Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fried Chicken & Dogs (by my mom)

This is written by Roxy ( my mom)

A little time has gone by and still things are leaving a big impression.

I absolutely love working with the Youth With A Mission base here.   They are so lovely in every respect.   The Ni-vans (pronounced knee-vans, means the locals) smile a lot , are shy a bit, very friendly , overtly curious on the street and usually very helpful.   They speak a language called Bishlama, which is a type of pigeon English.  So about every 7th word you can understand.     I saw an advertisement for a credit card that read "Yumi blong card"    Yep, you get it, The card that belongs to you and me.   Things like that make you smile.   


Other than the ni-vans here there is a couple from Australia and with out them I am not sure how long the base would last.    This couple Jeff and Amanda are a little power house.   They have great networking skills with the government and are creative problem solvers.   Living amongst so much poverty creates many problems that you are just not big enough to handle but when you have the favor of the government you have many more resources to draw on.   I really admire them for all their energy, skill, and obvious love . 


So other than them, Kristy and Josh, and Dick and I ,  we are the "white People".   That is so funny, it sounds so racial but I haven't told the ni-vans how politically incorrect they are.


A couple weeks ago  for dinner we had fried chicken for our International  dinner.   We try to cook something that goes with the country that we are praying for that night.   Someone had heard of fried chicken so at 6:00 pm I was asked if I would help.   It should have been about done cooking but no one would even start because the ni-vans are afraid to cook for the whites. 


We had 60 ppl to cook for many Australians and New Zealanders and even a few Americans (2 different health care teams were here).   They asked me.   I have never cooked fried chicken successfully, usually I burn it on the outside before it is done on the inside.    Well, the long and the short of it was that it was quite successful, we had gravy and mashed potatoes.   I hate trying something that I am not sure of but it was real break through for me.   I want to help where ever I can and not feel that whatever I do is somehow a reflection of me, like if it goes bad that I really messed up.   It is hard to get free of yourself don't you think?   Well anyway , I loved being free enough of myself to just run the risk of cooking something for 60 ppl that I  would not even have done for 5 in my own kitchen with all the conveniences.  


Oh yeah, the rest of that story was that I was cooking outside by flashlight.  There was 1 light where we cook and it was not over the gas burner so while the pots were full of hot grease  and chicken, we picked up the table holding the gas 3 burner stove  and propane tank moved the whole set up so that I could at least see what I was cooking.    They had been cooking by flashlight for quite sometime.   the flashlights are on there cell  phones!    As the whole group was moving the set up I thought to myself "this could turn out quite badly, but we do have medical help here if necessary".


I wanted you to have a few pictures of our world here.   So that you can see my cooking set up.    Josh is working on a more formal kitchen but it still remains that we have a tiny refrigerator, for a young married couple this refrig would be a challenge, it is just so SMALL!   a gigantic freezer ( with no food in it) and well... as you can see below we don't really have  conventional oven or stove.    I love how they use 2 cinder blocks and 2 pieces of rebar.   That is the stove!  


When we have propane we use the 3 burner stove on the table top.    We do our wash up of dishes outside with dogs under foot.    


  Speaking of dogs, we eat out under the pavilion, it has a coral rock floor, when ppl are done with their leftovers they throw their bones to the dogs right there by the dinner table!   Help!    That was a bit too much for me and I have been asking ppl not to do that, white lady or not.  It conjures up thoughts  of Vikings eating their meat with their hands dripping with grease and then throwing the bones to the dogs and have the dogs fight for the bones with yelps and growls as background music.   Ya,  ...NO!    Yesterday I was thinking that we should have a Korean meal and serve up dog, and let them wonder where all the dogs went.   More than a few of us would be so relieved!  

