Tuesday, August 05, 2008


This week I found myself the fortunate stow away on the big yellow truck taking the DTS feild trip to the beach! Usually people aren't aloud to go along, but I was desperate =) Fortunately I had this tupenu to cover my head and conceal my identity. I blend in right?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Weaving with my roomie!

This is my lovely roomate Suliana. She has MAD palm weaving skills, which she has been teaching me so that we can decorate our gate for the coronation of the new King of Tonga!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Jen's July 2008 News - lessons from the Quaker Box

Every morning I laugh while reading the back of my oatmeal box with the sordid recipe for Oatmeal Quesadillas. Strange people, whoever thought of that. Breakfast for dinner is cool if it’s pancakes. But there should be a limit, right? =) This originally caught my eye after noticing the text in a foreign language. Naturally I assumed it was Tongan because we are in Tonga.
So I’m thinking
“Right on! I’m going to learn Tongan from my oatmeal box!” But as I read along – almost the whole recipe – I thought “cucharaditas de granos” and “Sazonar” might not be Tongan because Tongan words always end it vowels. Reading further down the box I caught the phrase “En Mexico importado” and my cunning linguistic intuition told me “This must be Spanish!” hence the recipe for Oatmeal Quesadilla’s.
I drank another cup of strong, special missionary brew, instant coffee and two things became very clear: #1.) I should get a Tongan dictionary. #2.) Quaker Oats needs to rethink their marketing strategy.
Why in the world are they sending products all the way out to a tiny little Island kingdom where people highly value food, then they market the food in Spanish?!
I had another cup of great instant coffee and began to ponder my own life – as if I were the oatmeal box coming to this foreign land. Will the people read me in the right way or am I carrying too many labels from my native language and country, or the last language and country I’ve been to?
The Spirit really convicted me to shed my labels. Be fresh and ready to learn from the people and start wearing the culture. Obviously missionaries need to learn the local language, dress, food, and customs…but I think it goes deeper. Since I know The Living God has called me to be here, I want to be the best I can for Him. Will I love the people enough to wear their culture from my heart? 1 Corinthians 9:22

I am so thankful for that revelation from the Oatmeal box because......
After that morning I had an excruciating week. Potentially the worst week of my life. Physically, spiritually, and emotionally I was so sick….Something happened to me and it was 7 deadly poison arrows shot in my heart (not exaggerated enough.)
But eventually, God restored my soul, enabling me to focus on my work. I got back to learning the language and culture.
One night I was sitting outside with the girl DTS students. We were shelling peanuts on the porch, laughing and talking in broken English/Tongan. Then one of the girls said the sweetest, uplifting thing, “Jenni, we know you love us ‘cause you not just wear our long dress, eat our Tongan food, and try to talk in Tongan – but you wear it in your heart.” Man she made me cry. I really love these people. I really love God who probably had her say that =)
And I want to encourage you, my friend to read the back of your oatmeal box and meditate on the life changing lessons God is teaching you. Please seek Him daily, love people, and never give up.