The post I do not want to write

27 Jan

I have done a lot of complaining on this blog, and if you know me at all, you know that well, I am a complainer. It is who I am. I mostly do it because I think it is funny, and 90% of the time I am not serious. I honestly have my dream job. Some days I look around wonder why God gave me everything I ever wanted in life? It just doesn’t make sense. Then He reminds me that He gave me everything He ever wanted for my life and I just allowed my desires to be conformed to His. If He actually gave me what I wanted I would be a rodeo queen with a belt buckle the size of my face, and married to George Strait. Very thankful that I let that dream go. But anyway, this time I am complaining a little bit, and I am serious about the fact that this is the part of my job that I hate.

You see as a missionary we have to “raise support” or “develop partners” which simply means we have to ask people to give us money, so that we can live and eat and work and pay insurance and taxes and print the Bibles that we translate, and help fly out tribal people when they are deathly ill, etc. etc. etc. (it is not to buy us ipads and stuff, we don’t even own an ipad or a smart phone. our phone is average intelligence, i promise)

Have you ever had to ask someone for money? Have you ever had to ask everyone that you know for money? Yeah. It is awkward. And you start to get all paranoid that people aren’t picking up their phones when you call, and maybe they just “didn’t get that facebook message I sent them” and “maybe they did call me back, you know my voice mail is spotty”.

There are definitely some benefits to this, though. I mean we have learned to depend on God in a whole new way, and since yours truly hates the asking part I have assigned myself to the praying part and let me tell you I have prayed and prayed and prayed over some support. I have called people out by name. Just to be totally transparent because that is what I try to be on this blog, (I mean appropriately transparent, not Kardashian transparent) we recently made a list of a bunch of people that we thought might support this work and didn’t say a word to them, just prayed about it and several of those people started supporting us. So if you recently started supporting this work, well then MUAHAHAHAHA… we got you! Just kidding. (please also note that we are praying for you for other things too- not just so you will give us money, thankyou)

Anyway, I say all that to say this. We are getting close to moving into a tribe. And well we need some sort of structure to move into. To build that structure we need some dollars, bucks, moola…you know.We already have some incredible supporters who sacrificed their hard earned…well earnings… so we can be here and the people of PNG can hear the Gospel. Because of those who will be forever known as awesome to our family, we have saved over HALF (62% exactly) of what we need to build our bush house. We really wanted to just save all of it and not have to ask for anymore money because we feel like for the last 2 years of our lives that is all we have done. But we realized that the sooner we have the funds, the sooner we can go, and the sooner the people can hear.

So here I am asking for…GULP…money. There I said it. It is out there. Do you feel the awkwardness yet. It is pretty thick on this end of the computer let me tell you. I just thought I would put this out there because I know there are a lot of people who cannot make a monthly commitment to support us. And we totally understand that. But you may be able to make a one time donation and this is the perfect opportunity to do that! So if you want to, you can click on this site, www.pushforpng.com, and get some info on how you can help us build our tribal house.

And if not. We can still be friends. I promise. Please don’t avoid my calls, or texts or emails, or facebook messages. Mkay?

Cabin Fever

23 Jan

I have had a serious case of cabin fever lately. I actually get a little stir crazy quite often here because it isn’t exactly safe for a woman to go to town to shop or do anything else by herself here in Wewak. It is not any more dangerous probably than going shopping alone in Jackson, Mississippi, its just that here you are a big target…easy to pick out of a crowd if you know what I mean. NTM has a rule that at least 2 ladies have to go together to town. Even with 2 ladies 3N1 was very nervous about me going to town without him or another guy to look out for us. So, I always have to go with my husband and we always have to take our kids. And there is no Wal-mart here. Just a bunch of little stores that all carry different things. So, suppose you need 5 different things…you probably have to go into 5 different places to get them. Which means we hear a lot of “Mom, I’m too hot!” “Mom, my legs are tired of walking!” “Mom, I’m tired of people pinching my cheeks!” and by then end of the trip we usually get home with only half the things we needed. And I am ready to ship my kids back to America (since everyone we met before we left asked us, “Your not taking your kids with you, are you?” in a very judgmental, you must be crazy, sort of tone, I don’t think anyone would be surprised or care).

So, most days I just stay home while 3N1 does all the shopping in town. And most days it works out (even though he forgets the list I make him almost half the time, but he has gotten pretty good at knowing what we need for the week, so he rarely comes home with weird or crazy stuff). And again, it is not like he is going to Wal-mart where no wife is surprised when her husband comes home with war DVDs, some fishing lures, and a box of cookies when she sent him to the store for only toilet paper.