Blessings to you all, thinking of you,


TV ponderings and an update

It is 10:30 on a Friday night.  the kids are down and the house is quiet except for the background noise of cars on the road and the murmur of kids audio stories still playing in the kids room.  I had some chocolate slice ( an Australian cookie bar thing with coco and coconut I made today) and it is the perfect temperature with the cool breeze blowing through my louvered windows.  Ah.. Peace... I have to savor it since daytime with 3 kids is fun and always an adventure but not too often is it really peaceful!


I am even thinking of watching a movie on my computer after I write this....funny how you can go from a big old flat screen tv and although you love it and its great you adjust just fine to a tiny little computer screen and forget there is a difference.  Well I should talk for myself Josh is still trying to figure out how to get it here!  I don't see that happening in our tiny little village house!  Can you imagine.. always short on rent and grocery money but sporting a tv that takes up the whole living room (not a very big living room!)  Funny stuff.  Don't worry Kevin I don't see it happening any time soon!  Your sports are safe, sorry Janel.  Is it just me or is doing a work out video with one of those tvs like having a live instructor (life size!)  Not the same I suppose since you can pause or just sit there starring in confusion and no one can bother you about it!  Yeah much better than real life !


Just thinking of all of you right now and different things you have encouraged us with while we have been here.  And might I add keep the prayers and scriptures and words coming we are needing them.  Yeah we are trying not to wear ourselves thin, but it is hard to discern the line between balance and apathy.


The needs are real and desperate so it is hard, but we do have friends here that live a totally different life out of the village in the "white world" (my own verbiage) where we are able to relax.  It feels very bizarre to spend the day with them frolicking in a pool at a resort then return to the village where we see hunger, abuse, poverty, neglect and sickness.  I know it is not unique to this area but it is still real and hard just like it would be anywhere else you were face to face with it.  I do see one positive thing though in being in both worlds, and that is to really bring the two together.  I want to help these guys who are here (I go to an expat church) see the wide open mission field and life changing opportunities for service right in front of them.  Most are here on Government contracts or for other lucrative jobs for a period of time.   I would love to encourage the two worlds to meet more often.  Please pray for that.  I see need and abundance.  Where is Robin Hood when you need him?  I am looking forward to more mingling of the two groups as we are able to bring the needs to light and set up opportunities for them participate.


Josh seems to be doing great last I heard!  Thanks for all the prayers.  The mission team is loving it in Epi and the village is going all out for them with welcome feasts and all!  He says at night you can see two different volcanoes erupting bright red into the black sky.  Pretty cool. He will be back by boat (read cargo boat overloaded with people and stuff and no seats) on thursday.  We look forward to it.  The kids are doing surprisingly well.  I know having my parents here helps!  They are a great blessing!  I am working my tail off on the immigration thing and running into problems all over the place since I live here, and there is no embassy here!  I have to go to Papua New Guinea!  Sydney turned me down and said I have to go where my district determines and PNG is it.  He (the guy from PNG responsible for immigration) has already told us they will deny us until the child has spent two years in our custody, but that is wrong according to US law so I am very concerned about that. WOW that was a run on sentence.  No use in fixing it now!  We hear he will be replace in Sept as he is moving.. I hope so!


The ticket to get there alone not counting all the fees is around $1200!  THe fees are crazy as well, so we will continue in walking in faith.  we have made it for over 3 months with all our savings gone so I am sure the Lord will provide this as well.  We do have a tax return that should be showing up in Colorado any day now and that will help!  I am reallly enjoying my friend Lisa here who is also trying to adopt.  Funny fact.. The statistics on the government websites that cover foreign adoption and immigration show a total of , get this, 1 adoption from Vanuatu in the history of our records.  1 and all of a sudden there is Lisa and I with our two little pikinini's (kiddos!) trying at the same time to get all the adoptions and citizenships legalized.  No wonder they know nothing about it at the embassy! It has hardly been done before!

Bella mom and I

My parents are doing good and are a great source of wisdom  and blessing for the base here and we are really enjoying them. 

