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Our Christmas Miracle

Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. I often think that some miracles are overlooked, because we are too intent on the life that is playing out around us. This year we tried hard to make Christmas festive. We did some baking, played Christmas music, read a Christmas advent story and devotion every day in December until Christmas, and had a great Advent meal with friends. Even though we tried so hard to “make” Christmas, it just didn’t feel like Christmas. We were still in the guest apartment, experiencing 90+ degree weather, still without our own things, and had very few decorations. We were away from family, and even the Christmas packages that were sent had not arrived. Quality toys and games in Papua are pretty much non-existent, or they’re super expensive, so most of the kids Christmas gifts were coming in those packages. It was hard to explain to the kids about not having a lot to open on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve arrived. As I sat in our living room, under the fan trying to cool off, Luke burst into the room. He was so excited. He told me about a dream that he had the night before. He dreamed that we received a package, so he decided to go check with our mail room once again. After double checking, they found a mail slip that said we had a package waiting at the post office. Luke jumped on the scooter and headed to the post office. The post office was closed, but a door at the back was open. He went in and asked about the package. To his surprise, all four of our packages had arrived and were waiting for us! We could barely contain our joy. Luke had to go to the bank to get the $100 to pay the customs fees, but that was money well spent! It wasn’t the fact that we had gifts, though that was nice. Receiving those packages from the States helped us all feel close to the people we loved. Luke and I spent some time that Christmas Eve praising God for His goodness as we wrapped gifts for the kiddos. We felt blessed, but most of all, we felt remembered. During a season when we felt so alone, God showed us that we were not forgotten. I thought about why we celebrate Christmas and how often Jesus is forgotten in all the celebration. It gave us a renewed desire to spend each and every Christmas season remembering our Savior, as well as others around us.

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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

To the Ends of the Earth

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The last few months have felt like we have been sitting on the edge of the world! It is easy to lose touch with family and friends back in the U.S. We have been in a perpetual state of training and waiting for so long, that it is easy to become disillusioned and forget the reason we came. This weekend we decided to take a family trip to Wamena. Because this is the city that we will be moving to after Luke’s initial checkout in the Kodiak, we felt like it would be a good way to boost our spirits and see what life would be like when we move there next year.

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Wamena is in the Baliem Valley, surrounded by rugged mountains. The only way to reach Wamena is by airplane.  Wamena is strategically located near dozens of the small airstrips that we serve. In fact, the gospel first came to the region 60 years ago by missionaries that were brought in by floatplane.

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This trip was our family’s first official flight with MAF. We were so excited to stop at two different interior villages. These villages are tucked away in the mountains. It was amazing to look out and see nothing but mountains until a small strip of grass comes into view just about the time you realize that you will be landing on it! Standing under the wing of the airplane as it gently rained around us, we felt like we were standing in a postcard or calendar. We were surrounded by villagers, all perched on the side of the hill, watching as the plane was unloaded.  Before we left, 3 live pigs were placed in the pod, squealing their displeasure.  As we waved to the children out the windows as we took off, we couldn’t help but feel our hearts fill with a renewed sense of purpose. This was the reason we were here, and it was so good to see how MAF continues to serve the people of Papua.

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During our time in Sentani Luke has had the opportunity to meet several missionaries that live and work interior. Many of them rely on MAF to provide transportation to and from the villages where they live and serve. Their stories of living in these villages are surreal and we love to hear them as they come through. There is still a great amount of Bible translation work to be done in Papua. We are amazed that God has chosen us to be a part of this ministry.

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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

“Move Again Friend”

Language school is behind us and a whole new set of challenges are ahead.  Many people jokingly refer to MAF as “Move Again Friend”, and we are finding this acronym to be pretty accurate!  The transition from language school in Salatiga on the island of Java to Sentani on the island of Papua has been pretty chaotic for us.  We have found that Papua, Indonesia is very different in many ways.  The culture is different, the language is different, the shopping is different, the weather is different (hot!), and the people even look different.  The children have had a harder time adjusting as well.  Finding the blessings and day to day treasures is a necessity.  We get the privilege of living on the MAF base, which houses most of our staff.  The base sports a large oval of houses with a playground in the middle.  Children have the freedom of playing without parents having to worry about their safety.  The close proximity of other families give a sense of “family” and support here that is very important in this area of the world.  Being on a base requires more creativity in connecting with the local people, but there are opportunities everywhere you go.

Look-out over Sentani and the air strip.

Look-out over Sentani and the air strip.

Sentani is another stop-off point for us.  As the hub of MAF operations in Papua, all of the maintenance and flight check-outs are done here.  We will spend anywhere from 8 months to a year here while they get Luke ready to fly on his own in some of the hardest flight patterns and landing strips in the world.  After his check-out process we will be moving to the mountains in a city only accessible by air, Wamena, Papua.  We are told that Wamena is a beautiful place to live.  The temperatures are cooler as well.  We are looking forward to making this unique city our new home.

Caleb visits Luke in the hanger.

Caleb visits Luke in the hanger.

