Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Warren's parents have been talking about coming up to Selawik for a visit for some time. Well, they finally they were ready and wanted to do a VBS with us. I was quite skeptical for our ability to handle a large crowd with just four adults, but they seemed very excited.

Warren suggested having a Jesus theme. We worked out a very basic outline focused on different people he interacted with and parables he told. This helped me to choose the crafts. We wanted really nice crafts that the kids would want to take home. I found birdhouses, wind chimes, an idea for flip-flops/Jesus sandals, air dry clay, and prayer journals. But we still weren't sure just when Warren's parents would come. Meanwhile Warren was asked to speak at the annual Memorial Weekend Singspiration at the Friends' Church (Sabbath evening, May 29).

On the last Wednesday of May Warren's parents told us they would be coming tomorrow and they would be here for less than two weeks. Now we really needed to hustle. The ice was going out on Thursday when they arrived and we took it easy watching it go. Friday was busy getting ready for Sabbath and choosing a snack menu.

I designed an announcement but it was stranded on my computer because of printer/computer issues . Warren wasn't available to fix things because he had an end-of-the-month food distribution workload (at his new job). I was hoping that he would have time on Friday to work on his talk that he had to give Saturday night at the Friends church. But he helped me with the finishing touch of the announcement and found time to work on his talk before Sabbath morning service while I posted one announcement.

Warren's talk at the Singspiration went well and we were grateful for the chance to share as brothers and sisters in Christ. Warren's parents were also given a chance to greet the people.

We posted our final announcements on Tuesday the day we began the VBS. Attendance was good and things went more smoothly once we began. I was very glad knowing that God had brought all our loose ends together and tied them so nicely.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Before you ask, He will answer

It was Thursday night and Warren and I went for a walk. The subject of our financial situation came up. We were getting close to the bottom of the money barrel again. We came to no conclusion except that we felt less willing to leave than ever. It seems the longer we are here the more it feels that this is where we belong and where God wants us. Yes, there would benefits to leaving, but they would be only for our family, and that is not enough for us anymore.

We didn't feel the need to beg God's help; we were not worried. I felt God did want us to stay and was waiting to see how he would provide for us this time. He has kept us here for over four years by his faithfulness. He is so good.

Friday morning, Warren got a call offering him a part-time job helping to meet the needs of the community. It is a wonderful job that will help him get to know more of Selawik and their needs.
The past four years have been filled with adjusting to running a house in the Arctic, the radio project, and becoming familiar with the culture (though not in the systematic way we would like to have done). We have gotten to know many people, but there are also many we do not know.
This job should help with that. It also happens to mean that we will have the finances to stay.

I am reminded of the dream Ellen White had of the journey to heaven and the cords of faith that they trusted. My cord of faith has been growing gradually over the past four years and it has just gotten a little bigger.

So even if this job doesn't last long or work out as promised, we know God will provide for us in another way, and that is all we need to know.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why I am glad we didn't go to campmeeting

Our family was fully anticipating a trip to Nome for Native campmeeting last weekend. Twelve people, in addition to our family, said they wanted to go. This was exciting. However, we knew space would be limited on the small planes that would be available to fly us. So not knowing the flight arrangements that had been made, we prepared to stay if they didn't have enough plane seats for all of us. This was Native campmeeting after all and we wanted them to have the first chance to go.

Then we discovered that there were only ten seats available for Selawik. Warren and I were praying and trying to find a workable option for everyone who wanted to go and would gain a blessing from it. Finally it seemed that it would truly be impossible for all to go. And now there were more than twelve that wanted to. We didn't want to "play God" and choose who could go and who had to stay. But I kept praying and telling myself that God would make a way, that he wanted everyone to go as much as I did.

God did make a way. Jim Kincaid had a charter to Kotzebue with two seats free. They could meet with the other ten from the two planned flights later in the afternoon. Two people from Kotzebue decided not to go, so that left two more Selawik seats on the 19 seat Bering Air charter to Nome. And we had several people who decided not to go as well, so we were back to twelve who wanted to go and they were ALL going. Amen, Hallelujah, and Praise the Lord, this was a blessing indeed. Getting to be in Nome ourselves couldn't possibly feel better than the joy we had that weekend. We have heard testimonies of the refreshment received by those who attended the meetings. They had a wonderful time with Jesus and his friends.

Truly our cups are overflowing, God is so good.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Challenges of Starting Over

We have been here for four years now. Abby celebrated her fourth birthday a few weeks after our arrival. Having just turned eight, she remembers little of our former life in “the outside world”. Miriam was born after our move and knows nothing of that life. Sara, at 11, is the only one who carries any real memory of our pre-Arctic existence. Much has changed for Warren and I as well.

The ebb and flow of plumbing difficulties dominate my memories of the first year, back when everything about village life was a novelty. At least once, I believe, we were unable to wash clothes, dishes, or ourselves all at the same time. There was a few weeks last winter when we had to use a honeybucket (a 5 gallon bucket toilet) for the first time. At the apartments they were stuck using honeybuckets most of the winter, so we got off easy. It is probably part of my personality, but I found these problems more amusing than annoying.

Learning to squish the remnants of our 1400 square foot home into 600 square feet was another part of the novelty at first. Later, having boxes stacked to the ceiling and sitting on beanbags was not so fun. But through gradually reducing our excess belongings, we gained the room for our place to become a home. A cast-off couch covered with a blanket also helped a lot during family and worship time. Finding out how few things I really need has made more room in my thoughts to just enjoy life.

I have been growing a lot and learning to show love to my family better as I have grown closer to God. As I have decided to place our school time much lower on the priority list, the girls have been much more helpful. I have more time for Warren and more patience with the girls. And the school work is also getting done. God really does have the best answers.

When people ask me how I like it in Selawik, I tend to say how beautiful it is here. And the beauty is more than I can absorb at times. But even more than that, I can't bear to think of leaving the people here. I want them to see all wonders of life with Jesus that I see. Even when they (mostly children) do things that hurt us, I just don't have it in me hold it against them. I know the hurts they face daily and I want so much for them to have Jesus in all his fullness to heal them.

At times it feels we are in the wrong place, that we are not the right ones for the job. But today it comes to me that perhaps the radio project that has occupied the largest part of Warren's time is the main reason we are here. And perhaps more people will begin to trust us and to see Jesus in us the longer we stay. We have begun to see God working in new ways. We are very excited about the recommitment of one of our members through baptism. He has a lot of growing to do and things haven't been perfect since his baptism last month. Still, we are encouraged as we are praying for him to have God's strength to deal with all the challenges of his new start.