Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

We put up and decorated our Christmas tree today. This was the earliest we've ever done it. It was fun to work together as a family as we listened to Christmas music, even though it doesn't feel like winter here. It's supposed to be the dry season, but it's been raining much of the weekend.

Here's a picture before. . .

. . .and after!

Living History

We have a friend at our church that we enjoy talking to. Miss Essie is one of the founding members of Bayview Baptist Church. Her husband was a full commander during World War 2, and he and Miss Essie became good friends of General and Mrs. Douglas MacArthur. In Joel's history class we have been studying some famous Americans, including Gen. MacArthur. It has been thrilling for Joel to hear Miss Essie, well into her nineties, talk about the MacArthurs. After the war Essie's husband went into semiretirement with the navy and resumed his pre-war civilian job with CocaCola. CocaCola sent him to Japan to sell Coke to the servicemen there. Miss Essie says that "we were treated like royalty in Japan," and they spent much time with the MacArthurs who were also there at the time. When they moved to Guam later, they brought the MacArthurs' dog with them. They regularly watched their dog for them. Now that's what I call "living history."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from the Guam Turkey Dressers

The Pacific Daily News sponsored a turkey dressing art contest this year. Amelia and Joel both entered pictures. Although they did not win, they enjoyed participating in the contest. Here are their entries for you to see and enjoy as well. Thanks for your friendship, and God bless you and your families as you reflect on His goodness to you. We love you!

New Car (Revised)

Thanks for all your prayers for our car situation. Our Ford Taurus died, and God provided a 2000 Mazda MPV Minivan with low mileage through the generosity of a friend from church who owns a car dealership. He offered us a deal we couldn't refuse. Rejoice with us!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Green Thumbs

A couple from our small group, Paul and Vangie, have started their own business. They invited us to their house last Saturday for a home school excursion. Vangie wanted to show Joel and Amelia how to plant. First we took a tour of their garden. Enjoy the following pictures.

As you can see, the name "Garden Inspirations" is fitting indeed. We felt as if we were in paradise.

Vangie showed such patience as she taught Amelia and Joel the fine art of separating pepper and flower seedlings and transplanting them.

Joel and Amelia were so pleased and proud of their planting experience!

Paul cooked us a delicious dinner, including grilled tuna and eggplant. Absolutely exquisite!

At the end of the night, after planting and eating, we watched Joel and Amelia play with one of their cats, Snagga Woo Woo.

We all helped to plant the sweet potatoes in our garden back home.

The peppers and the flowers are now growing on our front porch.
Here are the sweet potatoes planted and ready to grow. Love and thanks to Paul and Vangie for an "inspiring" evening and experience.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans (Remembrance) Day

Veterans Day is an important day in Guam because of the military presence here. I found this story on the internet and wanted to share it with you. I normally don't "reprint" or forward anything, but this is exceptionally good. I hope as you read that you can appreciate the important contribution of our servicemen and women.

"He was very old now, but could still hold himself stiffly at attention before the monument. His war, the one to end all ways, now just a fading part of history. Very few could remember, first-hand, the savageness of the ordeal that had sent millions of young men to their deather. Cannon fodder, they'd called them, sent before the guns to be mown down--blown apart by chunks of metal which had decimated their frail bodies. The cream of a generation, almost wiped out. He was haunted by the faces of the boys he'd had to order into battle, the ones who'd never come back. Yet one nameless ghost was able to bring a measure of comfort to his tormented mind. At the sound of the gun signaling the eleventh hour he was mentally transported back to the fields of Flanders.

The battle had raged for hours, with neither side gaining any advantage. Wave after wave of soldiers had been dispatched from the muddy trenches and sent over the top. So many had died already that day that he decided he could not afford to lost any more men before reinforcements arrived. Perhaps they'd give the remnants a few more days of life. There came a slight lull in the battle due to the sheer exhaustion of the men on both sides.

During this interval, a young soldier came up to him requesting that he be allowed to go over the top. He looked at the boy who couldn't have been more than nineteen. Was this extreme bravery in the face of the enemy or was the soldier so scared he just needed to get it over with?

'Why would you want to throw your life away, soldier? It's almost certain death to go out there.'

'My best friend went out over an hour ago, captain, and he hasn't come back. I know my friend must be hurt and calling for me. I must go to him, sir. I must' There were tears in the boy's eyes. It was as if this were the most important thing in the world to him.

'Soldier, I'm sorry, but your friend is probably dead. What purpose would it serve to let you sacrifice your life, too?'

'At least I'd know I'd tried, sir. He'd do the same thing in my shoes. I know he would.'

