Friday, November 28, 2008

Team Time

Team time is now a scheduled affair so we are making priority to get together regularly to just build friendship and to fellowship, as well as to discuss issues and make decisions. All the guys on our team headed out to Tanna island (south of here) on Friday. They are doing survey work there to check out any possible future ministry options but they are also helping SIL/Wycliffe Bible translators Ken & Mendy and visiting translators Eric and Michele in a different village. Ken and Mendy's family (they have 4 children: Caleb, Hannah, Abby, and Kate) were on furlough back in the States for awhile, then came back to Vanuatu and bought a much-needed truck to take to Tanna. They are unable to get out to their village without transport and the vehicle they were using before was continuously breaking down and finally died. They came back to Vanuatu the same day the Richards and I flew in so we actually met them at the airport in LA back in August! The idea was for them to buy the truck, get re-supplied to head out to Tanna (propane, food, toiletries, school supplies...), then send the truck on a ship to Tanna, fly over and meet it at the warf and get back into their house in the village. Unfortunately, they had to experience some serious ni-Vanuatu culture, something they are very familiar with by now but it was new for us to see. The ship had repair issues and for several weeks the family was told it would be ready the next week, no, the next week, no... Weeks turned into months and further repairs were made. All legitimate (the crane that picks up containers to set them on the warf fell through the rusty ship and down into the ocean - kind of a big problem...) but frustrating none-the-less. Months later (from 5 August to now!), the ship is fixed, was packed, and brought the truck over. Ken met it, then the guys flew to meet him, and just yesterday Mendy and family flew to meet all of them. The guys dug a septic hole, helped hook up a satellite Ken just purchased (and they were able to Skype from his house in the village!), rid the house of rats and the larger of the vermin, did a few repairs and cleanings, and checked out ministry opportunities. Tuesday they'll come back and let us know more about the time on the island.

The team had a great time celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time in Vanuatu. Tania did a fantastic job organizing the whole affair. She and Jim and kids have moved from the guest house where they were staying into Jack and Kay's main house. They are missionaries that help with Joy Bible Institute here in town as well as with some other AOG (Assembly of God) ministries. They have headed back to the US for a short furlough so wanted someone in their actual place. It is a house able to accommodate pretty big groups so was perfect for hosting our full team, as well as the Gibb family and a ton of other American friends we invited. Some calling other countries home were invited as well, but only very special ones... Ross and Lyndal stopped by for a bit. They just headed out last night to PNG (Papua New Guinea) to do a revision on the New Testament they translated a decade ago. I'm already missing my fun upstairs neighbors! Sophia came as well. She's a ni-Van woman I met at Talua on Santo when I was there in October. She and her new husband, Philip, work together with Andrew and Rosemary (staff at Talua - he's American, she's Australian) on the Bislama Bible Commentary project. Philip was Houghton's contact in Ambrym for the ministry opportunity we have there and the survey work the guys did there last month. Sophia and Philip were here in town and Hought and Gretch hosted them as they just needed a place to stay before heading to Australia for a conference. Philip's flight was earlier so he wasn't able to come to Thanksgiving. From the conference, Philip will return and start on his degree program at Talua (he already has a 3 year diploma, but will now start his 4 year degree). Sophia, however, is coming to Australia with us to Equip! (She's also a graduate of the diploma program at Talua.) She'll do the introductory 6 weeks of the program and head back to Vanuatu to continue her work on the Commentary. I went around town with her the morning of Thanksgiving to help her finish up some medical stuff for her visa. I got to see more of the hospital, as well as a Western doctor's office, the Australian High Commission, and just had great opportunities to talk with Sophia. The day after Thanksgiving, we hung out more and she shared a bit about her work on the commentary. She's an incredibly smart woman of 28, was just married a few weeks ago, and is a hard worker. She's still ni-Van though with her non-Western sense of time. She decided to start a load of laundry just as Hought and Gretch were out the door for Thanksgiving. She also missed her flight the next morning and had to re-schedule everything for a full day after, which is why I was able to hang out with her another day. We are so looking forward to her, and one other ni-Van (Pastor Peter, the head of the Vanuatu Bible Translators organization here) being at Equip so we can continue to speak Bislama with them and learn from them.

