Thursday, May 12, 2016

Vanuatu recruitment video

This is a recruitment video for Bible Translation in Vanuatu that was made last year.  I just never posted it.  Houghton and Gretchen have made a video we're showing in presentations this year.  We'll post that later in the year.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A goatee with a promise

My dad made a funny promise to my sister's kids when he was out to visit us in Vanuatu in June of 2014.  He said he'd stop cutting his goatee until he saw them again.  And so he did!  Here's the video of the kids cutting off the goatee.

Back in the USA

God gave safety in all our travels, for which we are so grateful!  After our arrival to the US via LAX airport, the Richards spent some time in California with Houghton's family, but I flew straight up to my home state of Montana.  I got in about midnight to Billings, which is about 2 hours drive from my hometown, so I stayed in a hotel overnight and my parents came up to get me the next morning.
 Seeing my parents for the first time in 1 1/2 years.
 We went to lunch and my aunt Libby, uncle Mike, and my grandparents were there to surprise me!  They live in another state so it was quite unexpected for them to be there.
 With my dad's parents.
 What a fun surprise!
 My mom went all out decorating for our return.  She even had a giant welcome home sign in the driveway!
 We had a hail storm (with just little hail thankfully) a few days after I had come to Montana.

 After I'd been back a week or so, I flew to Boise, ID to meet the Richards there for some presentations (which I forgot to take pictures of!!).  We had 2 church meetings and 3 home groups, all of which were very well attended, which we were pleased with.  Thanks to all you great Boise friends who were so welcoming to us and have faithfully held the ropes for us while we've been in Vanuatu!  After just under a week there, I drove with the Richards back to Montana and we met my parents in Billings again.  (Above:  Gretchen and my dad)
 My mom reuniting with her granddaughters - Addy and Gwen.
 Playing "pin the girl on Laura" or something...  :)
 Hanging out with grandpa.
Playing at a store in Billings.
 They even have a ferris wheel - crazy.  My mom took the 3 older kids on a ride.
 Looking at all the stuffed animals.
Playing on a fake jeep.
 Our main sending church raised extra money for us to help with our travels and time back in the US.  We are so grateful for their faithfulness and generosity to us and the ministry in Vanuatu!
People are also so practical in giving as well.  We had a friend give us the meat from one of her cows and some other friends cover our eye appointments and glasses!  What great evidences of the body of Christ at work!
 My mom decided since we'd missed 4 Christmases together, she'd make up for them in one go.  No matter that it was the end of April, she decorated and had presents for all of us anyway.  :)
 Kaiden playing with his chicken that lays candy eggs.
 Opening presents.
The kids all got scooters to play on.  And the sign names grew to include everyone!
 New hairstyle I'm considering.
 Spinning with Kaiden.
 Drinking ice water on the deck all bundled up.
I got to see my friend Trena just a day before she and her family moved back to Alaska. 
My mom won employee of the year for the whole region for her work.
 The missions committee from our church here found an apartment for me on the edge of town.  I LOVE living here because the hills are just outside my door and it's a nice quiet spot. 
 Some of the views from the road that curves around to my apartment.
 I see white-tail deer all the time and occasionally see a turkey or a rabbit.
 Can you spot the 2 deer?

If you're wondering when we're in an area near you, check my "Tentative Schedule" tab above.  I update it as we have changes.  Hope to get to see you while we're back!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Leaving Vanuatu...for a bit

Our last few weeks in the village were spent hurriedly passing the baton on to our local team, finishing up projects, and with our work team from the US.   
Philip (left above and below) is the Translation Team head while we're away, and so far they've continued to meet together each week, which we are so excited about.  Please pray for them for faithfulness and wisdom, as well as health.  They have reference materials and prepared work for them to finish editing Mark and to draft Genesis and Acts while we're away.  When our teammates get internet, we'll be able to receive their work and do edits and exegetical checks on what they send us.
Philip, Alice, Lala (dealing with pain and swelling in her knee now), George, and Elder Harre (continues to deal with pain and lack of movement in his left leg).

