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Archive for the ‘adventure’ Category

Our latest adventure surrounds the buzz of the impending tropical storm.

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When the locals are loading up on bottled water and canned goods a person tends to pay attention. I was reminded that it takes the boat a while to arrive with supplies.

We’ve discussed how we feel about it. We are cautious. We don’t live right next to the ocean or an inlet, so a storm surge isn’t an issue. A power outrage is really on main concern. We have a disaster kit from our PAC NW days that we just replenish from time to time. I think we are pretty secure.

We just need to plan a storm watch party, hand crank up the emergency radio, tie down the kayak and BBQ, and pray for safety over our chain of islands.

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We just finished a month long trip back to the hometown.  It was delightful.  We had a lot of family time, took in a few plays at the Shakespeare Festival which is like Disneyland for theater nerds, and enjoyed the sites and smells of a very familiar setting.  In some ways it was difficult to come back to our new home.

People think that it’s crazy to think that we wouldn’t want to rush back to our island paradise.  The setting is gorgeous, we have a wonderful safe place to live, and we have some very special friends that have become our island ohana.  I think that it comes down to the fact that our hometown family is not here.  That support system that we’ve have come to rely on for decades is not easily accessible.  As our family grows older so does our realization that time is fleeting and is something that we cannot get back.  Modern technology makes it a little easier, but real Facetime is the best.

So how is our reentry going?  Pretty good. The first morning back started off with a long walk on the beach and ended with a great shrimp stirfry.  Both are great advantages of living in the middle of the ocean.  We are taking it one day at a time, and thanking God for every blessing of being here.

We are heading into the warmest time of the year.  Last year the youngest said, “The heat.  I can’t get away from the heat!”  The Mr. has put a lovely plan in place to help keep us cooler.  That is definitely making our reentry much easier.

Time to drop the youngest off with friends, and for another trip to the library to prep for my drama classes that start next week.

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I’m still searching for the familiar, those places where I know that I’ll find what I’m looking for.  I just wanted cummin.  I use it a lot in my cooking, and had finished off the last of what came over on the boat.  I had checked five different stores.

I gave up looking for it until one day, when I happened upon a Whole Foods.  I’d never been inside one before.  Wow.  Nice store.  I decided to check the spice aisle.  Yes!  I found cummin, and it was on sale.  I let out a huge sigh of relief.  Finally, something familiar.

I’ve taken for granted the value of the familiar.  Finding a spot for the silverware is pretty simple.  Discovering the best place to buy milk is cake.  Uncovering the mystery of how I fit into the fabric of this island is a little more difficult.

A year ago I thought I knew who I was: a homeschooling mom and pastor’s wife heading across the ocean on a great adventure.  I thought that the worship leader, dreamer, artist parts of me were on the verge of finally being set free.  All those palm trees drawn in the margins of my college class notes were finally becoming a reality.  I was going to live on the set of the TV show Lost.

Then you move 2,532.64 miles away from your previous life, and you start to question everything.  Even though there is a Starbucks on almost every corner, this is definitely not the Pac-NW.  Things that you come to count on being there are no longer at your finger tips.  People you used to call in a pinch to help with kiddos or go for a walk with are across the ocean.  Places to release your creatively energy are few and far between.

I need to trust when I hear the LORD quiet my spirit by saying , “Hush my child, you need to become known.”  It is all about becoming known.  I need to get to know my island, and my island needs to get to know me.  Building relationships take time, effort, and patience.

This past weekend Pastor Wayne spoke of caring deeply for people.  He shared a story similar to this one.

An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians
were such giving people. The teacher said, “Jesus taught us that giving gifts is an expression
of our love and friendship for Him and each other. Jesus said, ‘It is more
blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

A couple of days later the boy brought the teacher a
seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a
beautiful shell?” the teacher asked. The youth told her that
there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could
be found.

