Monday, 28 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
- ... window frames eaten out by termites that crumble on touch.
... flyscreens ripped around the edges and blowing in the breeze.
... louvre frames rusted, unshut-able, unable to keep out the rain.
... having to stop class to remove glass panes before they fall and break on the floor.
... the growing pile of louvre glass panes in the corner.
... the concrete bricks, never painted, dull and dirty.
Then in come the team from backyard blitz... no, sorry, the team from changing rooms... no, that's the team from Christ Church St Ives Youth Group (all having just finished their HSC). Three of four days of hard work later and...
- ... freshly painted classrooms, inside and out.
... new timber in the window frames.
... new louvre frames installed, no panes missing.
... flyscreens replaced, no more holes.
... corrugated iron roof painted to prevent rusting.
The classrooms look better than ever. The students won't be able to believe their eyes and will appreciate your hard work very much. It will mean a lot to them, as it does to us, that you have put love into action so far from home where the benefit to you is but the joy of having served your brothers and sisters.
The team also covered library books and laid the foundation for a water-tank next to the library.
Though I was not there at the time, I have heard report that all their work was carried out with much eagerness, maturity and determination.
Thank you for your hard work and it was a pleasure to share with you in the work of Christ in this way.
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
"I wrote David, because it seemed to me that children, who can love a book more passionately than any grown person, got such a lot of harmless entertainment and not nearly enough real, valuable literature."
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Friday, 20 November 2009
Until of course, western civilisation dropped from the sky (in the form of a coca-cola bottle) and corrupted everything.
This is typical of the anthropology I grew up with. I don't know where it comes from or how it got to me. It's what was imbibed through television, books and school. It's the anthropology that suggests not just that all cultures are equally good, but that the more primitive the culture is, the less influenced by western civilisation it is, then the better it is and the more morally superior it must be.
I don't know anything about the culture of the Kalahari bush-people except what I saw in the Gods Must be Crazy and an extremely different picture gleaned from the Number One Ladies Dectective Agency books (neither a very credible source!) in which a young girl rescues her baby brother from being buried alive on the death of his mother.
This is what I do know about the Kalahari Bush-People.
They are sinful.
Western Civilisation, as evil as it can be, does not make people or cultures sinful. They do that on their own.
It's not just the Kalahari. It's man-Santo, in the middle of this pacific island, still never to have seen a white-man. It's the Nepali on the slopes of the Himalayes. It's Indians in the Amazon.
Nor do I mean that their music is not beautiful; their craftmanship not skillful and their dance not incredible. Nor that there is not much that we can learn from them. There is.
However, I do mean this. All cultures are equal in this regard: they are full of people who, though all equally made in the image of God, are all equally sinful. Any anthropology that leads you to believe that "untainted by western civilisation" is the same as being innocent or pure is naive, mistaken and ultimately, evil.
After I wrote this I found this interesting article which explains a few things. Unfortunately the link "anything but innocent" doesn't seem to work.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Friday, 13 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
The visions of your prophetswere false and worthless;they did not expose your sinto ward off your captivity.The oracles they gave youwere false and misleading.
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
- How have you seen greed at work in your own life?
- What have you done to overcome it?
- How do you think it affects our society?
- What are ways forward as a society?
We're now in the process of trying our own earth art.
First we had to look closely at colours and patterns in nature. We had fun with the camera! Can you guess what these are?
Then, we worked some artwork together. Our first attempt was to produce a bird by poking leaves into a tuft of bamboo-grass but it was too time-consuming and we gave up.
We were delighted with how this sunflower turned out; made from yellow leaves, paw-paw seeds and soil.
This rainbow was to show the many and different colours in our flora, but we got stuck at blue! The flowers are threaded onto the middle part of coconut-palm leaves, the green part having been torn off.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Yesterday I mentioned some little things that make me "groan and complain" but which in the end don't make an ounce of difference about whether we stay here or not.
Thinking about what would have happened to Matthew without antibiotics is a much more sobering thought.
I'm probably a lot more like Job's wife than I like to think; putting conditions on my service; conditions on what I accept from God; conditions, conditions, my conditions; after all, he's my child.
At the moment we're very thankful to God
- for the blessing of antibiotics
- that his particular infection responded to the antibiotics we had on hand (apparently it doesn't always)
- for our friends who prayed with us
- for our doctor-friend always ready to help us at times like this
- for the clinic which was able to supply us with the stronger antibiotic that we needed
- for our Matthew, who we love dearly
We know that God loves him even more than we ever could and are learning to trust Him in every circumstance. Sometimes its not easy.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Tapping ants from my toothbrush,
shoo-ing geckos from my bed,
sifting weevils from the flour,
combing lice from my head!