At our celebration, turkey was really the only customary food we were missing out on but we were able to order roasted chickens for the same price as frozen ones so the white meat on them tasted pretty close to turkey; yum! Otherwise, we were able to get potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, gravy, bread, homemade stuffing, all the good stuff. Gretch and I spent the entire day the day before making pumpkin pie, cheesecake, cookies, muffins, apple pie, and banana cream pie. It was really nice to have a traditional American feast, made complete with the feelings of being full to the point of popping. The nicest though was being able to fellowship with other Christians and spend some time in thanks-giving prayer. God has blessed us with so much.

There are a lot of events happening all around town all the time. Sometimes I hear about them from ni-Van friends, sometimes from expat friends, and sometimes I stumble upon them. Port Vila Day was one I stumbled upon. I went to market on Friday and saw booths set up all over in the seafront park so wandered over to check it out. They were making an announcement about Port Vila Day(s) being through Saturday. These kinds of things are a lot like fairs in the States with different booths, a few carnival-ish things for kids, music, and sometimes other entertainment. Amber and kids, Tania and kids, and me with Gretchen's kids (she was feeling sick this weekend) went to hang out a bit on Saturday. You can expect a bit of a mix of food you'd recognize (sandwiches, rice, pineapple) and island-style food (some stir-fry stuff with either fish, chicken, or beef, meat sticks, roasted taro or some other root crop, fried egg-roll-ish things with meat in them, sometimes laplap, etc.). I got sandwiches for the kids (one egg and one tuna) a plate of rice, taro, and beef stir-fry for me, and a young coconut with the top cut open for us to drink. Yummy. I ended up being in and out with Gweny and some bathroom issues (she's potty trained now but has lots of accidents) and left early because Jesiah had a sudden stomach ache, but it is always interesting to check out the culture of these sorts of events. They get packed out with people (shady spots are hard to come by), for the most part it is far quieter than similar events in America, and booths are made out of local materials. Check out the palm leaves that made up the walls and fronts of these booths! It's a fun atmosphere. When we arrived on Saturday there was a play on the stage about two crabs being chased by a cat (acted out by some guys from a group who called themselves "The Monkey Boys" - these are guys in their early 20's mind you!). Jesiah kept jumping at the narrator's vocal animation as the crabs tried getting away. The crowd was loving it, laughing. A note on the quiet thing: we went to a concert that was held in a park nearby Tania's house a few weeks ago. It had some local string bands, a local pop band, and some bands from neighboring countries, among other groups. Emily Gibb was asked to play her violin the night we attended so after a French clown act, she opened the concert. Brave girl, and she played beautifully! The crowd really packed in after dark, but even when she played at dusk there were several hundred people all sitting on the grass to listen. I was realizing as we were all sitting there in a big white-man clump :) that we were the loudest ones present. We were talking throughout the concert, kids were running around playing, and we were up and down the whole time. All the ni-Vans around us sat quietly, now and then mouthing or whispering to people around them, and kids for the most part sat and listened too. Concert etiquette here is quite different than America, that's for sure! The ni-Van pop band was trying to get people to stand up, come closer to the stage, and clap and participate more like an American pop concert would look. No one took them up on that but stayed put sitting quietly in the grass. No one standing, swaying and holding lighters... I was telling Jane when we left that everyone around us would probably be happy to see us leave so they could go back to enjoying the concert in quiet. :) Don't get me wrong, a lot of churches and concert set-ups like this have microphones and sound systems set up and they crank the sound, but the audience tends to be quiet, at least in the experiences I've had.

We've been also trying to implement some girls' get-togethers as a team. Friday afternoons are now girls prayer times, which is great. The guys get together for weeky or twice-weekly meetings so it's high time for girls to do the same! :) Tonight we had a girls' movie night. Amber and kids weren't able to make it, but Anna joined us. She's without her husband too (Ben's on Santo and our team's guys are on Tanna, as I mentioned above). Anna is the current Office manager for SIL/Wycliffe (so I see her a lot in the office since I live here) and she also works with YWAM with her husband, Ben. See earlier posts for a pic of them together. Anna has been a great friend here. We've gotten together for Bible studies and prayer, just to hang out, to meet friends, to go to an exercise class, and she's introduced me to quite a few ni-Van friends. She, Tania and kids, Gretchen and kids, and I ate junk food and watched "Secondhand Lions" together at Tania's place. On our way home Anna ran into some friends so walked home with them and Gretch and I caught a bus back to our place.

