Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy 6 month Anniversary Honey - let's weave baskets!

Loloma has been teaching us how to weave baskets from coconut palms!
And Jen made a stunning "Happy 6 month Anniversary" hat for 'Osi. King of the house =)
he is wearing it proudly.
We plan to fill the baskets with taro (Tongan potatoes) after we harvest it, to sell it in the market. Taro is one of the main food staples in the Tongan diet. Nearly every Tongan meal includes "Tongan food", one of the many varieties of starchy root vegetables we grow here.

Typical (exciting) day on the job!

'Osi (middle) preached some words of encouragement to the country, through the local Tonga TV station.

Jen's been helping out in
the mission's office,
with communications projects.

'Osi recently spoke at an outdoor evangelism night in one of the villages. He has a passion for reaching and teaching the youth of Tonga.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tongan Pregnancy Lore - according to Jen

Being pregnant, for the first time, in a foreign country has been an adventure, let me tell you! Everyone is excited for us, every female, Aunty, and Grandma in the village wants to give their advice about what I must do in order to have a perfect baby. Everyday they surprise me with new rules.

Sure, every culture has their unique brand of pregnancy lore - but I dare any to be as creative as Tonga.
For starters chili peppers are forbidden. Unless I want my newborn to have twitching eyes syndrome. I don't, but mind you there are limited flavor additives for Tongan food - we can either put copious amounts of salt on our daily yam/taro portions - or chilli. I love chilis! But when I catch myself reaching for the tiny red treasures I can feel every eye accusing me "Do you really want 'Osi's child to have twitching eyes??"
Coffee is completely tabu.
Even one cup. One tiny cup. Being from Seattle, the mecca of fine coffee (Starbucks), it is my birthright to be a coffee addict. I even downloaded the International and FDA caffiene standards for pregnant women, 1-3 cups a day is perfectly fine. But alas, I must sacrifice my coffee cup on the alter of good motherhood.
Octopus (another favorite) is also forbidden. Otherwise the child will be born with splotchy octopus skin. That's ok I don't need a Star Trek baby.
Too many carrots (fav. veggie) is also bad. Otherwise the child will be born orange, so I'm told.

The GOOD pregnancy lore, I am thankful for is that I am no longer allowed to touch cold water anymore. Since we don't have warm running water 'Osi now carries the responsibility of handwashing our clothes and dishes. And I don't shower anymore.
Just kidding.
I heat up the kettle and take a bucket bath. Which I sometimes do for the clothes and dishes too, because 'Osi has to hang up all the laundry. (They believe pregnant women should not stretch or reach up their hands too much.
The most fantastic story I've heard is whoever I stare at the most will resemble the baby. Thankfully I spend 95% of my day staring at my husband. So we're expecting a very handsome child.

Please let me know if you can explain my frequent sneezing and crazy dreams. Last night I dreamed that kung-fu Thai fighters were taking over our village. Thankfully I was able to surf a tidal wave to a deserted island where my missions leader was making pancakes......(maybe it was the octopus I snuck a bite of when no one was looking. shhhh)

Needless to say God is teaching me alot about humility. While my hormones are raging and I can't have coffee, this is the royal test of submitting myself to the culture I am called to serve. Please pray for me to love my neighbors....and follow the rules.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another praise report is that we both have many opportunities weekly to do evangelism with other missionary teams on campus. Sometimes we go from door-to-door in villages, other times we meet in churches, village halls, or do open-air events with cultural dancing, worship and preaching.
Here is a picture of 'Osi dancing (front, right) for an outdoor evangelism night.

The blind will see!

As always, God is doing great things in Tonga, and we are so thankful to witness His work here. This past month we were sent off campus because we couldn’t pay all our room/board fees.
As we were praying with some other students what to do next, one of the girls asked us to go to her village to pray for her sick father.
Her family is Mormon, so when we visited them we shared some verses including Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” After this we laid hands on him, praying for his healing. This man was very old and weak, as well as blind. After praying fervently we all expected a miracle, but the man remained blind, tears streaming down his face as he thanked us for our encouragement and prayers.
On our walk back home, we encouraged our friend that God loves her father. But sometimes it takes time for prayers to be answered. So we kept praying for her Dad everyday, and 2 days later God provided $700 to pay our debts, and our friend called saying her father is healed, the blind man can see again!