Monday, October 14, 2013

Beautiful, but deadly!

My boys love to pick flowers and bring them to me, sometimes they put them up in my hair like a real island girl  =)  A vast variety of flowers grow in Tonga, many have medicinal value.
One day in Eua I was sitting outside with my boys and a bunch of neighbor kids, and they kept bringing me these gorgeouss pink flowers.
Isaac started climbing the bushes the flowers were growing on, and I overheard the kids chattering in Tongan that he shouldn't climb those trees because they're poisonous.
"Say what??!"
I quickly called Isaac over to me, and the children explained that some people don't even touch that tree because the flowers are deadly.  After thoroughly washing my babies I asked the neighbor children "Why do you even plant these all over your yard?"   And they replied, matter of factly, "Because they are beautiful."

"Now isn't that just like sin?"  I asked 'Osi later.  Sometimes we don't even want to touch it, while other times we let it grow all around us, if its beautiful, and just hope it won't poison us or our children. 
Hmmm.  Makes me wonder...what kinds of flowers are growing around my family?   Are we flirting with anything poisonous?

Monday, October 07, 2013

Osi preaching

'Osi has been given more and more opportunities to teach and preach every week, since taking the Bible School for the Nations course.  The emphasis for this course is studying the entire Bible and learning how to teach it in story form, and also to put together sermons to teach the people. 
We recognize that 'Osi has a gift for teaching, and have been praying that God will use this course to develop it further in him.  Thankfully, God has been answering this prayer.  He has been growing in wisdom and confidence to share all that he is learning.

The Fakalolo Family

For weeks before we left for Eua, we had been praying for the host family we would stay with.   Praying that we would be a blessing them, and that they would enjoy our children...(Isaac and Allan are pretty active little boys, and lets face it not everyone enjoys active little boys right?)   We were not surprised when the Lord blessed us with a very special family to host us. 
Tevita and Naite Fakalolo and their 3 children were so kind to us.  We spent many hours together talking and laughing, cooking and chasing all the kids.  
      You can learn alot from living temporarily with another family.  We learned about generosity; yielding our rights; teaching our children not to jump on furniture before we bring them to visit other people;  learning to cook familiar food in new ways;  thinking the best about another person when "I don't really understand what they meant by that" .  haha
All in all a good time was had by all - and like 'Osi said "I am just so thankful to have a nice safe place to bring my wife and kids."

That infamous ferry ride!

We were really excited about taking the ferry boat over to Eua island.  For days we were psyching up the kids about it "We're going for a ride on a huge boat to Eua!"
But about an hour into the trip the waters became incredibly choppy and our huge boat was being rocked violently back and forth.  Back and forth...
That sucked all the awesomeness out of the ride as we all began losing our cookies, over and over again for was horrible.
By the time we got to Eua I told 'Osi "I am not leaving this place, there is no way I am taking that boat back in 10 days!  We might as well settle down here and start YWAM Eua, because I felt like I wanted to die!"
10 days later we loaded back on the boat again, but this time God calmed the sea and we sailed smoothly home.
This experience made me so thankful to be living in modern times though.  I have been reading a Biography of John Williams, one of the first missionaries to the Pacific islands.  And he and his wife Mary had to sail for 9 MONTHS from London to the Pacific!
Many of the missionaries on that boat were sick, and some didn't survive the journey.  I'm afraid I wouldn't have,  so I praise God for allowing me to live and serve in the Pacific in the 21st Century.   And thank you Jesus for airplanes!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tongan youth

'Osi is gone for a couple of hours today to lead a small group of boys in another village boarding school. 
Its a Christian school, but the boys got into some trouble with the law a couple of months ago for fighting/violence with a rival school.
So they are under house arrest or some kind of punishment, and 'Osi and a few other men from our mission campus always go there on Sunday to encourage the boys.  They break up into small groups to for Bible study and discussion (please pray for 'Osi, for wisdom and an ability to speak straight to the boys about humility, and growing in the Lord instead of revenge and the ways of the world...)
The wonderful thing is young guys are attracted to 'Osi like a magnet, he tells them funny stories, and encourages them, and they just feel the love he has for them.   I see it all the time, and it humbles me.  Reminds me that our ministry in Tonga is not about the programs, but about the people. 
I'm so thankful God has given him such a heart for the young and misdirected boys in Tonga  =) they remind him of himself as a young teenager  =)  
Please join us in praying that God will turn them into great men of God also someday.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

God bless our DTS students!

There are four schools running at the YWAM University of the Nations (missions campus) where we are living.  The first school, the foundation and entrance gate for all the other missions schools to follow, is the Discipleship Training School (DTS). 
Osi and I have a great love for the DTS because it is 6 months that can truly change your life.  We have seen hundreds Tongan young people take the DTS and their lives were were are really excited that the campus leaders have invited us to run our own DTS someday.
While 'Osi felt he should take this time to prepare in knowledge and experience, he is taking the Bible School for the Nations course which is 3 months of intense Bible study and memorization and 3 months of outreach.  Where his team will go to Eua (a small Tongan island)  on a mission trip, and also to China for 7 weeks to share the gospel there.
So we are excited for what we are learning now - and at the same time we are wildly excited for the DTS.  The current DTS students have just finished their first month of the school, and they are just the sweetest bunch of kids.  They are working hard from 5a.m. until 8p.m. studying and learning in the lecture hall, and doing special programs in town, plus work duties around the base....but they always find time to stop and play with our kids or sit around on our porch at night to drink coffee and tell us what they are learning.
We just love these guys.
Please pray for them, that God will continue giving them energy and good health throughout this rigorous course.  Please pray for provision, that all of their school fees will be paid.  Also pray for open ears and open hearts to hear and receive all God is speaking to them.  Some of these students will go home in 5 months to bring their new knowledge and experience of God's love and plan to their village....and some will continue training here and go out into the world, like the hundreds of Tongans we have sent before.
Tongans make the BEST missionaries.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Home Sweet New Home!