And the chorus would include these lines:
This is the life
of this missionary wife
But it would have to end like this;
but I wouldn't change the life
of this missionary wife.
Because despite all the little things that make me groan and complain sometimes, its definitely worth being here.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
- The students prepared well and were able to proclaim Christ to many more people than they'd been able to before.
- More women came to our last bible study than ever before. The student wives had prepared well and delivered good talks on prayer and meeting with other christians.
- We are tired, but no one is sick.
Over the year we were able to witness the great impact regular good teaching from God's word has on his people. Never give up doing this!
Please keep praying for those that heard God's word over this year, especially for those who understood the gospel properly for the first time. Pray that though we have had a part in God's work there, that He would keep making his people grow and mature in Christ.
Here are some photos of Sophie and Bethany walking home, accompanied half way by their friends from the village. Sophie has begun campaigning to go to the local school next year to be with her friends.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
- Pray for the students who have worked hard on preparing a program for the weekend that will mean they can talk to many people they don't normally get to talk to. Pray for their preparation over today and tomorrow.
- Pray that God will give them wisdom as they talk, courage to be challenging and concivtion of what they know to be true. May their conversations be full of salt and grace!
- Pray for the student wives and I who will be finishing off our series of bible studies with a short talk each. Pray that once again the message of the gospel will be presented clearly.
- Pray for our family. We love staying in the village with our friends, but we do find it very draining and usually come home very tired. Pray for strength and endurance.
- Pray for the people in the village; that God will be working in them through his spirit, that they will grow in their understanding of the gospel, in their love for God and in their fellowship together.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
- I can't use the bread knife
- or the stay-sharp knife
- I can't solve difficult maths problems
- I can't light the stove
- I'm not trustworthy with jelly-beans
That's what you need mothers for!!
Monday, 19 October 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
Thanks, Raeline. You did a marvellous job. It was wonderful having such peace of mind about the children knowing they were in your hands.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
- Make a batch of yogurt as you have been doing.
- Then, when ready to make your next batch, fill the container with milk made up from powdered milk.
- Add 2-3 dessert spoons of your last batch of yogurt. Shake well.
- the water needs to be good quality, we use rain water but we don't boil it
- it may work using normal milk rather than milk powder, but we can't get fresh milk and have never tried it
- we also make it in empty plastic jars (the large peanut-butter jars), they are a bit smaller than the container that comes with the yogurt maker and so we add less hot water to the thermos
- yogurt can still be used to start a new culture if it has been in the fridge for up to four or five days
- yogurt is live bacteria culture... I'm not sure what that means for pregnant women as it is usually recommended that they avoid foods with live bacteria. Yogurt bacteria are harmless themselves (it fact, are supposed to be good for your gut) and yogurt itself is safe in pregnancy, I'm just not sure about when you make it yourself because you are creating perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and I don't know whether the harmful bacteria would/could also grow.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
"Yogurt!"Well, this is the case no longer.
Monday, 12 October 2009
- We found out that by the time we received the warning about the tsunmai generated by the first earthquake, it was well and truly after that tsunami had been and gone. In fact, it was just after the third earthquake (which occurred 45 minutes after the first) and we thought we were evacuating because of this third earthquake!
- In fact there was a small tsunami generated by this third earthquake and while some were across the oval and out of danger by this time, Glen was having trouble urging most to actually leave rather than have a community meeting to work out what to do. By the time most of the college had met, returned to their houses to pack and get food and eventually had left, this third tsunami had been and gone too. It became clear that most people were thinking in terms of a cyclone.
- It is recommended that you ensure you are either 30 m above sea-level (if right close to the shore) or 2 km inland (if terrain is relatively flat). This ensures you are safe. Most tsunamis don't go beyond 100m inland. Our house is 20 m above sea level and 150 m inland. Which means that in all but the most devastating of tsunamis we would be safe. Even the college houses that are closest to the sea are 50 m inland and have 15 m elevation.
- Some one rebuked us all for not trusting God and praying for his protection, and instead trusting and following the world.
- Some one else rebuked us for not heeding the warning that the hard-working people at meterology worked so hard to produce in order that they might help people. Apparently most people in the market in Port Vila just kept selling, and this market is in probably the most vulnerable spot of all.
- Designated leaders are essential in crisis.
- Panic and fear are incredibly powerful emotions. People in positions of leadership should be incredibly careful about arousing such emotions. I really saw the benefit of leaders who are able to be calm and decisive in crisis. Granted, it is difficult for leaders to make decisions without all the information, but indecision creates chaos.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
How does the grace of God teach us to say no to ungodliness? (Titus 2:11-12)
how do you define the grace of God?
