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.

Shepherds

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!

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

Grasshopper

Pool with a View

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

Coffee

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

Door

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

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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!

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.
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waves

 

waves

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.”

driftwood

tree

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!

On the Beach Where we Live

On the beach where we live

I’ve said this before ’round these parts, but I can almost forget from day to day that we live so close to the ocean.  We so rarely every go down there.  Though it looks pretty from high above, the beach is actually full of trash,  animal parts and other generally unpleasant things that you wouldn’t normally hope for in your beach-going experience.

Recently though, Elias and I have started taking walks on the beach to hunt for “treasure” (pieces of sea glass, coral and shells) and I’ve come to appreciate our little stretch of beach for what it is.

Searching for treasure

amongst the trash

Ocean front

While it is indeed a dirty beach, it is still a beach.  The waves crash while salty breezes blow through my hair.  The sand is squished through our toes.  Sounds of town are drowned out by the ocean.

wooden boat

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more treasure

Crabs skitter as Elias squats to pick up his treasure. (“When you see some treasure, you say ‘ahoy’, Mom.”)  And he has this uncanny ability to look past all the trash to find the little bits of beauty.

Nabire Ocean front

the search continues

Wooden boat

drift wood

So, I am coming to appreciate this little beach of ours.  For all that it is: trash and treasure.

PKMK

You might be a PKMK (Pilot Kid, Missionary Kid) if, when standing on a flight line of super cool airplanes, you are more interested in catching the tiny moths flying around because airplanes are just a part of normal life.

Catching Butterflies

Who Cares about the Airplanes?

Butterfly Tamer

Butterfly tamer

I love my little PKMK!

Fruit Stands

Fruit Stands

Right along the beach near base, we have these awesome fruit stands.  It sounds kinda dreamy, and it nearly is if you can ignore the trash and the cat calls.  About once a week, Elias and I walk over here to buy fresh fruit.  Some of it is local and some is imported.  Elias really has a love/hate relationship with it.  He loves the free grapes that people hand him because he’s cute…and he hates that they all want to pinch his cheeks.

Fruit lady

I go to the same lady each time I go.  She is super sweet and tries so hard to befriend Elias (grape bribes).  She insisted I hold an avocado when we took this picture…so there ya go.  Also, I am a giant woman in this country.  Giant.

Cutest Mindy

And speaking of giant, check this fruit out!  Any guesses what it is?  Hint: it’s texture is like snot and it’s not durian!

So, one scraped knee (Elias), a cantaloupe, 2 kilos of mango, 1 kilo of avocado, 1 pineapple, and a handful of free grapes later, we headed home.   All and all, a successful trip to the fruit stands!

All The Books

Books

You guys…I have to admit something: I am somewhat addicted to children’s books.  I even took a children’s lit course in college.  I want to buy ALL THE BOOKS!  Currently, my…I mean, Elias’ book wish list has 47 books on it, and he’s not even in school yet.  We have a tiny little library here in Nabire that a few MAFers put together several years ago and it’s awesome for what it is; believe me, we raid it all the time.  But it is still tiny and now it’s out of date.

So, what’s this book loving girl to do?  For Nathan and I, it’s pretty easy.  We each have Kindle e-readers, which we love and use everyday.  But for my kiddo?  An electronic device is just not the same as holding a picture book in your hand.  So, we bring books in suitcases, we borrow from other and we utilize our little library…and then I dreamily make book wish lists on Amazon.

We are obviously not the first missionaries to experience this difficulty of getting children’s books and there are some AWESOME peeps out there making the gathering and sending books for MKs their mission.  It’s super amazing and such a blessing.  Here are two that I’ve found:

bookendsinternational.wordpress.com
booksformks.wordpress.com

We have ordered from Bookends in the past and I’m waiting on an order from Books for MKs.

There’s also this amazing site that offers free shipping on books worldwide:

bookdepository.com

So, are you a missionary looking to get your hands on some books?  Check out the sites above!

Are you looking for a creative way to bless your missionary?  Ask them what books they want and send ’em a few OR check out the amazing ministries above and see how you can get involved!

Kiyagi

Are you tired of these “On our way to/in/from Wamena” posts yet?  Well, here’s one more!

Besides observing the beautiful landscape on our way home from Wamena, we also stopped in the new-to-us village of Kiyagi.  This village is typically serviced by the Wamena base, so Nathan is not checked out here and up until the day we were slotted to fly there, I had never even heard of it.

Did you know that surveys show that Papua is home to around 270 language groups?  270!  That number is astounding.  Papua is roughly the size of Texas, so imagine driving from town to town within the state of Texas and encountering a completely different language in each one!

As it turns out, the people of Kiyagi were really excited to meet a Nabire pilot as they have a lot of family living here and would love service to and from Nabire.  And so, the hope is that Nathan will get check-out in Kiyagi soon in order to serve these people.

Kiyagi

Kiyagi

Yeah, that’s an airstrip.  It has a tiny bit of slope…(the parking area where you see the plane is off to the side of the runway, and actually it’s only halfway up.)  Taking off from here feels a bit like a rollercoaster.

Kiyagi

Kiyagi

I loved all of these slate rocks that they had in the parking spot.  I wanted to load up the plane with them and bring them home!

Kiyagi

Have I even mentioned that Papuan women are ah-ma-zing?  This mama is not only carrying her child in a sling (and probably carries that child all day long), she also has large net bags full of whoknowswhat hanging off her head, down her back.  These women are STRONG!

Kiyagi

See that tiny little strip of white just to the right of that gentleman’s head?  The one waaaay in the background on a mountain?  That’s a waterfall.  A super huge, really beautiful waterfall.  I casually asked how long it would take to walk there and they all kinda looked at me like I was nutso and then said that no one walks there because to go down through the valley was pretty dangerous.

So, there ya have it…another village, another airstrip on this beautiful island that we call “home.”

Beautiful Papua

On our way home from Wamena I thought to myself, “I’m going to take a picture every time I look out the window and see something beautiful.”  There was a tiny little flaw in my plan…Papua is gorgeous!  I could have just held my shutter down the whole flight and let my camera click away.  Pictures really don’t do justice to the beauty that is here…but here are a few nonetheless.

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