Wednesday, 29 September 2010

blogs for young christian women

I'm thinking about introducing some of the female students here to the concept of blogging, with a view to encouraging and assisting them to set up a blog for young christian women in Vanuatu.

The internet is just beginning here, but no doubt it will take off quickly among the young and it would be good to have a christian witness present from the beginning.

As a first step I'm think I'll introduce them to some blogs to read. But as most of the blogs I read are of married women with children, the sample I'd provide would not be very broad!

So, over to you.

Can you recommend some blogs either written by or written for young christian women?

Don't worry about the culture difference, we can work with that. I want them to see young women like themselves thinking through how to live as a christian in today's world, and exhorting others to do the same.

Please help!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

purple verses in Acts

I love the book of Acts.

I love the way the gospel explodes out of Jerusalem. I love the way ordinary men have extraordinary courage. I love the way the Holy Spirit comes upon the Jews, upon the Samaritans, and on the Gentiles in such a way that no-one can dispute that these also are God's people, holy and precious to Him. I love the way the narrative (sorry, recount) slows down when Luke is present and we hear every tiny detail.

Most of all I love the 'purple' verses in Acts. These are the verses that I think tell us what the book is about. They are the verses where Jesus speaks. They remind us that even the book of Acts (often thought to be about the Holy Spirit more than Jesus) is His book. It is His work, His mission, His Spirit, His word, His apostles, His name, His world. As far as I can tell these are the only times the risen Jesus speaks directly in the book, though these are quoted at other times (e.g. 22:21 and 26:17 refer back to 9:15) and the apostles remember other things he said when he was with them (e.g. 11:16; 20:35).

Here they are.

7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Everyone knows about this one. Not long after this the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles (Acts 2) and the speak of the risen Christ in Jerusalem (Chapter 3:1-6:7), throughout Judea and Samaria (6:8-8:40) and thence to the ends of the earth (Chapter 9:1-28:31). Though many object that chapters 9-28 comprise such a long section that 'to the ends of the earth' doesn't adequately explain what is going on. This is true...

15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
At the very start of this section, Jesus speaks for the second time. He actually says quite a lot more, first to Saul (his chosen instrument) and then Ananias (to whom the above is spoken), but I think these verses are the guts of it. And this is what Saul (later to be called Paul) does. He takes the gospel to the Gentiles in his missionary journeys (13-20). It is his practise to speak first to the children of Israel where-ever he goes (e.g. 13:13-48; 17:2; 18:5-6) and does so on his return to Jerusalem (21-22). Then after his arrest there, he carries the name of Jesus before Kings (23-26). There was the Governor Felix, Governor Festus, King Agrippa, and ultimately he awaits an audience with the Emporer (27-28).

9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
Just as Jesus said he would in 9:16, Paul suffers for the name of Christ. He has had a pretty rough time of it in his travels and it is building up to a pretty rough time in Corinth. But Jesus will have his name proclaimed in this place. Even though the Jews try to stop him, the proconsul (Gallio) is not interested in their complaints (18:12-16). Furthermore, I think the encouragement "do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent for I am with you", is fairly pertinent to the whole book.

11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
Again Paul suffers for the name of Christ. Now he is in prison in Jerusalem and Jesus speaks to him again, again a word of encouragement and again he tells Paul his plan. Just as he as carried Jesus name before the children of Israel (9:15) and testified about Jesus in Jerusalem, so also he must do so in Rome. His arrest is all part of Jesus' plan to get Paul to Rome, and he will get there: through assassination plots, through years in prison, through storm and shipwreck; the gospel must go where Jesus has said it will.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

olsem wanem...

?Taem i stret nao blong raetem sam samting long Bislama, o no yet?

Sipos yu yu stap long Vanuatu, o yu save Bislama, hemi taem nao blong yu no moa haed, be yu talemaot. Plis, yu klikim blu toktok ya "COMMENTS" o "Post a Comment" mo talem "Halo" mo yu hu mo yu stap weaples. !Mi mi wantem save yu ya!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

taste test

Do you remember doing taste tests at school?

Do you remember trying to map where the different taste buds were on your tongue?

Did you always get it wrong?

Well there's a reason. The 'taste bud maps' are wrong!! Basically, it seems that these maps are constructed from a misinterpretation of the data. Wisdom now tells us that every taste bud can taste each of the five (that's right, five... you didn't think there were just four did you??) tastes. This means that you can taste sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (or savoury) with your whole tongue. Did you ever wonder about that great big gap in the middle that wasn't supposed to be able to taste anything?? (Read more here and here, image from here.)

I find this very interesting. Every week I take chloroquine tablets for prevention of malaria. These are extremely bitter and it takes all my self discipline to take them. But I have learnt from experience that the taste is much, much worse at the back of my tongue. Yes I can taste them all over my tongue, but nothing makes me grimace, spit and dance around as when they touch the back of my tongue.

There is still admission (sometimes reluctant) that there are regional sensitivities of some kind, although how much is debated (from here).

All very interesting. I am convinced that there are regional variations, at least there is for the bitter taste. We'll see what science reveals over the next few decades as we learn more about how taste buds actually work. And I wonder if it varies much between persons?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

finished now

Well I didn't manage to shine the eyes, but they are all done and I am happy with the results.

Friday, 17 September 2010

just say nothing

A few months ago, whenever Matthew found himself in particular situations, like;
  • he was in trouble
  • or thought he might be
  • or didn't want to do what he was told
  • or was generally being difficult...
he would say "Nothing". Not that he would be silent but he would actually say, "Nothing". One time he said, "Nothing. Just say nothing".

We don't know where he picked up this particular piece of advice, but he has taken it quite literally!

Bethany turns six

Bethany's birthday comes at one of the busiest times of the year for the community at Talua (back in July). I was determined that this year, we would be able to celebrate her birthday together, and we did. But it has taken this log to post any photos of the day!

We spent some time together in the morning, just our family.

And in the afternoon, she had some friends over. Unlike Sophie, Bethany's eyes filled with tears at the prospect of inviting all the children over for a party, so we just invited her closest friends. Bethany was particularly happy to share her birthday with some of the older girls who were back from boarding school for the school holidays.

We even managed a cake this year... with dancers, of course.

And when all the food was eaten, they danced!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

a weekend in Weilapa

Glen's field experience group has been going to a village called Weilapa this year. It is about 8km away along the beach but 12km by road (difficult road... earlier in the year one of the bridges was leaning at a 30 degree angle and another time they were virtually pushed out of church in order to make another river crossing before the water rose too high... they made it, but only because another truck load of people jumped on their truck to weigh them down enough not to be swept about).

We were there again on the weekend, this is the first time this year I have stayed with the children. They had a ball. Here are some photos of Sophie with some of her friends.