Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Alumnus, Alumna, Alumni

Normally in conversation when a non-native English speaker says something wrong, I gently point out the error and encourage the person to correct. I understand from having learned Spanish how crucial it is to have people point out mistakes in your second language. Of course, in meetings I do not do this. A couple times in the past few weeks I have heard the plural "alumni" used for the singular "alumnus." "Alumnus" is the masculine form for someone who previously attended an educational institution. "Alumna" is the feminine form. "Alumni" is the plural form, whether masculine or feminine.

Stella is an alumna of PIBC. Now she works in the PIBC as a library assistant and Joel and Amelia love to go and borrow books from her. She also participated in the mission trip to Palau, and we enjoyed having her there. She's a good friend to our family, and we appreciate her.

Palauan Sunday

Joel's Sunday School teacher, Miss Jan, asked us to share this past week about our mission trip to Palau. We wanted it to be as interactive as possible, so we made a Power Point presentation of pictures and had the children fasten their seat belts and go along with us on the plane to Palau.

Instead of making a craft, Marisol helped the children make leis.

Sebastian, from Peru, tried the coconut milk right from the coconut. The kids seemed to enjoy their "trip" to Palau. Amelia joined us as a "special guest star" from her class. We were thrilled to be able to do this. We are convinced how important it is to teach children about missions from an early age so it becomes a natural part of their lives.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yard Sale

Our friend Laura asked us if she and some friends could use our yard for a yard sale today. We have the perfect location because our house is right along Route 15, or as the locals call it, "the back road to Andersen (Air Force Base)." Joel and Amelia had great fun tending our table. We made only a few dollars and ended up with more things that the other vendors gave us, but we had great fun in the process.

A Puzzlement

The title of this blog post is a song from "The King and I." We've been working on a 1000-piece puzzle about television history this week, and we finally finished it. I was reminded how addictive doing puzzles can be. Anyway, here it is for all to see!

Chicken Update

Both of our adopted chickens died. I guess we won't be opening a chicken clinic after all. This is the only existing picture taken while they were both alive. They both stopped eating, and we didn't know what to do about that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lots of Fun

We recently bought a water slide for Joel and Amelia to play with. It's funny how a simple thing can add up to a lot of fun! Joel and Amelia invite you to "Come and play with us!"

Camping on the Beach

Two weeks ago we went swimming with some friends. Carmen is from Panama, and her husband Alfonso is Palauan. His cousin Merong graduated from PIBC this May. He introduced us to them. Marisol loves speaking Spanish with Carmen, and I enjoy talking with Alfonso. He is retired from the Air Force. They have three children, Rosalynn, Roxanne, and Alfonsito. They invited us to go camping with them at Tarague Beach on Andersen Air Force base. We had a really good time. Here are some pictures:

This is a view of our campsite from the ocean.

Rosalynn joined Marisol and the kids in playing in the sand.

The water was beautiful while we were there.
The hammock provided lots of fun for the kids.

We ate dinner in the tent to escape the onslaught of the mosquitoes.
The kids liked chasing the black and purple butterflies.
Joel had a good time at the nice playground at the beach.
Amelia can be very photogenic when she wants to be. We really enjoyed our camping trip. Special thanks to Alfonso, Carmen and family! Please pray that we can be a blessing to them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Joel's Fifth Birthday Party

Hope you enjoy these pictures from Joel's 5th birthday on July 11, 2008:

Marisol made styrofoam caterpillers as decorations, one for Joel and one for Amelia. Amelia's didn't have candles, of course.

Amelia received Wormie and Joel Hermie from Max Lucado's famous children's series.

Joel's best "little" friends were in Palau, so we invited some of his best "big" friends: Joyce, May and Dave. Thanks for coming on such short notice.

Here is a family photo. Thanks for all your cards and best wishes for Joel! WE APPRECIATE YOU.

Guam Liberation Day Parade 2008

This year we decided to go to the Liberation Day parade, held every July. This is the biggest Guam party of the year. It celebrates the reoccupation of the U.S. troops on Guam, and the subsequent freedom from the harsh Japanese forces, on July 21, 1944. Although very hot and sunny, we enjoyed the parade very much. That night we also went to see the fireworks. Sorry, no pictures available.

One of the local dance groups graced us with some Chamorro (native Guamanian) dances.

The Guam Territorial Band made an appearance in the parade while they are preparing for their trip to the Beijing 2008 Olympics in a couple of weeks.

We ran into our friends Julie and Lisa at the parade and were so happy to see them again.

Here a carabao (water buffalo) is getting watered down during a break in the parade.
The people of Yigo, one of the villages in Guam, sponsored this float, which won first prize in the village category of the judging.

Chicken Hospital

Marisol has been rescuing chicks. The first one was attacked by hen. Our family grew instantly when we adopted it. Amelia especially likes to go to his box in the kitchen and say hi. Today Marisol chased away a cat that broke a chick's leg. She put a splint on him and now our first chick has company. I think maybe we've been watching too many ER reruns! You're free to come and visit. There are no set visiting hours.

Sad Day

Yesterday we received the sad news that our good friend Melissa's dad died. Just last month he had been diagnosed with Bile Duct Cancer. It's really hard to believe. Last summer he and his wife invited my parents and us to dinner while Melissa and we were visiting in PA. He enjoyed showing Joel and Amelia his garden. We are so glad that Melissa could be with her family during this time; we know she is being a blessing to them. Please pray for comfort and for any decisions that need to be made in the coming days.

¡Felicitaciones, Wilo!

