Archive for August, 2015
A Fish Story_Part 2

Now that you are hooked on this story, you need to know there is more. But first the answer to the popular question: Did you get the lure back?

As you might have guessed, none of us came close to pulling the lure from the shark’s mouth. Even though the captain has a foot long pair of needle-nose pliers in the tool box, none dared. After all, the thing was still very much alive and tail noosed. We decided to keep it along the side of the boat until arriving to the village. Why? In case that they did not want it, then we could set it free.

Interestingly, after dropping anchor we hollered to them on shore about this thing, the first question they yelled back through the dark was this: “Is it still alive?” Upon confirming that yes, it was still alive, a young man quickly paddled out from shore. After seeing the fish next to the canoe, curiosity overcame us all. How is this going to work out? We gave him the rope and then, as the thing tried to swim away, it was flung tail first into the canoe. How the canoe did not tip over is anyone’s guess. I believe we heard a “Tank yu too mas” as he paddled off. Behind him, in our best tok pigeon, Colton called out we would like the lure back!

Well, when Eric showed up early the next morning, after greetings and talk of the feast, he handed Jim the “lure”…..errrr….what was left of it. So much for saving it….it is mangled, chewed, and looking pretty darn ratty. See the picture? How did that shark hang on to such a small hook? It is no bigger than your average sized thumb.

Speaking of how. Did you ever wonder how things can seemingly work out so perfectly? There we were, passing near the same village that showed us both hospitality and safety, and then, voila, we were able to show some hospitality back, and then some.

There is more.

At the end of last week we found ourselves in a seemingly unrelated quandary. Sitting at anchor near Gizo, with a malfunctioning engine, we were soon to be out of propane. BIG trade winds are blanketing the region. Furthering the dilemma, our particular propane tank, like on an outdoor grill, fits perfectly into a cubby with its twin brother, TANK 2. This area of the Solomons has only a tank exchange program. Their tanks do not fit into the cubby. Besides, ours have the US safety standard connectors, required by the US Coast Guard.

The closest town with a filling station is up wind, nearly 30 miles away (in Noro), with reefs strewn around the southern passage and a narrowing bay directly into the wind from the northern approach. While we learned well enough how to cook over an open fire during village living training (last year in PNG), that simply would not work out very well here. Hmmmm?…

After Friday morning devotion and prayer time Gina and I sat there, talking around in circles about how to solve this issue. By now we should have cleared into Thursday Island, 800 miles west in the Torres Strait, where propane is access able. So here we sit with these “issues” and delays and BIG wind blowing in our faces. Talk of rigging a temporary solution was being tossed about. Talk of finding someone going to Noro came up. Yeah right…in this weather? The conversation trailed off.

An hour later Perfect showed up! It was Eric and friend in his motorized canoe. HEY! Morning Morning. He saw us anchored over behind a reef, close to Gizo town. His village is quite a distance NW and nowhere near in sight of our location, but he saw us sitting here. He came to say Hello. We asked him where he was headed with that boat load of stuff. “To Noro for Market” he replied. Well whatta ya know….isn’t that just perfect?

How do all these seemly random little pieces to a big puzzle fit together so neatly?

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Perfect!!

Engine Down

A few weeks ago we noticed that the amount of exhaust water coming out of the engine was ‘not normal.’ We usually have a pretty good gush coming out when the engine is idling and the flow increases from there based on the rpms. Until we could figure out why, the engine was used in very short bursts and only when needed. Ok, that is doable since we have another form of propulsion.

After discovering this issue, Jim and Colton spent a few days chasing down all the usual possible causes and none of them were the culprit. Well, except the very last one which was the raw sea water pump itself. As soon as Jim removed the pump, it was obvious that the internal components were not as they should be. At some point the water seal had failed, over time, and allowed salt water in. This then caused the grease to break down and the bearings went bye-bye.

Since it was going take a few weeks to get the parts, Jim came up with a creative workaround. Using another onboard pump (that originally had been used for the abandoned air conditioner); he re-plumbed the available pump so that it could pump sea water through the engine. This workaround method requires the generator to be on as well! Definitely a short term solution!

The next step was to dissect the old pump, clean it, and figure out which parts are broken and order replacement parts if the housing was not damaged. Luckily we have some (slow) internet access that allowed Jim to complete the research and begin the order process.

So, the good news is – we know what is wrong and parts are soon to be on the way thanks to my onboard fixit men. The bad news is that we are delayed here in the Solomons until the parts arrive, which is expected to be around the 23rd of August.
Time to catch up on school work, sewing projects and miscellaneous maintenance. Oh Joy!

Does prayer work?

As we mentioned in our newsletter, we are currently assisting the Havenga family (consisting of Lori, John, and their three young boys with their move to the village where they have been invited to begin Bible translation work.

Yesterday John shared an amazing story with us!
Back in 2012, as John was first preparing to go to the Solomon Islands with his young family, he asked several families who worked in the Solomons about how they handled life there. One aspect was figuring out how to set up a house once it was time to get established in a village. Setting up a house includes figuring out how to get clean water, electricity, and other setup to keep a family safe and healthy and able to focus on the work of Bible translation. A few missionaries said that when they had moved to their villages, a few support persons—relatives or other missionaries—came along to help them with the move and get settled into their new village life.

John really liked this idea and wondered if anybody would be able to assist him and Lori once they wanted to move into their own house in a village. So he prayed, “God, if there is a way, it would be great if you could send a family along to help us when we move to a village.” He soon forgot about the prayer. It would be unlikely that anyone would be willing and available to help when his family needed to move. Besides, where would such a family stay if they did come? And how likely would it be that a family would come along that had the needed skills and tools to perform carpentry, plumbing, and wiring?

John learned of our family’s mission just a few days before we arrived in the Solomon Islands, on our way to PNG. He wondered aloud in the staff meeting: “if they are heading toward PNG, maybe we could hitch a ride to our village out west.”

John did not know that years before, we had thought how great it would be to help other families in the mission field. Then John heard we were interested in being his transport vehicle as well as being available for some carpentry and other skills to boot. One thing led to another, and here we are! We have helped them wire lights and connect them to their solar panels, installed basic plumbing from their rain tank to their kitchen, set up an antenna for their HF radio for communication, and helped them clean and unpack. And we have spent a few days just resting and enjoying the beautiful Solomon Islands and each other’s company.

WOW! Not only did God answer John’s prayer, but He gave us our heart’s desire to help other missionary families. Our Father used His perfect timing and what appeared to be schedule delays, cyclones, mishaps and everything else to bring together a group of random people, to serve His glorious purpose!

Yesterday when John shared this amazing story with us, we rejoiced! Our amazing and loving God continues to answer our prayers in ways that we could never have imagined!

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

How do we live in God’s will? Each day, one day at a time. Does God answer prayers? Absolutely!

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