Friday, January 29, 2010

"Fake an Injury" Day

Marshall pretending to cause the fake injuries!

My Three "Victims"!



Two black eyes and a broken arm

Major head injury, stitches, a black eye and broken wrist!

Haddon, she wanted a black eye, a criss-cross band-aid like they have on cartoons, and a stitches like her friend, Anna, in OK had! LOL!

Utter misery as they head off to school!

So we had a lot of fun with this special dress up day! They each picked out their own "fake injury", this was a new one for us but they loved it! They had a chapel service on this day too, Barry asked if it was going to be a "healing" service!! Bahahahaaaaa!! :)

Things have been a little crazy around here lately. We were coming home from a wedding last Sunday and as we approached our drive ready to back in, lightning struck the pole by our house! We were showered in sparks and then all the lights went out in the neighborhood. As we get in the house, little by little we realize things are not quite right. Here is a run down of this week:

DVD PLAYER: Fried. Three day past warranty and the store still replaced it for free! Yay!!

MICROWAVE: Stopped, then ran haphazardly, got fried. Dorm maintenance man fixes it. I tried it today and every time I use it the circuits get blown and it knocks all the electricity off. Still needs tweaking!

WASHING MACHINE: Fried and won't run on full power. Dorm guy able to fix this too!

TOASTER: Fried. Bought new one.

LAPTOP MODEM: Fried. Bought a little by-pass gadget for short term use. They don't think it can be fixed. Praying for a new laptop! However when I get home it still doesn't work.

ROUTER: Fried. Now I know why the gadget wouldn't work! Bought new router and successfully installed it. Back online!

NO HOT WATER IN THE SHOWER: Not the lightning's fault but another problem that needs fixing. Leak somewhere in pipe. Dorm guy is in process of trying to fix.

ELECTRICITY SURGES: Light constantly dimming then brightening, constant little surges. Fixed far so good!
This week we had the Internet guy here three times, the electricians here three times, plumbing guys here twice, and the electric company guys here once and made three trips to the computer store! Wow, are we ready for this week to be over!

On the bright side we successfully passed our Unit 7 evaluation on Friday and are moving up to Unit 8 a week from Monday. Only 8 weeks of school left! Expect to hear the hallelujah chorus all the way over there when we are done! :)

Please lift us up as we leave our kids behind with a friend on Monday and fly to the big island, to our assignment city! I hate leaving the kids but they will have a good time with my tutor, their "Macchiato" language teacher, staying here with them. Barry and I are super excited to see the people, work, and places that we will be a part of when we move in May!

Also, Marshall will be leaving to go on another service trip to another island on the day we return and (sniff-sniff) we won't be able to see him before he goes! Again, we would appreciate you talking to the CEO on our behalf for peace, safety, and complete trust that we are in his care!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This Present Darkness

Remember that book? Well I am no F. Perretti but in many ways things like that happen frequently over here. Ask almost any native here, it doesn't matter if they are "like-minded", M*sl*m, or any other manner of belief. Everyone has a story to tell. Stories of the "make your hair stand up on it's end" variety.

One thing you need to understand before I tell you this is that over here they are much more frequently involved with blatantly inviting this type of activity in their lives. People frequently use the services of a w*tch dr's at the first sign of trouble or when everything else seems to fail. I think it is for this very reason that there is so much more outward activity of this nature here than say the US. In the US, the enemy lulls us to sleep while we wear ourselves out with entertainment and the pursuit of the American dream, there really is not too much need for the "creep factor" because it's just not necessary. But over here where fear reigns supreme it is quite effective in keeping people afraid and literally at the mercy of the merciless.

Today Barry interviewed one of our Pelatihs (they are all like-minded) and asked for her to explain her experience with the sp*r*t world. She told of when she was a child and her father became severely sick with asthma. So on Sunday at their ch*rch they asked the "manager" to come over and he "lifted" him up, but there was no change. They visited several doctors, no change. Finally out of desperation and upon the advice of a friend they invited a w*tch dr over for help.