He was about to order the boy back to the ranks, but the impact of his words softened his heart. He remembered the awful pain he'd felt himeself when his brother had died. He'd never had the chance to say goodbye.

'All right, solider. You can go.' Despite the horrow all around them, he saw a radiant smile on the boy's face, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

'God bless you, sir,' said the soldier.

It was a long time before the guns fell silent for the last time and each side was allowed to gather their dead and wounded. The captain remembered the young soldier. He looked through the many piles of bodies. Young men. So many as to give an unreal quality to the scene before him.

When he came to the makeshift hospital, he looked carefully throught the casualties. He soon found himself before the prone body of the soldier, alive, but severely wounded. He knelt down beside the young man and gently laid a hand on his shoulder.

'I'm so sorry, son. I knew I was wrong to let you go.'

'Oh no, sir. I'm glad you did and I'm glad you're here now so I can thank you. You see, sir, I found my friend. He was badldy wounded, but I was able to comfort him at the end. As I held him dying in my arms, he looked me in the eyes and said, 'I knew you'd come.'

The young soldier faded between consciousness and oblivion for some time before he finally slipped away. The captain stayed by his side until the end, tears streaming quietly down his cheeks. Only in war could the happy endings be so terrible sad.

As the bugle sounded "Taps," the old captain envisioned once again the young soldier's face. Looking up, he could almost hear the shone monument calling out to him: 'I knew you'd come.'"

Here are some pictures from this year's Liberation Day Parade which commemorates the 1944 liberation of Guam by the U.S. Marines from the Japanese occcupation.
Happy Veterans Day to all veterans and active military men and women! Thanks for your service!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

PIU Team in Basketball Playoffs

The Pacific Islands University basketball team is in the Guam Church League playoffs this year.

Grace, Gracetena, KeKe, May May, and Jen enjoyed watching the gam with Joel, Amelia and me.

Inca, Machinta, and Julie were among the other PIU fans in attendance.

Our PIU coach, Daisy, goes over the plays with the team during a scheduled time-out.

PIU played our church, Bayview, for this game, so it was a conflict of interests of sorts for us. Who should we cheer for? Well, we did cheer for both teams, but in our hearts we hoped that PIU would win.

The Lord granted our wish as PIU won 65-56. Now there's a week to practice and get ready for playoff game # 2 next Saturday. PIU is our remaining hope for a championship since the Phillies lost to the Yankees. GO PIU!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day of the Dead

El Día de los Muertos (Mexican Name) or All Soul's Day (English Name) is celebrated on November 2. A Catholic holiday, it commemorates those loved ones who have passed away. Countries celebrate in different ways. In Guam it is a legal holiday, and all Guam government offices and schools are closed.

I woke up early to bake the pan de muerto, a typical Mexican bread made with orange peel and anise seed for flavoring, dusted with egg white and sugar. Yum! Our friends Urte and Hartmut from campus rescued us by allowing us to bake at their house when our oven ran out of gas. I guess it turned out okay. My family enjoyed it.

Later on in the day we went to a cemetery so that Joel and Amelia could see the local custom of going to visit the graves of the deceased loved ones. We saw lots of pretty floral displays everywhere.
It really is a "big deal" as you can see from the crowds of people using umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun. It has been so hot here the past few days.

Here is our family looking at some of the flowers and gravestones. It may seem morbid to some, but it quite "normal" here in Guam, and even in Ecuador, to visit the cemetery on November 2 each year. In Mexico families even have picnics there. We didn't see any of that in Guam.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Community Group # 6

We are enjoying our time with our Pacific Islands University group, a group of students and staff families for fellowship, fun, and mutual encouragement.

At our first meeting Keke helped to entertain Amelia and Joel, and even Marisol.

Glend's smile is definitely contagious!

Last night May and Tony hosted our group's Italian Night at their house. Joses, May, Marisol and Amelia enjoyed the spaghetti, lasagna, and salad.

Kinamwe, Fred, Keke, and Tyleen enjoyed their reunion with a stray dog that used to live on campus. May and Tony adopted Mika the big black dog.

Doralynn, Joses and Alicia posed with Joel before watched "Ice Age."

At the end of the night Kinamwe and Judson showed their enthusiasm for our group meeting. Kinamwe is part of another group but joined us for our Italian Night.

A Day at Home School

We continue to enjoy home school time. Here are two photos of a recent school day. 64 days of school completed. 116 days to go!

One of our science lessons involved putting a stalk of celery in a glass of regular water and another in a glass of red-colored water. Amelia and Joel couldn't resist playing with the specimens afterwards.
One of Amelia's Bible homework assignments was helping to make a salad. We try to incorporate the children's Awana assignements into our school day.