I think Christian fellowship here is definitely at the top of my list for what I'm thankful for. What a blessing to have friends as a team but also be able to get to know and enjoy others working here and learn from their experince and insight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Pakaroa church is a Presbyterian church a 5-10 minute walk away from the building where I stay. I've gone there the most consistently of any so I know a few people and quite a few faces. It is interesting to see and surprising to learn that the institution of church here and the practices of church are very much a part of culture. (The exercise class I go to always ends with everyone standing in a circle holding hands and someone praying to close class. Prayers I've heard here are pretty prescriptive. Less like conversation to a God they can have a personal relationship with and more like following a formula.) This group is new recruits to the VMF (Vanuatu Military Force) along with the elders of the church. They were making rounds various Sundays to different churches singing a song and sitting through services. The leader of their group (not sure what his title was: captain?, commander? - some military me out here!) said that not only is he responsible for his group's physical growth and growth in skill areas, but also for spiritual growth. Interesting. The issue with Vanuatu is very similar to the problem in America. Everyone says they are Christian but no one really knows what that means and everyone associates being a Christian with church attendance or making sure the balance of good things done in life outweighs the balance of bad things done in life and just believing that God exists. Well, Scripture says "even the demons believe, and shudder."

There are several different denominations here in Vila and many villages have a church in them, but churches are either weak in doctrine or in many cases with most ni-Vans here, mixing Christianity with animism/kastom (spirit-worship and practices going along with that). God is then just another spirit, another god to appease and to try to make happy. A tiny fraction of Vanuatu actually has the Bible in their own language. Those who do have a language Bible in many cases do not know how to read it or study it. Most churches here either preach from an English Bible, or a Bislama Bible' if a Bible is used at all in the service. Buying a Bislama Bible here would put a ni-Van out about a week's pay so very few have them. There is a Bible society in town that sells Bislama Bibles and has some Good News English Bibles in paperback that are pretty inexpensive, but that would be like me trying to read a French Bible and get much out of it. Sure, I know some vocabulary, and could probably pronounce all the words right, but no way would I have good comprehension, which is kind of the point...

Some things about the Presbyterian church here. It is a big denomination - in the top 3 with Seventh Day Adventist and Catholic. They have a women's organization called PWMU (Presbyterian Women's Ministry Union) and women take this very seriously. PWMU does a lot of fundraising and a lot of outreaches. The mamas in PWMU were just returning from an outreach on Malakula island (where they went to help other mamas with cooking, cleaning, watching kids, and just meeting and talking with new women about church, etc.). PWMU women have "uniforms" they wear when they have a church function so their Sunday back from outreach, they all wore their blue island dresses. There are quite a few women here in town who know how to "somap" (sew them up) island dresses. Island dresses here are the clothing of choice for any "dress up" function and definitely for church. I've been given 4 dresses so I rotate those on Sundays. They are in no way flattering and should be quite cool because of their baggy flowing nature, but are completely see-through so require another layer of clothing underneath so actually are amazingly hot. They are also made in a way that the elastic at the arms makes long-lasting rivets in one's arm; ouch! The see-through factor is due to the cheap Chinese cotton ("calico") available here. You can get any color or pattern your heart would ever desire (especially if you are into VERY colorful) but it's thin so easily tears and frays. Not my favorite to wear, but I do have one that I like. From the looks of my dresses though, I'm guessing that an average of 8-9 times in the washing machine and an island dress is officially a pile of threads. I've sewed up holes and frays in mine several times already and I'm only up to 4 or 5 washes on each.

Back to church practices. Vanuatu is full of very welcoming people who live in community. Therefore, when the PWMU women were coming in to service following their outreach, a line of people went outside to form a line and shake each of their hands. If anyone is new at church, the custom is to acknowledge them, have them stand and introduce themselves in the service, and then following the service, they are to join the line of pastors and elders outside the entrance and have the entire congregation shake their hands upon leaving. I've done this several times now, having visited several churches. It's an interesting experience in a big church like Pakaroa because it means standing in that line shaking somewhere around 200 hands. Good way to get to know people's faces though! :) Another thing Pakaroa does is have the elders come in in a line just before the start of each service, one carrying a ginormous book. I assume it's a Bible, but I'm not sure. They are also first to leave. Everyone sits until they go past in their line, then the church begins to empty from one corner to the other, one row at a time, in a line to shake hands outside, like you'd leave a wedding to hug the bride and shake the groom's hand. The Sunday that the VMF was there was my 1st time to visit and the Kenners came with me. We had to introduce ourselves and after the service, the elders went out, then the VMF, then the Kenners and I, and we all stood in one huge line. Whew, that was a lot of hands for the congregation to shake that day! The line of us went from the church door out to the road!