When he named the place, a certain bay several miles
away, the teacher was speechless. She knew that it would have
taken the young man hours to walk to the bay. Also, he would
have faced many dangers from the jungle and rocky cliffs of the
seacoast along the way. “Why, it’s gorgeous and wonderful,
but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get the gift for me,”
the teacher joyfully explained.

His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of the gift.”

If we care deeply then the walk is part of the gift.  If I care deeply about my family, my friends, my church, this island, then the time it takes to become known is part of the gift.

Dear Lord, please help me use my time wisely, so that I care for what it most important.  Amen

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Our trek to the most remote island chain in the world started almost 12 years ago.  Even though we never really felt compelled to travel here, we jumped at a chance to buy a voucher for two tickets at a garage sale.  We chose a hotel that was being remodeled.  We traveled one month after 9/11.  There was plenty of room to spread out on the beach, and we found really good deals at the market place.  The total trip cost around $1,000, with the tickets included.  We found ourselves pleasantly surprised by how much we were enjoying our surroundings.  About two days into the trip we prayed for God to show us how we would minister in this place.

A couple of years later my husband won a trip to a neighbor island through a sales promotion.  It was beautiful.  The island moved at an even slower pace.  The hotel upgraded our room to an ocean view.  We found the perfect breakfast place, and loved learning the local history.  Sitting on the beach during sunset with our feet in the surf while listening to a band play James Taylor covers was pretty magical.  Again, we prayed how God would have us minister in this place.

Not long after that my husband was invited to teach and train the sound team of a local church here on the island.  They graciously offered me a ticket to join him.  I spent the week reading books, swimming, and taking in the local sites, sounds, and cuisine.  It was a pretty sweet adventure.  We left wondering how God would end up using us on this Island.

Our home state is beautiful.  Our hometown is an hour from the beach and an hour from the mountains.  It didn’t take long to get to Mom and Dad’s, and an even shorter time to get to my in-laws.  Siblings and nieces live close by.  Why would we want to move away from it all?

Our family spent a month here the year before we moved.  By the end of that month we were invited to come join the church for a season.  We loved the people.  We really believed in the church’s core values, and  were encouraged by the emphasis they put on creatively sharing the Gospel.  It still wasn’t an easy decision.  We thought it through.  We knew we had to say yes, or we would regret for the rest of our lives.

It’s been almost a year.  We continue to pray how God wants us to use our gifts here in our new church.  We are still figuring out the balance of ministry life and family life.  It’s a bit more challenging, honestly a lot more challenging, without a support system like we had at home.

There have been moments of greatness, and that keeps us pushing forward.  In a future post I’ll share a timeline of events of this past year.  It’s been a doozie, but one that is full of the evidence of God’s handy work in getting us from there to here.

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We were heading toward the Banyan Temple.  The name wasn’t just a clever title.  The banyan tree had taken over, uprooting the large stones as it sought to secure itself.  One tree started where the next one ended.  Its roots winding around steps, walls and windows; a reminder of how easily God’s creation can take over what is man-made.  This is just what we saw from the outside.

As I stepped out of the van my German skin rosied up quickly in the heat and humidity.  I looked for the nearest shade.  Our guide was concerned enough to stop by a vendor to buy me a wide brimmed hat with the word “Angkor” printed in big bold letters across the front.  She seemed to be looking out for me.  Earlier in the week she brought me a bag of mangosteens in hopes that by me consuming them I would get my ankles back.  I don’t know if they really helped my cankles, but it was some of the best tasting fruit I’ve ever had.

The banyan wasn’t the only thing that I noticed on the drive in.  There were elephants everywhere; large, loping creatures effortlessly transporting people from point A to point B.

“Riding an elephant is on my life list,” I mentioned to the Sistahs.

“Then we’ll have to do it,” replied one of them, “My treat.”

They ushered me over up the steps into the banyan tree and onto our seat on top of the elephant.  I reached down ever so slowly and brushed by fingers against its skin.  The softness surprised me.  The lurch forward caught us off guard, and we giggled with delight as we started the slow procession into the temple.

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