4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
- love and,
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Later on Sophie and Bethany went to play in the playground and we saw some friends. Actually we've only met them once before (three years ago) but we got on famously then and we did again now. We've been hoping since we met them that they would come to work at Talua and it looks like they will be arriving next year. We're really excited. They have two girls around the same ages as Sophie and Bethany.
The next morning we finished our paintings, spent a small time in the playground again (eating peanuts) before...
Monday, 5 October 2009
- make sure you trust the person who chooses and paddles the canoe (unless you have your own)
- sit still
- put the fear of God into your children so that they sit still, too
- if it's stormy, wait until tomorrow, very few things are that important that you must travel in a canoe in a storm.
- Find out about wind and current patterns, and the current state of the swell. There are websites that give you that sort of information. It can help when you are deciding about your trip. For instance, it is always rougher travelling south in Vanuatu than travelling north because of the way the waves go.
- Give your children travel sickness tablets, especially if they are two and under. If the sea is rough, they will get sea sick and very young children don't understand what is happening to them and don't know how to prevent themselves throwing up and keep looking around and throwing up. When they fall asleep, then they will have reprieve from the sickness. Older children can be reasoned with and instructed to lie down and close their eyes. If you can prevent the sickness, hopefully you won't need the following tips.
- Take travel sickness tablets yourself. It is possible to avoid vomiting by closing one's eyes and blocking out the world, but this is rather difficult when looking after and cleaning up a child. Only, if you are pregnant, you probably won't be able to take them.
- Be careful about what you feed your children before and during the trip. Rough seas mean you'll be seeing it all again.
- Take water to drink. Vomiting bile is painful for the very young. It's good to dilute with water.
- Take a change of clothes for wearing at your destination.
- If you are the sole adult responsible for your children for this trip, it is definitely worth asking someone to accompany you. Fares are usually cheap and the children usually travel free. An extra fare is a little investment for a great deal of help, especially if that person is experienced in travelling on such vessels.
- Find out about how long the trip will take and when you are expected to arrive at your destination. Plan for an extra night or two, just in case. Should the ship arrive in the middle of the night, most probably you will be able to stay on the ship until morning but check this. It can be difficult arranging to be met in the middle of the night, just as it is difficult getting taxis and checking into a hotel.
- Find out about the sleeping arrangements. There are unlikely to be cabins let alone beds available for passengers. If you are offered a VIP room, take it, as it's likely to be the only room available for passengers to have privacy and a space to sleep.
- Find out about meals; what will be served and when. Will you need to purchase food or is it included in your ticket? Will there be food available to purchase if you need it? Take snacks and water for you and the children.
- In the case that there are no cabins and no beds, this makes sleeping very difficult. There may be chairs or benches to sit on. Try and find some small floor space out of the way of crew and passengers and set up some space for your children to play and sleep. This is not easy, as ships don't have a lot of space as a rule... but perhaps there may be some outside the crew's cabins... but don't set up there without checking first with the crew.
- Take a couple of towels. These are good for children to sleep on and make a good pillow for yourself. It is relatively easy to sleep without a mattress, impossible without a pillow.
- Take lots of things for your children to do in a small space and be willing to share with other children who are usually bored, too. Colouring in, plasticine, a small tea-set, stickers, beading... Older children usually only need a book, a pen and a small pad. Younger children are more difficult and need your full attention to ensure they don't fall overboard.
- Take toothbrushes and toothpaste but don't worry about washing until you get to your destination. It's not worth it (unless you have someone else to look after the children while you do). Take a small packet of nappy wipes for cleaning hands, especially before eating.
- Take a bag packed with the things you need for the boat. Everything that you need only for your destination should go in a separate bag that goes in the hold. You don't want to be lugging too much around on the boat with you but you do want to make sure you have everything you need.
- Make sure you know where the life jackets are and how to use them.
- Be friendly to the crew. They can be extremely helpful.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
- on feeling guilty (introduction, part 1) about the differences in standards of health care between here and there;
- saying no to ungodliness (introduction); from Titus 2:11-12
- on curse (one, two, three); towards a biblical theology of curse (but not very far towards)
- what must I do? (parts one, two, three, four, five, six, so far, again, it's back); meditations on what it means to follow Jesus, from Luke 18
- the heart of anger (parts one, two, three and four); on reading a book by Lou Priolo on helping children deal with their anger
- travelling with kids (car and plane); tips for travelling with children
- forgiveness (one, two); on whether there can be forgiveness without repentance.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age...It's the GRACE OF GOD. The grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness. It's the grace of God that has appeared to all men. It's the grace of God that brings salvation. It's the grace of God as shown in work of Christ on the cross that brings salvation. That's what teaches us to say no to ungodliness.
