Monday, 30 June 2008
Here is Matthew helping her hang out the washing.
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Then, someone mentioned this substitute for baking powder:
For every teaspoon of baking powder, use;
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar (NOT tartaric acid)
1/3 teaspoon of bicarb soda
It is fantastic! I have had lovely, well risen cakes ever since. And, I have developed a great recipe for a banana cake that doesn't even need eggs. This is it:
4 oz (125g) butter or 1/2 cup oil
6 oz (190g) sugar
2 ripe, mashed bananas
dash of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/3 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 cup milk
- Cream the butter and sugar (until the colour of the mixture is almost white) and then mix in the mashed bananas. Add and mix the vanilla and spice.
- Mix in the flour, cream of tartar and bicarb soda and milk. Mix well but not too much. It's best to get the cake into the oven quickly after you have added the flour. If you are keen, you can sift the flour, cream of tartar and bicarb soda, but I never usually bother.
- Turn into a greased and floured cake tin and bake at 180 degrees celsius until done. Enjoy!
Thursday, 26 June 2008
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
I have said previously that while the rich ruler didn't leave everything and follow Jesus, and while Peter had, we cannot.
We cannot follow Jesus the way that Peter did, day by day, along the roads of Galilee, Samaria and Judea. We live on the other side of the world, but more importantly, we live on the other side of the cross. When the rich ruler came to Jesus with his question about eternal life, Jesus was on his way up to Jerusalem, fully aware that there he would be handed over to the Gentiles and crucified. After three days he would be raised to life and later raised to the right hand of God the Father in heaven. But it has not happened yet and Peter is following Jesus to Jerusalem still expecting his Messiah to lead a political revolt.
We cannot think about what it means to follow Jesus without considering what difference the cross makes.
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Blogging has become very difficult. It is almost impossible for me to get a secure enough connection (these need to be fast) either to sign in or to post comments. Today I was ready to throw up my hands in despair and give up. I was ready to say goodbye and delete the whole thing as it's really not worth getting upset about. Only I couldn't get a connection!
But now I have cooled down a little and thought through how it might be possible to continue to maintain my own blog and read others. If I can do most of it offline, it will be possible. Here are the guidelines I have developed:
1. Include a maximum of one photo or picture per blog with a maximum of five blogs per week with photos or pictures. I will need to be ruthless in choosing which photos to include, and thoughtful about which photos to take. (Although I will make an exception for this for photos of the new library which I have been intending to post for a while. After these, only one photo per blog.)
2. All posts to be composed offline, subsequently uploading either via email or a blog-editing program.
3. Obtain blogs I read regularly through RSS feeder or email subscription.
4. Browse other blogs through a proxy server. I don't quite understand this but I think a computer that acts as a proxy server 'grabs' and 'caches' web-pages so that any number of computers networked with the first can access these sites without having to go online. This is great for browsing sites that don't update very frequently, not so great for blogs. However, I'm willing to give it a go.
5. Write comments offline and cut and paste into the comments box when a connection is established.
We'll see how it goes!
Mma Ramotswe is the cheerful detective of 'traditional' build, protagonist in Alexander McCall Smith's "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series. I have just finished the sixth in the series, "In the Company of Cheerful Ladies", a birthday gift from my brother and his family (thank-you!). While the detecting has taken a back seat as the series has progressed, the narration of the daily life of Mma Ramotswe, her husband (Mr J.L.B. Maketoni) and her assistant (Mma "97%" Makutsi) is none-the-less delightful. Here is Mma Ramotswe meditating on the virtues of a good mattress:
Then, having placed her tea cup on the bedside table, she lowered herself onto the bed, sinking down into the mattress that had served her well for many years and which was holding up very well with the additional weight of Mr J.L.B. Maketoni. She had bought the bed and its mattress at the same time that she had moved into the house on Zebra Drive, and had resisted the temptation to buy cheaply. In her view a well-made bed was the one thing on which it was worthwhile spending as much money as one could possibly afford. A good bed produced happiness, she was sure of that; a bad, uncomfortable bed produced grumpiness and niggling pains. (In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, p18).
I share this quote in honour of my husband who couldn't agree more with Mma Ramotswe on this issue. At the moment we sleep on a bed that came with this furnished, college house. That is, I sleep while he tosses and turns and moans and groans and then stumbles out to the spare bed for the rest of the night. Thank goodness there is more to marital happiness than sharing a bed!
From my observations, Hibiscus usually have five petals (although Mama Linda has one that has layers of petals). They have a long prominent style which is divided at its end, with five stigma. The many stamen (which make the pollen) appear to grow out of the style near the divided stigma but probably their stalks (the filaments) are fused to the style for most of its length, only separating from it at its end.