Now, they were a like-minded family, but over here the influence is so strong they often mix the two. When the w*tch dr. came he said her father had been cursed by someone and they needed to invite a sp*r*t who would watch over them and help her father heal. They said he could do that now.
While no one in her family ever saw it, the w*tch dr. proceeded to describe their new found protector and that he looked like a man with a beard who was wearing a headband. Well, despite this her father's condition did not improve and so they called their "manager" over again. He walked in and they told him what they had done. He looked around the house and asked who that was in the bed. They said no one was in the bed, but the "manager" said, "Yes there is, it's a man laying down and he has a headband on his head." No one else saw him. So immediately he "lifted" up the family and declared that there was no need for that man there, that the CEO was in charge of this family, He alone would protect them and that he should leave. And he did. The "manager" helped them to realize that they had s*nned and they immediately sought forgiveness from the CEO. Later they noticed their father getting ill whenever he entered and exited the house. It seems that the w*tch dr. had placed an amulet above the door which would invite this activity in their home on a continual basis. They removed it. Her father still struggled with his asthma but they never invited that type of activity again and it made a huge impression on her!
Between class and tutoring I am hearing similar stories over here all the time. And you really get the sense of how strong the enemy's hold is over here. He has no reason to hide or disguise, because the people do not doubt that he is real, just ask them. And for most the g*d they believe in is really no g*d at all. So instead of having true power which helps you to resist the enemy so he will flee, the problem comes when they try to appease him, invite him or just add him into the mix of everything else they w*rsh*p!

Now, why did I tell you this? So that you can have a good campfire spooky story? So you can read it and think...."Aww come on, that's not real!" No, it's none of those, it's so that you can more fully understand a tiny bit of what is faced over here and all that needs to be overcome if the truth is ever to reach their hearts and minds. This is cultural also, thousands of years of this practice is ingrained in their DNA. It is hard for them to NOT participate in these types of activities. So please lift up the work here. Lift up the people who have believed yet still struggle with letting go this part of their "culture", for those yet to believe, and for those who have come to tell. The job is big......but not impossible. The Manual tells me so!! In fact, I hear the field is white unto harvest, just looking for workers! :)

Because of the budget shortfall our island has been allotted "0" (zero, zilch, none, nada) spots to be filled in 2010!! This is for the largest unev. island in the world!! If you can't go then please give!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interesting Cultural Tidbits

Notice the rope through their noses then tied to the truck.........nice!

Ahhhhhh, Unit Seven!! One thing that is very interesting is that we get to read and discuss newspaper articles that deal with Macchiato beliefs and also we get to interview our Pelatihs and other people about any topic we want in regards to their beliefs. Here are a few nuggets of info you might find interesting. Now keep in mind that not every person here believes this but MANY do. Kind of like saying American hotels often avoid having a 13th floor but not all Americans believe the number 13 is bad. (By the way...who are they trying to trick by not having a "13th" floor and just going to the 14th? It doesn't change the fact that the 14th floor is actually the 13th!! Craziness!!)

Over here there are several foods that are forbidden for women to eat while pregnant. First, you can't eat two bananas at one time or you will have twins (is that really bad?). You shouldn't drink hot sauce from the bottle or your child will be born with thick lips (think bad botox). If you eat chicken feet and claws your child's handwriting will look like "chicken scratch"! (love that one!) You can't eat turtle or your child will be slow (really though, who wants to eat turtle?), if you are angry with someone while pregnant you run the risk of your child looking like the person you are mad at (truly a scary thought!)! While this seems hysterical to me and believe me, we have created A LOT of humor from this article, it is sobering to remember that things like this keep people over here in bondage from fear.

There is a beach on this island were you are warned to not wear green because the "Queen of the Sea" who drowned there thousands of years ago will pull you under and you will die....and believe me, most will not wear green anything there!

