Sunday, December 8, 2013

Australia work team and a national conference!

After our US friends headed out, we had friends from Australia come with Ian to help!  They were able to finish the roof-prep and put the roof on during their stay so we ended up with an enclosed house!  What an incredible blessing it is to have Ian continuing to come out to build this community home and for the chance to get to know such great volunteers from his church in Oz as well!  You guys are the best!  We get to share at their church (Suburban Baptist in Hopper's Crossing) this next Sunday (the 15th)!
Aaron and Phil's stay overlapped a bit so they went with Murray, James, Sam, and Ian up to the volcano.  Jesiah went for his first time too!
Yanik with Sam, Phil, and James.

Sam holding "scaffolding" for James to work on the roof.  James has several years of construction experience so his skills were incredibly useful.
Murray was the fantastic go-for of the crew and helped out a lot.

Ian and Murray

Sam and Jake
Nearly finished!   Ian up on top screwing in all the roofing.

Lots came to watch!
Si and James hanging out in a tree.
Some of our village's kids.
Ian with Addy and Gwen.
Sylvie and Murray.
We did lunch outdoors every day at the picnic table Corney made for us!
Pinkie up!
 Sam clearing the breadfruit tree.  It was left until the end because it was great shade and the villagers wanted one last harvest from it.  But then they insisted it had to go so it wouldn't damage the roof later with dropping breadfruits and limbs.
 The incredible stump!

 While Ian, James, and Murray slaved on the roof, Sam slaved on the landscaping.  Sam also has a ballet background so taught the kids a few lessons as well.
A bunch of ladies were waiting on a ship to take them to the West for a funeral so they decided to help Sam out in the meantime (in their best island dresses).  Ya, ni-Vanuatu women are pretty amazing.  I don't even try to compete with that!
James, Murray, and Sam had to head out after2 weeks but on their departure, Graham arrived to help with Ian for another couple weeks.  They were able to finish up more on the roof, get going on prep for ceilings, and pour the slab for the water tank...right where the breadfruit tree used to be!
 There will be a storage area above 2 of the Richards bedrooms and over mine so they worked on those as well.
 Ray (red hat) came out from Vila to help too.  He is the maintenance guy for all the Wycliffe/SIL properties in Vila.  His wife, Glenda, serves in the office doing visas, financial stuff, and all the other paperwork that keeps an organization going.  She and Ray plan to start a new ministry this next year so please pray that God would provide a new couple to take their place soon and would give them wisdom as they head into new horizons.
 Kids hanging out in the shade of the house.
 Hought and Ian put up the cement board around both houses.
Not the safest scaffolding system known to man...they bushed it with this one.

 Ian, Graham and Ray heading out with Jake and some of the other youth guys.

During the stay of this last group, the village was doing a lot to get ready for an upcoming national conference to be hosted in our village and the one 20 minutes down the trail.  Several hundred were expected to come so our newly enclosed house was to house a few hundred (laying back-to-back on mats on the cement floor) and each village family was expected to have an extra sleeping house for visitors to stay in.
Our neighbors, Taso and Elsie's new house.  Their son John and his friends (including Jesiah) got to put up the roof!
 Dozens and dozens of mats were made in a few days for all the visitors to sleep on.  Imkon weaving.
 Sera and Momon.  Momon is doing a double-weaved style here.
 Drazila and Salong playing.
 Mavin (pronounced Muffin, which I think is so cute for her!) and Marie
 Some of the extra meeting houses going up for the event.
 Hanging out with all the ladies.  Maybe someday I'll be useful and weave too! :)
 Marrro and Alice
Matal and Lala
 The meeting house in Ranon village.
 Houghton grinding hamburger/mince for the village to cook for the conference.
 Thanks to Bridgeport Community Church for this beast of a grinder!
 The event MC shelter.  They used a local guy's solar wiring, the area secondary school's sound system, and our generator and fuel to run microphones and music!

 Our village (Ranvetlam) meeting house, decorated for the event.
 Gretch and the girls hanging out with the ladies after the decorating was finished.  The conference was mid-end of August and by the time we left the end of September, the grass in here had all died and turned to dirt.  But I imagine this place won't be standing when we go back; I'm not sure!
 The cooking and serving house.
 Check out this monster pot!  That is sitting on our normal sized picnic table!
 Some of the other places put up specially for the event.
 A lot of really big pigs were eaten over the week-long conference.  And massive amounts of root crops.  Ni-Vanuatu can eat an impressive amount of food...I would say double what we could pack down in starch!  There ended up being 100-some in our house.  We were concerned that things might be damaged, but the house was treated well and after a good sweeping, it was good as new again after the event.  A lot of people there for the national conference praised North Ambrym for pulling it all together so well and with really just 3 villages working together (mainly) to make it happen, they were the smallest group of people to host the annual event and did it well!

 Our neighbor Elder Harry (above in blue shirt/khaki slacks) is our main anchor in our village.  He organizes most of what gets done and is incredibly motivated to see the Scripture in his language in his lifetime.  His oldest daughter, Leifan, had a betrothal-type ceremony and we were invited to it.  She's now moved to a village nearby and by our relationship with her we are getting to better know the people she lives around.  The pic above and below are of the speeches and food associated with her moving to live with her in-laws.  Her fiance was in Vila waiting to head to New Zealand for work at the time.  Marriage in Vanuatu is incredibly expensive and most people don't go through with all the custom and other requirements for it until middle-age, when they are a bit more settled to afford it.  Usually by that time they have several kids.  Elder Harry felt that having his daughter go to live with her fiance's family was somehow wrong pre-marriage, but didn't have the Scripture to say why.  He did speak up about it at her ceremony though and declared that when his son-in-law to-be returned from New Zealand, Leifan would return home until a house was ready and the wedding had occurred.  Pretty cool opportunities for teaching on all of this once Scripture is in their language and hopefully E Harry will be among those to help translate it!
This is Leifan here in the white island dress with purple paint behind Leia in the brown/turquoise dress.  Her mother, Matal, is next to her holding her sister, Sylvie's baby, Stefani.  She shares the painted house in this pic with her father and mother-in-law and a few kids.

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