Friday, August 31, 2012

Good Guys or Bad Guys?

Super hero and the bad guyThis is my favorite picture by Isaiah to date.  To me, it looks almost too perfect to be done by a kid.  More like one of those crayon pictures drawn by an adult but made to look like a kid drew it.  I love the facial expressions, and the placement of the characters just sings, “There’s no escape for you now, Really-Bad-Villain!  Super-Guy is here!”  (And he’s so super that his logo is himself.)

This picture is also a pretty good summary of how Isaiah’s brain works.  His #2 favorite question is:  “Are they good guys or bad guys?”  He makes sense out of his world by determining sides.  Everything is black and white with him…for now anyway.  Yes, he knows that Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader but since he has only seen Episode I, Darth Vader is still just mysterious and cool.  <grin>

Isaiah’s #1 question:  “Is it video night?”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

See You Later, Grandma!

03 Nov 10 (12)



Jon's maternal grandmother passed away this morning. It's difficult to be so far away from family at times like this but we take comfort in the fact that we will see her again in heaven.

We love you Grandma!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Red vs. Yellow

A highlight of every Ukarumpa International School (UIS) year is “Sports Day”.  It’s kind of like a mini Olympics and home school kids are welcome to participate.  The students practice the events during their physical education (PE) classes.  Claire and Isaiah have been taking PE at UIS so they’ve been looking forward to this day for weeks.  Jon even took a vacation day so we could cheer Claire and Isaiah on in their first competition…ever!

All the students are divided into two teams—red and yellow.  As you can tell from the photos, our family is on the red team. (All children in a particular family are assigned the same team.) Then each team is divided into age groups.

The very first event was the long oval run—the equivalent of running from home base through the outfield and back around twice). Isaiah was in the very first heat and he won 1st place in his age group.  Claire's group won 1st place in a relay race around the baseball diamond, and they got three 2nd place ribbons for other team or individual events.

At the end of the day, the red and yellow teams had a giant tug of war. Yellow won both tries and got the most teams points for the day, but both Claire and Isaiah had a great time and can't wait for next year's Sport's Day.  We are pretty proud of how they maintained good sportsmen-like attitudes through all the wins and losses.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

From Sorrow to Thanksgiving

Bridge HalversonThe center where we live actually gets its name from neighboring Ukarumpa Village.  The center and the village are separated by the Ba’e River but precariously linked by this bridge—or what’s left of it anyway.  Despite its dilapidated appearance, it is still used quite heavily by the local people commuting to work on the center.  I experienced the “thrill” of crossing it for the first, second, third and fourth time on Sunday when Ukarumpa Village celebrated Thanksgiving.

The American Thanksgiving celebration find its roots in suffering and God’s provision.  This PNG version is no different.  In August 2009, most of Ukarumpa village was burned to the ground in the midst of clan conflict.  Crops and homes were destroyed.  Four people lost their lives and the rest of the inhabitants fled for their lives.

It’s difficult for me to imagine the anguish and despair our neighbors must have faced in the aftermath of such destruction.  In this part of the country, a clan would normally retaliate with like violence on their enemy, and the feuding would probably go on for decades.  The local pastors, however, have encouraged the people to find reasons to thank God.  They thank God that more lives were not lost, and that God provided for the survivors via neighbors and friends.  And now on the anniversary of the tragedy, they hold a Thanksgiving service and feast.

This year all the residents of Ukarumpa center were invited to participate.  So on Sunday morning we gathered together to thank and praise the God who graciously provides for all of His children.  We shared messages of encouragement, gifts of song and the abundance of kitchens and gardens alike.  Not even the drizzling rain could dampen our spirits.  What a blessing to get a taste of that day when we will stand before the throne hearing that loud voice say,

“Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”  (Revelation 21:3-4, NLT)


(Bridge photo by J & L Halverson)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

We’re Having Chicken Tonight!

023For those of you curious to know what happened to those chicks Jon picked up in June….  They turned into these lovely ladies…(and probably a few gentlemen too).

I’m seriously in awe of how fast they grew in eight weeks time—and how much they consume!  From the time they were about three weeks old they’ve been eating all our bread and vegetable scraps as well as their feed.  Did you know that chickens will eat banana peelings, broccoli stems, and lemon rinds?

It made a interesting hobby—one that paid tasty dividends too.  Yesterday, Jon butchered all thirteen remaining chickens.  (A couple of the bigger bullies met their demise early to give the rest a chance to fatten up.)  Both kids observed the whole process from coop to freezer.  They were pretty disgusted by the mess but not enough to stay away.

058I had planned to roast one of the chickens right away but Isaiah told me, “I don’t want any chicken until I can forget what happened to them.”  We had pizza instead.

Today, however, Isaiah has discovered that the finished product looks and tastes just like “real” chicken from the store so it’s back at the top of his favorite food list.  Good thing we got 16 more chicks on Wednesday!