But all this to say, that I am getting a little tired of being locked inside the gate here on our mission base. I think it has really escalated since I hurt my rib and have had to convalesce for a week. (I am truly thankful that it turned out to be only a week and not the 4-6 that it would have been had my rib been broken).

Now, my husband has seen my pain and decided to buy me a stun gun so he would feel more comfortable letting my go around with just ladies. The only thing I have to do now is learn how to drive on the opposite side of the road. So yeah…look out Wewak Town! I am not sure which is scarier bad guys or me driving and wielding a stun gun???

Anyway, here is a picture to prove that I was going a little batty while being stuck inside…yes, that is my baby…with markers…that I gave to her…and no, it was not a good idea…

Dummy

15 Jan

I slipped and fell down our stairs on Saturday, and hurt my ribs. I may have a broken one, but there is no way to tell since the “hospital” here does not have an x-ray machine. Well…to be fair, there is an x-ray machine but it is broken. I seriously doubt I have a broken rib. I think maybe just badly bruised.

Anyway, I have been doing nothing but sitting around and watching movies while my husband does all the work, and I have to admit that the first day it was pretty cool, but now I am going a little insane. And I am sure 3N1 is too.

So, I don’t have a lot to share, but I thought I would share with you a very important lesson that I learned while watching Harry Potter.

Ladies, always. ALWAYS be nice to the chubby nerd…

Because he might just grow up to look like this…

***Update on the Chen family*** Their daughter is home from the hospital and doing much better and Wayne made it back safely to Taiwan to be with his family. Thanks everyone for praying for them! Please continue to pray as Gail will start radiation soon.

Why do you call him 3N1?

13 Jan

I wrote here about the tribal people giving my husband a name when we got to Bush Orientation. But apparently everybody missed this one because I have had a bunch a people ask me why I call him 3N1 including my mom who supposedly reads my blog religiously. Ha ha, mom! You are caught! Just kidding. Anyway, just in case you missed it, his new name is 3N1 because he has 3 first names. That joke translates to any language and culture. And here they just happen to have this little instant coffee drink called “3N1″ because it has the coffee, cream, and sugar all in one.

They called him 3N1 all the time. I am not sure that they even knew what those 3 first names were. They prayed for us in church as the “3N1 family”. They thanked us over a PA system at the independence day festivities as the “3N1 family”. When people came to visit and I asked who they wanted to see, they would answer “3N1″. So, there you go. That is why I call him 3N1. The tribal people did it first and it stuck.

The Real Tribal Wives of PNG

11 Jan

I am getting really tired of writing about gecko poo, so I decided to share with you a little bit about some of the amazing ladies I have met since coming to PNG. They are real tribal wives. They are way more beautiful than any of the Real Housewives and way less surgically enhanced. They are, in fact, the exact opposite of those “Real” Housewives in that they are genuine, selfless, compassionate, hard working, dedicated, humble, and godly. They are true examples of the Proverbs 31 woman and I just thought that you should meet some of them.

Today I would like to introduce you to Gail…

She and her family work with this people group…

Who live on this island (yes, that is a volcano)

With this team…

Gail recently received an involuntary makeover…

Thanks to chemotherapy. But honestly, she is even more beautiful now than she was before. You see, she and her family moved to PNG to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a people who don’t have it. They worked really hard to learn Pidgin then the tribal language, and right as the team was just about to start teaching the Bible to the Biem people for the first time ever…they found out that she had cancer. And she cried. Not because she had cancer, but because she knew this would be a set back for the team, and therefore would be a setback for the Biem people to hear God’s message of reconciliation in their own language. She and her family have been in Taiwan since July, but while she is in between treatments, her husband comes to the island to do some work to help the team and spend time the people. The whole family is planning on coming for the start of the Bible teaching in June. Yeah, they were given an easy out. An “honorable discharge” so to speak, and yet they are still here. Still working hard through very difficult circumstances to do what God has called them to do. Anyone would tell them that it is ok to quit. To move back to civilization, and take care of yourselves. It is obvious that this is not what God has for you, right? I mean why would He make it difficult for you if this was His will? But they know better. They know they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses that have suffered and even died for the will of God.

We had dinner with her husband last night. He had been to the island to visit, but had to cut the visit short because their daughter is in the hospital with pneumonia. Yeah, you heard that right. She is done with chemo, and about to start radiation, so her husband comes to here to do some work, and while he is gone her daughter gets put in the hospital with pneumonia. This family needs your prayers.

