20.05.2009 15 °C
We are back in Australia again!! However, between our last update and now, a lot has happened. Let me explain.
April 29th saw us once again back on the “mosquito” (a small 8 passenger plane) returning to the island of Ambae. We were both excited yet apprehensive to return; excited to see our friends again, yet not so sure about facing mosquitoes and hornets again and having less of our comforts for 13 more days. Those of you who may be feeling downcast by the “everyday”, may I offer a friendly reminder to give thanks to the Lord for the things we take for granted. Eg) hot showers and cold refrigerated food.
Our friends on Ambae were very glad to see us again and during this second time there our relationships with them grew even deeper. More time was spent just hanging out, including playing cards, feeding the pigs and planting bananas and island cabbage. And of course, Rach continued to thrill the local people with her volleyball skills. They live and breathe volleyball and play every afternoon. One day Rach was on the team that won six games in a row!! Needless to say she was plum tuckered after playing volleyball that long in that
much humidity! I was confined to the bench as my thumb was still not fully recovered enough to play, oh well next time. Instead I was able to join in with “the coconut shell game.” This involved two teams attempting to knock down a stack of coconut shells with a tennis ball and then stacking them up again. It sounds easy but let me assure you, it takes more skill than first meets the eye.
Once again, we were able to help out with painting. Yep, in developing nations there is never any shortage of painting and moving soil by hand! This time we assisted Pastor Eston with painting the whole of the outside of his newly rendered house. The result was satisfying and the chosen colour was a light brown, quite modern actually.
I think Rach would agree that our marriage grew stronger during our time in Vanuatu. Experiencing trials together requires good communication, in fact its essential! Plus, we were both forced to rely more on the Lord, hence drawing us closer to each other in the process.
Another adventure was a night time journey through the bush in a truck with no lights! I was riding in the tray using my flashlight for the driver to see the road! We managed to not hit anyone or anything on the way to and from the church. At least it wasn’t raining that night. However, the next day made up for it with torrents of rain all day that refilled the wells to almost overflowing.
The next night saw us sitting around the fire listening to the kids tell us kastom (cultural) stories. Very entertaining indeed! I was also happy to have the opportunity this time to cook a wicked fish curry, sambosas and enjoy a fresh lobster caught especially for us.
Mother’s Day was quite uneventful and if it wasn’t for us they would have forgotten all about it (since the people normally don’t have a calendar to know when the day even is). That night however turned out to be far from uneventful! At midnight we were suddenly awoken to the agonizing shrieks of pain from Blackie the dog. As fate would have it, somehow the dog had stepped on a large fish hook that went straight through its foot! So I took my trusty Leatherman and cut the end off the hook and removed it. Of course the dog was happy and I was happy to resume sleeping.
Our final two days on Ambae saw us learning how to make Natangora (local roofing material using palm fronds), then Rachel administered nursing care to a guy who almost chopped his index finger off with a bush knife and we had a birthday party for two of Pastor Eston’s daughters.
Overall, our time in Vanuatu was challenging yet valuable. It is a very relationship based culture so at times we didn’t feel like we achieved much in practical terms. We believe that the Lord will use our time there in ways we may never know.
And now we are back in Australia for 9 days before departing for Malaysia for one month and then onwards around the world.
Please continue to pray for us as our journey continues. Till the next update we wish you happiness where ever you are.