!

Back to School: Letter F!

After a lovely, and oh-so-needed vacation to Bali, we are now home and getting back into the rhythm of life in Nabire, which includes school!  So, we have arrived at the letter H!  But you haven’t heard from me since E, so let’s back up a quick second…

F is for Frog

Day One: F is for Frog!  First we made his letter F frog.  Above, Elias is drawing flies for the frog to eat.

Frog jumping

Next we played a little leap from game with some plastic frogs that we have.  They had to “jump” to the correct lily pad as I called out the letter.

fish scales


Day Two: F is for Fish!  We actually didn’t do much fish related this day, however he did paint this fish using q-tips to make app

Then he played a new game I downloaded on the iPad called “Letter School”  It’s super fun, and helps him to learn to recognize and write letters.

bunny game

This game really has nothing to do with letters, but it is critical thinking.  Each card has a picture of a few objects in a certain arrangement.  He has to look at the picture and then recreate it using the objects.  It’s called Bunny Peek A Boo and Elias loves it.

family photos

Day Three: F is for Family!  First we looked at pictures of Elias’ Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents.  Since we only see them every few years, we find it important to look at their pictures often and talk about them all.

family tree

Then we made a family tree.  Elias did a great job of putting the right kids with the right parents!  He also decided to put his birth mom on a branch near us.
F book

All the books

Finally, he made his F book.  I love his little collection of books that he has created.  And he does love to read them from time to time!

Backyard Explorers

I have really great memories of my backyard when I was a kid.  I, along with my friends and siblings, played for hours and hours in our backyard: kick the can, climbing trees, swinging on swings, playing in our tree house, building snow forts, camping out, and on and on.

But over here, we barely even go in our backyard (who wants to go to the backyard when there is literally a playground in the front yard?)  However, Elias and I have taken a few exploratory trips into the vast unknown of our backyard and you know what?  There’s a jungle back there!  Full of cool plants and even cooler bugs (although the bugs don’t like to be photographed).

Barb wire

little explorer

Binoculars are a required accessory when backyard exploring!



underside of a leaf

These sweet little flowers were growing on the underside of the leaves…good thing my exploring partner is short, or I may have completely missed them!


inside a palm tree



This is definitely not what my backyard looked like growing up in the midwest, but it is gorgeous.  Maybe we’ll start hanging out back there more often!

E Week!

We have made it all the way to the letter E in our little preschool now!  And I feel like we both deserve gold stars.  Maybe 5 consistent weeks of school doesn’t seem like a big deal, but since it is often a daily battle, I’m feeling pretty good about 5 weeks of school!

E week turned out to be a pretty fun week!



E is for Eagle!  Elias made his letter E eagle and we watched a fun little video about eagles on YouTube.  He loved watching the eagles swoop and dive for fish.



Next we did some review since he’s still getting his letters mixed up.  I wrote all of the letters we’ve learned so far on the floor and he had to throw a bean bag to the letters as I called them out.  After that, he used the same letters on the floor to make play dough versions of each letter.


Next, we played a little game called Escape!  I froze several small plastic toys in ice and Elias had to use a hammer to help them escape!  He loves this activity, we’ve played it several times.


On day two we learned about elephants.  I neglected to take many pictures this day, but we talked about elephants and then walked around the house pretending to be elephants.  We also made letter Es with our bodies!


The last day of E week was Elias’ favorite.  E is for Elias!  First he did this little activity matching the clothes pins to the proper letter to spell his name.

Egg hunt

Next, he did an egg hunt in his room.  I hid 25 eggs in there and he loved discovering each of them.

What's in the eggs?
Spell your name

Once all the eggs were found, he cracked open each egg to find a letter inside–the letters of his name.  He sorted the letters by making a pile for each letter that he found and then practiced putting the letters in the right order to spell his name.  (his head isn’t really all wonky in real life…it’s just the lens I was using).

We also sang a little song that I made up to help him remember how to spell his name.  It goes like this:

That’s how you spell your name, it’s

A song writer, I am not, but it’s effective and he can usually spell his name pretty well!

Phew!  5 letters down, 21 more to go!

MAF in Haiti

Devestation in Haiti

As I’m sure you’re aware, Hurricane Matthew’s affects on the island nation of Haiti have been devastating.  MAF has 5 expat families on the ground there as well as 15 national employees.

So far, MAF has been able to do survey flights to access the damage and has begun to fly for several relief organizations.  If you’re interested in finding out more about MAF’s relief effort, click here.

Join with us in prayer for this Nation: both those affected by the hurricane and those aiding in the relief effort!

photo credit: Tim Schandorff, MAF Haiti

Belum: An Adoption Update



There’s this lovely little word in Indonesian that explains more about Indonesian’s ability to be ever hopeful than any other word I have come across.  Just this one word displays hopeful anticipation that everyone here seems to have.  Even in the face of unknown odds, this word give a glimmer of light to an other wise cloudy situation.  You know what it is?


Not yet.

Unless it is known beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is absolutely not true and will never be true, most Indonesians will use the word “belum” where we might other wise say no.  Is the sky green?  No.  Have you ever been to the moon?  Not yet!  Is you child a girl?  No.  Do you like shrimp?  Not yet!

I loved this word when we were experiencing infertility.  Do you have children?  Not yet!

So, today, the day we received another “no” about a possible adoption match (our 7th), I fully believe that God is not saying NO to us in this adoption, He’s only saying NOT YET.  There is a child out there for us.  A child that God has hand-picked for our family and we will wait for him or her with hopeful anticipation!

photo credit:

Pantai Gedo

Elias, our little fish, had been asking to go to the beach for several weeks.  So, last Saturday we packed up the troops and headed out to a nearby beach.  It had been awhile since we had visited this particular beach, and we were pleasantly surprised by the improvements they have made!  Yes, there is still trash along the shoreline, but it was otherwise clean and quiet.




sea shore

The water was a little wavier than we are used to, but Elias seems to have conquered his fear of the waves…as long as we are close by.

Big E, Little E

Indonesia is really into putting up these big signs all over the place now.  This one says “Pantai [beach] Gedo.”  We have one near our base that says “Pantai Nabire.”



play in the waves

whale shark statue

We used to say that this beach lived up to its moniker (Gedo), but now, though maybe not travel-magazine-ready, it is quite beautiful and pleasant morning at the beach!