But, I still have one more question. How does that work?
How does the grace of God teach us to say no? How does the cross teach us?
What do you think?
Monday, 28 September 2009
this book captures every little girl's fantasy of having her Mum all to herself.This was a revelation for me. My little girls have this fantasy?
S: But I don't mean for school. I just want to go away and sit and cuddle.Me: Oh?S: That's why I don't want to go to that Motel because there we have to cook and wash-up ourselves. I want to go somewhere where they do all that for you and we can just sit and cuddle.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Why is it so hard to read and remember little black words on a white page? Probably because most of us are visual learners. We learn better through the use of pictures. This innovative New Testament uses Bible text that illustrates the ACTUAL Scriptures (not a retelling or paraphrase!), complete with dialog boxes to show who is speaking- just so kids can follow the story and action. It sets the scene for them. This not only helps children read the Bible, but also helps them immediately understand what is going on, learn it, and remember it better. The old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," now rings truer than ever.
[bit of discussion here, then...]S: ...if they really believed that, why didn't they use pictures to say it? Hah! They're using words to say words aren't important!
Friday, 25 September 2009
- indentifying the circumstantial provocation of the anger
- describing the outward manifestions of the anger
- biblically evaluating the exact nature of the anger
- developing a bible response to the circumstantial provocation
1. What circumstances led to my becoming angry?I was shooting baskets in our driveway, when my Dad stuck his head out of the back door and insisted that I come in to begin doing my homework. He told my friend who was shooting with me to come back tomorrow.2. What did I say/do when I became angry?"I don't have any homework and you're always running my friends off. It's no wonder they all think you and Mom are idiots." Then I cursed at him under my breath (but loud enough that my friend could hear) and slammed the basketball into the back door (breaking the window) and stomped off to my room sulking and pouting.3. What is the biblical evaluation of what I said/did whan I became angry?Lying (I did have homework and my friends don't all think my parents are idiots), profanity, slander, backbiting, hateful.4. What should I have said/done when I became angry?Said, "OK Dad" and explained to my friend that I really did have homework but that if I finished early, I'd call him. Made an appeal "Dad, I have new information, may I make an appeal?" (yes) "My teacher was out sick today and the substitute teacher allowerd us to catch up on some homework so I only have to study for two subject instead of my usual four... so may I stay out and shoot baskets for another 45 minutes?" I could have appealed to Dad about changing my schedule so I would study when it isn't possible to play basketball. Appeal to Dad to install a light in the driveway so I can play basketball after dark (if I get my homework done). How about it Dad?*
- What did you do that was naughty?
- Can you explain why you did that? What were you feeling?
- What could you do instead?
It is not possible for a Christian to change in dependence upon his own strength. He must depend upon the Lord for the grace (the wisdom, power and desire) to live in obedience to the Bible. This is why you must faithfully proclaim the Gospel to your children. If they are lost, they must be told about the need to trust Christ's substitutionary death on the cross. If they are saved, they must be reminded that they cannot obey God apart from reliance upon the Holy Spirit's power.Parent's must also must guard against viewing the materials in this book as "behaviour modification" or "cognitive therapy techniques." They are biblically derived solutions to common problems of living and are of limited value apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in your life and the life of your child.**
Thursday, 24 September 2009
"Let me say something about that word: miracle. For too long it's been used to characterise things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week- a miracle, people say, as if they've been educated from greeting cards. I'm sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word.Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It's true: They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. Lazarus obeying orders and climbing up out of the grave- now there's a miracle, and you can bet it upset a lot of folks who were standing around at the time. When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of the earth.My sister, Swede, who often sees to the nub, offered this: People fear miracles because they fear being changed- though ignoring them will change you also. Swede said another thing, too, and it rang in me like a bell: No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here's what I saw. Here's how it went. Make of it what you will."*
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
"What's the latest Irish invention?"
I thought they were hilarious.
Flyscreens on submarines!
Injector seats in helicoptors!
Solar powered torches!
I can see myself curled up on the floor in stitches with tears running down my cheeks.
What's even more amusing is that now, not only do I own a solar-powered torch, but all the lights in our house are solar powered!!
- guilt on a personal level versus guilt on a corporate level
- sins of 'omission' as well as sins of 'co-mission'
- the continuting debt of love
- what 'incarnational' mission is and if it is a helpful way think about or do mission.