They truly are an amazing family that loves the Lord and is an encouragement to everyone who comes in contact with them. I have to admit that it makes me wonder sometimes why God allows the things He does. I mean, I know that good things are coming from all this. This wonderful family is definitely bringing glory to His Name through their suffering. God most certainly chose them because they are mature enough in Him to persevere. Their response to all this was, excitement. “We’ve been chosen to bring glory to God through the means of sickness and suffering!” was something they wrote to all of us in an email. And we were all humbled and felt truly blessed by the example of this family.

I don’t have to question my maturity at all because a little trial we had back in January where we just *thought* 3N1 had cancer sent me kicking and screaming like a toddler into the presence of God and asking Him, “why us, Lord?”. Sometimes I wonder if the rest of us were more mature, would it balance out the suffering of others? If we hadn’t been such babies and failed the test, would this family and families like them all over the world be put through so much? Does being part of the body make me responsible to carry my share of the suffering to bring glory to Christ’s name, so that others don’t have to carry so much. Hmmm? That is a very difficult and convicting question…one I am afraid that I don’t really want the answer too. And if this is the case, I bet this family wants to scream at all of us to get off our rear ends, grow up, and help take the load off of them!

Sigh. Who knows. What I do know right now is that one way we can all help carry their burdens is to pray for them. Pray for healing. Pray for peace. Pray for comfort. And pray for joy. They totally need it and totally deserve it. Thanks, Gail and fam for being such a great example to us as believers. Thanks for bringing as much glory to God as you possibly can while the rest of us are taking our sweet precious time to grow up. But, I promise watching your story unfold is helping us grow up. Thanks for your faithfulness.

To find out more about the Chen family you can click here.

Public Service Announcement

9 Jan


I was recently talking with a friend who has a very chubby baby. She was telling me about how all the comments are starting to hurt her feelings. As a mom of 3 chunkers, I tried to comfort her and tell her that her beautiful daughter would grow out of it, and that people really have no idea that they are hurting your feelings. For whatever reason, people think they can say anything about a baby and it is ok.

It is not ok. That baby may not be able to understand what you are saying. But she has a mother who understands, and it hurts. Moms do not want to hear that their baby is fat, even if you follow it with “I think fat babies are so cute.” In fact, moms also do want want to hear about how skinny their baby is either. I have also had many friends tell me how hurtful it is to hear people talk about how small your child is and then ask you if you are feeding him or her. Either way comments on fat or thin babies usually translate like this to the mom, “You’re kid is ugly, and you are responsible for making him or her that way.”

You should seriously never say anything about anyone else’s baby except “she is beautiful” or “He is so handsome”. Feel free to substitute cute, precious, adorable, there too.

Trust me, I am well aware of the chunkiness of my baby and so is every other mom out there. For the most part, I have learned to let it go and not worry about it, but there are times when one too many comments have me googling “my baby is overweight” and “my baby eats too much”. Sad, but true.

This whole conversation got me thinking about my life here and the fact that I get called fat almost everyday by the PNG people. Again, most days I let it go and realize that to most of them I am very fat. But there are those days when I want to answer them with a “Fine! I will go back to America where they have lettuce and 24 gyms, and you can stay here and go to hell. Literally.”

But then I calm down and realize that I am not here to be told I am beautiful or wonderful or any of those things that dangerously feed the sins of pride and vanity. I am here to help bring the Good News to people who people who only know bad news and worse news, and at best mediocre news.

And, if I am being honest with myself this is probably one of the things the Lord uses to keep missionaries humble. Most of the time in our home countries we are showered with an array of compliments and are frequently told how awesome we are for what we are doing. So, I think it is good that when we are here in this unfamiliar culture that we feel awkward, out of place, incompetent, ignorant, and maybe even fat.

God wants us to remember that we are not as awesome as we think we are. He wants us to remember that we are not awesome at all apart from Him. We recently taught our kids this memory verse, and I think it is has probably helped me more than them:

“Don’t be selfish. Don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philipians 2:3

I have to say this verse to myself on a daily basis…frequently followed by “even when they call you fat.”

Third Culture Kids

8 Jan

When you decide to move your family around the world, you start to worry about how your kids are going to adjust. You start talking to them about leaving their homes, friends, and family, and try to prepare them as best you can for their new lives. You read them books and show them pictures on the internet, and you read all you can about third culture kids.

And when you move you watch for all the signs of culture shock and do your best to help them become comfortable in their new surroundings. You try to teach them things that will help them feel like they will fit in where they are, and then one day, you realize that they are observing things for themselves. And they are imitating life here just as they did back home. And you smile because you realize you can relax a little. And then you laugh because it is funny.