There were 3 families who moved out of the missions campus this month, and it was very difficult for us to say goodbye.  We really loved them and their children.
But at the same time their house vacancy allowed us the option to "move up" to a cabin with running water and a bathroom!  Yay!
So here we are sitting in front of our new home.

Finger painting!

Allan and Isaac love to paint.  These were a gift from friends, but normally we make our own.  Here's a recipe you can try with YOUR children or grandchildren!
Mix 1 cup flour and 2 Tablespoons salt, whisk together with 1 and half cups cold water until smooth. 
Then bring it to a boil, and stir for a minute or two until it thickens.  Allow the mixture to cool then pour into separate little dishes, add food coloring to each dish to make different colors.  
Have fun and get messy!

Beach trip!

Osi's Bible School class took a trip to the beach, so we all got to go!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Kiko and Annie's wedding

Last Saturday we celebrated the wedding of Annie and Kiko here on our YWAM Tonga campus.  As usual the whole base, (and probably all of Kiko’s village =)  got together to decorate the chapel...and prepare food, feast and was such a blast and we are very excited for the new couple.  (unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of the wedding party, I was too busy trying to keep up with these rambunctious little boys =)

 (Oh and I was delegated to host Annies bridal shower which was super fun, even though we used a ridiculous amount of toilet paper making our model bride dresses =)   shhhh don’t tell the mission director.  We will recycle it all, promise =)


Monday night is ladies night!

Every Monday evening the Mom’s of the mission get together and boy do we have fun.  We take turns leading the discussion and sometimes play games.  We do alot of sharing, laughing, crying, and praying....I just love these ladies so much.

Let my people go!

Lately I have also been teaching the stories of Moses to my preschool class.  They have been SO adorable acting out each lesson after I teach it.  They have played baby Moses in the basket riding down the river, and Miriam, and the princess....then adult Moses and burning bushes....
Today we made little puppets of Moses and Pharaoh and it was hilarious to see them change their voices and make Moses demand “Let my people go!” 
Then Pharaoh replied in a less manly voice “No! I don’t know you!  I don’t know your God, and I won’t let your people go!”
Then some of the more aggressive little boys made all their puppets get into fistfights and.....yeah, the paper didn’t last very long.  But I think they got the main idea  =)

That's a good look for you honey!

Isaac the Entemologist

Our 3 year old is fascinated by bugs, and he has so many fun and interesting ones to study here in Tonga.  Some of our favorites have been praying mantis, butterfly's, juicy green catterpillars the size of Osi's thumbs =) and walking sticks...It is so much fun exploring our new home!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Definitely not suffering for Jesus out here!

I (Jennifer) was invited to speak on national Tongan radio last week, and was tempted momentarily to get some martyr's sympathy when the radio D.J. kept asking about the transition from America to here.  But I don't feel like we are "suffering for Jesus" In all honesty each cloud has a silver lining that has caused us to grow.
For example:
I have no washing machine, so if my neighbors are all busy using theirs I must wash by hand.  This is hard work, I fill a 5 gallon bucket with clothes and water, then pound it for an hour with a pipe.  But thankfully this is bringing me ever closer to the elusive Proverbs 31 lady who “sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks”.  And let me tell ya sister, thanks to my new vigorous chore, my arms now have more definition than a dictionary!

Example #2
On any given day we have at least 200 bugs commuting through our cabin (mostly ants).  Isaac, our little entomologist is delighted, and spends a lot of time hands and knees on the floor studying them, and naming each one “little Isaac”.  Sometimes we see giant spiders roughly the size of my hand, they are not poisonous but they are SO ugly and scary looking.  However, this has turned into an opportunity for me to face my deepest childhood fear – and SQUASH IT!
For now I am only squashing with a long handled broom, but I am getting braver and may soon be able to squish them with my sandal.

Example #3
We don't have indoor plumbing or a kitchen in our cabin.  Sooo this severely cuts down on the number of dishes I have to wash, and we never have to fight over whose turn it is to clean the toilets!  Hallelujah!

Example #4
The community showers only have cold water.  This is not awesome, BUT cold water is actually very beneficial for your hair and skin!  Imagine my delight when I read in a magazine that you can have an automatic facelift just from rinsing your face in cold water.  Perhaps this is the proverbial Tongan fountain of youth?  Not to mention that showering in cold water significantly speeds up the process, and my parents would have saved tons on their electric bill had they tried turning off the hot water when I was a teenager.

All in all, we are so thankful to be in Tonga again – there's no place like home.