Ya es oficial. La semana pasada el hermano de Marisol, Wilo, se graduó de la Universidad Central de Quito, Ecuador, con su ingeniería en geología, minas y petróleo, después de muchos años de trabajo. Estamos tan orgullosos de él. Es el primero de la familia que es ingeniero. Le agrademos el apoyo de sus padres Wilson y Zulema, por todo su sacrificio para hacer este día importante posible para Wilo.

Mira qué guapa la familia: Zulema, Wilo, Negui (hermana de Marisol), Carolina (prima de Marisol), Gisela (esposa de Wilo, esperando a su primer bebé en agosto) y Wilson. Felicitaciones a todos.
Last week Marisol's brother Wilo received his engineering degree (petroleum and mining) from the Universidad Central in Quito, Ecuador. We are proud of him and thankful to his parents Wilson and Zulema for their sacrificial support in making this important day possible for Wilo. Congratulations to all! Wilo and his wife Gisela are expecting their first baby in August.

Dental Update

Thanks to those of you who have been asking and praying about Marisol's dental situation. We did have a second opinion, and he concurred with what our dentist said. Now we're waiting to hear what a Christian dentist (and owner of a dental clinic) who's currently off-island has to say. Perhaps he can offer us a better discount. He'll be back the first week of August. We'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Amelia's Post

Amelia also played an integral part on the mission trip to Palau. She helped hand out invitations to the Gospel Days Celebration, but took time to smell the flowers along the way.

She enjoyed being chauffeured around by "Mr. Driver" in the schoolbus.
Amelia, Joel and Micah got "all dolled up" for a wedding we attended.
Eating raman noodles for breakfast became a special treat for Amelia.
Marisol made makeshift raincoats for the kids thanks to some garbage bags we had bought.
In Ngaraard Amelia enjoyed the coconut crabs prepared with coconut milk and asked for more.
At Dolphins Pacific Amelia didn't want to shake hands or kiss the dolphin, but she was happy to feed him tiny fish.

The tables at the Gospel Kindergarten were perfect for Amelia to eat at, although they were a bit small for most of us.
Amelia liked to help to "lead" the songs during the Children's Ministry.

She also helped to blow up the balloons and break them, of course!
We saw a blue starfish at the famous Rock Islands of Palau.
Amelia was a real trooper during the hike that led to the waterfall in Ngardmau state. Joel too!
Like Joel, Amelia loved to play in the sand with her new Palauan friends.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dental Dilemma

Marisol, Joel and I went to the dentist yesterday. Actually, Amelia went along with us but was not treated. During our time in Palau Marisol suffered from extreme tooth pain and went to a dental clinic that gave her an antibiotic. The nurses told us to have the tooth looked at back here because there was not time to be treated there before we needed to leave.

Since Marisol did not really have preventative dental care while she was growing up in Ecuador, she has had some dental issues over the past few years. Nevertheless, nothing prepared us for what the dentist told us yesterday after escorting us into a private room: the cost of Marisol's treatment plan would come to $6,500. We were in a state of shock. We explained that our mission does not offer dental insurance and that our HRA would not cover such a hefty bill. The discount they offered us as self-pay patients amounted to $200.

This news was very discouraging to us. I admit that one of the toughest things for me as a missionary is not being able to provide for my family's medical and now dental needs. Our insurance does not cover immunizations, annual check-ups for our children or wellness visits for Marisol and me. All of these do not count towards our yearly deductible. We take Joel and Amelia to Public Health for their shots and every time we need to say that we are underinsured and spend the whole morning there in line. Of course, we do this because we know that it is the Lord's will for us to be in missionary service. We want to be good stewards of the funds in our Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). Otherwise, we would empty our HRA every time immunization time comes around.

At the same time, I want to be honest and ask you to pray with us about this immediate need that we have as a family. We plan to ask a Christian dentist for a "second opinion" before making a decision. Please pray for peace in our hearts and God's provision. Even though $6,500 seems like such a large sum, He's never let us down before!

Friday, July 11, 2008

"C" Stands for Cleaning

In Palau our team wanted to serve in practical ways in addition to the other ministries we fulfilled. Our work at the various churches and at the Gospel Kindergarten allowed us to "get dirty" by serving the church people and getting to know them as they worked with us. They blessed us even more by their wonderful hospitality, which always included copious amounts of food.

Every day the team rotated in fulfilling certain cleaning tasks at the Gospel Kindergarten where we stayed. Everly joyfully took his turn in cleaning the men's bathroom.

Our first physical work assignment took place at the Koror Church where the Gospel Days Celebration would be held. The church leaders asked us to help remove of a massive tree stump. After we worked for an hour or so, Leeman scratched his head and asked, "Why won't this thing come out?"

Stella showed her prowess for painting benches in the balcony at the Koror Evangelical Church.

On another day the mowers and rakers worked very hard in Ngchesar.

Amelia and Joel help to wash the windows at the church in Ngchesar.

Moni holds the ladder as Manuel climbs down from the Ngaraard Church roof after painting it.

Elilia, Tanja and Percia enjoyed a peaceful moment after a hard day's work.

Amelia, Marisol and Joel rested after a hot day of work at the Ngaraard Church. They took a siesta at the deacon's house.

One night Hedrick, the newly ordained pastor of the Palauan Evangelical Church, "cleaned" a 100-pound fish that someone donated. We ate part of it for lunch the next day. Thanks for your servant's heart, Hedrick.

One our last day Jonathan and Nico helped wash and hose down our living area. (They worked so hard that the picture turned out blurry!) We didn't want to leave a mess behind us when we left.

Mac and Sarah washed down the coolers and the walkway outside of the dorm rooms.