This is an image they see all the time…

And this is what I found yesterday while cleaning up the toys…

Love.

Dork

8 Jan

Most days I look like a complete dork. A complete fat dork. Mumus and Tevas are not attractive (as you can tell from this picture)***Disclaimer: most days I wear regular flip flops, but when we were in the tribe I had to climb mountains and trek through swamps. Flip flops don’t work in those situations, so dorky or not, I had to wear the Tevas. Please do not judge my feet for what is beyond their control.

So when my oldest and best friends in the world took our annual Christmas picture and left space for me in the middle to be photoshopped in, I wanted to look normal.(they always make me stand in the middle because I am short. This picture is from last Christmas)

(And this is from my wedding. Why are you laughing? That is totally me. Its me minus 7 years and 15 pounds)

(I think it is discrimination, but I love them so I won’t sue) Anyway, here I am dressed like I belong in the picture.

3N1 thought it would be funnier if I took the picture in my meri blouse, but was really happy once he saw me in normal clothes. So, the next day, I decided to put on a normal shirt. Simple, short sleeved that was form fitting. Not tight. I am not that girl. But it wasn’t a mumu. I seriously almost died I was so hot, but I did it, and it made my husband feel like he was married to his girlfriend again and not a 65 year old 400 lb lady on vacation in Hawaii.

Some days I just want to look nice, and some days I just want my kids to look nice. Take this baby for instance. Most days she only goes around in a diaper and still sweats like crazy, so it feels like child abuse to put her in clothes.

However, we do get the occasional cool(ish) day where I will dress her up like the little American that she is.

Anyway, here is the final product of the picture where I was electronically added. It makes me happy and sad. I have loved these girls since the 5th grade when they allowed me to join in on a friendship they’d had since birth. Let’s face it, it is not often that two close friends let someone else in their group, but they did. Because they are both amazing. Always have been and always will be. We’ve been through so much together, and means so much to me that they are still thinking of me and finding ways to include me even though I now live on the other side of the planet. Sometimes, as a missionary, you fear that while you are away everyone will just get used to you being gone. That no one will really miss you. That you will be forgotten. So, when your oldest and dearest friends send you a picture and tell you to get your husband to photoshop you into it because they are going to print it out and frame it… you do it. I know it may sound ridiculous and like a waste of time to other people. It sounds like love to me.

Chores and Thanks

6 Jan

I have never ever ever attempted to be “Supermom”. I know better. So, while I was studying Pidgin, I knew that something had to give. I was in this new life with a lot less modern conveniences but still had to take care of my little family. As much I would have liked to stop cooking, my family still had to eat, so all my cleaning projects took the biggest hit. I do have a lady that comes to help me clean twice a week, but she was mostly hired to help me learn Pidgin, so by the time we were done with our language sessions, she pretty much only had time to hang out my laundry and sweep and mop for me. Even those small things were a huge help, though.

Now, however, I have been looking around too see exactly how disgusting my house really is. I spent the last week trying to at least make a dent in mounds of cobwebs, dust, and mold. Gross.

Anyway, it just got me thinking about how different house cleaning really is here, and how many more added chores I have, that are let’s just face it….really annoying.

Here is one. Cleaning the windows. They are just screens to let air in, but that also lets all kinds of dust and mold and other disgusting things in. Oh, how I miss the days of a bottle of windex and paper towels!

I also hate having to defrost our freezer. EVERY. TWO WEEKS.

And clean the gecko poo off of everything. I mean seriously guys, you defecate like rabbits, yet you are a fraction of the size? I will never understand.

And then there’s this. I know it sounds dumb and lazy to hate to fill up your water filter, but until you have lived in a world where you cannot just turn on the tap and drink the water, you do not understand. The worst in when you forgot to fill up the filter and you have company coming and now everyone gets to wait 30 minutes before you can serve them something to drink!

And do I really need to mention my frustrations with the laundry again? No? I didn’t think so.

Now add on to all of that having to make everything from scratch. Like yogurt…and cereal…and bread. And then having to wash all those dishes from scratch cooking and it makes for a pretty busy day. And I haven’t even talked about homeschooling yet. So, getting really fun packages with cereal in them aren’t just for “luxury”. They really help a mama out.

So, thanks to everyone who has sent us packages! Its not just the cereal that helps out. All those little things from the States just seem to make our lives a little easier. And you know that is what being a missionary is all about. Living an easy, cushy life. :)

Hello world!

3 Jan

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

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