One perk about living in such a remote island of the world is the amazing display of God’s creation, from the majestic mountains to the gorgeous blue seas and all that lies in them.  We visited one of the beaches that is about an hour from where we live.  We were astonished at the variety of life in the coral reefs as we snorkeled and played.  We did not take as many pictures as we wanted because we were too busy enjoying the day!

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Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

A Glimpse of Luke’s Heart

Since moving to Indonesia 10 months ago I have heard the call to prayer from the many mosques around my house. I remember the words of our team member that introduced us to our home. He said, “I just want to warn you, life is kind of loud here.” Boy what a wake up call it was when I heard that first morning call to prayer at around 4:30 am. It happens 5 times a day. Each mosque has their own loudspeakers, normally 4 per mosque. Fortunately the kids learned to sleep through it within the first week. I rarely sleep through it.

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I don’t wear a watch anymore. I know that one call will be at lunchtime, another around 3pm, one at sunset and one an hour after sunset and of course between 4 and 4:30am. We actually use the one at sunset as a signal for the kids to come home.

I confess, for someone like me that enjoys peace and quiet it is easy to be annoyed with all the noise. I have asked God to break my heart over the lost condition of my many Muslim neighbors. Each day I hear thousands of Muslims calling out to Allah. Many of them are sincere, doing what they think may get them into Heaven. One such person is my friend and neighbor. Last week he came to my house for a visit. We started out talking about motorcycles and ended up spending about an hour comparing Bible verses with the Quran. It was a great time of discussion. I believe that the Holy Spirit is working on this man’s heart.

As I woke up this morning I prayed for my neighbors that they may know Jesus. That they would trust him as Savior and Lord of their lives. The verse that came to me this morning was John 14:6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Please pray with me this week, as Easter approaches, that many of our neighbors will know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and they will come to the Father through Him.

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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Place of Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are a part of life no matter where you live, but seeing them in a 3rd world country opens your eyes to a lot of new things.  The people here do not have insurance, so when a mud slide comes through your living room, a volcano erupts and wipes out your home, a typhoon sweeps your roof into the sea, or an earthquake cracks through your foundation, it is just gone.  There is nowhere to go and nowhere to sleep.  Your life will never be the same.  Recently, Luke took a 6-day trip to Manado to help with some clean-up from the flood there.  Entire villages were covered in mud and the clean-up efforts seemed endless.  They helped clean a mud slide out of one house and spent time helping a pastor clean up and fix his house.  Below are some of the pictures from his trip.

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This week on the Island of Java, Mt. Kelud erupted, killing several and relocating thousands.  Even 260 km away, we had ash fall that kept us inside with doors closed.  It was quite an experience!  

The kids were cooped up too long and had to get out!

The kids were cooped up too long and had to get out!

Our front yard.

Our front yard.

Airport covered in Ash.

Airport covered in Ash.

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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Christmas in the Tropics

After our Advent celebration, our family wanted to do something completely different for Christmas to chase away some of the homesickness we knew would be there.  We took a trip to the beach!  We spent an amazing Christmas day boat riding, snorkeling, visiting Turtle Island and enjoying the beach.  While riding on the boat under the bright blue sky, Caleb shouted, “This is the best Christmas ever!”  It accomplished our goal of making Christmas different and special, but we still missed being with family! This may turn into a new family tradition!

Largest bat we've ever seen!

Largest bat we’ve ever seen!

Welcome!

Welcome!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

New Christmas Traditions

Christmas this year was different from any other Christmas we have celebrated in the past.  Being in a tropical country away from our loved ones, we didn’t feel very “Christmasy” this year.  All of our Christmas decorations are also in our crate, that we won’t get until May or June.  We had to be really intentional about bringing the meaning of Christmas into our home. We found a “Focus on the Family” advent calendar that used the Adventures in Odyssey shows to teach lessons having to do with the Christmas season.  We also started a Jesse Tree, which studies a different person in Jesus’ family tree every day until Christmas.  These things really helped us prepare our hearts and home for Christmas this year.

Reagan and one of her friends by our Jesse Tree.

Reagan and one of her friends by our Jesse Tree.

One tradition that Joy’s family has done every year that she can remember is Advent.  Every Sunday leading up to Christmas the family would have a devotion and light a candle on the advent wreath.  Then, right before Christmas, The entire family and friends would gather for an Advent meal and light all the candles on the wreath. Joy’s mom made sure that each one of her children had an advent wreath when they got married and started their own families, and it is Joy’s favorite family tradition.  This year we decided to share this tradition with many of our friends and neighbors in Indonesia.  We invited them to our home for a traditional American holiday meal and to share our Advent tradition with them.  This was an awesome opportunity to share our hearts and love with our Muslim friends and neighbors.  Everyone came and we had an amazing time explaining the different holiday dishes, sharing the Christmas story and answering many questions.  We are honored and grateful for the experience.

Lighting the Advent candles.

Lighting the Advent candles.

Trying American foods

Trying American foods

English learning class.

English learning class.

The men's group

The men’s group

Pak Wawan and Ibu Nanik are our closest friends and neighbors.

Pak Wawan and Ibu Nanik are our closest friends and neighbors.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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