Friday, August 28, 2009

The Week in Review

Last week we took our friends from Germany on an island tour. Thus begins this edition of "The Week in Review."

Amelia and Joel were so pleased to spend time with Anette, their friend from the PIBC Palau Mission Trip last summer. Anette and her husband Dave led the German Impact Team that we worked with during the missions trip. Here they sit on the steps of the pavilion that remains from the Governor's Palace in the Plaza de Espana.

This is an "official" promotional photo of the 2009 Micronesian Impact Team.

The team looks down at the spot where the U.S. marines landed to liberate Guam from the Japanese on July 21, 1944 at Ga'an Point, also known as Agat Beach.

Joel took great pride in showing his new friend Viktor one of the Japanese caves where the soldiers attacked the approaching U.S. marines.

Anette and Marisol chatted on the beach while Joel and Amelia played.

Joel goes running with Marisol and me some mornings. He's our early riser! I'm proud of my family of runners. Amelia joins us when she can.

We had water fun the other day to beat the rain. Isn't this a cute picture?

Joel and I built a Lincoln Log cabin as part of home school. We are studying the American pioneers in history class. Amelia helped us by putting the chimney on the roof.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gender Bender

You may think that I meant to write fender bender, but I didn't. Perhaps you have read about the plight of Caster Semenya, the South African female runner who won the 800m (1:55.45) at the Track and Field World Championships in Berlin. Against her will she is undergoing gender tests to determine if she can continue to compete as a female athlete. I can understand why South Africa is in an uproar over this. One would assume that this matter had already been resolved in a previous physical exam required for qualification purposes. The New York Times stated that Ms. Semenya has a "husky voice." I think someone better warn Lauren Bacall and Tracy Chapman!
I can relate to Ms. Semenya's dilemma. Over the years I have been called Mrs. Farnsworth many times on the telephone. My bank, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, even accused me of being a woman trying to sound like a man. That was after I verified all the security information they requested. Last week a man in a CPR class I attended said that I was not as masculine as he was.
It becomes tiring having to explain myself to people who cannot get it out of their minds that God did not create all men from cookie cutters. Why do stereotypes have to run so rampant, even in the Church? When will we learn to accept and even embrace our differences which allow us to minister to different kinds of people who need God's love. These stereotypes are perpetuated by books such as Wild at Heart by John Eldredge that make broad overgeneralizations that do not fit every man, Christian or not. Even though I have come to terms with it over time, I still find it disheartening. I certainly wish Ms. Semenya and her family well as they deal with this ordeal and invasion of privacy. God help us all to accept ourselves as He made us and not to base our identity on other people's impressions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Two Firsts for Latinas

Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as the first Latina and third woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court on August 5 and took the oath Chief Justice John Roberts on August 7. He read the oath from a paper this time to avoid flubbing his lines as he did at the inauguration of President Obama. I had not realized that due to the error Obama needed to take the oath of office again in a private ceremony following the public inauguration.

Accomplished singer-dancer-actress Chita Rivera received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama on Wednesday in a ceremony in Washington. Ms. Rivera overcame humble beginnings to become a veritable Broadway sensation. I witnessed her Tony-winning turn as Aurora in The Kiss of the Spider Women in the early 1990s. Very impressive indeed! Congratulations to both Ms. Sotomayor and Ms. Rivera.

Crazy Bed

Last night we all slept together in what Joel and Amelia termed a "crazy bed." It was a good, thing, too, as there was a spectacular bolt of lightning at 4:00 am that knocked the lights out, and Amelia woke up crying. We are relishing the final days of summer.

Trike Training

Amelia is doing very well riding her tricycle donated by her friend Jireh who moved to Palau. You need to come visit to catch her in action.

¡Adiós, Amigos!

We recently had to say "adiós" to some of the first Ecuadorians we met here in Guam. Martha and Benny (who serves in the military) and their sons Rafael and Gabriel were restationed to Virginia. We had a special meal at our house in their honor.

James spent a quiet moment with his Uncle Benny.

The kids had their own special table.
Martha's sister Margarita made hornado (roasted pork) which complemented the corn on the cob.

James and his mamá smiled for the camera.

Isabella and Amelia read to one another while James played. We already miss our amigos. Dios les bendiga.

Tarza Water Park

On Saturday we joined some of our friends at the Tarza Water Park for Maritza's 10th birthday party. Maritza's mom is from Guayaquil, Ecuador, and her father is from Panama.