Last Sunday, I visited an AOG (Assembly of God) church with my friend Elodia. She's the one from Pango village who very first taught me about local kitchens and cutting and cooking root veggies (see August post). I was hoping to visit the church where her dad is an elder out in the village, but when I ran into her at her work, she told me her brother-in-law is a pastor at this AOG church in town and she's been attending there. I tried it out with her.

Tomorrow I plan to go to a Presbyterian church close to the Kenner's house with them but I think I'll head back to Pakaroa again for the rest of December unless I'm invited somewhere else in the meantime. It's been fun to visit so many different churches, but I'm starting to be weary of so many changes and new names and faces. I've been to a Nazarene church, a Baptist church, a Church of Christ church, a few Presbyterian churches, 2 expat churches, an SDA church, the AOG church, and maybe more but that's all I can think of now. :) Some were upon invitation from ni-Van friends, some were to check out what other expats were doing in their ministries, and others were just ones I'd heard of or seen. Most I've gone to have Bislama services but pastors tend to be more educated so throw a lot of English in too, some more than others.

Last Sunday when I went to meet Elodia, I found myself there a full hour early. She told me church started at 9 so I came a few minutes before. Some Churches have acappella singing (just spontaneously led) before service and other churches just start sometime after they've rung their bell and enough people have showed up. Because it can vary so much beyond Western ideas of time, it's hard to know what time to really come. When I arrived not only was no one there, I saw signs for the church saying service was at 10. Hmm, an hour to burn and I was downtown on a Sunday when nothing is open. There is a park right at the sea front just a bit away from the church so I went there to sit and read my Bislama Bible. I found some shade under a Christmas tree and started reading.

Just as a sidenote here, I first learned what a Christmas tree was from a ni-Van friend. She called me and asked me to meet her at the market under the Christmas tree. Hmm, my Bislama wasn't very good at that point so I tried to clarify, then realized she really had said what I thought but I couldn't recall ever seeing anything remotely like a Christmas tree EVER here. So I told her I had no idea where that was and we'd have to meet at a location I determined so I could ensure I'd actually find her. When I got to the market and met her, she showed me the Christmas tree, a tall tree with branches up high and locust-tree looking pods coming off of it. She assure me that when Christmas was coming soon, it would be covered in red flowers, hence the name "Christmas tree." Sure enough, they are budding out all over right now and are very beautiful. Here's one by a hardware store not far from my apartment that has a small market underneath during the week where mamas sell a few produce items. They just sit on mats on the packed ground and lay out their produce on the ground. I just bought a pineapple there this morning before they closed for the weekend.

As I sat reading and waiting for the church service to start, various people passed by. At one point I acquired a "hanger" who stood around just inside my peripheral vision behind/beside me. After a good 10 minutes, he came over and in English asked me the time, and as I was pulling out my phone to check, sat down next to me. Well, I was going to have to work to get rid of this one! It took him 10 minutes to figure out how to come sit by me and bar ME leaving, this would be tricky. I've had some practice in this over the years and quite a bit over the last few months here in Vanuatu, so as he asked me questions (now in Bislama after I answered him in Bislama), I kept my eyes looking straight ahead to the sea, not ever smiling or looking in his direction, and answering with as few words as possible, not asking anything in return, and not having any affect or enthusiasm in my voice or face. Sometimes that works in the States (but now that I think about it, it's never worked here, unless I partner that method with walking away...) :) Well, Jack (my new companion), was good. After asking why I was here (in Vanuatu) and at the park, and realizing I was sitting holding a Bible, he followed up with "will you tell me something you know from the Bible?"

How do you blow someone off when they come right out and ask that? It was obviously not his motivation to learn about the Bible, but rather to continue to engage me, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity! I silently prayed for wisdom about what to share and got some background info from him. I asked if his language has a Bible in it yet (he's from Iriki island, which is the tiny expat resort island seen across Vila Bay right where I was sitting). Nope. I asked if he has a Bible in English or Bislama (he was schooled in English). Nope. I asked if he ever goes to church. Yes, Presbyterian (but seemed like not so much recently). Well, of any denomination here, from what I've experienced and heard, they are the most likely to have some Scripture read in their services, so it's probable that he knows some basics. I decided after praying to share Creation to Christ, followed by a bit about eternal things. I figured the worst that could happen is he'd get bored and wander off, which is what I was hoping to begin with so no huge loss there. Or really, I was thinking, the worst is my Bislama is horrible and I confuse the heck out of him and when it's time for me to leave, he's in worse shape than before he asked. Well, that's where prayer and God's sovereignty come in I guess. And this would be great practice for me to organize my thoughts about the Gospel in Bislama.