Hibiscus typify the friendly face of the pacific. Homes are daily decorated with these boldly colourful flowers. Most close as the sun sets but some bloom for two days. This one is outside Mama Cindy's house.
Monday, 23 June 2008
Thanks to Michelle for the photos on this post!
Friday, 20 June 2008
As it turns out, this frail, elderly man and his wife were the missionaries that first carried the good news of Jesus to the people on the West Coast of Santo. They are erecting a new church building in Tessareki and would like to put up pictures of these two in memory of the work that they did. I am hoping to have a chance to find out more of their story.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Yet God in his infinite kindness has sent us great encouragement over the last few days.
Glen was able to meet with Temar once again. They usually meet to read the bible and pray together on a Tuesday afternoon but it is a long time since Temar has been free from work duties to come. He was telling Glen about how he has finally come to realise that it is only through reading God's word that we grow both in our knowledge of Him and in our godliness. He has been meeting with some other first and second year students to read the bible and pray together, and this not because it is part of the college program, but because they want to know God better.
The women's bible study that Mama Mercy started continued our study of James and were so challenged by James 2:14-17 that we have made a collection of clothes to send to villages further inland. This is particularly humbling when these friends of mine have so very little but in taking God's word to heart, have given graciously and generously.
The reports of field experience which I have already mentioned.
Margaret Boe (mentioned here) and I have begun meeting together to read God's word and pray together. We are reading 1 Peter.
And unrelated to Talua, I have found the blog of one of the girls who was in the youth group Glen and I lead at Narellan quite a few years ago. Only now she is one of the leaders.
Isn't it lovely the way God knows just what you need to lift your eyes to heaven and let your spirit soar?
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Here is Bethany with her best friend, Joshua.
Here are the children waiting for everyone to turn up.
Talua Kindergarten singing. By this time there had been a downpour and they had taken shelter in the church.
Paths were made...
... and filled in with coral. The coral gives excellent drainage and keeps feet clean.
The reception desk was finished. Here are Solomon and Iarauel (Ya-ra-well, wearing the white cap) doing the final touches. Iaraeul is the builder that works at the Rural Training Centre at Navota Farm, just a little way from Talua. He has built most of the wooden furniture in the new library, and indeed at Talua.
Here am I putting up the curtains,,
and Thea painting the bookcase for the office,
and Doug and Richard completing the wiring and working out how to put up the solar panels.
DAYSPRING was the name of the ship that carried the early missionaries around the islands of Vanuatu, then the New Hebrides. This mission ship freed them from relying on infrequent trading vessels for travel and even rescue. It fell to John Paton to carry out the "unwelcome but inevitable task" of raising funds for this ship and to do so he travelled to Australia. After a slow start he found the response of fellow believers to be "gratifying beyond almost all expectation". And then he had a little plan...
It was now that I began a little plan of interesting the children, that attracted them from the first, and has since had an amazing development. I made them shareholders in the new Mission Ship- each child receiving a printed form, in acknowledgement of the number of shares, at sixpence each, of which he was the owner. Thousands of these shares were taken out, were shown about amongst families, and were greatly prized. The Ship was to be their very own! They were to be a great Shipping Company for Jesus. In hundreds of homes, these receipt-forms have been preserved; and their owners, now in their middle years, are training their children of to-day to give their pennies to support the white-winged Angel of the Seas, that bears the Gospel and the Missionary to the Heathen Isles.
From the autobiography of John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides, p234-235
Over time, there were three of these mission ships called the DAYSPRING. And now, in our new library, proudly displayed on two walls, are two of the ships-names that have come from those very ships. Isn't that fantastic!
experience in the villages over the weekend.
Bosco spoke about an old man in the village who began to cry during a
bible study and he cried and cried. It was a study on discipleship
and he was crying for his village who were not following Christ.
Bosco challenged the staff here at Talua to give their best as they
teach so that students can go out and give their best in the villages.
Then Manangis stood up. He was beaming with joy as he spoke about how
they had seen God at work. In his village the people were hungry for
the word of God and begging the students to come more and more to run
bible studies for them. Manganis also said, 'please keep feeding us
so we can feed them.'
Temar, his smile spread across his face, and eyes shining, stood up
and simply thanked us (and you!) for praying for them. God, he said,
answered your prayers. Thank-you.
Monday, 16 June 2008
Can you work our what the coloured things are on the side of the cake?
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Please pray for them. They are feeling incredibly inadequate and the task before them at times seems impossible. Yet they are willing servants and they seek to bring glory to God.
