Tuesday, 28 April 2009

edifying conversation

This morning at breakfast my children were discussing the likelihood
of a louse falling into their cereal should they scratch their head.

Just so you know conversation at the Connors is not always either
theologically profound nor mutually edifying.

Monday, 27 April 2009

our families

You will know that in first term of school this year, we worked through a unit on the 9 values for Australian schooling. I posted about them here and here*. 

This term we're working through a unit on families. This makes me panic a little as I have no confidence whatever in what the material will hold.

One of the additional reading books for Sophie was "A Mum named Dad". Of course, like you, in my fear and paranoia, I jumped to the worst possibile conclusions. Actually the book was about a girl whose mother had died and whose Dad was both mother and father to her. The conclusion was that all mothers are different and they all do different things.  We can't define motherhood.

Which made me think about what scripture actually teaches about being a mother and father. I've though a lot about what scripture teaches about wives and husbands but not much about mothers and fathers. I don't mean just being a female parent. What does it teach about me being a wise and loving mother as opposed to a wise and loving parent?

I really would like to know what you think. What is the difference between a mother and a father? Are the roles interchangeable or not? What are your experiences and what does scripture teach?

*A dear friend sent me some material from Parenting with Scripture by Kara Durbin which worked through the same or similar values as was in the list but based in scripture. It was really helpful. My friend photocopied the relevant pages and I expect the book would contain a lot more.

Monday, 20 April 2009

What flower is this? (34)

This flower has already featured on this blog, here. I found it in a swamp and wasn't prepared to get close enough for a better photo. It has five white petals, heavily fringed. The centre looks to be yellow with five stamen with brown crescent shaped anthers at the end.

The swamp was dotted with them, and they were gone again a few days later. They seem to grow from stems under the water and seem to be attached to those large leaves on which I expected to find a few frogs, but alas, I did not. Again, I was not game enough to test this theory by pulling a few from the depths.

What is it? I don't know, just yet.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Thank you

This week we received a lovely parcel of goodies from some friends from our old church in Sydney. There were some really thoughtful gifts for all the children. Truly, they were perfect! Thank you very much!

Thank you also to the others who have sent parcels recently. It is always really encouraging to receive parcels! I really appreciated the daily bible reading notes that were sent recently, as well as the craft materials that have been sent for the children. We have been busy making things this week... perfect timing for school holidays.

We greatly appreciate your partnership with us in our work here. We are reminded that you are thinking of us and praying for us. We remember that though we feel so far away we are united in our Lord Jesus.


Thursday, 16 April 2009

What flower is this? (33a)

Well I have discovered that this flower is a Curcuma sp. (again, I can only identify genus, not species) and as I thought, is from the Ginger family (ZINGIBERACAE). Now, the interesting thing is that the spice, tumeric, is also a Cucurma species (Curcuma longa, not the same as this one). Curcuma alismatifolia (the Siam Tulip) and Curcuma zedoaria (Zedoary) are also used as spices. I wonder what would happen if I boiled the rhizomes (roots) of my Curcuma for hours and then dried them in the oven. Worth considering... We'd probably all end up in hospital, poisoned!

I wonder what other interesting plants are lying around...

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Encouragement lifts our spirits and brings a smile to our faces. Some of us have the gift of encouragement. Some of us have to work at it.

Bethany has it.

Recently when we were working in the garden and Glen cut down a banana tree and was lifting it over the fence...
"Wow, Daddy! You are so strong! You are the strongest man I know!"

On an excursion with her Grandmother, who had pulled a comb through her hair to tidy up before getting out of the car and asked, "how's that?"
"I think you are the sort of woman who always looks good."

When Sophie was trying on a new dress..."
"That's a beautiful dress, Sophie. You look like a princess!"

It's a gift that can be used to build people up and truly encourage them. It's a gift that could be distorted for her own ends. Let's pray that her joy will be in Christ and will overflow always in such encouragement.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Rejel Kona

That's me, in Bislama.


"Komeje" means thank you in the language of the people of Tangoa, a small island nearby here. Komeje! seemed to be the message on Sunday when the New Testament, newly translated into the Tangoan language, was presented to the people, and dedicated to the glory of God.

The day marked the completion of many years of work, under the supervision of Jeff and Sue Batcock, tranlators with SIL. The celebrations began with Jeff and Sue arriving at the island in a canoe with the Tangoan New Testament in a carefully decorated box. Although this may bear little resemblance to their actual arrival on the island around 1995, the canoe has become a symbol in Vanuatu for the movement of the word of God from island to island.

The word of God was welcomed onto the island carried throughout the village, being accepted by all the different family groups in the village. A Thanksgiving service was held, with bible readings, prayers and sermon in the Tangoan language. Apparently it was a great message on the resurrection. The Word of God in one's own language is powerful!

After the service the New Testaments were given out.