Now, onto my "wawancara saya", my interviews. Since I currently have one of my favorite Pelatih's and he is getting married this weekend I have been asking a lot of questions about women and marriage. I found out this week that there is a "temporary marriage" that can be arranged here by contract. A contract that is not recognized our authorized by the government but used none the less. Here is how it works: A rich foreigner, usually a man, comes over here to work but leaves his wife and family behind in his home country. While here he decides he needs a wife so he sets up a contract marriage that is only valid for the prescribed amount of time that he is working in country then it is immediately dissolved upon his return home! Sometimes at the end of the contract the woman is paid a large amount of money and that is that. Often times the woman does not have a "good contract" and will "live the good life" until the contract is over and then she is left with nothing but whatever children might have been born and trying to figure out a way to provide food, shelter and school for them. I have to say, I was appalled at this practice. Too tired to go into a long rant but I think it is obvious how wrong this is on so many levels!

So we have had our eyes opened to an even bigger picture of how great the need is here for the CEO. Reminded again how superstitions, taboos, and fears surrounding everyday life occurrences keep them blinded from the truth and kept from experiencing true freedom.

I'll close with his last one, if a cicak (a gecko) falls from the ceiling and lands on your head or shoulder it means one of your family members is going to die soon. So really, who was the first guy to come up with that? Like did one land on him and then Grandpa died the next day so he is now sure that it was because the lizard fell? How do you reason that out in your head? What makes you connect those random dots? And what prompted someone to spread that after he heard it? So many questions and so little answers!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Machete Man.....Impressive

I am sitting on my bed when I hear a chopping sound, I thought they were cutting the jack fruit off of the jack fruit tree so I thought I'd go take some pics. Instead, he was actually cutting down the tree itself, by himself, with a machete. One limb at a time! He is in the middle of the pic!

This is from my upstairs balcony, it's a good 12 foot drop from here. Mind you he climbed the tree and is working barefoot!

Chopping his first limb!

Second limb!

Sitting down for this part!! :)

Standing again!

Trying to show you how high he is and how big this tree is!

Third limb!

Close up of the machete, not too big!

Fourth limb almost down!

Fifth limb!

Almost got the top, it's cracking!!


Here he is, rail level with my balcony, climbing back down. And how does he remove the rest of the tree? By using a chainsaw on the bottom!! :) Now would you believe me when I say this took a total of about ten minutes? Very impressive indeed!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ode to the Cicak

You eat our mosquitoes,

and get into our open bag of Fritos,

When you see us you run, when the kids catch you they have fun

Sometimes you seem so frail,

especially when they catch you and you lose your tail,

You have lived in a house made of Legos,

and if we would have had them you would have wanted our Ego's (hey, it rhymes, ok?)

This morning your situation was not quite right,

and while eating we saw a ghastly sight

Because of a bug in a glass of water left over night

you were overcome by a helpless plight

No longer will you roam on our wall

because into the glass you did fall!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just Living Life

A few pics of the kids having fun at Hudson's tennis lessons!
Any guess on who is wearing the racquet cover? :)
Apparently there is a great affection between she and it!!

Campbell checking out a racquet left on the stands.

Although it is a little cooler here now, children are seen wearing thick, furry hats like this even when it is really hot! But he does look adorable, and I also made my kids wear unbelievable embarrasing hats when they were little...too cute!

There she is! Notice the scarf.....she got all dolled up for his first lesson!

My camera will not take good pics in dark places but here is a shot of Hudson at his lesson!

This indoor court is a short walk from our house, we never knew it was there all crammed into a tiny kampung! We really like his coach, he is taking lessons with his friend Zech.

Not much from the outside but pretty nice inside! Great to have since 6 months of the year are the rainy season! The other kids wanted to take lessons too but all the slots were filled, however it looks like we might be able to have lesson on the other island. :)

Marshall with his latest catch.......a baby iguana! He was not very happy and if he would have had sharper teeth Marshall would have been in trouble!

Pretty cool that you can see iguanas just running around!

Nice mask! Haddon in her version of Barbie, "The Three Muskateers"!