So I shared about how God created the world and the 1st man and woman and wanted to be with them. They sinned by doing what he said not to do so it made the road to God become closed off because God can't be around sin. God made another road where people could come back to God because their sins were paid for by killing certain animals and having their blood be the payment. But God wanted a better road back to Him so He sent His Son (Jesus) to earth. He was human just like us and faced temptations (explained this as times where you want to do bad stuff or Satan makes you want to do bad stuff that would hurt God and break His laws - I didn't know what the Bislama word was for this). Jesus didn't do the things God said not to do though so didn't sin but He knows that life is hard and it is hard to stay away from sin so we have a God that understands that. God let Him die on the cross and Jesus' blood paid for everyone's sins and made the road back to God open again. Everyone who believes that Jesus is God's Son and that He died to pay for our sin so we can come on that road back to God is a Christian. The Holy Spirit is a present for them and He lives inside them and helps them do what is good and what makes God happy and them happy. They become a whole new person because the part of people that goes on forever was dead but now is alive. The Bible tells about how to live as a Christian and get to know God better. We can pray to God and have Him hear us and help us. Also, when our body is dead, instead of going to a horrible place called Hell because of the broken road to God, we get to go to heaven and be with the One who created us and who loves us and we live forever.

I realized later that I didn't talk about Jesus raising from the dead and taking over the power of death and being alive right now and being the one that takes our prayers to God so we don't need a priest to do that. Stink. I also obviously had a lot of other areas that I didn't share real well. When I shared all of this though, he stayed put and was really quiet and he looked out at the ocean the whole time and so did I. We just sat quiet for a few minutes and I needed to head out to meet Elodia. He didn't have any comments or ask any questions so I said I had to go but that I hoped he understood the story well and thought heavy on it. I shook his hand (greeting and leaving requires a handshake - light grip and no real shaking, just usually one up and down or just a light squeeze) and walked away to church. I really don't know exactly what I communicated to Jack or what he understood from what I said. I think I said the above, but I'm obviously still learning culture and language and have a long way to go to know how to best share a message like this and get all the vocabulary and grammar right. Please pray for Jack that the Holy Spirit would work in his life and that he would be given understanding and that there would be a guy he could talk to more about this in the future; that he would be saved and on that road to God! I'm guessing he's probably in his early 20's and he told me he works at one of the Chinese stores in town. Pray also for my other friends here - Evelyn, Magreth and her family, Illian and her family, Rachel, and Claudia - for their salvation and for me to be a witness to them of the life they can have in Christ.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vanuatu - a wild and crazy place!

I thought it might be fun to include another post with random notes about Vanuatu.

Food. Here is a new fruit that I haven't seen much of, but that you can find at the market more recently. It's called a star apple. If you cut it straight at the midline, the seeds make a star shape. I obviously didn't cut it that way. It is very sweet and unlike anything else I've tasted so I'm at a loss for how to explain it, sorry. It was good though. You'll have to come visit to try it out. From what I was told in the market, just the white part is edible. It's about the size of a big granny smith apple. Very pretty, don't you think?

People. At the end of the month, Ross and Lyndal, directors for SIL/Wycliffe here head over to PNG (Papua New Guinea) to work on a revision of the New Testament they translated there 10 years ago. We'll not see them again until we return from Australia. They have been great neighbors, friends, and ministry leaders to bounce ideas off of and learn from. Here's Tania, my teammate, and I. I need to get some more pictures of our team to post. Check out what's behind us though - a ginormous cactus - who would have thought?