I think a bug just flew up my nose!  TOO MANY BUGS!  I now understand why the fly plague in the Bible really did suck!

Continuing on with that thought…They provide much needed administrative and organizational ministry support to help us not be so chaotic with so much going on and so little money to do it all with!  I am so glad they are here and the base leaders are really enjoying them as well.  We will be so sad to see them go in the end of Sept or beg of October... But we are using our return tickets to come home for the holidays.  It will be about 10 months we have been gone and we will be able to bring more stuff back supply wise.  We sure are enjoying the sun and fruits and veggies though!  Blessings  we sure appreciate all your prayers and words of wisdom.  Thanks again!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The treasures and trials of life abroad

I have one again let it go too long between blogs, and I must say much has transpired since I last wrote..

My dad had a root canal WITH NO NOVOCAIN or pain killer of any kind with out any notice for that matter!!  CRAZY man, he even went back for the follow up appointment to pull the last few roots!! And yes he did get a deal..$2!  I say the service was commensurate with the pay! Or in other words you get what you pay for!

lisa bella bapa

2 of our guy dts students (like family here) got hauled off to prison to await sentencing for a minor crime committed 3 years ago that they pleaded guilty to.  They are now sitting in jail ,a square formation of shipping containers (connexes )with bars on the front that face each other to from a courtyard. They have their Bibles and a guitar hoping for what seems unlikely at the moment… a fair trial.  We are weary from the sadness and prayer that this entails.  Please be praying for Kalz and Jackson. 


I am CRAZY busy trying to get all my adoption paperwork in a row for the official adoption hearing to be held after our 3 month custody (July 19th), so we are hoping for a trial immediately after that date, and trying to arrange for an immigration interview for Bella with all the mounds of paperwork that that entails.  That has to be done in an entirely different country as there is no US embassy here in Vanuatu.  That is looking like Sydney Australia or Port Moresby Papua New Guinea.  WOW IS IT EXPENSIVE, BUT SO WORTH IT!!!!

lisa bella staring at mommy

Crazy as it sounds I have a new friend here who is going through exactly the same adoption immigration process as me who’s baby is only 2 weeks younger than mine.  So we are a great encouragement to each other.  It is so helpful having someone in the same situation to work together with. Her name is Lisa and her baby’s name is Koral (great island name isn’t it!)

lisa and I w girls

I am continuing working with Rachel and the preschool as I can and we are currently investigating foreign aid that may help with the cost of a piece of land but who knows for sure.. It would be so awesome!  We are also trying to figure out a plan of action to set up a sponsorship program for the kids many needs like school fees and food…  There is a breakfast club plan we are wanting to get into place as well but we can’t do everything at once so all in Gods timing….


Josh is currently on a small island north of Efate where we live on the island of Epi where he is helping to lead a mission adventures team from New Zealand in a water tank project.  He along with the 15 or so others is sleeping on dirt floors, eating the food they brought over as there is not much in the way of stores, living with out electricity or much water (hence the water tank project!).  I have long since lost cell phone communication with him since his battery died in his cell phone… Hopefully if there is an emergency they will find some way to contact us.  Please pray for his health as he was sick with the flu and a had a badly infected thumb (infections can be a big deal in tropical countries). He is planning on going on a wild boar hunt if the chiefs go while he is there and is heading out for a fishing trip in a dug out canoe using small crabs as bait like the locals.  I know he will enjoy that!! But we sure miss him a lot!


The kiddos are healthy other than the colds, and LOVING spending so much time with Bappa and Mimi ( my parents).  They love spending the night (Pierce) and hanging out when I need to run an errand.  They (my parents) are so much more fun than me I love it!  They come home with crafts or new bedtime stories and games its the best!  What will we do with out them!!  Bella pretty much lives in my sling and on the sofa…no fancy swings, mobiles and kick gyms here!  She seems to be more than fine though and really smiles ALOT, she will fit right in with the Neeley clan!