Tuesday, December 27, 2011

...Not a Creature Was Stirring

Tannenbaum bread baked in the big W&W pot on top of the stove!
By December 26th we were pretty tuckered out.  We planned for it to be a quiet day at home.  We each opened our one Christmas gift from each other and set to work at making the traditional Christmas Tannenbaum bread. Sylvia has been having trouble with the stove since we got back from the States, and she could not get it to light for anything!!  So, we set up the big Work and Witness pot on top of the stove and baked the Tannenbaum bread inside.  We think it was the best one we've ever had! 

This year all our kids were in different places - Joel and Bekah and the twins are in Papua New Guinea, Jeffrey spent a few days with his girl friend's family near Detroit, and Wesley was with Sylvia's parents and her little brother Phillip and family in Kalamazoo.  We are thankful for things like Skype and Facebook that make it possible for us to be connected with the ones we love even though we are all over the world.  

"...and they will call him Immanuel - God with us."
~ Matthew 1:23

...and All Through the House

We had planned to have a party for the pastors on Wednesday, but it rained cats and dogs all day and made it too difficult for people to come.  A tropical storm was brewing off to the west of Vanuatu which was looking like it would become a cyclone.  All the Nazarene churches in Port Vila were planning to join together on December 23, 24, and 25th, and rain would not make gathering very easy.

Pastor Morrison enjoying the swing with Abraham.
But, Thursday was a bright and beautiful day!  The storm to the west fizzled out and we had our pastors Christmas party with Pastor Morrison and Rehab with little Abraham from Tanna, Pastor Gideon and Aline with John from Prima, Pastor William with Peter and Nathan from Vila North, Pastor Meriam and David with Rona and Sam from Eluklom and a few other friends added in.  The house was full!  The PK's (pastor's kids) made some Christmas pictures with the Christmas cards that we had saved which became gifts for their parents.  We ate together, shared from God's Word, and then checked under the Christmas tree for presents!

The house was full of friends.  Sylvia shared a Christmas thought with everyone before we had our meal.
MK's and PK's are just the best!
Friday night we all met at Prima Church where Pastor William shared with us that wisemen still seek Jesus.  Saturday night we met at Black Sand Church for carols by candlelight and drama.  It was much too hot to have the candles burning the entire evening, so we lit them for the last few songs.  Sunday morning we met with the Black Sand congregation for Christmas worship, a meal together, and gift exchange.  Eight of us, then traveled on to Eluklom Church where David preached again and Pastor Peter led us in communion. 

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:9

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twas the Week Before Christmas...

Christmas week was very busy for us, as it probably was for everyone!  
We had a Christmas party with Peter and Jenny Isaac and their boys on Tuesday. 
We started with decorating Christmas cookies. ALL of them got eaten after dinner.

Jenny helped Sylvia get the meal on the table.  Even though we live in the same town, we don't always get much time to talk together.  It was nice to have a few minutes to catch up on what has been happening in our lives.

Peter played his guitar...

and Sylvia dusted off her violin and we all sang our favorite Christmas songs together.

 David helped the boys tell the story of Christmas just before we opened presents!
We love our missionary family and are so thankful for them!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Heart Issues in Vanuatu

In mid-November, David began to have mild, left-sided, chest pain, his heart beat was quite irregular, and his blood pressure dropped.  Being nurses, we were familiar with the signs of a heart attack and we knew that Vanuatu was NOT the place to have one.  We checked in with the doctor who did an EKG and recommended that David drop one of his blood pressure medicines that has been known to cause heart irregularities.  Even after a week, nothing seemed to change, so we were advised to get to a medical facility that could do a more thorough examination of his heart.  We had to decide which country would be the best place to go - Australia, New Zealand, or the USA.  Getting into Australia was a bit tricky and cumbersome, but it was the cheapest place to fly to.  

So, we began to jump through the hoops of securing a medical visa to Australia.  We had to get a chest x-ray and see a different doctor in Port Vila to fill out a paper saying we did not have tuberculosis.  That doctor would forward the x-rays and paperwork to the Australian High Commission who would in turn send it on to Australia.  Our doctor had told us that it usually takes 3 weeks to get a medical visa, but we didn't want to wait that long.  The folks at the Australian Hi Com said that they would expedite the papers and we could be assured of having the visa within a few days.  That sounded great!  

Downtown Brisbane, Australia
Next step, we made an appointment for the following week with a cardiologist that was recommended to us by one of our Aussie friends.  We were to fly out on November 28th with appointments scheduled for November 30th and December 1.  We heard nothing from the Australian Hi Com by the 25th which made us get nervous.  Early on the 28th we were in touch with someone who told us the paperwork was misplaced and would not be back in Vanuatu until the 29th.  But there were no flights out on the 29th, so our friend at the Hi Com kept trying different ways to get our visa secured.  She was finally successful just 1 1/2 hours before our plane departed from Vanuatu!

Gracious friends, Don and Ruth
Don and Ruth Howie, Nazarene friends who live in Brisbane, had graciously agreed to let us stay at their house during the week of David's appointments.  They had come to Vanuatu in 2007 and stayed in our apartment while we were away for a conference.  While they were in Vanuatu they installed the wiring in our house, but we never met each other face to face until General Assembly 2009!  We actually met up again at the beginning of November as we traveled through Brisbane on our way back from the regional conference.  It was such a delight to actually have time to get acquainted with each other.  They took us to David's appointments and then took us to see the places where they were raised as kids and where the first Nazarene Churches were located.  We even had a chance to drive to Tamborine to have a lovely visit with John and Vicki Moore, Field Strategy Coordinators for Australia and New Zealand.  

David had several tests done by the cardiologist - Holter monitor, stress test, and stress echocardiogram - which revealed the irregular heart beat, but also showed that his heart is strong and showed no signs of blocked arteries.  We were very thankful for that news, even though there are still no answers for the irregularity, low blood pressure, and chest pain.  So, we praise the Lord for health and strength!  We are doing what we can to live healthy lives by eating healthy food and getting exercise.  We would appreciate your prayers that God will continue to keep his hand of protection on our physical bodies so that we can serve Him as long as possible!