Please pray for their students. They will have come for a variety of reasons. Some have nothing else to do. Some would rather be somewhere else but have been sent by family, or their pastor, in hope of reform. Some will have come with a desire to know God better. Pray that they will grow in their understanding of the gospel as they grow in godliness.
And, please pray for Santo Presbytery which is ultimately responsible for this school, that they will be faithful in their oversight of it, taking care both of Daniel and Margaret and the students in their hands.
I cried tears of joy. It has been such a long time since I have enjoyed fellowship like this. I had not realised just how hungry for it I was. I leant back on my chair, listening to the murmur of their prayers, with tears rolling down my cheeks, praising God in my heart.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
She was a woman from the north, Mma Makutsi said, and she had twelve children up in Francistown.
'That is too much,' said Mma Ramotswe. 'In these modern days, it is not a good thing to have twelve children. The Government should tell people to stop after six. Six is enough, or maybe seven or eight if you can afford to feed that many.'
Mma Makutsi agreed. She had four brothers and two sisters and she thought that this had prevented her parents from paying adequate attention to the education of each of them.
'It was a miracle that I got 97 percent,' she said.
'If there had only been three children, then you would have got over 100 percent,' observed Mma Ramotswe.
'Impossible,' said Mma Makutsi. 'Nobody has ever got over 100 percent in the history of the Botswana Secretarial College. It's just not possible.'
(From Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith, p20
This made me laugh. Fancy thinking that six ought to be the limit! And fancy the Government telling people how many children to have! And then I remembered something about all good Roman families having three children and then, only very recently, Australians being encouraged to have three (one for Mum, one for Dad and one for the country). And then I thought about the health clinics around here where there are posters recommending that families have only two children. Whether encouraging people to have more children or encouraging them to have fewer, Governments definitely do make recommendations (even making it law as in China).
So it made me wonder. How do we decide? When is it time to stop? This is a very pertinent question for me at the moment as while I have always just assumed I would have four children, I know just how tired I am at the moment with three. So here's another thing for me to think about. Your thoughts are warmly welcome...
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
We were met by the chief and his fierce warriors, and let me say, the children were very anxious. The chief, below, and no longer looking so fierce, is wearing pig tusks. These are a symbol of authority throughout Vanuatu. He is waving a namele leaf, a symbol of peace. Thus we were granted entry to the village.
We were shown how to collect water using a leaf-lined hole in the ground and how to store food in a hole in the ground for up to five years, in case of cyclone. We were shown how to trap birds that fly,
and birds that walk (fowl);
and which arrows to use to shoot flying fox, birds and fish.
The contraption below is used to catch a lot of fish very quickly. The vines (the five horizontal pieces forming a 'paddle') release a poison which kills everything. This method is only used on very special occasions.
A woman is considered to be twenty-five years old and ready to marry when she is able to cook without complaining.
Women from Futuna weave the most intricate and complicated patterns in their baskets. Each family has their own pattern that is woven around the top of the baskets.
We learnt about custom medicine; what to take instead of panadol and what to take instead of iron tablets. Our guide, Sero, also spoke about how the missionaries changed various aspects of their custom. He spoke positively about this and rebuked tourists who suggested the missionaries should have left well alone.
>He said in custom times, his firstborn, a girl, would have been killed as she was not a boy. Widows were buried alive with their husbands, as were infants with their dead mothers. They instead developed a method to feed infants whose mothers died, shaving and shaping a coconut husk to make a 'baby bottle:
We had a great time and would thoroughly recommend a visit if ever you come to Vanuatu!
See here, here and here for other photos of our holiday in Vila. Photos in this post thanks to our friends, Julie and Fil (and apologies that they looked so fuzzy for so long, that was my fault).
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Then, thinking we were finally lice free, I found one in Matthew's hair yesterday. Let me rephrase that, I found one louse boldy walking around on Matthew's head. I mean, he doesn't even have hair (see here).
Well, how we have changed! I was so worried about the children picking up lice when we first came to Vanuatu. Still, I am glad that we have not had to contend with scabies.
But alas! No flowers. I have been taking photos over the last couple of months but have not been able to identify then. I know a few like hibiscus and frangipani and orchid. But which hibiscus and which orchid I know not.
I knew this would be a problem and for many weeks now I have been trying to become a member of the only library in town (at the university campus) so I would be able to borrow a book about flowers in Vanuatu.
I have been unsuccessful.
Getting into town is not easy, especially when we do school in the morning and I need an afternoon nap and you don't have a car.
Especially when if you go on Wednesday afternoon you find all the staff at the University out working in the gardens and the library is closed.
Especially when you go on a Monday morning and you discover that Monday is shelving day and the library is closed.
Especially when you go on a Friday and the Librarian's child is sick and the library is closed.