Bugs. Well, as you know, many bugs here are pretty different than those in the States. Some sort of bug - not sure if it was fleas or maybe ants or what - decided to attack my legs and feet and one of my arms. Here is a picture of what some of the bumps from that looked like for several weeks. They weren't itchy, thank goodness, just red and whatever bug it was was very thorough in getting most every area of my lower legs and feet. Another lovely bug here is the mosquito. Of course everyone knows about those but here some of the ones that like to bite most at daylight and sunset can carry Dengue Fever. Symptoms include high fever for about 4 days that returns a few days later, bone and muscle pain, headache, eye pain, rash, among other less desireable possibilities. There isn't a treatment for it other than to just treat the symptoms. A blood test can determine whether or not one has Dengue but of course that costs money. Houghton checked out symptoms I had and is fairly certain I had a mild form of Dengue (right after I returned from Santo), as did little Addy (a week or so later), poor thing, and Ross had it several days before I did. While I was gone to Santo, Gretchen reported that trucks were driving through all the neighborhoods with megaphones yelling out stuff about Dengue incidence being high and everyone's need to get mosquito nets for their kids. That's a little different than they'd do it in the States too... :) It is spread by a mosquito biting an infected person, then biting someone else. Here's what my rash looked like for about 3 days. It was very itchy and was most painful on my palms and bottoms of my feet. I had it everywhere except my face. When I had the fever, it was up to 104F for one day but stayed around 102 for the other 3 days. I did have pain, mainly in my joints (especially knees and fingers) and muscles. I guess there are 4 varieties of Dengue and once you've had one variety, antibodies are built so you don't have it again in your lifetime. Yay - one down and only 3 to go, and I had it easy! :) Next, another one not unknown to Americans, lice. However, something a tad different here is that picking lice out of your child's hair (or your friend's if you're a kid) is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is eating the lice you find. And last but not least, this weird one. I have no idea what it is. Gretchen's guess is a worm that is just pulling it's cocoon around. Most of the ones I have around my house are just hanging on the walls staying in one place and the worm part isn't sticking out so she's probably right. Here's a video showing you how weird they look. They weigh next to nothing so a little blow on them can blow them across the room. I just let them hang out cuz they seem pretty harmless.

Picking your nose isn't impolite or unusual. No one worries much about anyone digging for gold here and no one hides it. Dad, you'd fit right in, come on over... :) Sorry, I don't have a picture to go with this one, I'll just let you imagine it. :)

Pedestrians don't have right-of-way in Vanuatu. Vehicles are first, then motorcyles, then bicycles (there's a few around), then pedestrians. Children know not to step into the street and to walk as far on the side of the road or path as possible to allow passing vehicles to speed by. It was hard to get used to looking to both ways to cross the street then - whoops - a bus is coming so to wait, then go. If you are in the middle of crossing the street and a vehicle comes, you run to get to the other side because they will not slow down for you and expect you to get out of the way. Different.

Busses keep the place hopping. What is called a "bus" is what we would think of as a large van. They have sliding doors on the right side and most can sit 9, some are able to seat 12 or so. Most are built with the 1st and 2nd row of seats having one that folds over and then the seat back folds up so if the bus isn't full, the seat is out of the way. If the bus is full, you get in, fold the seat out, and sit. Busses don't have specific routes, they go according the the closest stop for whoever happens to be on the bus. If I want to go somewhere in town, I ask the driver "yu go lo taon?" (you go to town?). If he grunts, nods, raises his eyebrows or says "kam" (come), I get in and sometime in the next 5 to 30 minutes, I get there. If the bus is full, he may take me first or I may be the last stop or I may be after others he picks up as we go to the stops of all the others on the bus if their stops are closer. This is a great way to get to know Vila because you never know where the bus might go on your way to places. For the example above, once the driver gets close to wherever I want to go in town, I say "stop ya" (stop here), I get out, and hand a 100 vatu coin (about $1) through the passenger window to him or give it to the guy sitting shotgun who gives it to the driver. Pretty much anywhere you want to go in Vila, you'll be taken right to it. They have taxis here too and they are usually smaller vans or cars. You know a bus is a bus and not just Joe Blow's van because the licence plates have B on them. Taxis have T and then public transport has PT. Left is a PT speeding by with a million people in the back. I don't really get how those work yet.

It's just pretty here (well, assuming you don't look at people's houses or garbage piles...). Anyway, going with the pretty - Coral Motel is right across the street from me. They keep up their yard with a gardener that's always outside raking and burning leaves, trimming trees and all sorts of upkeep.

Finally, the guys got back from a survey trip to Ambrym island about 2 weeks ago. They were checking it out as a possible place for us to minister in long-term. Check out their pictures and stories about it at: and and if you have a Facebook account become friends with Brad and Amber Jones and check out their pictures on Facebook.

Friday, November 7, 2008