Marisol joined her friend Carmen on this ride which propels you up rather than down.
All the kids enjoyed the piñata.
Amelia liked Maritza's Disney Princesses birthday cake.
Splash! Joel lands at the bottom of the water slide.
Joel enjoys himself much more at Tarza now that he can swim. We had a great day and met some new families from Mexico.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Music for Music's Sake

I started teaching Joel piano about a month ago. We are using the John W. Schaum Piano Course and began with the Pre-A Green Book. He is doing well. Now Amelia wants to get into the action. We are happy that Joel and Amelia can enrich their lives through music.

School Days Are Here Again

The Farnsworth family has begun another year of homeschool. Joel is starting first grade and Amelia K3. She is excited to be "doing school" with Joel this year. Marisol teaches them on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and Ned teaches the other days. Please pray for us that we have a good school year together. We start each day with the National Anthem and the pledges (pictured above). We will teach Amelia which hand is her right one!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Amelia's Grand Adventure

This morning Amelia and I headed to the Guam International Airport to pick up our friends Hartmut and Urte returning from Germany. Even though it was an early hour, 3:30 am, Amelia said that she wanted to join me. Since it was pouring rain, I was especially glad for her company. When we arrived at the airport, we had a little bit of time before their arrival.

Amelia wanted to have her picture taken next to a model of the largest reported fish to be caught on Guam (1,153 pounds).
Amelia also posed next to an outrigger canoe on display.
Soon enough Urte and Hartmut arrived. They said it was such a pleasant surprise that Amelia joined me on my jaunt to the airport. We headed through the rain out to the car. Amelia's Grand Adventure was soon to be over.

A Visit from Mrs. Anne

Joel and Amelia enjoyed their time with our friend Mrs. Anne while Marisol and I had a doctor's appointment. Anne read, did puzzles, and played Hoppel Poppel and Chutes and Ladders with them. Look out, Mary Poppins!

Goin' Bananas Again!

Yesterday we harvested the fourth bunch of bananas since moving into our current house in November 2007.
Marisol washed off the bananas before we took them inside. We enjoy cooking with them and eating them plain.

Bananas do not grow on trees. They are perennial herbs. You can see how the different layers grow on top of each other until the plant is large enough to produce bananas. Each one produces only one bunch of bananas, and another perennial herb (called a shoot, sucker, pup, or ratoon) begins next to it. I chopped down the mature one from which we cut the latest bunch of bananas to make room for the new shoot that is growing. We have three more bunches on the way. That's why you could say the Farnsworth Family is goin' bananas. In case you didn't always know that!!!

Baby Farnsworths

Joel and Amelia wanted to climb into the Pack-n-Play that we used for a friend's child when they came over to visit. Don't they look cute?

Goodbye and Hello

This week our church, Bayview Baptist Church, went through an important transition. The Intentional Interim Pastor Mike and his wife Judy stepped down upon the arrival of new Lead Pastor Greg and his wife Terry. Greg previously served Bayview as Pastor of Discipleship. We invited Mike and Judy to our house for lunch before they leave Guam next week.
During a special service Pastor Mike and Judy passed the baton to new Lead Pastor Greg and his wife Terry. It was beautifully symbolic.
The elders and deacons prayed for Pastor Greg and Terri as they begin their new ministry at Bayview.

Pastor Greg preached for the first time as Lead Pastor of Bayview. His sermon was entitled "Conversations with Jesus: I Want to See!" from Mark 10:46-52. My favorite phrase from the message was, "Ministry happens where you are." That is so true. It might be with your neighbor or a coworker or even a fellow customer in the line at Kmart. We always need to be ready to share the love of Jesus with others.

It also happened to be Pastor Greg's birthday, so after the service we all shared in a big birthday party. Happy Birthday to you! It turned out to be a special day for all of us. We welcome Pastor Greg and family back, and we will miss Pastor Mike and Judy. God bless you!

Joel and Amelia the Explorers

We went exploring on the grounds of the Hotel Nikko Guam this week. Next to the tennis courts we saw a cave that the Japanese used to hide from the U.S. marines when they liberated Guam in July 1944.

During our explorations we also found these latte stones. The native people of Guam, the Chamorros, would build their dwellings on top of these two stones. Underneath they would typically bury their dead relatives because they wanted the spirits of their ancestors to be close to them.