Komeje! to Jeff and Sue for all your work.

Komeje! to God for giving your redemptive word to us.

When all the celebrations were over we also jumped into a canoe to return to the mainland and begin our long walk home. Actually, Matthew and I ended up hopping into a (very croweded) motor boat. Not nearly so romantic, but there are sharks in that water!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vanuatu Bible Commentary Books

On Tuesday of this week, the first two books in the Vanuatu Bible Commentary series were officially presented to the Talua Library.

The Vanuatu Bible Commentary Project, led by Rosemary and Andy Williamson, aims to provide commentaries in the Bislama language to help people teach the Bible clearly and faithfully. The first two books were published recently and officially launched at the Langham Preaching Conference held last week in Vila.

On Tuesday, the two books were presented to the librarian at Talua. They were ‘Filimon’ by Pastor Sophia Silas (left above) and 'Fas Tesalonaeka’ by Philip Joses (right). ‘Mak’, ‘Filipae’, ‘Fas Jon’, ‘Fas Pita’, ‘Esta’ and others are in the pipeline.

These are the first of such resources to be available in the Bislama language. It is really exciting to be a witness of this great work!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

When the Power Comes On

We have been blessed with another visit from Betty Murray to help our students with their study in English. This time, she brought her friend, Penny Wright, to assist her. Penny has now returned home, but she left us with this poem describing her experiences, particularly of eating each night with a different student family, which I reproduce her with her permission...

When the Power Comes On

When the power comes on
I'll see your faces in the dark recesses
And read the messages your brown eyes send
But for the moment I can't see your smiles.

When the power comes on
I'll see your lives in cramped and stuffy rooms
But clean and neat and 'home' - but lacking privacy -
Lit by the light of hospitality.

When the power comes on
There'll be a sudden glow invading,
Illuminating homes where Christ's the honoured guest,
Where fellowship with you's a precious gift.

When the power comes on
It only lasts two hours or three,
Momentary power to ease the evening hours,
Help weary studying eyes, the writing hands.

But the Power is on.
It permeates Talua through the beauty here,
It shines through thunderclouds, life's difficutlties too,
But most it streams through Talua people's gifts -
The Power is on.

Penny Wright, April, 2009

Me, Penny and Betty

and his friends...

There's a swamp just up the road from here. We walked past on the way back from the river yesterday and I noticed some interesting flowers growing therein. I stopped to take some photos and was amazed by all the dragonflies. It must be the mosquitoes. Yesterday's is still my favourite, but I like the red one too. It looks just like velvet.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Monday, 6 April 2009

which flower is this? (33)

I think I’ve found another one of the ZINGIBERACEAE family. It looks quite different to the others (here, here and here) but has these features in common:

  • The same sort of leaf and stem, and the same way of growing from the ground, which I haven’t pictured.

  • A ‘flower-like’ structure actually made up of leaves, sometimes coloured (like the red ginger flower).

  • The true flowers grow out of the axils of the leaves in this structure. Some are obvious (like the white and peach ginger lilies) some are quite unobtrusive (like this one).

This week’s flower is another that has more unobtrusive true flowers. See the yellow flower growing out from between the leaf and the stem (the leaf axil) in this photo?

You can see the leaf at the top of the photo is tinged with the same pink as in the top photo. The ‘flower’ in the top photo is technically made up of leaves.

Hopefully, I'll have found out what it is by the end of the week!  Help always welcome.

Friday, 3 April 2009


This beloved little creature is my constant companion in the kitchen. She (or he?) happily runs up and down the window panes and (amazingly) even across the ceiling upside down. She is one of many in our house, all welcome friends, as they love to eat mosquitoes. She appears to have had a troubled past but I hope she lives long in my kitchen. Her name is Tripod.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Our weekend on Field Experience

Our weekend in the village was a tiring one! Late nights, not much sleep, early mornings and constantly working at communicating in a different language and culture is tiring. None-the-less it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know people, to work side by side with the students and to talk about the Lord Jesus.

The student wives and I had decided for our first weekend, we would talk with the leaders of the women’s ministry and work out with them what we would do over the next few months. We were saddened to hear that the group is now very small and surprised to find they’d organised for us to meet with all the members on Saturday afternoon. Fortunately we’d prepared (just in case) which was good as quite a handful turned up. One of the student wives shared her testimony and we did a bible study together, on Matthew 5:8;
"Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God."
The women as a whole were shocked to hear me suggest that I was not pure in heart and neither were they and surprised by the grace that means we can be sure we will see God.

I am really looking forward to the rest of our time there. Please keep praying for me and the student wives as we work in the village. Pray for me particularly as I still find speaking on spiritual matters quite difficult in a different language. I'm never quite sure if I've actually said what I meant to say.

A visit from Mum

We’re enjoying a short visit from my Mum!