Enjoying hot cocoa and marshmallows!!

This treat brought big smiles to their faces! We love Grandma's homemade hot chocolate!

Too many marshamallows in one little mouth!

First, we started into the 7th of our 9 units of school and are really enjoying that we are now getting to learn and retell passages from the Manual! That has been a nice change! We have only one paper due a week (YAY!!)! We have to read a novel....don't worry I chose an extremely thin "novel"!! :) Three times a week we interview our Pelatihs, then translate their answers, and 3 times we study a passage. So far so good! The tricky part is that one day a week we have to watch a movie, we get to listen to it three times to see if we can translate it correctly. Let be clear on this.....THIS IS PAINFUL!! It is torturously slow and extremely difficult. We are in the media room for an hour and cover maybe 10 minutes of film!! Anyway, it's that, and one day a week we have a discussion time about a newspaper article relating to Macchiato beliefs. All in all not too bad and MUCH better than translating lengthy pages and writing a paper over them daily!

Second, our team members came from "S" to visit us and it was wonderful! They are great people and we feel really blessed to be joining their team, they have been over here for like 20 years so they have been excellent resources for information and encouragement! Yay for us! The CEO has truly blessed us with this family! Please be lifting up the work there as it is a slow process, but they are seeing growth in the people they are working with. It has made us that much more excited to be out of school and onto the actual assignment at our next home!
Hope you all are well and enjoying your new year. Remember, the CEO loves you and so do we, thank you for lifting up our family!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Good Friend "Tom"

Justine vs The 16lb Turkey - International Competition
Justine won!!

Somehow I managed to make it to the age of 41 without ever having cooked a turkey! So my adventure begins when we realized that during the holidays our little local mart had turkeys in their freezer. Realizing that this is something that we all love and reminds us of holidays back home I decide to give it a shot! How hard can a turkey be, right? So here are the obstacles:

- I do not have a roasting pan with or without a rack

- I cannot, for the life of me, find celery. I know that it does not look like what I am used to, here it more resembles parsley and is dark green, but I can't find it. Trust me, it smells the same, so I have sniffed more greens than I care to recount! I'm sure more than one national thought I was a dork. :)

- My oven is small and my rack does not slide out and still hold weight, so basting will be tricky.

I ask advice from my mom and Katrina, my professional foodie friend, and they tell me how to cook it, first my mom suggests a turkey bag.....uh, not gonna happen over here, they would probably give me a rice sack with a hole cut out for the turkey's head!! However, after surveying my situation I decide it is time to break out my "mad googling skills"! After a bit of research I come up with a do-able situation and here is what worked for me......after I had to pull out that nasty neck and giblet business....DISGUSTING!!

I rubbed lemon juice and salt on the inside cavity then filled it with 2 carrots, 1/2 onion, and after searching for celery I decided on the parsley that was in my fridge...which turned out to actually be celery (score one for the my cook!)! Ending it with a splash of Thyme.

I then rub the bird down with butter and sprinkle salt, pepper and thyme.

I scrubbed my oven rack and cooked the turkey right on it, with a pan underneath to catch the drips. No basting necessary because we cooked the bird upside down so the juices flowed into the breast meat! Turned out tasty and very moist and juicy. All in all a success!

Considering this is the first thing I have cooked here that I thought actually tasted "right", I was pretty happy to not to have to throw out this turkey which cost us a minor fortune! :) By the way Katrina told me later that she accidentally cooked their turkey upside down this year and it the moistest she has ever made! Try it!!

So the moral of this story is that encouragement can come in all kinds of forms. This little victory came at a time that I needed to know I was really going to be able to handle things on my own here, without many of the conveniences I have always had. I am also thankful we didn't run out of gas while cooking it since there is no way to gage how much, or how little, you have!

The New Year is starting out great and with all the changes coming up....I am grateful. Now I am going to go into denial for two more days and pretend that school isn't really starting on Wednesday! Three more units......just three more units.........