Especially when you go again on a Monday because you have forgotten about shelving day and the library is closed.
But, I will persevere and soon, I hope, we will have some lovely tropical flowers to ponder.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Storian smol is proud to announce the debut appearance of PAIR-MAN.
First in our range of educational supers, Pair-man is able to identify similar objects in the blink of an eye; he will enter the swirling chaos of a child’s bedroom and emerge with toys of dazzling congruence and he will bravely penetrate the depths of the tupperware cupboard in order to locate identical plastic lids.
Matthew has this uncanny and peculiar habit of finding two similar objects and walking around with one in each hand; two red duplo chairs, two plastic pigs, two fly-swats. His favourite pair is two pieces from a musical instrument jig-saw puzzle, a guitar and a violin. While not identical, they are more similar to each other than any of the others. You can see in the photo that he has chewed the necks of both instruments.
I managed to get out of the house and around a little yesterday afternoon. Preparations for the opening of the new library are well on the way. Some of the students have been building reading shelters. Here is one made with woven bamboo walls and natangora thatch. The students are making the finishing touches.
Yesterday I spent some time raking leaves. You can see in the photo where I have reached; the green finishes and the brown begins.
As the job continued I felt like giving up. But as everyone is working so hard to clean up before the grand opening of the new library, I kept going. Here I am with my soft, white arms, thought I, it doesn’t take long for them to be tired. If only I didn’t wait until the job was so big.
Perhaps if I raked a little each day I could get on top of it. Then I could be rid of all these leaves and have a lovely, clean, green lawn.
But there are always leaves, always falling. They never, ever stop.
Perhaps, I thought, if someone would get rid of that tree…
It’s like that with sin in my life. Whether I let it grow and grow and it gets too big to deal with or whether I keep on top of it day by day, it’s always there. Always falling. I need someone else to get rid of it. Someone else to come and get rid of that tree.
- For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offereing.” Romans 8:3
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
He is ready now, with his weapon. He is behind us. Our head are bowed, noses pressed against our desks. I can smell shavings. I am terrifed. He is coming. I can smell the disinfectant. Plop, swish. Him now. Plop, swish. Her next. Plop, swish. Me now. I close my eyes.
The back of my head tingles. I can feel it behind my ears. He must have good eyes. Plop, swish. He moves on.
No lice. No lice. No lice.
A chair shuffles. Someone has to leave. It wasn't me.
In Vanuatu, "louse" are our constant companions. We look for lice here like we might have a cup-of-tea at home. It's what we do when we relax together. Under the mango, on a mat, head in my lap, turning hair. There's one! Can I see? Squash him!
Monday, 2 June 2008
This week’s flower is Lobelia alata.
This image is quite enlarged. To get a better feel for how fine and dainty it is, see here and see another lovely one, Lobelia trigonocaulis, here.
Note the three larger petals on one side and the two smaller ones, one on each side of the larger ones. This is how we can recognise that this flower is Lobelia.
Sunday, 1 June 2008
This thread is getting difficult to follow. Let me sum up where we have come so far. Initially I was struggling to work out how to apply the passage and I asked this question:
- What on earth does it mean for everyone to leave everything for the sake of the kingdom?
Then, going back to the text, I found some bits of the passage itself difficult to understand. Bits that just didn’t quite seem to fit;
- Why does Jesus say, in verse 19, "Why do you call me good? No-one is good-except God alone."?
- And why does Peter ask, in verse 26, "Who then can be saved"?
So I began to ponder the second question, here. I remembered that one of the most important things in understanding a bible passages is to first understand it as the original hearers would have understood it. It was important to try and understand what Peter was thinking and feeling. In doing this I realised that Peter expected the rich ruler to inherit eternal life. He was surprised that Jesus said it was difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
- It occurred to me that while the rich ruler did not leave everything and follow Jesus, Peter had (see Luke 5:1-10). Peter recognised he was a sinner, acknowledged Jesus as Lord, left everything and followed him.
- I realised that I can’t do what Peter did. It is impossible. (To see what I mean, look here).
- I considered the different meanings of ‘follow’ and how we use it differently to the way it is used in the passage. We use the same word, but we mean something different.
Which brought me to this question,
- “What allows us to switch meanings of follow when we apply this passage to ourselves?”
In answer to this, I want to say that nothing does. We can’t simply change the meaning of the word. This is not good application. Easy, but not good. However, we do have to recognise that the application itself will be different. The application will change, but not simply by changing the meaning of the words.
(This post continues a lengthening thread. Click to see parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.)
- I'm not certain of this, but wasn't there something somewhere where Germaine Greer expressed thoughts about missing out on marriage/relationship stuff and motherhood?
Does anyone know?