We also walked around the village to say our goodbyes for the next several months.
 Elsie in her kitchen with 2 of her boys.
 Some of the local kids outside Marrro's sleeping house.
A game the kids will have to explain to you when you see them (that involves hopping on one leg between 4 squares and kicking a rock/shoe/coconut shell and spitting).
 Same game. 
Addy hanging out with Momon while she washes clothes.

I think because we were leaving, everyone came out of the woodwork for medical issues as well, getting last-minute treatment.  Jowed came to me for a massive boil in her mid back.  It was when helping her with this that I remembered why I decided not to go into medicine.  I can't hack people being in pain and seeing nasty things.  

Her boil finally came to a head and her daughter drained it for her for the most part, but when I went to cover it, tons more nastiness came out and I had to just stop and cover it because I was too grossed out.   She insisted that it didn't hurt, but I didn't believe her.  :)  Look at the size of the hole in her back!

When she came back the next day, I forced Gretchen to do the dirty deed and I just helped get the bandages ready.  

Boils are a regular occurrence and people get them everywhere. 
Jesiah and I in the Richards' kitchen.

 The day we were to fly out of Ambrym and to the capital city, we had a miscommunication with our boat driver so he was pretty late to come pick us up to drive us to the airport.  Depending on the engine (currently we are using a 15hp because our 40hp filled up with saltwater when the boat capsized a few months ago) and how many people are in the boat, it takes usually anywhere from 1-3 hours to get to the airport.  We made it late and they delayed the plane for us, so we were grateful.  We are likely their most regular customers, and fill up 7 of the 9 available seats, so I guess they couldn't do much but wait for us....
 Because of the delay, however, we got to spend a bit more time with those who walked down to the "wharf" to see us off.  Houghton and Yanik/Willibae
 Temarr and Malibu.
 Gretchen, Kaiden, Malibu, Alice, Evelyn, Gwen, Sarah, and Lea.
 Jesiah hanging out with Yanik.
 Matakon, Ana, Alice, Gretch and Kaiden.
Everyone waving goodbye to us as we drove away. 

We usually fly with an airline owned and operated by the father of 4 local girls I did Bible study with in Vila back in the day, so we try to support their business.  Not many ni-Vanuatu families have the financial ability to start and run a business like this, but they are doing a great job with it.  They have 2, 8-seater planes (but it makes 9 when someone sits up in the co-pilot seat).  It's not pressurized, so you can open a little portion of the window while flying.  They just land on grass strips like this on the outer islands and on the asphalt runway in Vila.

Just before leaving the village, Houghton got the audio format of the Family Story Bible out to a few people so they could share them around the language group.  People cook over fires and wash their clothes with a brush, but quite a few use smart phones, which is pretty crazy.  So an application made it possible for us to put the Family Story Bible on phones and people there are pretty savvy about how to share those kinds of things around.  So please pray that this phone app would be something that's still being passed around and listened to while we're away, and that God would use it to draw people to Himself.
 In the capital city, Vila, hanging out at the market to pass off the Family Story Bible phone app to anyone interested.  Houghton also was able to put it up on a Facebook page for people from our area to download it to their phones as well.  Like I said, they have a really weird mix of technology and rugged living.
Houghton sharing the Family Story Bible audio form with Bong (sitting in the middle with the hat on), Elder Harre's son, who lives just outside of Vila.  The other guys and kids pictured are also originally from North Ambrym island and speak the language.  Bong will be able to share the app in turn with all of his other family and friends in Vila that are from our language group.

We had meetings with our translation organization in Vila and then headed out the 8th of April to the US.  It was great to be able to have something completed to leave with everyone from North Ambrym for them to read and hear while we're away.  The printed version of the Family Story Bible should be done and shipped to North Ambrym by mid to end August of this year.  A dedication ceremony is planned for it and will be locally organized, and Houghton plans to return for to distribute it.